Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Baby frequent flyer

Sophie is a pretty frequent flyer, having been lugged around both Asia and Europe. Some of my friends are planning on travelling with their babies soon. So yo guys - fasten your seat belts and listen up to Auntie Sharon and her 5 tips for happy travellers.

1) Plan your flight times.
Try to schedule the flight when your baby wakes in the morning. I found night time travel the most disruptive to Sophie's sleeping schedule, because she'd miss out on the longest most restful sleep period of her day.

2) Optimise resting times
This is Sophie in a Turin airport lounge. We are lucky because with Fab's frequent flyer we get access to Air France lounges on our economy class tickets.

3) Wear your baby
I found the baby bjorn the most useful for all the airport security checks, because it exposes more of the baby's body than a sling, so they are less likely to ask you to remove the baby to examine the sling. This is us with Sandra and Laetitia at the train station at Truezy. We are both baby bjorn fans!

4) Breastfeed
I usually keep Sophie awake by letting her play quietly and then nurse her as we take off. This usually prevents any middle ear discomfort and sends her to sleep immediately. This is where the sun hat works wonders as a light-block and discreet cover.

5) Be very very nice to the counter check in staff.
If the plane is not too full, they will then try to leave the seats around you empty. When we flew from Beijing to France for Christmas, I was alone with Sophie, and they left all the seats in my row empty. Sophie slept, played and generally charmed the socks off everyone. When we got off the plane, the stewardess told me that this is the first time in 8 years of flying that she has seen a baby not cry AT ALL during a long flight. If your baby cannot use the bassinet, I would recommend buying a seat for a long flight.

Just remember that your journey doesn't end when you get the other airport. There may be flights/trains and other connections to make so make sure you pack enough diapers and toys to last. In fact you should handcarry enough so that you aren't completely shafted if the airline loses your luggage. If you rent a car from a major company like hertz you can rent a car seat too, that way we didn't bother bringing the stoller/car seat with us for our trip to France because the Baby Bjorn was enough.

Bon voyage!


rene said...

great tips! sounds like sophie is a real easy baby! I love the photo of her playing with her seat belt.

Peter said...

Thanks for the tips ... one post flight tip I would add: If you have the option to select bus or train to get from the airport to your apt / hotel ... take whatever that makes it possible to walk around with the baby ... first time with a 5 months old Julius we were stuck in an 'express' bus and he was just so lound and I could not walk him around to sooth him ...

I also find it interesting that all airlines have different / changing policies on how the baby should be secured during landing and take off .. initially we were given this extra loopy seatbelt appendix ... then later we were told that latest studies said these are dangerous and we can just keep him in the bjoern ... then again it was ok to just hold him really tight ... on the last flight (since now 2.5 year old Julius only likes to buckle up during flight .. not when he is supposed to) they created on of the old fashioned slings by using a seatbelt extension ... sigh .. I make it a point to ask the FAs in advance now ...

Oh .. and make sure she has her own frequent flyer card for all airlines !!!!

rhys said...

Sophie is going to be such a heart breaker when she grows up...

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