Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

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Lieutenant.Columbo
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Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:56 pm

We're going to Spain in May. Two spouses and our son. Child will be 18 months old then.
Right now he is 12 months, at 98th percentiles and over 25 pounds (=11.33 Kg).

Three flights per leg.

The second flight in each leg are the Longest flights in our trip:
1. Atlanta-Madrid 8 hours
...13 days later...
2. Madrid-Atlanta 9.5 hrs

The other four shorter flights (two per leg) are an hour each.

Because son will still be under 2 years of age, it is definitely less expensive to take advantage of the option to not buy a seat for him and just keep him on our laps during on flight.

We wonder if flying him on our lap (in order to save money) is a realistic reasonable option for 8- and for 9.5-hour flights.

If you have traveled with infants across similar stretches of time and space before, please let us know...:
1. ...what we should consider when flying such long distances with a large 18-month old
2. ...whether you think we should go with two seats or three seats, aka: two tickets or three tickets

Thank you very much.
Last edited by Lieutenant.Columbo on Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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10YearPlan
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by 10YearPlan » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:59 pm

While I understand the temptation to do otherwise, I would never, ever even consider one of those flights with an active toddler on my lap. Between the weight, the wiggliness, the need to rest (both the child and the parent)...I just...can't recommend that.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by livesoft » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:01 pm

The flights will be full in May, so ....
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Wings5 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:20 pm

My wife and I took our then 18 month old to Kauai from DFW; 3 legs. We checked the number of actual open seats on the flight, saw there would be plenty, and asked people if they wanted to switch seats.

Westbound he was up the whole time and got a little cranky, but going to Hawaii everyone is laid back, so a few older folks even walked with him up and down the aisles.

Eastbound, red eye, he slept the whoooole time. And he's a pretty active kid. Now he's 8 watching Monday Night Dootball with me!

That was our experience.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Totrep » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:24 pm

I've done flights a bit over half that length with a very active toddler, sometimes with an extra seat and sometimes without. For a roughly nine-hour flight, my willingness to pay for the extra seat would probably be just shy of $1,000. Some airlines will offer (slightly) discounted prices for toddler tickets.

Do you anticipate your child will favor one parent's lap over the other? If so, that might be an issue. We found that the best strategy for a wiggly lap child is to pass him/her back and forth between parents very frequently.

There is some debate on the safety aspects of taking lap children on long flights (due to turbulence and potentially-unsafe sleeping situations). This is not the forum to discuss it but you may wish to do a bit of research.

Good luck!

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Kix » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:33 pm

Took the 18 month old to Frankfurt last May. Night.Mare. I'll never do it again. Ever. Even when I had an empty seat beside me, it was horrible. The way back especially. I was in tears. And everyone else around me probably felt like crying too.

I didn't have my spouse with me to spell the crazy, so you have that going for you.

May you have one of those blessed children who is lulled to sleep by the hum of jet engines. I do not.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by TTBG » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:52 pm

The longest flight I ever took with a child on my lap was across the US, 5 or 6 hours. He was 11 months old. I would NEVER do that again. Think about the longest time you've ever sat with your son on your lap -- and then think about doing that for 8 or 9 hours in a cramped, noisy space. A 3rd ticket seems expensive, but it might make the difference between an exhausting trip and a tolerable one.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by celia » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:55 pm

Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:We're going to Spain in May. Two spouses and our son.

With two wives, the 4 of you should certainly have an "interesting" trip. :wink:
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by TxAg » Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:57 pm

3 tickets for sure. Maybe even 4 ;)

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Watty » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:48 pm

One concern to consider is how safe having him on your lap will be in the event of a crash or mid-air turbulence.

There is also some concern that long flights are more risky for infants for other reasons.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-study-f ... 1408574702

I only flew domestically once or twice when my son was an infant and we decided to buy him a seat so that we could be sure that he would be in a car seat for safety. You do need to check to make sure that your carseat will fit in an airline seat.

In addition to having the kid on your lap you will also have to find a place to stow the baby bag and all the stuff that you need to to travel with a kid and that will be a problem with only two seats. You do not want to run out of diapers. :D


Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:Three flights per leg.

