Note to self: do not get on a budget airline with a 5 year old and two almost 3 year olds again unless you are a) desperate b) guaranteed two rows of seats c) drunk/on prozac and with a ready supply of top ups for a 6 hour flight. Actually make that 8 hours if you add the 2 hour delay. I was not impressed with Jet2’s generous, “apologies for the short delay” at the end of our flight when I was borderline sobbing from exhaustion.
The most important thing is that we made it, we are now safely ensconced in the loving warmth of my family in a slightly damp part of the UK. Gone is the terrible 80% humidity and 35 degree temperatures of Tel Aviv, for the next couple of weeks at least.
To be honest the flight, which I had been dreading to the point of denial since I booked to bring the childers alone for the summer hols, was better than expected. Apart from a short period of complete over excitement from number 1 son and a slightly hysterical moment when I couldn’t spot no. 2 son in the departure lounge it was really only the terrible boredom and discomfort of 6 hours in the air with 3 little ones that had me verging on hysteria by the time we landed.
Here are some of my top tips for travelling by air with multiple small children:
– dress them in the same coloured t shirts for easy distinction in a busy airport
– bring the small shoulder pouches their Israeli grandmother made them and stuffed with distracting crayons, plasticine, miniature notebooks, stickers, puzzle books and tiny toys. It’s a genius idea that kept them busy for at least 45 minutes (which sounds like a little but it was 45 minutes I wasn’t juggling/entertaining them)
– Food – in small packages that takes time to open as well as eat.
– Pull up nappies – despite spending at least 1/6 of the flight at the toilet (3 small children all needing the loo at different times results in a lot of door holding and hand washing), I put the little ones in nappies rather than carry a billion changes of just in case clothes.
– Wipes – where would a mother be without environmentally unfriendly wipes?
– Water – don’t dare ask the cabin crew for a drink of water each time your child requests one. Jet2 cabin crew on the whole aren’t a happy bunch, (although a couple on our flight were thankfully the exception) so pressing the call button at any stage is inadvisable.
– Check the DVD player is charged and NOT LEFT ON when you leave the house. If you make the effort to carry a DVD player plus DVDs thereby taking up half your carry on luggage you should at least be sure it will work. Doh.
– Make sure you can work the borrowed laptop you are using as another form of children’s entertainment.
– Make sure the earphones you have brought for the children’s entertainment work.
– Make sure that if you have messed up all electronic forms of entertainment that YOU are armed with a few thousand talents to ensure peace for your fellow passengers.
– Wear shoulder pads and a cushion in your trousers. This helps protect you when one son falls asleep across 11/2 of your 3 chairs and you and the twins share a chair and a half between you (because no-one wants to sit on the 1 remaining seat on the other side of the aisle)
– Make friends with your fellow passengers. You WILL need their help and you don’t want their hindrance (thank you to the lovely extended family sitting near me.)
– Make friends with the cabin crew, even if it means talking through gritted teeth – why are they so grumpy? Having befriended the lovely Ryan on our flight he let myself and the twins hang out in the galley for a much needed change of scene.
– Breathe. Sometimes its easy to forget and hyperventilation at altitude with 3 dependents is inadvisable.
So, we made it, here we are. I am very very happy to be home and even happier that I will be doing the return journey with my husband. Phew.