The time had come. The time for Baby Z to embark on his first flight abroad. Out of the place he knew to be home, Dubai, and into a closed cabin of cool temperature and strangers who would become support systems, where he was essentially locked into for the duration of a 7 hour plane journey. Oh the excitement was just unreal!
It all began bright and early on Saturday morning at the ungodly hour of 5 am, when Baby Z had to be gently coaxed out of his beauty sleep and out of his pyjamas too, into a comfy travel-friendly outfit. It all went surprisingly well, for a toddler that craves sleep, and thankfully Baby Z was in quite a cheerful mood, as he waved goodbye to our family in Dubai. It all must have seemed like quite an adventure to him as my husband and I crisscrossed through the various formalities of getting on a plane. None of us were frisked, which was a relief, since 6 am in the morning was really far too early for such close contact! We enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the Marhaba Lounge, a peaceful area which was perhaps disrupted by our toddler running around, but hey ho.
We chose to get on the plane once the majority of the passengers had already boarded the flight, so as to minimise the time that Baby Z was held captive in the cabin, due to the free spirit (a.k.a. does not sit still for a moment) that he is! Baby Z was so excited to get a look at the plane close up, and was jumping up and down. When we finally reached out seats, both my husband and I praised the Lord that we had leg room, and also enough space for Baby Z to stand comfortably in front of us. Quite a bonus since Baby Z did not have a seat of his own, being under the age of 2 and all. We delayed the process of him being buckled onto our laps as much as we could, and when the time finally came, he surprisingly preferred to sit in Daddy’s lap as opposed to mine. (Surprising because these were rare occasions when Daddy was preferred over Mummy, but I was not one to complain!)
Take off went very smoothly, and we even managed to take a video of him waving good bye to Dubai, as he peered out of the window. Of course, Baby Z wouldn’t wear his ear plugs, but he was so distracted that he didn’t quite register his ears popping. The next six hours were a blur of bribing, snacking, napping and entertainment. Baby Z managed to nap for 2 hours in the middle of the flight, on top of Daddy. We also pulled down the overhang crib for him to play in, which he fit snugly into in the sitting position, though he wouldn’t have been able to sleep in it as it was too small for that. He enjoyed his in-flight lunch too, beef with mashed potato and steamed vegetables, as he took bites out of both our meals.
The last hour was when things began to become really …challenging. I think by that point, Baby Z had really had enough and was ready to get out. Thankfully, the flight attendants came with a saviour Activities pouch which kept him entertained for a while. After that though, whatever we tried seemed to fail, and as we landed, I was sorry to say that I was that parent whose child was wailing at the top of his lungs. Funny how I suddenly had a different outlook for parents of toddlers on planes. I could tell his ears were also popping as he kept putting his fingers into his earlobes, but if I tried to put in some ear plugs, he would just get irritated. It was a helpless situation which did nothing to boost my confidence as a first time flying mother!
As soon as we got out of the plane, Baby Z regained his normal cheery self, and we rushed out to avoid long ques. We finished all the formalities and reached the baggage section, where we had to wait an hour for our luggage to arrive. I guess this was the drawback for arriving for our flight and checking in early. Once we were out though, the crying episode was long forgotten and it was time to begin our month long holiday back in my home country, England. Hallelujah!
Read more about how my first week back in Leicester has been, here. If there are any tips for our flight back, please feel free to share them in the comments section below! Thank you!