The second flight in each leg are the Longest flights in our trip:
1. Atlanta-Madrid 8 hours
...13 days later...
2. Madrid-Atlanta 9.5 hrs


You are likely looking at 20 hours or more from the time you leave your house until you check in to your hotel. If there is bad weather or a canceled flight it could be much longer. I would consider spending a day in Atlanta or Madrid each way to break up the flights.

Along with jetlag you will likely be drained for several days after flights like that especially is your sons schedule is throw off and he is awake all night long for the first few nights.

People can and do travel with kids like that but if this is just for a vacation and not visit family then I would consider putting the Spanish vacation off for a few years or leaving the kid home with someone like grandparents.

There are lots of other alternative vacations that might be more practical and enjoyable.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Misenplace » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:10 am

My first thought was that it really depends on the personality of the child (how well they can tolerate change, new situations, how well they bounce back, etc.). Which is important, but not everything. But you didn't mention those characteristics. Instead, you made a note of posting the child's weight stats. He's a big boy!

There is a reason you can only take children on your lap who are under 2 y.o. There is also a reason you posted about his size, but not his personality. You know what you you should probably do, no matter what his personality, however agreeable it may be at his size.

Edited to add:
But take your child to Spain. Children are adored there, and you will have a wonderful time bringing him with you!

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:34 am

Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:We're going to Spain in May. Two spouses and our son. Child will be 18 months old then.
Right now he is 12 months, at 98th percentiles and over 25 pounds (=11.33 Kg).

Three flights per leg.

The second flight in each leg are the Longest flights in our trip:
1. Atlanta-Madrid 8 hours
...13 days later...
2. Madrid-Atlanta 9.5 hrs

The other four shorter flights (two per leg) are an hour each.

Because son will still be under 2 years of age, it is definitely less expensive to take advantage of the option to not buy a seat for him and just keep him on our laps during on flight.

We wonder if carrying him on us for long (in order to save money) is a realistic reasonable option for 8- and for 9.5-hour flights.

If you have traveled with infants across similar stretches of time and space before, please let us know...:
1. ...what we should consider when flying such long distances with an 18-month old
2. ...whether you think we should go with two seats or three seats aka: two full tickets or three tickets?

Thank you very much.


We just had our very active, although apparently slightly smaller, 18 month old on a 3 hour flight each way for Thanksgiving. It wasn't fun, but leaving her behind wasn't an option. A flight to Spain might involve some benadryl, but you can't get medical advice on this site.

An extra seat isn't going to do you much good. What would you do, bring the car seat and strap him in? That's the only reason I'd consider buying another seat, but I think I'm still too cheap to do that.
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slow n steady
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by slow n steady » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:50 am

We did Europe last month with our 18 month old. I'm not sure but I think it might cost something to hold your child on your lap. We got a seat for the child and couldn't imagine holding her on our lap.

Look into the cares restraint system. We bought ours on Amazon. It is basically extra seatbelts that are FAA approved to be used insteadead of a carseat. This saved us the hassle of dragging the carseat everywhere. It was a lifesaver.

Our child is generally well behaved. She slept most of the way there on the night flight. It was a little rough on the way back but doable. Wouldn't want to do it without her own seat though.

Let us know what you decide. Good luck.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:46 am

We have a two-year-old and have done several flights. The extra seat makes things a lot more comfortable, in my opinion. Our kid has slept for long periods on flights and I think this is because she was in her own seat. I think if we'd held her, she would have awoken as soon as there was any movement and we wouldn't have been able to relax either. A tired 18-month-old is a cranky creature so rest is very important. We paid for our flights using points we earned through opening a couple of credit cards. That may be something to look into, particularly if you plan to take more family trips in the near future. There are some pretty nice offers available in terms of points for opening new accounts.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by mattfr » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:55 am

We do this type of trip often between France and the Western US. If your child is used to a baby carrier (we use a Manduca), then bring that onboard. We strap our kids in against us to get them to fall asleep or just rest when they're cranky and need a little attention.

