The reality of flying long-haul with two children

1656014_10154736548050125_361349409775851698_nSorry for the radio silence! We have been back from our trip just over a week now and only now do I feel a bit more back to “normal”

After flying long-haul with two children and following on from my “Flying long haul with two children under 5” post I can now tell you the following:

1. All the prep of buying little presents and wrapping them up to give to the boys were pretty much wasted
The reality is that once you have finally managed to get yourself and the children onto the flight (after passing through security etc) and have put your hand luggage in to the overhead cabins you cannot then be bothered to rummage around for said “presents”

These “presents” got opened and played with when we arrived at my brother’s apartment in Hong Kong.

2. Loading up the iPad with lots of movies/games was also a waste of time
My 4-year-old was actually quite happy with the inflight entertainment and games, (we flew with Virgin Atlantic) the only time he used the iPad on the plane was before the inflight entertainment was switched on.

3. Try and stay calm when people are staring at you and your child (who is screaming from overtiredness)
Flying late at night would mean the children would just sleep right? WRONG! NO, my youngest was way, way overexcited and overtired. The flight was meant to leave at 10.30pm but was delayed for another 40 mins. We had already been on board since around 9.30pm so the inevitable happened and M just lost it – big time. Lots of kicking and loud screaming not even his milk or trusty elephant comforter could stop him – we were way past that.

Do you know what really REALLY doesn’t help in situations like this? People just staring at you – yes I get the “glance at the mother who can’t control her child” look but once you have seen it once there really is no need to just KEEP STARING is there? And just when I thought things could get any worse I  get a tap on my shoulder from another passenger offering her two pence worth…. “give him whisky”

Well, that was just about the last straw. Had she been joking I would have let it slide but no, she was deadly serious. At that point I’m grateful the air stewardess stepped in and ushered this lady back to her seat otherwise I don’t know what I would have done – certainly more than a few choice words!

4. We actually all slept more whilst being away.
This I did not expect – at all.

We were all a bit jetlagged and with a 7 hour time difference, it definitely took a few days for us to adjust. E made me laugh when we came out of Hong Kong airport as he said to me “Why is it still dark?” Of course, having boarded a nighttime flight in the UK at 10.30pm and then having slept on the plane the last thing he expected was for it to be dark! It was 6.30pm Hong Kong time.

Apart from an unsettled first nights sleep where the boys woke/stirred every few hours we all mostly managed at least 8-10 hours each night. Having packed days of activities/sightseeing and seeing relatives we were never in bed before 11pm (the latest the boys have ever stayed up) and I was having to wake M most mornings (at 10am!) so we could get ready to go out for the day.

5. The boys were more adventurous with food
Both boys are generally good eaters (give or take) but I found they were much more willing to try new things whilst we were on hols. E especially embraced this and loved shelling and eating prawns, clams and cockles!

Overall, we had a lovely trip and it was great for my grandparents to meet my boys as it had been 9 years since I went back last. It was great to be able to spend time with my brother who moved to Hong Kong a few years ago and recommended some good places for us to visit.

Now that we have managed to survive a 12-hour flight – anything less in comparison is going to be a doddle right?

Have you travelled long-haul with your little ones? I’d love to hear how you did it and any tips you have to share!




  1. Merlinda Little

    Awww I am so jealous that you got to go home. I always wanted to go. I live near HK! I am from Philippines and HK is my fave country to visit. Nice tips too for when I can finally visit home =) #brillblogposts

    • Hey Merlinda – thanks for commenting! HK was fab and boys loved it and the eldest didn’t want to come home. Will definitely not leave it another 9 years for our next visit and hopefully it’ll be for longer than 6 days and without the flight drama! 😉

  2. Amazing you made it but short haul isn’t easy with my kids and as much as I want to go long haul, not sure I’m brave enough! Great, honest post! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

  3. Baked Potato Mummy

    I fly quite a lot on my own with my toddler and have been since he was 4 months old. He’s now 2 1/2 and is quite a jet setter. But we usually only do a couple of hours over to Mallorca. We did do 1 long haul this year though. 12 hours (including a 3 hour layover). I totally agree with the night flight thing. It really didn’t work for us. All he wanted to do was run up and down the plane. That’s fine during the day, but not when people are trying to sleep. I found that all the prep was invaluable for us. I separated all the activities into plastic bags so they could be found easily. I wrote a few blog posts about it too, so if you’re interested, you can browse my blog and compare notes 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting – will definitely check out your blog and compare notes! I’m guessing since your little has flown since he was a few months old he takes it all in his stride these days? x

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