'Flying with kids is scary!'
These parents took the plunge and did a 14-hour flight with their kids. Everyone was in for quite an experience!
There was a time not too long ago that my husband and I were scared to fly. If you have children, you’ll understand.

We have a 5-year-old and a 2-year old, and for the past five years, we have sat cocooned in our Jo'burg home, too frightened to fly.

Don’t get me wrong. Our children aren’t screamers. They just aren’t sitters. And while they both sleep like babies in a car, they just can’t seem to sit still in a plane.

At home, they could happily watch a DVD, but in a plane this rare peace lasts only 5 minutes.
At home, they could colour in for at least an hour, but in a plane colouring holds their attention for around 5 minutes.
At home, a meal time can take anything from half an hour to an hour, but in a plane, you’re lucky if you get 5 minutes.
At home, our bedtime ritual takes half an hour and they’re both down for the night. We are the envy of our friends. Suffice to say that, on a plane, we’re grateful for 5 minutes!
That’s a cumulative 20 minutes. At which point my then 4-year old declares, "I’m bored of here. Where's the door?"

When the travel bug bites...

This year, the travel bug bit. I sucked up my courage, and booked the tickets. If we were going, we were going big. None of this 5-hour nonsense to Mauritius. We had an 11-hour flight to Bangkok, complete with a 2-hour transfer wait, and another 1 hour flight to Phuket.

For 2 months prior to departure, I worried about the flight. In between worrying, I shopped up a storm – new DVDs, colouring in books and pretty pens, sticker books, 'fun-on-the-run' boxes and 'play-on-the-go' games. I had enough on-board entertainment to sink the proverbial ship.

By D-Day, I had lunch boxes and snack packs. I had juice and treats. And extra treats for emergency purposes. I also packed their bags with slippers and PJs, milk, with the stuffed dog called Kevin and the stuffed rabbit called Rabbie. I had little blankets and bedtime books. In short, everything that necessitated good night’s sleep.

And then I bought some drugs recommended by my doctor, just in case.

What could go wrong? The answer, in retrospect, is that it had already gone wrong – and it started when I booked the tickets and neglected to notice that we were on a day flight...

What a nightmare!

Suffice to say that my bags of entertainment were no competition for the tray table on the back of the chair that had to be opened and closed at regular intervals. The new DVDs had nothing on the on-board movies which unfortunately didn’t hold attention because 2-year olds can’t wear ear phones. Lunch boxes were ignored in favour of snack packs and the drugs induced insomnia instead of drowsiness and no one slept until the final half hour of the final flight.

Oh, and thanks to the emergency treats, my 5-year old threw up on my husband, who doesn’t do vomit.

And it’s true when they say that in order to conquer your fears, you have to face them. I can honestly say that I have looked fear in the face, and survived.

Moreover, I have just booked a trip to the UK in August. But I have learnt my lesson – this time I’m bringing the Big Guns. Granny is travelling with Megan, and Grandad is on Amy duty.

Me? I’ll be three rows behind, maintaining a safe distance and drinking as many dinky bottles as I can find!

Need some tips from an 'experienced' travelling mom? Click here.

How do you handle long flights with the kids? Share with us in the comment box below.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.


Want to know what your baby looks like and what you can expect at this stage?




Play creatively

Don’t let your little one’s frustration with wanting to ‘get things just right’ stop them from playing creatively.

See more >


Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.