As you can imagine, I was slightly apprehensive about travelling on a 13 hour flight (14 hour flight on the way back!) with a fully mobile toddler. He was also going through a bout of teething which meant he wasn’t his normal perky self. I was a tiny bit tensed! This was our first holiday since he’s started walking and it would be our first time travelling with Arjun in economy. We’d decided to fly economy as my family had already booked their holiday when we decided to join them. I knew it would be more enjoyable for us to all fly together rather than be split up. Plus the extra pairs of hands would be good!
The reason we usually fly business is because Preetam’s height (6’4) makes it pretty uncomfortable to travel in economy. Also because Arjun is stuck to Preetam like glue for most of the flight, the extra space is really handy with a baby. You forego queuing and also have access to a lounge which is helpful with a baby as they often have a play area and lots of free room for them to run wild before being confined to the teeny tiny space of a cabin!
This was our first time flying with Singapore Airlines and I’d heard great things about them so was looking forward to the experience.
A few things that I was a little disappointed about prior to the flight. Arjun’s luggauge allowance was 10kg. 10kg for a 2 week holiday for a baby (who has more stuff than me!) seemed really crazy. I’d spoken to other friends with babies who’d travelled with other airlines on economy and they confirmed they’ve never had such a tiny limit for a baby. It was quite a challenge packing this time as it was our longest holiday with him and the smallest luggage allowance. Preetam ended up getting the 10kg allowance, and Arjun and I took our full 28kg ;). He doesn’t win daddy of the year for nothing!
Secondly, we’d requested a vegetarian baby meal to which I was told they couldn’t guarantee it would be vegetarian. I’ve had this issue before with other airlines and I find it super frustrating. I don’t really understand why a vegetarian meal can’t be guaranteed for a child if it can be guaranteed for an adult? Especially if they were given over a months notice!
We were fortunate enough to be departing the day the clocks went back which meant we got an extra hours sleep which made the 7am wake up not so bad! We’ve never done a day flight when flying out before and I had mixed feelings about it. Unfortunately picking a night flight doesn’t always mean your baby is going to sleep through (though the chances are a lot higher!) as I learnt on our second trip to Dubai. And as it was a night flight, we were all exhausted by the end of it. So the thought of going on a day flight was welcomed though I was apprehensive about how we’d entertain Arjun the whole way!
I was armed with my snack box, toys consisting of a chalkboard, a doodle pad, crayons in his new pencil case, and the iPad to name a few! He’d never used the iPad before, so I thought we’d use that as his surprise toy this time. I’d loaded it with lots of games and videos as recommended by several blogging buddies. Which kid doesn’t like an iPad right?! … :/
We got to the airport and were shortly greeted by my family. I was so super excited! We decided to do a quick spot of sunglasses shopping and sucker mummy me ended up buying him his very own Ray Bans. He loved walking around with them on all holiday so it was definitely a good buy (though he would have been equally happy donning his £2 Sainsbury’s ones too!).
This time around I’d purchased a Trunki assuming it would be super handy for carrying his stuff and also because he’s aware enough to know what’s his now. Trunki’s are really meant for children 3+. Firstly, this was pretty impractical, the shape of the Trunki made it really difficult to fit all his things in. So we ended up carrying a few bits in other bags which wasn’t ideal as the last thing you want to do on a plane is faff through several bags. Secondly it’s pretty heavy. With a 17 month old toddler, he wasn’t going to push it all the way himself. So a lot of the time we had to hold it.
On the plus side, he was absolutely obsessed with it! He didn’t want to be without it and would have a scream if anyone else tried to touch it (even to transport it!). He refused to get off it when it was time to board the plane and had a mini melt down which was probably pretty entertaining for onlookers but not so entertaining for us!
One decision I did make right was to not take our usual change bag. I took a Skip Hop ruck sack instead for his change items. It was a lot easier to carry especially for nappy changes on the plane. Although smaller, I kept things like his medicines in a separate bag. The main section of the Skip Hop fit 5 nappies, a change mat, wipes, Vaseline, and nappy bags. The front pocket for a change of clothes and his teething gel for easy access. I especially loved taking the ruck sack as it includes a side slot for a beaker which made it very easy to grab if we needed to especially when lugging around a gazillion suitcases!
We had a spot of breakfast and headed towards the gate. We managed to keep Arjun awake till we boarded the plane. The wait time was actually not bad at all given they allow for families with children to board first which is always handy for storing away luggage and settling the baby without a massive audience watching you struggle!
The Flight: London to Singapore
The aircraft felt pretty spacious and we were sat on the seats with extra leg room so I was ok. Preetam really struggled for the 13 hours as he wasn’t able to stretch his legs out, especially once the bassinet had been put in place!
Once we were settled, we gave Arjun some milk prior to take off and he fell asleep just before we took off. He also slept on landing! We’d never used a bassinet on a flight before as there’s always been enough space for him to lie flat on either mine or Preetam’s seat. The lovely airhostess asked if we wanted to give it a go. We decided we would especially as this was going to be a long journey. He slept in it fine but this was definitely his last flight in a bassinet as a) the weight allowance is 14kg, and I’m guessing by February he’ll be past that given he’s 12kg now b) he’s already too tall. We had to roll up a blanket and put it beneath his legs so that they could hand off the edge of the bassinet. Not ideal but we didn’t really have much of a choice.
