I may have mentioned before that one of the reasons for the name of this blog is as a reference to the response we often get from others when they first hear of our plans: “Oh, you’re brave” being most common. Nick and I have never really considered what we are doing as particularly brave – we have travelled with the boys a fair bit already and, generally it’s been fine.
John took his first flight when he was 6 months old, travelling from Japan to Iceland via London. I might be looking back with slightly skewed vision but that flight was pretty easy. In fact, I would say that flying with babies is really not that bad. Okay, you have to put up with the filthy looks from the odd fellow passenger who arrives for the flight to find themselves a row or two away from your precious infant and imagines the next several consecutive hours filled with howling and screaming. I am making a sweeping overstatement here, but in our experience, those looks are mostly from young, often single, travellers who have not had children themselves. If you are lucky enough to be seated near a family with slightly older children, what you get is lots of smiles, sympathetic nods and words of encouragement about how well you are all doing. Our family falls into that category now and so I know that what I’m thinking when I see a baby or two in the cabin is, “Oh thank goodness, mine might not be the only ones to irritate the other passengers…” I think many airlines do try to seat families together now, for this reason and it really is a good idea. The truth is, of course, that babies almost never cry for the entire flight and those that do aren’t choosing to do so just to ruin your day – they are most likely struggling with either the changes in pressure in their ears or perhaps there was some mild illness that only became apparent once in the air. However bad it is for the other passengers, you can be sure it is worse for the parents. For the most part though, we have found that infants are usually a bit grisly on take off and landing and the occasional ten minute bursts every few hours as they struggle to get off to sleep but otherwise the white noise in the cabin helps them drift off to sleep.
Toddlers and preschoolers though – they have a whole lot more stamina,
Our flight to Washington went a bit like this:
Nick: There are no sections of 5 seats together so we’ve got a set of 4 and then a single across the aisle. Don’t worry, I’ll sit next to a stranger….
Me: (thick with irony) Oh, that’s good of you. I’ll really enjoy trying to keep Alex’s voice below 100 decibels for 8 hours, whilst pinning his legs to his seat because the urge to kick the seat in front non stop is too great, not to mention the joy of refastening the seat back tray every 45 seconds. I will ask him a hundred times before take off if he needs the toilet and remain sympathetic when, as we are take off, he tearfully tells the entire plane that his poos are coming. When he drops his chocolate biscuit (the only part of his in-flight meal that he feels able to eat) on the floor, I’ll be happy to give him mine, and when he drops that too, I’ll gladly choose that moment to teach him not to be spoilt and demand his brothers’.
Maybe the blog should have been called “Foolhardy enough to start!”
The good news is that we arrived safely and I now have a flight in hand because it is only fair that Nick gets to experience the magic of in flight bonding with our youngest.
The older two thankfully, have reached an age where they are able to entertain themselves in a quiet and, generally motionless, fashion and, for the most part, that is all we really want. I am choosing to overlook the fact that John found the on board virtual poker room, mostly because he won; the man from seat 54C did a double take as he left the plane and saw the size of his opponent!