View Full Version : HELP! 18 hour flight with 3 kids!
03-18-2004, 05:50 PM
My husband and I (along with my mom and dad) are flying to the PHILIPPINES with our three kids - 4.5 y.o., 3 y.o., and 1 y.o. It is an 18 hour flight. We will be in the Philippines for 10 days. You must think I am crazy but I AM desperate for any nugget of advice from anyone who has ever attempted something like this or has even contemplated it.
I think we will be purchasing a Sit n Stroll soon. We will be bringing diapers, wipes, Purell, Ziploc bags, bottled water, and maybe a portable DVD player for the kids. We will check in a Pack and Play and another stroller.
Any thoughts or help appreciated!!
04-04-2004, 09:17 AM
Haven't done this with so many, buy have done this with my daughter when she was 14 months, 20 months, and just a couple weeks ago at 28 months. First of all, for the older kids, put their car seats in with the luggage (generally you can't use the tray with a car seat in place, and this gives them a little wiggle room, also, it is almost impossible to reach something that a kid has dropped if they are in their car seat). The one yr old will probably be happier IN his car seat.
Unless you bring extra batteries for the DVD player don't bother. Most DVD players only last for one movie (2-3 hr. battery life). We brought our laptop for this then ended up not using it because each seat had it's own TV screen - you might call your airline and ask. Most carriers will know which of their planes fly the longer route.
Some things that we found invaluable:
Trash bags - we use the blue ones that come on a roll that are specifically made for diapers or dog waste, you can get them with or without a dispenser at Toys'R'Us and Petsmart. These were good for soiled clothing, gathering trash (rather than stuffing it all in the seat pockets or holding it until the flight attendant arrived), etc. We used an I.D. lanyard (spring clip on a string) to attach ours to the seat so that the bag hung around the floor out of the way but could be retrieved for disposal.
A small write/wipe board that was made out of thin metal (a thin cookie tray would work well too). My DD was too young to use the write/wipe portion of this, but your older ones would probably enjoy that aspect of it. Lots of thin/lightweight magnets. I got sets from the office supply section of a store here in Japan. They had flat numbers (not the large plastic kind that you keep on the fridge), letters, and sets with pictures on them (cats, dogs, dinosaurs). I also attached peel-and-stick magnets to some small toys (cars, tiny stuffed animals, sticker book, sm. coloring book, etc.) You can find inexpensive, lightweight toys in the party goods section. If you get the write/wipe board you can draw a maze with a pen and have the kids 'drive' thru the maze. I also got some colorful button sized magnets for arranging, counting, and sorting.
Magnadoodle - speaks for itself, VERY HELPFUL!
A small stuffed animal with another lanyard for a leash. I got my DD a gecko about 9" long and attached the 'leash' (lanyard) to his foot with the clip (you could also attach it to the tag). She could wear it around her neck, dangle him, swing him (in the airport, not on the plane), hang him on her stroller. We liked the lanyard because we could hang him within reach. Obviously you would have to be very careful with any kinds of string so that your kids don't choke themselves, but with you sitting right there I don't think it would be an issue.
Floppy books, one favorite (If You Take a Mouse to School) and one she had never seen (That's Good, That's Bad). We get our floppy books through Scholastic, but Barnes and Noble has a section of paperback picture books. Be prepared to read each book several dozen times.
Stickers, they were good for about an hour's entertainment. Be prepared to be covered with stickers - my DH was pulling flower stickers off me 5 hours after our flight.
Colored pencils - I took Crayola's, cut them in half, glued caps on them, and put them all on a cord. Imagine a necklace of colored pencils. NO crayons, they melt and break. NO markers, they mark on everything including people and airline furniture.
Barf bags make good puppets.
Most airlines hand out magazines, grab a couple for the kids to leaf through (doesn't matter if they are kid magazine's - most will have photos that are interesting).
Ring Pops (for the older two). These will help the kids equalize their ears during descent (you don't usually need them during ascent). Make sure to bring one per kid per flight (don't forget all the connections).
