Friday, January 29, 2010

How to Make a 9hr Flight with Kids Easier

So back in June, we were moving to Hawaii. My husband had already moved out there, and after the school year, I came with the kids. So there was me, a 5yr old, and a 7yr old flying from Virginia to Hawaii (12hrs). I was terrified.
My 7yr old son has High Functioning Autism, and can sometimes have some pretty violent meltdowns. I was an anxious mess. They were excited to FINALLY get with Daddy, and see this Hawaii we kept talking about. It was not great. After 2 hrs of travel, my son started asking "Are we almost there?". I struggled to keep both of them happy, even with all my efforts in having gifts every hour to pass the time, a ton of movies, etc. It was hyper-stressful!
So you can imagine only 7months after that nightmare, when I knew we'd have to get on that plane again for another cross country move...this time Hawaii to Georgia, I was scared! How can we prevent this from happening again.
I was pretty concerned about the red-eye flight, since my kids are hyper, immune to drowsiness, and loud. I knew they wouldn't like the dark cabin, or trying to sleep in something quite the opposite of a bed. AND this time the animals were flying with us as baggage. Afterall recent stories in the news included Ivana Trump smacking a child on an airplane, and planes needing to land because they could not "detain" someone. What if this were me and my kid!?

However, the following things actually made the flight quite easy!

#1 My husband. Super thankful to have another set of adult hands.
#2 Delta Employees and Plane.
We got to the airport, struggling with 4 suitcases, an Extra Large dog Crate with a 90lb dog in it, a cat crate, 2 kids, and carryon backpacks! It was awful! BUT Delta was there to save the day. Not only did they help us get to the right place, but everyone was very helpful in checking the animals,a nd taking as much of a load off as possible. And the customer service was top notch!
When we got on the plane it was an Airbus A330. This baby was incredible!!!!
By far the one thing that almost made flying red-eye, even enjoyable, was the wonderful individual in seat TV screens. There was a library of movies to choose from. The kids watched "Up" and "Ice Age 3", I finally got to watch "The Time Traveler's Wife", and my husband watched "Terminator Salvation". As you can see it was beneficial to have the catalog, AND all we needed was headphones. No need to bring compact DVD players and a book of DVD's. After movies, and our hot meal, we all slept.

#3 Travel Pillows from Each of us, had our own, and it really helped in avoiding a crampy neck and being as comfortable as possible.
#4 Starbucks . Yes if you know me, you know my love and devotion for the stuff. In our travels, we were at 2 airports WITH Starbucks, an 1 without. Guess which visit was least enjoyable. Not only were hubby and I able to get by on our 3hrs sleep this way, but we also got lovely pastries to keep the kids going.#5 Navy Lodge Kings Bay. You may not expect much from this little Navy Lodge for it's $51.25/night. But let me tell you, it was everything we needed and more. Remember, we were traveling with pets. Not only did the room smell fresh (not like pet pee or wet dog, like the hotel in Hawaii), but they even had dog and cat treats waiting for our furry babies. It was really nice. The room had a kitchenette, with 2 burner for a stove, a decent refrigerator, microwave, and sink. Also a seperate dressing room nook, which gave us a perfect place for pet crates and a litter box. The manager even sent housekeeping by to meet the pets, so no one was started in room cleaning. Fantastic service. Helpful and lovely staff.

I just wanted to give a big smile and shout out, to all these things that helped make our travel miles easier.


  1. Glad it was a better flight! Gotta love starbucks!

  2. That's great Deb! I'm so glad everything ran smoothly for you! Good post. :]

    Linzy Powers

  3. I have traveled with one child on a similar type of flight and can not imagine making the trip with more little people and pets to keep track of! Thanks for the awesome tips!