With the recent historic first non-stop commercial flight from the UK to Australia, it brings up a lot of questions about what this actually means in practice for flyers. Yes, you and your family are indeed spared the frustrating changeovers – disembarking, walking, queuing, waiting around, boarding again! However, let’s not forget that 17 hours is a long time to be cooped up in a confined space. As adults, it can present a whole host of interesting challenges and when you add in a toddler with a low boredom threshold to the mix, it presents even more potential problems!
So just how might a family with young children travelling long-haul make it through such a potentially arduous flight with their sanity still intact? Worry not as we’ve got a few helpful ways for you to prepare for and survive your extra long-haul flight with your toddler.
Worst Case Scenarios – Prepare and Plan
It’s all in the planning! Don’t leave your packing to the last minute, as you might do with your standard family holiday to Spain, this is a special flight and which requires special attention. To help make this process easier, it can be useful to list all the potential problems you may encounter on your journey for example; illness, spillages etc, this will help you to decide what you might need to bring with you, for example; a backup of everything!
Would you like to Upgrade?
If you usually say no to this option, on this occasion you may wish to reconsider it, as with a flight this long, it’s all about survival and anything that can improve your and your toddler’s comfort must be worth considering…
Ware them out!
This is the perfect chance, to let your kids break the rules and stay up as late as they like. Honestly, as late as possible, the less sleep they have the more likely they will be to sleep for as long as possible during the flight.
Comfort is a Priority
These specialist flights have quite a few adaptations for passenger comfort and economy class is not your usual bog standard, uncomfortable seats, and space. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner includes features such as higher cabin pressure which is closer to that found at ground level, unlimited access to a self-serve pantry, plus 3 in-flight meals and individual entertainment screens. However, it can still be useful to bring your own extras for maximum comforts, your child’s favourite blanket, pillow and cuddly toy come to mind!
Although the specially adapted flight has snacks available, you don’t know what the specific snacks are and the last thing you want is your child screaming for their favourite snack and you not having access to it! So bring all of their favourite food with you but be warned sugar highs are best avoided if you want them to settle and ideally sleep for as long as possible! In addition, it is best to steer clear of anything that you think may upset your little one’s tummy, you really don’t need that to deal with in a confined space!
If you’ve travelled on even a short flight before you will know that you can easily get quite dehydrated from the change in atmosphere. Although this is lessened on the Quanta’s 14,498 journey due to the higher cabin pressure, you and your toddler are still more likely to suffer from dehydration than usual. The first sign of dehydration is a headache, and this can make your child quite upset and vocal so to avoid this ensure they drink small amounts regularly.
Creative and Interactive Games
Having an array of interactive games will not only keep the boredom at bay for your little one but also for you! Choose creative options that require minimal things and relay more on imagination. Of course, ensure you are armed with the usual go-to toys and technologies such as colouring pens, paper, and a handy Ipad! Make it fun, by getting your little one to pack their own carry-on flight bag, packed full of things to keep them entertained.
There is much to admire about the possibilities that this notable advance in aviation can offer, as ultimately it gives us all a choice. It is also especially valuable for expat families considering moving to Australia, as armed with the right set of tools, travelling back to visit family in the UK should be much easier to manage than getting on and off various transfer flights with your toddler in tow, ensuring a time-saving option for visiting family and friends.