Other basic advice:
  • Travel VERY light. Check bags, and look into the infant-in-arms baggage allowance.
  • Have small bags made up for various phases of the journey with snacks, meals, bibs, a diaper, etc. Have one for the airport, one for the first half of the long flight, the second half, etc.
  • Talk frequently with your child about the airport, boarding, going through security, etc. before the day of the flight. We've never had a problem with our kids, but this helps to be able to talk with them through the experience.
  • Ask other travelers for help if you need it. Most people are nice and want to help. Need water in a bottle for a crying kid? Send a passenger next to you. It gives them a break from a crying baby and most importantly puts them in a position where they can be sympathetic and DO SOMETHING rather than just be annoyed.

Bon voyage !

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by HIinvestor » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:04 am

We have flown with our kids from the time they were 6 months old. Most flights were at least 5-6 hours. They were tiring. A flight between US and Europe that is 3 legs is exhausting, even without a toddler. With one, I'd do all I could to give each of us space, including buying said kid his own seat, even if not REQUIRED. Our D begged us to get her a seat when she was 1.5 years old, saying it was much more comfortable--she was right and next flights we did.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Loik098 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:20 am

White Coat Investor wrote:An extra seat isn't going to do you much good. What would you do, bring the car seat and strap him in? That's the only reason I'd consider buying another seat, but I think I'm still too cheap to do that.


That's exactly what the extra seat is for at this age...either for a car seat or a CARES device. Some children will sleep in their car seats and not on laps, because of the added sense of security of familiar surroundings. An extra seat also frees up two more hands for which to entertain your child. One additional thing that's not often thought of: CARES devices and car seats that are rear-facing can also prevent the child from kicking the seat in front of him...the same can't be said for laps. Have you ever had to hold your active 2-year-old's legs down for hours at a time? Been there.

There's a BIG difference between a 3-hour flight and an 8-hour one. I can do anything for 3 hours. The same can't be said for longer.

OP, my suggestion is buy the peace of mind of an extra seat. You will have many opportunities in this life to be cheap while not annoying others and not giving yourself a ton of stress; given the multitude of data points from lap-parents who've said "never again", this probably isn't one of them.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Pajamas » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:26 am

I think you should not only do it but film the whole trip and make a documentary about it!

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by denovo » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:43 am

I assure you an 18 month won't understand/enjoy an international trip. Do the right thing and be considerate of the flying public. Leave him at home with a relative or cancel the trip.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by NorCalHiker » Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:16 am

I agree it's tough and not a whole lot of fun, but we've done it multiple times with two kids; neither of them are easy either! Our most difficult trip, while not the longest flight, was actually to Spain but that was because it was on Iberia which is a pretty uncomfortable airline to say the least (and my wife was 3 months pregnant with our 2nd so I took most of the responsibilities of taking care of our kid). As I said, the flight was NOT easy, but to us it was totally worth it since it enabled us to travel. Yes, they won't remember it, but at that age, we actually found it easier to go to museums and such since my wife could just breast feed them in a sling.

I would suggest you call the airline (Delta?) and make sure you can reserve the bulkhead seats with the infant carrier. We've *never* paid for either of our kids when they were toddlers, but we *always* made sure we got a bulkhead with the bassinet**. Our older son was quite small when he was a toddler (15th percentile I think) and he fit pretty easily in the bassinet.

Our easiest flight was when we took Lufthansa. They made it so easy to reserve the bassinet (right when we bought our adult tickets) and it was a newer plane so everything was very nice. IMO, Lufthansa/ANA/Air Tahiti Nui make it easier to travel with kids. Older European airlines and most American airlines? Not so much.

PM me if you want. And good luck. I'm proud to say that my kids, now 9 and 4, are super excited about traveling overseas.

** To be clear, every international flight we've been on, we've paid 10% of the "regular" priced ticket for the infant. We just never paid for a seat for either of them.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by NorCalHiker » Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:21 am

One more thing, with kids we've found it's really important to make sure they eat/drink something during takeoff and landing. When they were toddlers, my wife would time the feedings to make sure they were hungry around take off/landing.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Pacific » Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:52 am

Isn't this what grandparents are for?

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by mouses » Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:26 am

Make your life easier, leave him at home with relatives. He is not going to remember the trip at that age.

If you do take him, please don't let him kick the seat in front of him. I spent hours in coach with two seat kickers and an ineffectual foreign language nanny in the seats behind me. Where were the parents, I asked the flight attendant? in first class. I think that defines chutzpah or something worse.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by island » Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:56 am

Do everyone a favor and buy the child a seat.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Rodc » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:19 am

We have done both, including cross country. One boy was rather large, other rather small, interesting how twins can be! But never that long.

