If you’re flying with your family, there are certain things that you just know will happen at the airport. Accept this, and reduce the agony for all concerned…
There’s always a pre-check in rush
No matter how early you wake up to get the car packed, and how organized you were about checking in online, you always seem to find yourself rushing to the bag drop desk, waving your boarding pass like a maniac. At least you remembered the passports. Oh, wait…
You get weigh-in worry
With two enormous suitcases stuffed with toddler sun suits, factor 50 suncream, baby monitors and Crocs, you wonder how long your own meagre holiday clothes will last. It’s worth checking whether your hotel has some baby equipment such as travel cots or bottle sterilisers to save space in your suitcase. That way, when you finally heave it onto the scales, you won’t have to offer up a silent prayer to the airport gods that it comes in under 20kg.
You drink your own breast milk
(Or formula). The ban on liquids in hand luggage means your expressed breast milk, baby food and formula has to be tested by you at security to make sure it can’t be turned into a bomb. Yep, tucking into a chicken and carrot puree pouch and milk at 7am makes airplane food seem like a gastronomic dream.
You dread the ‘D’ word…
That’s delay to you and me. They happen. A lot. And while passing the time in the duty free dousing yourself in Marc Jacobs Daisy or hitting the airport bar is fine when you’re child-free, delays take on a whole new time-filling, soul-destroying meaning when you’ve got a bored toddler hanging off your arm. Our advice? Pack your hand luggage full of snacks, and seek out the children’s soft play area – many airports have them now.
There’s a Trunki-related injury
Ride-on suitcases can be a godsend when you have to drag a tired toddler through the airport to the departure gate, but when he’s left to his own devices keep an eye on him otherwise he’ll be ploughing it straight into the back of fellow passengers legs or falling off it.
You bulk buy Milka
With your toddler running circles round you in the duty free shop, you resort to simple bribery to make him behave with multi-packs of sweets and giant bars of Toblerone chocolate. You try not to dwell too much on the resultant sugar-high induced tantrum and stash a bottle of gin in your trolley in preparation.
Your toddler will become plane-obsessed
The upside of being at an airport are all the trucks, trolleys and, of course, planes that your toddler will be fascinated to watch. To you, it’s just a cramped metal box that gets you from a cold, wet country to a (hopefully) hot sunny country. But to your toddler it’s a magic bird-like machine. Just standing at the gate and watching planes take off can fill at least half an hour of an excitable toddler’s day.
You exhaust the toy bag before you’ve even boarded
After packing books, iPads, teddies and colouring books, you’re quickly running out of things to keep your toddler or baby entertained. Pack some toys that your toddler has never seen before for extra novelty and avoid you having to splurge in the airport shops.
You’re ridiculously grateful for family-first boarding
The upside of travelling with a family is getting onto the plane first so you can bag the best overhead locker space and get your little one strapped in. Now you’ve just got to get through a three-hour flight with a toddler…
What experiences have you had while at the airport with your children? Let us know in the comment box below.