Dear mummy, flying with a crazy toddler is enough to strike fear into a parent’s heart. The trauma of checking in, getting through security and boarding the plane is enough to cause anxiety even before the plane sets off.
We recently flew from Southampton Airport to Belfast City Airport for a long weekend with my Grandparents. On the outward journey my mummy traveled with me and my Grandma to Belfast. With no daddy to fall back on she had to juggle keeping me occupied, keeping me safe and getting through security with multiple hand luggage and keeping me amused on a plane.
She was a bit daunted but it was nice travelling from a smaller airport compared to the larger London ones and having Grandma there was also a confidence booster.
Southampton Airport is a really handy for us to travel from and perfect for families. Everything is compact and easy to walk to for little legs and there are some great facilities onsite. The carparks are very near with the short stay just a couple of hundred yards from the terminal.
Check-in was relatively easy and we would strongly recommend checking in online before your flight. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time the night before and rushed to the airport the next morning. My mummy had a small panic attack when she realised she forgot my passport!
However the staff at Southampton Airport and Flybe were friendly and supportive informing us that it didn’t matter for me (I’ve just turned 3 years old) as I’m travelling with my mum and have the same second name for a domestic flight I didn’t need photo ID. Just as long as my mummy has her Passport/Drivers License it was fine for under 16s. Phew!
Panic over we got our boarding passes and headed through to security. After taking our shoes off and getting the all clear we sat down to take stock. A bit of a faff with all the open luggage and items of clothing strewn across the luggage trays.
We went and had a Costa upstairs ‘air-side’ and watched the planes take off and land. There was plenty of room to sit and for kids to walk around safely.
We’d heard that Southampton Airport’s changing rooms had won a prestigious award, so intrigued we used them before our flight. It’s cool that our local airport had claimed 1st place in the Best Service Station category of the Sudocrem Care & Protect Baby Changing Room Awards. Wowee that’s some accolade!
They won the award for their high number of clean and spacious facilities, which offer comfortable changing mats, a clean and calm environment, and plenty of room to move around and stow a pram. Just what you need at a busy airport! We used our Sudocrem too and it is a changing bag essential for us! My mummy put me in a pull up nappy for the journey just incase I had a wee accident on the plane.
Boarding the plane was a bit hairy with cases and a toddler in tow and I was very eager to head to the steps! I’m a toddler with no fear! Luckily ground staff and cabin crew helped us board the flight with ease.
The flight was relatively easy and I watched a cartoon on my mummy’s tablet for a little while, played with my sticker book and walked up and down the gangway harassing other passengers. See, I’ve got this flight attendants thang down to a T.
So what’s our tips for travelling with a toddler?
1) Write a list. Make sure you have everything! Don’t forget your passports!
2) Check-in online if you can. It will save the queues and waiting around with a bored toddler.
3) Try and put large bags in the hold. There’s nothing worse than not having enough hands free to hold your child’s hand through the airport. I wanted ‘up’ and my mummy had to grab a trolley!
4) Travel light. Pack away coats in cabin cases (if you can) Our flight was busy and their wasn’t enough overhead locker space because people had dumped large winter jackets in there. We had to put one of our cabin cases by our feet as a result!
5) Pack a tablet or a sticker book. Keeping kids occupied isn’t hard on a domestic flight as its a short distance. I watched a film and played with my stickers.
6) Pack snacks. There’s nothing worse than kids ears popping, help them by keeping them chewing on fruit or crisps on take off and/or landing. I had a small lolly to suck during the flight.
7) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. On a couple of occasions on the return journey my mummy had to ask for help from the cabin crew and ground staff to help her on with the bags and put them in the overhead lockers. Other passengers on our flight were so focused on boarding and disembarking that they push themselves past a struggling parent! Luckily Flybe staff helped.
8) Have a pit stop. Make sure you take time to have a quick break and compose yourself before you board. I used the family changing room to freshen up.
9) Have fun spotting the planes while waiting for a flight. I had a great time at Belfast City Airport sitting in the cafe watching all the planes.
10) Relax and enjoy the flight. kids feed off stress and anxiety so have fun and relax on your holidays. If you are chilled and smiling they will be happier (even if you are frantically stressing underneath!)
Love Bella X