Gastbeitrag: Fliegen mit Baby auf der Langstrecke

Wie versprochen gibt es einen Gastbeitrag der Familie Schmidt zum Thema „Fliegen mit Baby“ > 6 Stunden. Daniels Frau Vivien hat deren Flüge zwischen Singapore, Frankfurt und Schottland mit vielen Tips anschaulich unter dem Titel „12 hours in cattle class“ verbloggt.

Der Übersicht halber zitiere ich den Text vollständig hier (Duplicate content ahoi).

Thx for sharing, Viv!

12 hours in Cattle Class
The other great survival story of this trip was the 12 hour ordeal to and from Frankfurt. Add to that the hour from Dusseldorf to Newcastle and back. That’s a total of 27 hours in the air with a one year old who thinks as much of your instructions to keep still as you would every announcement before take-off to pay attention to the in-flight safety demonstrations.
Travelling in cattle class with a baby who hasn’t developed speech or molars is not as daunting as every parent who has one would think. There are a whole bunch of helpful little things that make your job much easier, like:
(i) Priority to get on the plane so you have plenty of time and overhead space to get your mini-kitchen sorted out.
(ii) You’re allowed to bring in all the liquids you want as long as you say it’s for the kid. I have only encountered problems at Newcastle Airport with my jars of baby food. (more later)
(iii) You get the bassinet seat up front, and if you’re lucky, it’s right up behind the galley which is really important, details later.
(iv) Cabin crew usually treat you more nicely since crying babies are not in their favor.
(v) You won’t ever be in need of in-flight entertainment, so any airline would do, really.
Having said that, here are the issues that you should really look out for and having a contingency plan for each of these would really save you a lot of embarrassed and apologetic smiles at fellow passengers.
(a) Cabin pressure – for infants under one, this isn’t usually a problem since the passage to their eardrums are still underdeveloped, sparing them from the worst of cabin pressure. Ju was fine if he had a bottle to suck on during take off and descent. Timing the feed (or breastfeed) helps to take the edge off. But this time, Ju was sick on the way to Newcastle and his coughing made it a bad idea to bottle-feed him on the plane. It came all the way up again and trust me, it wasn’t pretty. So the best idea for kids age 1 and over is to give them something to chew on, like a cookie or a cracker.
(b) Full diaper when the seatbelt sign is on – it happened to Ju again! After the harrowing descent on our return from Phuket where the front half of the plane had to hold their noses as our flight got delayed by the Singapore Air Show rehearsal, we decided that the only way to manage a full diaper was to hope it didn’t happen. Well, there’s really nothing much you can do besides stuff the diaper with wet wipes so it doesn’t leak (if he’s got a runny dump) and pray that your pilot got assigned a parking lot that isn’t 5 miles from the main runway. Ju started fidgeting and whining 10 minutes from touchdown and thankfully, it was a solid one. After that, it was just about entertaining him so he would stay on my lap until we could get out.
(c) Baby won’t sleep – this is the worst nightmare of every cross continent passenger. I’ve learnt to tune our other babies‘ crying, funnily, even when I travel alone. The thing we learnt on this trip was to make sure Ju tired himself out enough to fall asleep on the plane. Night flights are better, since his body would be primed for sleep anyway. The only issue is calming him down amidst all the action going through customs, getting on the plane, the blasted crew banging in the galley as if they were preparing for a mess hall dinner. Using the Ergo (our baby carrier) helped Ju stay asleep as long as possible.  Using it on the flight is a great way to comfort him when he’s awake and the entire plane is dark and asleep. Ju slept 5 hours on the way to Frankfurt, and had two more small naps the rest of the way. Keeping him occupied during the waking periods was the most challenging and this is why being next to the galley helps, as it’s your escape route when he starts acting up.
(d) Entertaining the baby – plenty of stuff around to keep his attention occupied, even for 10 seconds (which is long). When the seatbelt sign is on, you need to use everything in your bag of tricks (please bring this bag with you and make sure it’s close at hand in front of you for easy access) and more. If you’re by the window and it’s day, what’s outside should occupy him during takeoff. If not, there’s always the light switches. The magazines, pillow, even the passenger next to you becomes a prop. You can always ask for cups and spoons from the crew, these are much better than little soft toys Lufthansa likes to give. Ju looked at the first one he got and gave us a „what do you think, I’m stupid?“ look and tossed it. *Note to self – email Lufthansa about putting more thought into their baby gift toys.
(e) Other babies – We had a baby next to us to and from Frankfurt. The problem with being side by side with another baby on a night fight is if one cries, the other wakes and starts too. This is if the loud-ass stewardesses haven’t already woken them up with their bellowing. We kept Ju on my lap (asleep) for as long as possible because he would never stay in the bassinet if he knew he was in it. On the other hand, another baby provides the entertainment for your own, since they seem to have some secret code of communication.
11-m-o girl to Ju: „ehh-yeh-yeh?“
Ju: blinks and stares incredulously.
Girl: bangs on the arm rest impatiently.
Ju: fascinating (he must be thinking)
Girl: reaches out to poke Ju, „ah-yeh-yeah?“
Ju: still processing the banging, he reaches out to imitate the girl and bangs on the arm rest.
The best part about boys is they’re always one step behind the girls. Makes my life easier managing Ju’s hyperactivity.
(f) Eating – Keeping to the meal time on board the flight helps to re-orientate the baby’s clock to the new time zone. We didn’t keep too strictly to his 3 hour schedule, just estimated when he might be hungry and had all his jars and spoons ready. We didn’t use any food that required heating, because let’s face it, unless you’re on Singapore Airlines or Emirates, it’s not a good idea to rely on the crew especially when every second counts. We made sure he finished his food before the meal was served, so that one parent could mind him while the other ate. Taking turns is the only way.
(g) Jetlag – the mother of all issues is flying across time zones. Going backwards is generally not so bad, according to other parents‘ feedback and our own experience. Ju took 1 day to adjust to German time, napping included. Coming back to Singapore was a catastrophe in slow motion. It’s been 6 days since we arrived on Sunday afternoon and Ju is still adjusting. He developed a heat rash, refuses to drink and badgers us at midnight when he wakes in a rage. The doctor confirmed that it was the effects of readjustment. Poor kid. I mean, if you’re plucked out of your usual environment, taken to an alien place with an alien climate (fresh air and no humidity) for two weeks, it’s a real downer when you’re taken back to the other place willy-nilly, and expected to just accept that, no questions asked. If I were Ju, I’d give me a hard time too.
Bad news is there’s no prevention of jet lag, but it will pass. We just have to be really patient and use all our creativity to get Ju to drink water. Lots of playtime and no talcum powder on the heat rash, and hopefully he gets better in a few days.

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