so i was feeling equally excited and terrified about the thought of flying internationally with limi. i say internationally because generally a short-haul flight would mean a limited period of crying whereas long-haul could mean 11 straight hours of screaming (in this case). i have been on flights with babies in the past where there has been extended wailing and the parents have reached the other side looking like they have spent 11 hours in the eye of a tornado: hair dishevelled from running their hands through it (whilst thinking 'what the hell WERE we thinking'); mouth dry from making constant soothing sounds; clothes in disarray from clutching, frantic small hands; head pounding from the high-pitched vocal in their ear and arms in cramp from 11 hours of rocking....the only plus i can see is that they had no chance of DVT because they paced the aisle for the entire flight! a friend even warned that she had locked herself in the plane bathroom for four hours rocking her baby son and limiting the noise to a confined space....
i was also concerned about the logistics of flying solo with a 12 week old who is not yet able to sit up: how would i juggle holding limi and putting my bag in the overhead locker; what about when i needed to use the bathroom; would i be able to hoist my bag off the carousel, whilst holding limi and keeping the trolley from doing that annoying wriggle just out of your reach.....
my usual plane experience is to push the limits of the hand luggage allowance and cram in as many mindless movies as possible.....but with limi's supplies taking up the majority of the hand-luggage and me only being able to concentrate on limiting my intake of liquids...i knew that this one would be different!
so, here is the report from the inaugural flight....
- we were allowed to board the plane first. no more trying to squeeze your hand luggage in to the last available space (something i could have used more effectively when my hand-luggage contained fragile must-have finds from far-flung place....not nappies, change mats and cotton wool)
- we had the bulk-head seat and in fact the whole row of bulk-head to ourselves.
- the crew were really amazing, friendly and so helpful, some pluses were carrying my bag to my seat, helping me to put my bag in the overhead locker, watching limi whenever i needed to use the bathroom and bringing me a bottle of water.
- limi slept for 8 of the 11 hours; wasn't bothered by the take off and landing (i listened to the recommendation to feed her during both and in fact started 20 minutes before we landed as that's when we started descending); was full of smiles for the crew and other passengers (which won us plenty of sympathy..go limi!); and only needed two nappy changes
- in Hong Kong, the ground staff met me at the door and helped me through immigration (carrying all my bags and whisking me through the fast lane) and then took my bags off the carousel, found the buggy and walked me through security all the way to the arrivals hall
so...not a bad way to travel!
- limi wasn't so keen on her sky-cot so it took a few attempts to get her to sleep
- i wasn't keen to fall alseep (we've all watched Flightplan) but did drift off for about 90 minutes...so total time slept, 90 minutes.
- never quite realised how tiny those bathrooms are when you have the change table down and are trying to juggle a baby, a change bag, yourself....and trying not to drop any of it on the disgusting-plane-bathroom floor. next time you are on a flight, squish yourself against the door and unlatch the table!
limi appears to have inherited the travel bug and proved a good companion...earning us plenty of perks (although, i may just have to accept that i'll miss out on some of those gem-plane-movies for awhile)