Personally for a trip of that length I would consider buying a seat.

I have not tried this but in most aircraft the arm rests go up. If you carried a pad (could be a folded blanket) child could sit on that between you if mom and dad are of modest size.

It comes down to a cost, how much rest you want, how much money you have, etc. so no one answer. As a young parent I might have wanted to save the money and I would have sucked it up. Now I would be traveling as grandpa with more money and would prioritize my comfort.

Also, dw just reminded me of a cross country flight where the boys were about that age and we did not buy seats and the airline got all up in our face about not having proof of age. We ended up having to call our pediatrician to have them fax a document with their birth date on it. Fortunately back when they were young we were in the habit of getting to airports very early, and it was while the doctor's office was open. Never heard of that issue, and never ran into it on other trips. But you might want a copy of birth certificate or something just in case if you do skip the seat.

Also, I have sat in front of lap kids and their ability to kick my seat was not pleasant. I have never had a problem with a squirmy kid in a lap next to me, in fact I would likely read them a book or tell them made up stories, but I am sure there are people who would rather the child be sitting between mom and dad, or at least in their own seat so they do not invade their space.
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by HueyLD » Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:47 am

island wrote:Do everyone a favor and buy the child a seat.

No kidding.

I have had many trans-ocean flights for 15 hours nonstop and my nightmare scenario was having small children right behind me kicking and screaming for hours, including pounding on my seat.

I like the idea of Benedryl and a separate seat for the child.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by alex345 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:01 am

I flew LAX to LHR on BA on an A380 last month. They had special seats for people with lap babies at the bulkhead. On the bulkhead wall was a fold-down baby seat thingy. The flight attendants set it up after take-off and took them down before landing. So maybe ask if your flight will have that kind of thing.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Longdog » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:26 am

celia wrote:
Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:We're going to Spain in May. Two spouses and our son.

With two wives, the 4 of you should certainly have an "interesting" trip. :wink:


I'm jealous! :D
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by leftcoaster » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:36 am

Remember that you are responsible for your child throughout the flight. If you fall asleep and he is kicking the seat in front of you, you are responsible.

Leave the kid at home until s/he reaches the age of reason if you can.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by warner25 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:51 am

I think you really have to know your own kid's temperament and habits, and some posters here sound like they don't have kids at all.

Our daughter is/was not happy sitting in her car seat (probably because we spend very little time in the car by American standards) so it's not like we can sit her in there for eight hours while she plays and sleeps. She's always been much happier sitting/crawling on our laps or strapped to us in a carrier. When we made a much longer flight across the Pacific at six months, she had her own seat but spent almost the entire time on our laps. When she flew again at 15, 21, and 22 months (shorter domestic flights), we didn't get a seat for her and had no regrets. The extra seat would have been a waste, except as a place to put our carry-on bags.

And as an aviation professional, for what it's worth, I'm personally not concerned about lap infants being unsafe.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:56 am

Buy the seat. There is penny wise and there is pound foolish. You will not want a squirming kid on your lap for that long. What about if you fall asleep with the kid on your lap? What about if you want to fall asleep but can't because of a kid on your lap? Your flying partner will be uncomfortable as well.
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by dsmil » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:20 am

My wife and I just flew from the U.S. to Italy and back with an 18 month old. We only booked two seats but the plane was empty enough so we carried on a carseat and were able to have a 3rd seat for our child in the carseat. We also gate checked our stroller. On the way back, United put us in a spot with an extra seat and a bassinet, but the bassinet is too small for a 25 pound child, so I would stick with the carseat if possible. I loved having the carseat but if I did it over again with a full plane, I'd probably have us hold our child rather than spending the money on a seat (unless money isn't an issue). We booked flights that took off around dinner time, so we were able to keep him fed and entertained (mostly with an iPad with child headphones) for a couple of hours and then he fell asleep around his normal time. Our only issue was that the only people with their lights on were literally surrounding us, so that caused some issues if he ever woke up. There was some crying but the plane was loud enough that it wasn't too disruptive. We didn't want to give up on visiting family in Italy just because the plane ride could have been bad and it all worked out pretty well.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by keystone » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:11 am

Agree that a lot depends on the temperament of the child. I've seen a number of 18 month to 2 year olds flying on a plane comfortably in their parent's lap.

