I don’t consider myself an expert at flying with small children by any means (the bread rolls thrown across the aeroplane, coffee-splattered outfits, and mid-air nappy explosions are testament to that) – but having flown 17 long-haul flights with children in tow in the past 3 years, I do have the packing down to a fine art at least.
The way I do it is simple, but makes life so much easier when you are grappling with overexcited, overtired small people…
So here are the 4 steps.
1) I pack a shoulder bag with essentials that I need access to quickly and easily in the airport.
2) I pack a roll-along cabin bag with everything we need for the flight – and it’s divided into four plastic/canvas bags. Wilfred has a bag with his goodies, Stanley has a bag with his goodies, there is a bag dedicated to food, and there is a bag for my things (a few magazines and headphones for the moments the boys are quiet – i.e. – 5 minutes of a 7.5 hour flight). If I’m flying with my husband, we split these over two roll-alongs. If I’m on my own, I still pack in this manner, but I need to be more careful about the weight.
3) Once we’re in the gate waiting to board the plane, I take a few minutes to move any essentials from my handbag into the relevant bag in the roll-along. I usually buy ready-made formula in the airport for Wilfred, so this also gets moved into the food bag.
4) Once we’re on the plane, I pull out the 4 x bags and put them under the seats in front (or if we have the basinet seats, I wait until we’re in the air and then put them by our feet). The handbag and roll-along go straight into the overhead locker and I don’t need them again until we land.
Since I discovered this method of packing, it has made things so much quicker and easier to fly.
Ill post Part 2 soon, which will have recommendations for keeping small children entertained on a flight…