You've read all the 'top tips for flying with children' type posts floating about the net. I must admit that I read a few before getting on a plane and thought, 'Jaysus! There's some great advice in these'.
However what happens when you actually get on a flight? Does it all goes as swimmingly as some mummy and daddy bloggers would have you believe? Do these tips and tricks guarantee a 'Zen like' flight?
This year Daddy Poppins put it to the test. He decided that he and his family would take a 4 hour flight as their first trip together.
I mean,"What could go wrong?"
I'll tell ya....
(Pardon my french and all but it's the only way to describe it).
Being a typical scabby penny pinching Dad, Daddy Poppins had chosen to not pay extras; no priority boarding, no extra leg room, no sitting beside an exit. If he had to pay extra then it wasn't happening. So although we were seated together we were smack bang in the middle of the plane.
Things Daddy Poppins is likely to say when booking a flight:
"It's extra for bags" we'll get away with 1 won't we?
"Do we really need a car seat?"
"We don't need a buggy, Oh, buggies are free, we definitely need one of them"
"They're charging for allocated seats!! Do we need to sit together?"
Narrator: Bloody Cheapskate!!
So of course Daddy P had chosen Ryanair to get them there (No offense Ryanair but we all know the score 😉)
Obviously the small child has to sit on one of adults laps and like most little people, Bella, or Bella Boo or more recently just 'the Boo' calls for her Mammy approximately 3.5 thousand times a day. It doesn't matter that Dad stays at home, it's all about Mammy.
"She wants you Bear" Daddy P says with a smile, "She'll have to sit on your lap"
(Look, we all knew it was coming)
Narrator: you sly old devil ya.
"She's due a nap soon", he then says (trying to sound reassuring) as Bella Boo bounces around like a hyperactive little devil that's just ate a family sized bag of smarties.
Narrator: This isn't going to end well, keep your smart comments in check Daddy P.
So we hadn't even taken off yet and she's going mental. Shes squirming and screaming and pulling at her seatbelt. .
We have what I'd call, mmm, 'Free range children'. So four hours as a 'battery hen' was never going to go well.
Then the plane started to taxi to the runway and she calmed a little, looking around to see what was happening. At take off the Boo sat quietly and took in the sounds of the engines. Take off had distracted her so much that she'd finally stopped squirming and trying to escape. Phew!!
This lasted all of 3 minutes.
Narrator: only 237 minutes to go, Muwhahahaha
OK Daddy P, you got this. The flying tips said to look out the window and take in the views.
"Bear, get her to look out the window", Daddy Poppins 'helpfully' suggested.
This worked for about 30 seconds.
Then A) We flew into a huge bank of clouds. (Not interesting clouds mind you, just grey, grey grey) and B) she decided to headbutt the window in protest
'OK OK, what next. Think Daddy P think. What did the tips say? Ah yes!! Toys!!'
So we took out the toys we'd brought to keep her amused...
Word cards: Boom ......floor.
Crayons: Boom ......floor.
Teddy: Boom ......floor.
Bottle: Boom .....floor.
Narrator: only 230 minutes left
"Leave me alone Narrator, it's like time is going backwards at this stage!!"
So we make it to an hour in and both the Bear and I are thinking, 'This is hell on earth!!' (well, in the sky, but ya get my drift).
As if you aren't stressed enough, there's the feeling of hundreds of eyes looking at you; some knowingly, some in empathy and some in disgust at being sat nearby this commotion in 'the cheap seats'.
Another 20 minutes pass with us trying to hold a wriggling, writhing, whinging, crying, screaming, 'entity' (think 'the Exorcist' meets 'Snakes on a Plane', then multiply by 2).
The Bear at this stage is giving Daddy P 'the look'.
What 'the look' says:
- Why couldn't we have gone to somewhere closer? (4 hours FFS!!)
- Why am I doing all the heavy lifting? Don't give me that 'she wants you' shit!