My son is very active and wasn't very good at staying still when we took him on a 4 hour flight at age 22 months. We bought him a seat and strapped in his car seat because we knew that sitting on our lap wasn't going to work. It was definitely better than the alternative, but it wasn't fun for any of us and we decided when the trip was over that we weren't going to fly for at least another year.

We have held firm on that, but now that he's approaching age 3, I think we're ready to start flying again.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Rupert » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:18 am

Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:We're going to Spain in May. Two spouses and our son. Child will be 18 months old then.
Right now he is 12 months, at 98th percentiles and over 25 pounds (=11.33 Kg).

Three flights per leg.

The second flight in each leg are the Longest flights in our trip:
1. Atlanta-Madrid 8 hours
...13 days later...
2. Madrid-Atlanta 9.5 hrs

The other four shorter flights (two per leg) are an hour each.

Because son will still be under 2 years of age, it is definitely less expensive to take advantage of the option to not buy a seat for him and just keep him on our laps during on flight.

We wonder if carrying him on us for long (in order to save money) is a realistic reasonable option for 8- and for 9.5-hour flights.

If you have traveled with infants across similar stretches of time and space before, please let us know...:
1. ...what we should consider when flying such long distances with an 18-month old
2. ...whether you think we should go with two seats or three seats aka: two full tickets or three tickets?

Thank you very much.


Whether it will be a disaster largely depends on your child's temperament. I have twins and one of them would have done fine. The other -- oy vey. I would definitely buy three seats so that you can stretch out a little bit and give the kid some wiggle room by raising the arm rests and letting him play/lay between you. I cannot emphasize enough that you need to restrain him from kicking the seat back in front of you and from repeatedly opening/closing the food tray. I have witnessed passengers become almost violent as a result of being repeatedly kicked in the back during flights. It's not cool. And that food tray issue is equally annoying. One final thing: Normal rules, including food rules, shouldn't apply during flights. I once witnessed two very ineffectual young parents repeatedly deny their screaming toddler Goldfish crackers or something during a flight because it wasn't the kid's scheduled snack time. For God's sake, give the kid some crackers. And toys. And the iPad. And whatever else he wants during the flight so he'll be still and quiet.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by iasw » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:30 am

Watty wrote:One concern to consider is how safe having him on your lap will be in the event of a crash or mid-air turbulence.

There is also some concern that long flights are more risky for infants for other reasons.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-study-f ... 1408574702

I only flew domestically once or twice when my son was an infant and we decided to buy him a seat so that we could be sure that he would be in a car seat for safety. You do need to check to make sure that your carseat will fit in an airline seat.

In addition to having the kid on your lap you will also have to find a place to stow the baby bag and all the stuff that you need to to travel with a kid and that will be a problem with only two seats. You do not want to run out of diapers. :D


Lieutenant.Columbo wrote:Three flights per leg.

The second flight in each leg are the Longest flights in our trip:
1. Atlanta-Madrid 8 hours
...13 days later...
2. Madrid-Atlanta 9.5 hrs


You are likely looking at 20 hours or more from the time you leave your house until you check in to your hotel. If there is bad weather or a canceled flight it could be much longer. I would consider spending a day in Atlanta or Madrid each way to break up the flights.

Along with jetlag you will likely be drained for several days after flights like that especially is your sons schedule is throw off and he is awake all night long for the first few nights.

People can and do travel with kids like that but if this is just for a vacation and not visit family then I would consider putting the Spanish vacation off for a few years or leaving the kid home with someone like grandparents.

There are lots of other alternative vacations that might be more practical and enjoyable.


THIS! Oh my. I have one of those off-the-charts large babies, too. She has only flown domestic non-stop 2:30 flights, and even then I have always purchased a seat for her for safety. Though it doesn't happen every flight, turbulence is real and people do become injured. A lap baby would be a projectile, and could be very difficult to hold on to and keep safe. I know the price tag sucks, but it is your child. Do it, or don't take the child.

Really, if an airline requires everyone to wear a seatbelt, I don't understand why the youngest passengers get a free pass. Do a lower fare for them perhaps, but it implies that it is safe for the child.

