baby

200 families. 180 babies. A private flight: This Australian mum's plan to get home by Christmas.

Over 200 families. Nearly 180 babies. About €1 million.

Carly McCrossin has a plan to get home by Christmas.

The Australian first-time mum lives in London with her husband and their now four-month-old daughter, Ailish, who she describes as a "really sweet baby". 

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, McCrossin was nearly eight months pregnant as she prepared to give birth to a 'lockdown' baby. 

Her mother planned to fly to London for the first few weeks of her grandchild's life, but made the "heartbreaking" decision to cancel. Now, nearly six months on, arriving in, or departing from, Australia is even harder. 

But for McCrossin - who has lived in the UK for the past nine years - the prospect of her family not meeting her baby until next year is simply unbearable.

Carly with her baby, Ailish. Image: Supplied. 

So, in August, McCrossin started a campaign, aptly named 'Fly the Babies Home'. The goal is to create "a COVID-free bubble of bubs and [to] charter our own flight home".

Yes - a private plane from London to Australia, full of families with babies who find themselves in similar circumstances. 

"I just thought there's got to be other Australian parents who are in my position," she tells Mamamia. 

McCrossin says the Australian government's cap on international arrivals - which will remain in place until at least October 24 - means booking flights has proved too difficult. She adds that a commercial flight comes with the increased risk of passengers contracting coronavirus.

ADVERTISEMENT

For the charter plane, McCrossin will ask all pre-registered guests to self-isolate at home in the UK for the two weeks prior to boarding the plane. They will also be required to take a COVID-19 test beforehand. 

The campaign went live at the beginning of August, and the 38-year-old, who works as an event organiser, says she "was overwhelmed with the interest".

Over 200 families have registered. 

Side note... Here's what you're like as a new mum, according to your star sign. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia

"The next step for me is speaking to the airlines, whether it's private charter companies or whether it's commercial airlines. So I'm kind of working with both at the moment, just trying to get some quotes," she explains. 

"We're looking at just over €1 million [about AU $1.6 million] for a return flight on a private charter at the moment...

"I'm hoping that a commercial airline will come to the party and we can do a large group booking on one of their already-scheduled flights. That would be ideal."

For McCrossin, organising this charter plane has become a time-consuming, emotionally draining process.

"It's very full on, especially with a four-month-old and my husband's in full-time work. Trying to juggle it all has been quite interesting, but also amazing.

"It's really late nights and early mornings. I'm just trying to get this over the line. It is so important for me and I want to also help so many other families who are in the same situation as me. I just want to bring some happiness to everybody's lives."

For McCrossin, she sees this as her last option. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"I can't actually think about this not working because that would be too much to handle.

"I've got such high hopes for this working, but if this doesn't work - I've tried absolutely everything I can to get home," she shares. Carly McCrossin with Ailish. Image: Supplied. 

Each day, as her baby grows, McCrossin's heart breaks that little bit more. 

"I keep packing away her tiny clothes and I think, 'My mum is never going to see her like this. My mum is never going to hold her like this.'"

She continues: "She is just missing out on so much that you can't even put into words. 

"It's beyond heartbreaking because you can't get those days back. Once those days are gone, they're gone. That's it, she will never, ever see Ailish like that or hold her at this size.

"We all smile on FaceTime. But I can see there are tears in mum's eyes. You know, there's a really dark side to it.

"It's not even like she could come here and see her. We're both stranded."

Certainly, this Christmas will be like no other for millions of families around the world. 

Feature image: Supplied. 


Sign up for the "Mamamia Daily" newsletter. Get across the stories women are talking about today.



00:00 / ???