So, I have five top tips for flying your kids to the other side of the world (and surviving the journey with your sanity intact):
1. Invent tele-transportation
2. Send your children as unaccompanied minors on the 22 hour flight
3. Accidentally take a sleeping tablet on boarding the plane, inform your partner of this fact and then sleep for 22 blissful straight hours
4. Cajole the airline into upgrading you (and only you) and then convince your husband that he needs some ‘quality’ time with the kids
5. Get a bit more realistic and plan wisely. (Yes, number five really bites, but I guess we all knew it was coming…)
Recently, we moved countries from Australia to the UK. You’d think that making small children sit still, face forward and not smile for passport photos, filling out reams of paperwork to obtain settlement visas and setting up UK bank accounts would have been the most painful parts of moving countries. But no, it was always the flight I really dreaded, right from the very first moment of planning – that awful, endless, oh-so-very-long stretch of time in the sky.
Luckily, I knew many well-travelled mothers to call upon for guidance and guide they did (there was only one who grabbed my arm, wild-eyed and hissed, ‘Don’t do it!’). Now, having completed the journey myself, with all members of my family still alive and mostly mentally and physically unscarred (we’ll just forget about that hour at Heathrow when I systematically fed my overtired son M&Ms to keep him going), I pass my findings on to you. And if you’re crazy enough to do what we just did, you’ll be needing them. So, here they are, my more realistic five top tips:
1. Book an overnight flight. Kids don’t whinge when they’re asleep. Enough said.
2. Pick the right airline. Luggage allowances vary widely, so if you need to carry a lot of baggage (as we did), it can help to shop around. You’ll also be wanting a personal entertainment system on every seat, kids’ meals and any kids’ goodies you can get your hands on (some airlines offer play packs etc.). When choosing your airline and seat, you’ll be needing the following website http://www.seatguru.com/