The other thing to consider, is if your child is in his/her own seat and even in a small convertible car seat, they are much more likely to be comfortable and able to fall asleep. In arms, maaaaybe, but also maybe not.

orca91
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by orca91 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:50 am

Kix wrote:Took the 18 month old to Frankfurt last May. Night.Mare. I'll never do it again. Ever. Even when I had an empty seat beside me, it was horrible. The way back especially. I was in tears. And everyone else around me probably felt like crying too.


Strangling may be a better word for what others around you were feeling. :wink:

I can't stand when people take young children (babies) on long flights. No offense, and I'm sure there are certain times it's unavoidable. But, those that do it just because....

I'm with others that say the OP should leave the 18 month old at home.

Flashes1
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Flashes1 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:53 am

I can't think of any scenario where I would willingly fly +5 hours with any kid, let alone an 18 month old. We put our kids in the back of the SUV and drive over night so we bother no one but ourselves.

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lthenderson
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by lthenderson » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:04 am

We've taken two 18 months old (our oldest and then youngest child six years later) on 16+ hour transpacific flights and didn't pay for extra seats. Both times was 24 hours worth of flying on three flights but the 16+ hour flight was the longest. I guess we got along fine. My tips:

When booking, we made sure to book window seats. My wife is petite and I have long legs to I sat furthest away from the window to act as the gate keeper with my long legs. Both times, our daughters stayed awake some of the time but slept a lot of the time. A lot of it had to do with the time of day back home since much of our flight was overnight. Both times I contemplated buying an extra seat for the discounted price but with our girls at that age, neither would have sat in the seat anyway. They preferred to stand between our legs or sit on our laps. I was glad not to waste the money both times.

We took precautions. We took benadryl along to drug them if necessary but neither one required it. We the adults took aspirin to thin our blood and prevent any clots on such a long flight. Note we do this with or without kids anyway. We had pacifiers to help alleviate pressure build up in the ears if necessary and it turned out not to be with our kids. If your kid doesn't use a pacifier, I would suggest a sucker. We took lots of snacks, toys, etc to keep them entertained. During the "night" time portion of the flights, we often went and stood in the back and let them stretch their legs a bit while most everyone else was asleep or watching movies. Physically, we felt fine other than the associated misery that goes with sitting in one place for 16 hours. Would I do it again, yes but I'm glad that I don't have to do it again anymore. These days my kids are old enough that I just drug myself with sleep medication so I can pass out for as long as possible on that long flight.

AlwaysAStudent
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by AlwaysAStudent » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:11 am

We went on 2 different (shorter than you are) trips when our daughter was about 12-15 months. The first one was short notice, husband and daughter joined me on a business trip, so we decided to just let her sit in our laps. The next one was a vacation that was planned so she had her own seat. Although she still ended up in our laps for part of the 2nd flight, I would highly recommend the extra seat. Not only did it allow me and my husband to take a break, it allowed more playing room and under seat storage for her even when she was in our lap. We took her car seat that she was used to also which allowed her to have something familiar besides my husband and I.

On another note, the trip that she didn't have her own seat we had to check her car seat. As I am sure you are aware most car seat manufacturer recommend that you stop using the car seat once it has had any impact (dropped), which is not something you can really control when luggage is being loaded/unloaded several times. At the same time, it was kind of a pain in the butt to drag a car seat through the airport and install it in the seat. We had a direct flight, that would have been unpleasant for multiple legs, but still probably worth it to not have the kiddo in my lap all flight.

Tough decision, good luck.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:17 am

Pacific wrote:Isn't this what grandparents are for?


What if one set of grandparents is a 6 hour flight away and the other is a 12hour flight away?

Now that I think of it, we're going to see both next summer. The kiddo will be 23months for one trip and 25 months for the other.
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by btenny » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:29 am

Buy your kid a seat and that may not be enough. Take some blankets and or a pillow to let him lay down partly on his seat and your seat so he can sleep some. Toddlers need space to play and walk and then sleep laying down to not cry. Good Luck.

