….was so traumatising! My first piece of advice–if you don’t have to, don’t!
I read all the blog posts on long haul travel beforehand, packed lots of toys and snacks, put my kids to bed as usual (we had a midnight flight), but our flight was simply awful.
My 19 month old twins’ bedtime is 7pm. We left Singapore at 12am, and they had 3 hours of sleep before our departure. They only slept a bit during hour 4 of our 6 hour flight to Incheon, South Korea. At Incheon Airport, we tried to tire them out by letting them run around and play in the children’s area, but they hardly slept during the 11 hour flight to Los Angeles.
By the time we landed at LAX, our kids were screaming, and we were a huge mess. Luckily, US customs felt sorry for us and expedited our family to the front of the long, winding customs line (we arrived at 6am and the wait seemed to be at least an hour).
Our flight back to Singapore was equally bad. Coupled by the fact that our return flight was 1-1.5 hours longer, we were exhausted by the time we got home.
Although we had a bad travel experience, we learned some valuable lessons:
1. If you can upgrade to business class or premium economy, do it! All those credit card / frequent flyer points will come in handy.
2. We sleep trained our twins a bit too well. They are firmly accustomed to sleeping in their own cribs that they have serious issues sleeping elsewhere. We brought all of their loveys, sleep sacks, and blankets, but they still refused to sleep on the plane.
3. Don’t overpack your carry on. There are plenty of “toys” on the plane to keep your kids occupied (entertainment remotes, flight catalogs). Ask the flight attendants for snacks. Family friendly airlines like Singapore Air provide activity packs for kids.
We probably won’t fly with our kids for another year or two, but if you have to do it, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.