Long haul flying with baby (well – just getting to the airport really)

So, after six months of internet research, getting advice from friends and calling every major airline to find out who catered best for baby travel, the three of us were all ready to embark on our biggest journey yet:  A mere 14,000 miles from Sydney to London with a four month old baby.

A journey I was desperate to go well – as any negative occurrences may have long lasting repercussions.  There must be a huge number of people out there who have tried travelling long haul with babies (and a great dose of enthusiasm) only for something to go horribly wrong and never attempt it again.  Please God – don’t let that be me.

The travel Gods clearly didn’t hear my prayers though, as we wake up to find our flight has been delayed by three hours.  Funny (not funny) how a few words can have a major impact on things isn’t it?  We are now going to miss our connecting flight in Singapore and basically just like that our plans have been majorly disrupted.  Over the past few months Katie has spent hours and hours on the phone making sure we had a bassinet seat for Theo on both flights from Sydney to Singapore and Singapore to London. When we had gone to sleep the night before, all of this had been sorted.

This however is all in doubt now. We call the airline and despite being on hold for hours (Theo loves the tunes) we are none the wiser as we get into our cab to the airport. At this stage we are still on hold and don’t even know if we have a flight to catch.  I’d like to say that everyone is playing it cool but it’s pretty much the opposite. Stress levels seem to be at an all-time high – a cloud of anger seems to have started lingering in the air.

What I’ve figured recently is there are two types of travelers; one set have kids, the others don’t.  If our flights had been delayed last year I’d probably have been happy. Delays and uncertainty in travelling used to be met with added consumption of alcohol.  Now they are dealt with Baby Sleep Scheduling Fear (BSSF).  “But if he doesn’t sleep at noon he’s going to go ape shit!” “I’ve planned this whole trip around his napping schedule” etc etc. It’s a phenomenon that you just can’t avoid with a baby. And Dads, I certainly don’t recommend you do try and avoid it either.  The baby won’t be the only one going ape shit.  Your wife is probably going to kill you.

We end up checking onto an earlier flight and despite the poor customer service on the phone, everyone who works with Singapore Airlines that we meet face to face is kind, sympathetic and helpful.  One flight has been delayed and it’s disrupted hundreds of passengers for the day.  They do their best and it ends up that we are given one seat at the front of the plane with bassinet and the other seat is five rows back.  Reading this you would think that this is a great result given the circumstances, but it turns out that Katie is less than impressed.  As I mentioned, months of phone calls had gone into making sure this didn’t happen and now everything has changed and we are powerless to do anything about it.  As I start daydreaming of being by myself, watching endless movies whilst being brought bloody marys by the cabin crew, I am in no uncertain terms reminded that this will not be the case.  Which is amazing really, given that I didn’t say it out loud.

We press on and eventually make it to the flight.  Having a baby allows you to board early which is particularly helpful if you have plans to beg people next to you to swap seats. And this time, it’s not even needed. Katie chats with the lady next to her and before you know it she has offered her husband to swap with me.  (ha!)  We didn’t even ask.  As we take off I have a nice conversation with the lady who is off to Germany for a once in a lifetime river cruise.  Her and her husband have paid for premium economy for the first time but because of the rescheduling they are now separated, in economy and sat next to an apprehensive four month old baby.  It’s a reminder that everyone on that plane has their own reasons for flying and just having a baby doesn’t given you a God given right to have priority over everyone else.

With a warm feeling of contentment Katie and I finally have room to relax and get this journey underway.  I’ve always had the ‘it’ll work itself out’ attitude and despite it not always being true I find this is the healthiest state of mind when dealing with these mini crises.  As the plane takes off and we wonder to ourselves how Theo is going to handle the next 28 hours I feel it’s all going to be OK.

At that moment Theo decides to explode the largest of turds into his pants.  As the plane goes up, we are yet again brought back down to earth.

Help me go viral and I will buy you a beer.

3 Replies to “Long haul flying with baby (well – just getting to the airport really)”

  1. I think maybe Singapore Airlines deliberately only put one parent with the bassinet. We flew last year with a three month old to Athens, I had the baby with the bassinet seat, my husband and the other 3 kids, 5 rows back. Same positions on the way home despite complaining and being told the other seats were also taken up by mothers and bassinets. Not another mother in sight! Only men who wanted extra leg room.
    Good thing you were able to swap. I put my husband with the baby and had a nice sleep with the other three kids.

    1. Thanks for the comment Janice. Hmmmm, the plot thickens. You could be onto something here as most seats up the front were definitely taken by people without babies who had paid extra! Seems a pretty cheap way of making a few extra pennies….

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