Here we are gathering some resources to make that flight just that much easier for you and your gang.
Help all the way through to check in and help on arrival. These guys really saved me when I was travelling with 2 under 2. Met me as I deplaned with two sleeping kids and helped all the way through immigration. Unreal.
Following on from Gatwick’s family lanes, Heathrow has opened dedicated family lanes this July 2011. There are also play areas in Terminal 1, 3, 4 and 5 (see website for locations) and this summer they are running various promotions like kids eating free and Little Miss Sunshine is visiting the airport. They have also introduced a reserve and collect scheme for baby food, milk and newborn nappies that operates in the same manner as your other shopping.
Gatwick Express has porters at Victoria and Gatwick that will help you with all your bags, get you on and off the train and bring you all the way to check-in. Very helpful when you are traveling alone with a little one. Once at Gatwick Airport, there is a separate line for security for passengers with reduced mobility or traveling with young children. Makes the whole experience a lot better!
“When flying with kids, particularly babies, make sure to request bulkhead seat. If the baby is small enough, they’ll give you a bassinet too. So nice to have the extra room.” Thanks Linsday!”
Just travelled on BA to NY and they have a car seat like device that fits where the pulldown cot sits if your child is too big for a cot. Saves you holding a heavy toddler on your lap for 6 hours (that’s if you haven’t bought a seat for them!)” Thanks Justine
Virgin has the same car seat like devices that affix to the wall for the bulkhead on their newer planes. However, I suppose the benefit with their older planes is that the middle seats in the bulkhead have arms that raise up so that you could lie your child down.
Always good for traveling with the little ones because they can ride in their pushchair so no need for a car seat.
Strollers at the gate or baggage claim?
Make sure to check with your airline and airport to see where you can expect to pick up your stroller after arriving at your destination. A lot of flights will deliver them to baggage claim and you have to make it with your small child from the plane, all the way through immigration without it. Slings help with the tiny ones. With the older ones, if you can find a wheelchair, that’s an excellent, temporary fix.
Food and drink for the babies and toddlers
Check airline and airport policies, but in my experience, the airports will allow you to bring juice or milk through security in your child’s own sippy cup if you take a sip of it. (Remember the milk on the plane is longlife milk). You can also bring food for your baby. The pouches are an absolute life saver on the plane and if one is over 100g (for example, the Ella’s Stage 2 ones are), then you just take a sip. Heathrow has a reserve and collect scheme for some essentials.
Keeping toddlers happy in flight (or on a train, boat, …)
A recent Facebook post received the following ideas which are all great:
- portable DVD player, iPad, iPod, laptop, in-flight entertainment system
- ELC Scribblers or Magic Sketchers
- Play dough
- Sticker books
- Small toys like toy cars
- Activity books
- Lacing / threading activities
Make sure you don’t introduce everything at once so there’s always something new. Particularly loved the idea of wrapping the toys up so that each time a new one is brought out it’s like a present and part of the ‘game’ is unwrapping it.
Let us know if you have any travel tips that you’d like to share.
Other travel resources:
Freckles in the Sun – independent travel website – creation of a Maida Vale resident and parent – providing some great ideas off the beaten path for family holidays with all the tricks of the trade, as well as the opportunity to buy some of the great things they’ve found on their adventures.
My Travelling Nanny – unique family run agency that provides students, qualified childcarers, and teachers to travel with families on their holidays – even if you just need evening babysitting or assistance around the swimming pool. They also place temporary nannies for school holiday cover, if one parent is away on business or recovering from an operation, etc.
Vineyard Pharmacy – Elgin Avenue across from Maida Vale Tube
Brown’s Chemist – Corner of Shirland Road and Kilburn Park Road
Snappy Snaps – 140 St John’s Wood High Street
All good with little ones from what we’ve heard or experienced.