Sunday, 15 February 2009

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Today, I'm off to gorgeous Northern Ireland to stay with family for a week. I'm flying with my daughter for the first time, so naturally a little apprehensive. Although I'm an experienced flyer, travelling with a four month old is bound to be intense on the organisational front, especially as my partner won't be with me. So I've been researching the net for some good tips. I have found the following sites useful:

This website in general has been a huge help in finding great parenting help. The link above is to an article which is short and to the point, some very good tips there. The website als features a printable packing list, which seem pretty common sense but I suppose they could help if you're not an experienced flyer or have more than one child to care for (or maybe the list is for dads).

Naturally I thought I would check the airport I am flying from. I wanted to be clear on the security guidelines. Going through security is stressful enough these days, so I wanted to prepare myself as much as possible. So I checked the sections on security and hand baggage allowance. Also, I noticed you could book a family lounge for £18.50 (per adult and per child over 2). The facilities include drinks (including alcohol!), snacks for adults and kids plus an extensive range of activities for the little ones; soft play areas, DVD's, computer games. Sounds good but I can't help feel it's another example of companies 'cashing in' on poor parents. Why doesn't the airport provide some of these facilities for children and babies anyway? If they do, I couldn't find any reference to it on the web.

Bounty have a travel section but not very extensive. The section on 'flying' says nothing about how to organise yourself at the airport and through security. Also the travel section of the website had no obvious hyperlink or button, I had to do a site search. Not very mummy friendly.

My travel plans so far are, driving to Gatwick and parking at my grandmother's who lives in Horley. I found a cab firm who will look after your childseat free of charge until you return. They are a reputable firm who we use every time we travel: Carline 01293 430 430. I phoned to ask whether they had car seats and there's no legal obligation for a baby to sit in one in a licensed taxi. You can imagine my surprise at that and thank god they offer this service.

At the airport, I have the Silvercross Pop as my companion. It's light and easy to fold, so very practical. There's also a drinks holder on the handle (contented mummy approves highly of that feature). I also have a changing bag that goes over the shoulder filled with plenty of supplies (more than I need in case of delay) including a change of clothes for baby. I also know of mum's travelling alone who have used their sling through security and onto the plane which great success.

We're leaving the house in just over an hour, so let's see how the above works out. I'll post again when the whole experience is over.

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