In flight they had episodes of Mickey Mouse and also Baby TV which was brilliant. Arjun probably watched an episode or two of Mickey but isn’t as excited by tele as much as he used to be. Wish I’d made the most of it then and remembered that nothing lasts forever!
Arjun probably slept for about 6 hours of the total 13 and to be honest it was one of our better flights with him. He was an absolute angel. He had one mini melt down where he was a bit fed up, but thankfully Goov’s bun came to the rescue! He found her hair the most fascinating thing ever! His masis and nana ji an nani ji were brilliant at distracting him and taking him for walks up and down the cabin.
There was another mummy travelling with a baby that was a similar age to Arjun, so every so often he’d pop by there and check up on her! His daddy tried all the tricks in the book to entertain him too – most of which involved him looking like a big goof! 🙂 He loved playing with the entertainment system remote (using it as a telephone), singing nursery rhymes and stowing and unstowing the lap tray. He also loved pouring water from one cup in to another – messy but at least it kept him busy!
The iPad, I tried the iPad. I hadn’t even thought about this failing. It was a guaranteed winner right?! … Apparently not. He wasn’t the least bit interested.
The snack box came in really handy, it entertained him for a long while and gave him freedom to choose what he fancied eating without it being mushed in our bag. I had also packed away some pouches given the airline couldn’t guarantee vegetarian food. In the end they provided us with vegetarian baby jars. He also had a few bread rolls from the adult selection and helped himself to some banana chocolate chip ice cream!
One really disappointing thing about the flight was that they didn’t provide an egg free option for my parents, so they pretty much went without proper food for 8 hours! They also had no egg free snack option which was such a shame given we’d requested this a month in advance.
All in all, the flight wasn’t bad at all. I managed to get quite a bit of sleep as did Arjun. I definitely preferred a day flight as even if Arjun didn’t sleep, it wouldn’t have resulted in Preetam and I being super exhausted as it wasn’t night time. It definitely didn’t feel like 13 hours!
The Flight: Singapore to Bali
Our flight from Singapore to Bali was a late afternoon flight which worked well as it coincided with Arjun’s nap.
The make up was a lot cheaper here than in the UK – I managed to pick up my favourite Clinique eyeliner for £14 vs £20 in the UK!
There are a few food options at the airport, but we stuck to McDonalds fries and meat free cheeseburgers (with extra salad and mayo! … so basically a cheese sandwich!).
The staff at Singapore airport were all so friendly and by this point Arjun had mastered his royal wave! He was in good spirits when we first arrived at the airport but was pretty fed up by the time we got to the lounge. He was demanding to sit on his Trunki but also hold the lead which meant no one was able to pull him along to board the flight.
We figured he was pretty tired by this point – it’s quite sweet, he tells you now that he wants to go in his buggy when he’s tired by pointing to it and trying to climb in it himself.
As soon as we boarded the plane, the air hostess gave Arjun a Minnie Mouse toy which vibrates when you pull the little lead. He was entertained by that for ages! The flight was pretty empty so we’d all planned to reshuffle post take off. Arjun was fine during take off and continued to play with his new toy. The moment we were up in the sky, he fell asleep. We made him his own little bed using 3 seats and a few blankets and pillows. He slept the whole flight!
The Flight: Bali to Singapore
There was absolute chaos at Bali airport due to several flights being delayed or cancelled due to an ash cloud. Thankfully our flight was on schedule though there are much worse places to be stuck in!
It was an 8pm flight and Arjun was pretty grizzly, it was probably the combination of tiredness, the heat and the sheer volume of people caving in on us. I was also pretty stressed and snappy which didn’t help! Maybe our holiday blues were just setting in early?!
We had quite a bit of time to kill at Bali airport as we had left early anticipating the chaos. Arjun spent his time running around while pushing a stool which he refused to part with. He even took it outside of the eating area!
This flight was pretty horrendous. It reminded me of the flight we had from London to Dubai where Arjun was awake most of the time crying. All he wanted to do on the plane was run around but he didn’t have the space or the freedom to do so. This would have been a perk of flying business – there is ample space.
Arjun spent most of the 3 hours crying and refusing to go to anyone but his dad. I really felt for Preetam but as always he remained really calm. I was dreading the connecting flight to London which was straight after this one and was our longest flight yet – 14 hours!
I didn’t manage to get any pictures of the drama!
The Flight: Singapore to London
We rushed over from the Bali flight straight on to this flight. The walk was pretty long (from one side of the airport to the other!) and I was feeling pretty anxious and frustrated with Arjun. I was so nervous about the next flight especially as it was a night flight.
This flight Arjun was an angel – he slept for about 8 of the 14 hours and was happy to be entertained by me and my family giving his daddy a little break.
You can check out my post on Bali here.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with long haul flights!x