I watched a couple with 4 bigger kids and a toddler do a long plane trip in July coming back from England. They had two rows of seats and no seat for the toddler. The plane was a Dreamliner so the seats were big and the plane is comfortable. But the fight was 10 hours long. I think one parent slept maybe 10 minutes. One or the other was holding or walking or messing with that kid every few minutes. It was not good. They were in the way of the food carts and people trying to go to the rest room. And the other kids tried to help but that did not work well. No play pen was the issue. The only rest was when one parent and one kid stood up and let the toddler lay down on two seats and sleep. I saw them do this for a while. But this made the aisles too crowded so the other kids set down. So then the baby woke up and cried. It was tough all the way.

Good Luck. What ever you do will be tough. Get some sleep before hand.

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by MikeWillRetire » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:32 am

White Coat Investor wrote:
Pacific wrote:Isn't this what grandparents are for?


What if one set of grandparents is a 6 hour flight away and the other is a 12hour flight away?

Now that I think of it, we're going to see both next summer. The kiddo will be 23months for one trip and 25 months for the other.


Consider buying grandma a plane ticket to your house.

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HueyLD
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by HueyLD » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:33 am

MikeWillRetire wrote:
White Coat Investor wrote:
Pacific wrote:Isn't this what grandparents are for?


What if one set of grandparents is a 6 hour flight away and the other is a 12hour flight away?

Now that I think of it, we're going to see both next summer. The kiddo will be 23months for one trip and 25 months for the other.


Consider buying grandma a plane ticket to your house.

What an excellent idea.

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:34 am

MikeWillRetire wrote:
White Coat Investor wrote:
Pacific wrote:Isn't this what grandparents are for?


What if one set of grandparents is a 6 hour flight away and the other is a 12hour flight away?

Now that I think of it, we're going to see both next summer. The kiddo will be 23months for one trip and 25 months for the other.


Consider buying grandma a plane ticket to your house.


The ticket is to go see grandma at her house.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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Pete12
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Pete12 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:35 am

We fly from the East Coast US to England once a year to see family. When my son was 13 months old we made the mistake of flying with him as a lap child. Now he was not a particularly wiggly toddler, but by the end of each flight every person on the plane knew his name, between us yelling at him to keep still and him wanting to walk up and down the aisle saying hello to everyone!

When my younger daughter was that age we got her a seat and it was a million times better.

My conclusion- for your own sanity don't do it!!

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Diogenes » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:43 am

Although you didn't say, is the trip just a short vacation? If so, I would think of the kid (he will have no memories of the trip, but will be uncomfortable), and think of the other passengers also. I have been on a long full flight where a parent sitting next to me didn't want to buy the extra ticket. No fun for anyone.

If you are relocating or staying for some months, that would be one thing. But it would seem that's not the case.

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HomerJ
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by HomerJ » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:56 am

Leave the kid with grandparents. Seriously.

Why ruin an amazing trip with your spouse? (Unless maybe the grandparents are in Spain).

This must be your first kid. He will survive and thrive without you, and the two of you probably need to reconnect as a married couple, after 18 months with a baby/toddler.

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Watty
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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Watty » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:02 pm

One other thing, I went to Spain last May/June from Atlanta. We flew into Barcelona which was a direct flight and returned from Malaga which had a connection in Paris.

That is real popular time to go to Spain because it has not gotten too hot yet. I don't recall there being any empty seats on any of the flights.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by stoptothink » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:06 pm

I just opened this thread because I as well have a massive and very active 18-month old, who we have traveled quite a bit with. My 18-month old son is over 30lbs, we just lost our main hook-up for almost new hand-me-down clothes because he is now bigger than my wife's best friend's son who is almost 2yrs older. He's wearing size 9 shoes, his also tall 4.5yr old sister wears size 10. Haven't yet taken him on a plane, but we've done a few 10+ hour driving trips, all four of us and a week's worth of stuff in a 2-door hatchback. No issues; seriously. A tablet has been a lifesaver, he's almost mesmerized by the games and will keep quiet and still for hours. Depends on your tolerance and the behavior of your child, but in your situation (if we had to bring the child) I'd personally feel fairly comfortable not getting an extra seat. Only you know your child.

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Re: Flying Across Atlantic with 98th Percentile 18-Month Child

Post by Kiter » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:24 pm

I have not read the whole thread ,but to answer question #1 ....consider others on the flight seated next to you and in front of you.

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