Flying with kids: Tips for non parents

Punching people in the face is not my normal behaviour, I’m usually pretty restrained and public violence is generally frowned upon, especially in front of your kids. Sometimes people just push your buttons, you see red and you have to use all your mental strength not to sink to their level and mirror their behaviour. “Walk away and take a deep breath” I normally tell people, not feasible when you are in a confined space, with a one year old in your arms at 40,000ft. I begrudgingly admit that if you are expecting a juicy blog of drama in the air to rival Snakes on a Plane I didn’t actually hit anyone, but I really, really wanted to, several times. 

For our main holiday this year we opted for a long haul trip. We didn’t procrastinate about where, we have friends living in Hong Kong and have said on numerous occasions that we would get out at some point to see them and then fancied tagging a week beach holiday on the end. Myself and husband have always wanted to go to Borneo, granted not quite this way, as two young children limits your exploits somewhat but we thought why not? Our littlest isn’t 2 till next year so no real cost for her and out eldest starts school in September so the cheapest time to do it is definitely now. There were a lot of comments in advance, mostly along the lines of “you’re brave”, personally I think the more trips you do with kids at a young age the better. We love travelling and we hope to instil the same passion into our two girls. Long flights, heat, time differences, day trips and seeing the sights become what a holiday is about and I think a slightly ropey first night sleep as they adjust to a different time zone is far outweighed by the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, languages and cultures they experience. Let’s face it in a previous life that first night would have been pretty sleep deprived anyway but probably in a more alcoholic capacity. 

So far us and the kids have had a great time, granted there have some been some meltdowns, mostly over little one wanting anything on older sister’s plate and not wanting to be left out but nothing more than the norm. The trip so far has included two flights and the ridiculous over the top reactions we have experienced by people sitting around us both times have amazed me. 

To the non parents on flights, while I appreciate sitting down on a flight to find two young children in close proximity is far from ideal, bear in mind that us parents are doing our best to keep things pleasant and calm. We are ridiculously aware of all those around us. We know you want to sleep , have a pleasant flight etc etc so bear with us. This may involve you getting Incy Wincy Spider stuck in your head, it may mean that there is an abundance of crayons, water bottles and toys being flung around or rolling swiftly down the aisle during take off. Yes my child may peer through the seats to eye you up suspiciously. If she dislikes the look of you she will probably leave you alone alternatively she may give you a cheeky grin, a wave and blow you a kiss. 

Trust me I find a screaming child at close range just as inconvenient ( and they are mine) and when it’s your own and you know she is crying because she is probably distressed for some reason it makes that howling in your ear even more difficult to bear. While your sleep or movie may have been momentarily interrupted at least you get off the plane as clean as you got on, there is no soggy biscuit and drool smeared across your top and in your hair, you haven’t had to get up 3 times as much to visit the toilet. 
But some pointers off the back of my experience in the past week: 

1.Staring at me with a look of horror on your face for 15 mins will not calm my child, however it may provoke that reaction in me to slap you round the face. 

2. Telling my giggling child to “Shhh” is idiotic, I’m trying to keep her entertained would you rather I left her bored which could result in crying / screaming. ( This was on a morning flight).

3. Telling her to “Shhh” again when she is making humming noises likewise, it will cause me to slam the over head locker, directly above your head very loudly when I notice you have just dropped off to sleep.

4. Asking the air stewardess to move seats 10 mins before landing as my child has cried on the short haul flight for the first time in 2 hours, ridiculous get over yourself. 

5. Continuous tutting and glaring at me because your inflight movie is being interrupted, seek a reaction from someone who cares, at least you get to see some of it. 

6. Encourage us parents with a smile not a scowl, children feed off stress so if you are stressing us out and winding us up, we are inadvertently going to be stressing our kids out more. 

7. No I didn’t want to wake her up from her satisfyingly deep sleep either, the stewardess made me do it because there was turbulence. Another glare does not help. 

8. A tip for your own personal comfort, you think you are being clever booking the front seats to offer extra leg room, these seats will always be next to any potential babies on the plane as this is where the bassinet / baby cot fixes. 

9. Finally, no I won’t apologise when my 4 year old says “Mummy is that the moody lady?”
Seriously people lighten up, on this occasion hand on heart my children were amazing on both the flights we have been on, ( with the exception of a 15 min gassy scream,  a fart on the arm and all was well in the world of a one year old again). I guess some people always need something to moan about. Let’s hope that when and if the three particular people in question have kids you have little shits and sleepless nights! 

We have 4 more flights to go before we get back to the UK via a trip to the Orangutang sanctuary and a return journey home via Hong Kong again, let’s hope our immediate forthcoming neighbours don’t get that slap in the face I’m gearing up for. 


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Debra Frampton says:

    Great blog Michelle, hope you enjoy the rest of your trip – see you soon. Debra xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mrs Lighty says:

    This is ridiculous, who was this person?! As someone that used to work in travel and flew a lot, I always used to give the mum with a screaming baby in their arms an encouraging smile of “it’s ok, your baby can’t help it”. Let’s hope the next time this woman flies longhaul the child next to her, as she books the bulkhead seats, screams the entire time!! I found your post via #bigpinklink, and PS, I’m very jealous of your trip to see the orangutans!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was actually 3 separate people across 2 flights. We have done a fair few flights with our kids but never got such rude reactions before. The orangutan’s were great!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh no… That is ridiculously rude, and just so unhelpful, borderline aggressive. Do these people honestly think that if there was something we could be doing to stop our children from crying, that we would be doing it immediately? Do they not think that it is just as stressful for us when they’re crying, and far more stressful than it is for them and their tutting and huffing? Honestly, people never cease to amaze me!! I’m really impressed that you are sticking to your passion of travelling, and continuing to fly long distances to give your children a taste of different culture! I think that is fabulous! I’d love to hear about the orangutangs!! I feel a rising fury too, when people are being rude about my children making noise. An old lady in Costa told me to leave as soon as I walked in the door, because my son was crying. I ignored her and sat down, knowing that as soon as he got some food, he would be fine. He cried while he was waiting for me to sort the food out, and she kept looking at us and tutting loudly. In the end, she shouted ‘for gods sake, just gag him…’ That was it for me, and I swore at her, both with language, and with a gesture… Not my finest moment, and I’m not proud, but I just totally had a flash of anger. Once he had some food, he was an angel the rest of the time we were there.
    Have a great trip, thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can’t believe the Costa comment. Was talking about it to a friend today and we said its en par with saying to someone your ugly face offends me could you cover it up pls. Perhaps we do just need to start fighting rudeness with rudeness and having witty comebacks.


  4. I dread the time when we have to fly. Couped up inside a plane is no fun at all for kids after initial 5 minutes

    Liked by 1 person

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