If your flight is a couple of weeks away still call the airline and ask for kid specific meals. These meals come before everyone else's (so you can help the kids eat without your meal in front of you AND so they don't sit and whine about how everyone else is eating before them). They won't be the healthiest, but they will be a lot more kid appealing than the standard meal.
You might hold off on the bottled water, or keep it to an absolute minimum. Water is very heavy to carry and airlines have bottled water on hand. They will even bring you water while you are taking your seats (before take-off). DO bring your sippy cups or straw cups to keep spill at a minimum. DON'T wash these cups in the bathroom unless you have asked first, some airlines don't have potable (drinkable) water in the bathrooms.
DO tell your kids which button is the flight attendant button so that they won't push it. Believe it or not this worked with my 2 year old, she only pushed it once in a total of 51 hours of travel time (to and from the states). The other buttons we let her push at will (though we did limit the number of times that the light went on and off).
Wow, that was a lot longer than I intended. If you have any specific questions let me know and I'll try and answer them.
Jen in Okinawa
Mom to Noelle (2 1/2)
04-10-2004, 11:15 PM
Thanks for your message! I am hanging on every word. A question about kid meals. Are they really sparse? We are actually flying business class, so I have ordered four regular business class meals and one kid meal. I threw in the kid meal for variety but I figure the business class meals will be nice.
You are right. I have decided not to do a DVD player and I think the airline should be able to supply any bottled water I need. I may pack a few just for the airport.
Do you think I can order whole milk for my one-year old instead of their standard 2% or 1/2%?
Have you ever flown on the upper deck versus the lower deck of an airplane? Do you have any preference? We are flying on the upper deck but we will not be able to use a bassinet. Any experience with a bassinet for a one-year old?
I have tons of questions but I'll leave it at that for now.
04-11-2004, 08:39 AM
We found that the kids' meals were about three times as much as what our DD would eat. Usually it has the same number of dishes as the adult meal, just different stuff.
I'm not sure about the whole milk, but if you want to take your own you can buy Parmalat in the grocery store (same place they have dry milk, usually around the coffee/creamer area). Parmalat is real milk that has been super pasteurized so that it doesn't need to be refrigerated. We just decided that 2% for a day wouldn't harm our daughter and she never noticed the difference.
We've never flown business class or the top deck (unless you consider the C-5 that we flew from San Antonio to Okinawa over an 10 day period - they have their 'passenger' seating in a small loft in the rear of the plane facing backwards!) so I can't help you there. I would think (but I don't know as I am unfamiliar with the bassinets) that a 1 yr. old would be too squirmy for a bassinet. I know that at that age my daughter wanted to be sitting up and looking around.
Jen in Okinawa
Mom to Noelle (2 1/2)
04-12-2004, 08:23 AM
You had some great suggestions and just in time....we also live in Okinawa and I am doing my first solo flight back to the States with my son. Thanks for the good tips. Good to know there are other fellow BBB members on island!
mom to Noah 2/2003
A few tips
04-13-2004, 03:12 AM
Hi there. I flew business class from US to Australia with my daughter when she was 14 months. I was very happy with the whole experience.
Regarding upper vs. lower deck, I went with lower deck for several reasons (a) I was worried that if she cried it would echo in the smaller upper cabin and make things worse (b) I didn't even want her to know there were stairs on the plane or she'd be begging to play on them (c) Easier to go for a longer walk on the lower deck (d) Easier to get to the flight attendant area to get more snacks. I ended up being happy with this decision. There were a few other little ones in our area as well...instant playmates and source of new toys.
I thought the business class flight attendants were GREAT. They repeatedly offerred to bring more snacks and even to watch the baby so I could get up and go to the bathroom. (Normally I wouldn't leave her with a stranger, but they really couldn't get far on a plane over the ocean!) Another godsend with business class is the pack of freebies you usually get - pair of socks, small bottles of lotion, eye mask, lint brush, etc. None of this stuff was ever useful to me until I had a toddler! Instant and free entertainment!
