Flying Transatlantic with a 3 yr Old
If I am honest the thought of going translantic with a 3 year old brings me out in a cold sweat! But that’s exactly what we did on our seven hour flight to Canada. Monkey had flown previously to Turkey just before his second birthday which went remarkably well. However now he is three and exerting his independence I did wonder how it would go! Running up to the holiday I had very little time to do any research but I did manage to prepare a few things. Below is how we got through it relatively unscathed!
1. Time of flight – when booking our flights we specifically chose a late afternoon flight out. Avoiding a nap during the day meant that Monkey would un-doublty sleep at some point on the plane. Now I appreciate that its not always possible to time your flights or you may not want to as it eats into precious vacation time. However for us it worked as he slept for a good couple of hours curled up on our laps. It also helped with him adjusting to the time difference the other end. In fact he faired better than all of the adults.
2. Something to do at the airport – knowing we would have about two hours to kill at the airport worried me. I had visions of him running off and getting lost. Flying out of T5 meant that paying to get into a lounge wasn’t an option. Slightly unimpressed with BA at this point. So Instead I brought an Usbourne Airport Sticker Book. At three he’s a little young for it it, but it still proved a good distractor. Unlike other sticker books it has pictures of all the things you may see at an airport such as planes landing, taking off, wind socks etc… So we hunted for the items and if he found them, then he could find the corresponding sticker. It has 60 stickers in total and you wouldn’t be able to find all the items in a large commercial airport, but it kept him entertained on and off for about an hour. What little boy doesn’t like plane spotting.
3. Getting around the airport – I never truly valued the use of Monkey’s Trunki until this trip. Not only did he enjoy pulling it himself which meant we didn’t need to carry his baggage all the time as well as our own. It really did provide a quick way of getting to the gate on time. Now he’s that bit older we can confidently pull him along. At the other end there as quite a walk to the car which would normally have meant Hubby having him on his shoulders. Again he was happy to be pulled along on the Trunki requesting to go faster, which in our opinion is much better than needing to carry him.
4. Get on the plane first – This sounds really obvious, but to me it wasn’t as last time we flew with Monkey we were travelling Thomas Cook. This meant that every second passenger was a child, so there was no priority. However this time flying to Toronto, which is generally not a holiday designation for kids we were actually invited to board before the other. We were really lucky to get on the plane first as it meant we could get settled and have everything to hand. The flight was full so it was invaluable to make sure the bags were close by etc.
5. Kids Headphones – Many airlines provide headphones for transatlantic flights, but they are normally too bigs for little heads. We invested in some from Amazon for just under £10 and they were worth every penny. It meant while our plane was delayed for an the hour sitting on the runway Monkey happily watched Pingu, Thomas and Mike The Knight – thank you BA for turning on the entertainment system. But if they hadn’t he would have been able to watch his tablet without disturbing anyone else.
6. Order a Kids Meal – we brought a child’s plane ticket which in my head would naturally mean that they would get a kids meal…wrong. With BA you need to book the meal. I am glad we did as I was very impressed with it.
Chicken gougions with mash and peas, the chicken was very tender and not dried out at all, they also provided a sachet of ketchup to go with them. Plus fresh fruit, roll & butter, raisins, yogurt, cheese portion, water, Ribena and some white chocolate buttons. I am tempted to order one for myself next time!
7. Snacks – I made up a snack box for Monkey to have on the flight. There was far too much and he didn’t eat it all. But it did provide some entertainment. Be aware though that some things you may not be able to take into the country you are flying to – generally fruits and nuts can be a bit of an issue. Ours included – mini cheddars, rice cakes, fruit winders, cereals, popcorn, cashew nuts, walnuts, raisins, marshmallows, chocolate buttons, chocolate ladybirds and a fruit bar.
8. Monkey’s Tablet – We had downloaded some new apps onto his Hudl2 which I had packed as a backup . Also thinking ahead we were attending a wedding while away so may need something to keep him engrossed quietly if needed. I have written a separate post about the apps here.
9.Entertainment – I was really worried about having enough ‘stuff’ with us to keep Monkey entertained! To be honest I probably went a little overboard, and in the end we only played with a few of the items on the plane. I wrapped each one of the items up to add to the fun and they are not all new, some of the items are just things which we haven’t played with for a while. This meant that the perception was they were new which then will hold his interest for longer.
- Carryall dries board and crayons
- Kids Uno game – Thomas version
- Lollies for the plane to help with popping ears
- A set of lego – he’s too young really for lego but he loves getting involved in making new items so I brought a couple of vehicles from the city range so he could put them together with daddy
- Play dough with some plastic cutters and a rolling pin
- 1000 things to spot book – this series is great and also helps with number recognition, he never gets bored of them and has favourites he does over and over again
- Sticker book for the terminal
- Sticker book for the plane – monkey is ‘Planes Fire & Rescue’ mad and it seemed quite apt!
- Lift the flap book – the one we took was See Inside Your Body by Usbourne, it has over 50 flaps and since Monkey had developed a fascination with poo (courtesy of nursery) I thought it good he started to understand the workings of the human body.
- A couple of presents from Nannie – one turned out to be a magnetic game! Which caused me a few issues at security, so I would not recommend taking them, although he did enjoy playing farms.
The play dough was a great hit, he played with it for over an hour, so if you don’t share my paranoia and were only to take one thing I would recommend that it was play dough. Because he loved it so it did mean that we did not have time to try out many of the other things, however I am not complaining and would much prefer a stress free flight with a little extra hand luggage!
What do you take with you to entertain your little ones when flying?
Linking up with TheList