- Why do you keep giving me F'in TIPS!!
- Why did I ever get involved with you, let alone marry you?
- I hate you, you cheap *BEEP, (*even I couldn't publish that word)
Narrator: Did you know that there's a 20% increase in divorces during holiday season, just saying.
Then 'the Boo' squirmed out of the Bear's arms into, let's call it 'the foot well' of our row and at first looked to be trying to squeeze herself under the seat in front as a way of escaping the grasp of her parents.
'Typical! shes going to get her head stuck or something and Spanish firemen are going to have to board the plane and cut her out. FML', thought Daddy P.
Then it happened...
So shes asleep, .......but on the floor.
- Is it dirty? - yes
- Is it safe? - No but if this thing goes down we're all dead anyway
- Am I willing to try move her off it? - Hell no, she's actually asleep.
So how long did we get out of her?
45 mins? 1 hour? Nope
2 hours ladies and gentlemen. Wahoo!!
"Oh no! she's waking up!!", said the Bear.
"Quick fill her up with crisps!", Daddy Poppins exclaimed!
So we spent the rest of the flight, plying her with snacks and distracting her, counting down every second till we landed but eventually we made it.
Phew, we are on the ground. Job done.
But the flight isn't done at this point, is it?
You can't just get off. (Try explaining to a nearly 2 year old why you haven't left the plane).
"You do remember that we have to home again, yeah? At the end of the holiday", said the Bear
"Sssssshhh!!! I'm blocking it out"
So, preparation is key!! the flight home must have been better, you learned from it, right?
Well, first of all, we missed it . Yes you heard me. We missed our flight home because we stopped off to get chicken nuggets so we weren't 'HANGRY' on the flight. And we weren't....
.....because they didn't let us on the flight!!
We had to make our way back through security out to the Ryanair desk and see if we could get a new flight back.
Here is how the the conversation at the desk went:
"We missed our flight!"
"Lets see if we can get you another"
"There's one at 7:35pm"
(*It was about 6:40 pm at this stage)
"Right, let's get that one"
"€100 per person"
"That's not bad at all"
"It's to Dublin"
"Our car is in Cork!"
"When's the next flight to Cork"
(*it was Monday )
"Ah! Jaysus, lets just go to Dublin"
So we rushed through security, again (not stopping for nuggets this time) and arrived to take the later flight.
Aaaahhhh, 4 lovely, 'relaxing hours' with a miniature whirlwind (who had already napped this time and was currently going stir crazy in her buggy)
So we got on the phone and called in a favour from 'Grandad Poppins' to collect us at the airport (having disturbed a meal out between him and 'Granny Poppins' in the process. Her first name is Mary but she's no relation 😉). I'm sure I was flavour of the month.
Yes, preparation is key!!
There appeared to be a huge crowd getting on this flight when we got to the gate. The air stewards were looking for people in the following order: priority/business, rows 20-33 and then everyone else.
"What row are we on?"
"Check the tickets, it'll be on them"
So I looked through the boarding passes......
You know the phrase 'all you can do is laugh' ..
the Bear and the Boo were in 8c
Ben was in 9d
and I was in 33c
The flight over was bad enough but this time we were scattered around the plane. However once we managed to board a lovely lady swapped seats with the Bear so she could be almost across the aisle from Ben (who at this stage had already befriended the mother next to him and was explaining the intricacies of minecraft to her .....the lucky lady)
I was on my way back to seat 33c way down the back of the plane (with a smirk on my face, planning to say things like 'who's that disruptive family up the front of the plane' and tut loudly as I pretended I didn't know them 😱). I'm only messing (I'd never have gotten away with that) and in fact I didn't. The air stewards noticed our predicament and found me a seat on the aisle in row 10.
Hmmmm, Cheers for that 😳
So, did we learn anything? How did the flight (to the wrong city) go?
Well, we had sweets and crisps and stickers and the like at the ready and sometimes she stayed still and when she didn't we didn't stop her.