At least on the airlines we flew, there was no way a one year old would fit in the bassinet. It was TINY and once they can sit up unassisted they would flop right out.
Assuming you have bought a seat for your little one, one thing to consider is whether you are taking your car seat on the plane. I would recommend it for business class (but not coach) because you can install the seat rear facing, and then drape a blanket from the back of the airline seat to the back of the carseat, thus creating some darkness to encourage sleep. I did have some trouble convincing the airline and security people that it was legal to take on board (they were worried it wouldn't fit on the airline seat), but I believe that any US carseat is FAA approved and therefore should fit on normal airline seats. (HOWEVER! They are an extremely tight fit in coach and not worth attempting in coach, in my opinion!) Also my daughter seemed to understand that being in the car seat = not getting out, and was previously able to sleep in the car seat, so she didn't fuss too much before falling asleep. The big downside to bringing the car seat on the plane is that you then have to lug it around the airport. If you have another adult with you it is no problem, but even if you are solo adult I would recommend it for ease of sleep on the plane.
We flew on a redeye, which I would also recommend IF your child is a pretty reliable sleeper.
As far as toys go, for us the best toys were new ones that she had not seen before. A cheap way to accomplish this is by getting a bunch of toddler toys from McDonalds or other fast food place (if you are nice they will give you several). Another advantage here is that you won't feel bad about throwing them away later to free up some room in your bags. One warning is to not bring any toys that roll (balls, matchbox cars, etc) since about 10 min into the flight they will be rolling all over the plane!
Good luck with your travels!
04-14-2004, 01:04 PM
I came to some of the same conclusions about it being slightly better on the lower deck but, unfortunately, now they do not have seven seats together in the lower deck. It is a little bit of a comfort that you think the bassinet is out of the question, which is what I suspected, but I know someone who used a bassinet for a 14 month old. Guess we are stuck on the upper deck. I know it will be a bit of a pain to lug everything up and down the stairs, but I think we have enough adults that it will work out. Four adults to three kids should work out fine.
I am planning on bringing a carseat. We bought a sit n stroll. It is a great idea to put it rear-facing and putting a blanket over it for darkness. We are flying redeye and my kids are good sleepers so we are hoping for 10 hours (?) of sleep. I heard the white noise of the airplane can really help them sleep well. And, yes, the one year old has a business class seat so the car seat should fit with no problem. I really I do not have to fight to get the car seat on the plane.
Thanks for the tip against rolling toys!
What do you think about giving them medication to help them sleep a long time? I am not very concerned about my kids falling asleep. but staying asleep. Have you found that once they are asleep, they tend to stay asleep due to the white noise of the plane?
04-20-2004, 12:23 AM
Hi again! I am glad you have a seat for your one year old, as well as plenty of adults to help carry all the gear. That will help a lot. As for the medication, I took Children's Benadryl along "just in case" but did not use it. I found that once the plane was dark and passengers stopped trying to make goofy faces at her (!) my daughter slept her normal amount (11 hrs) and I didn't need to use it. However, several friends have encouraged a nice deep sleep by using a bit of benadryl. You could check with your doctor to be sure, as well as find out the proper dosage. It may also come in handy solving jet lag issues.
Speaking of jet lag, our solution was to either add or drop one nap for our daughter, keeping in line with her existing schedule (At that point she would be awake for 3-4 hrs before needing a nap). She wasn't too happy about being woken up when she thought it was night time, but having some fun toys or activity helped to wake her up. She actually had less jet lag effects than I did.
04-20-2004, 09:35 AM
The only caution I have about medication (which we have sometimes used and sometimes not) is that it causes some kids to get hyper instead of sleepy. Just make sure you know their reaction to it BEFORE you give it to them.
My daughter didn't sleep for the first 18 hours of our 24 hour trip or the first 20 hours of our 27 hour return trip.
MUCH better luck to you and sleepy vibes!
Jen in Okinawa
Mom to Noelle (2 1/2)
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