Our first proper long haul flight as a family was surprisingly ok – we arrived in Mauritius feeling quite relieved that it hadn’t been a disaster. After the usual confusion over time zones (was it three or four hours’ difference? Had the plane landed an hour early?) we managed to navigate the shiny new airport and Pip got to experience his first forward-facing car seat on the way to the hotel. However, the flight was rather different to Elphie’s in several ways…
Pip is at the stage of trying very hard to be mobile, which means he gets quite squirmy after a while sitting in your lap or strapped into a seat. No matter, we thought: he will be able to happily roll around on the floor of the plane with his toys.
Thwarted! The minute we set him down, the flight attendant scurried over to inform us that this wasn’t allowed as the oxygen masks didn’t stretch down that far. Apparently this is BA rules for all planes and all routes. “But my friend’s baby sat on the floor all the way to Rio…?” “Pah!” he replied and that was that. We then put Pip in his reclining seat for a bit, then after an hour or so of handing him toys and picking up said toys from the floor he seemed quite happy to sit in my seat while I stood up and Mr Cath supervised. Which will all probably be a nightmare on the day flight home, but in this case our plane took off at 3pm which meant it was only a few hours until…
I was worried that the absence of a bath would mean our bedtime routine would go askew, but the plane’s timings helpfully aligned with ours: dinner at 5:30pm, then an epic nappy change/pyjamas on in the bathroom – by the time we emerged at 6:30pm the lights were down so it was the perfect calm setting for a bedtime breastfeed. We couldn’t believe our luck that by 7:05pm Pip was sound asleep in his reclining seat with his bunny and blankey. To celebrate, I immediately cracked open the wine I’d been saving from dinner!
After such a peaceful start it was inevitable he would not be happy at all being woken up, and our first night in the hotel was also horrendous – I ended up feeding him in the night for the first time in about two months! Desperate times…
Safety in numbers
Alas, Pip was not the star of the show on our plane as there were several families with babies. We were across the aisle from a Mauritian family who were taking their six month old son to meet their relatives back home (along with their other son who was three years old). Their toddler was incredibly friendly towards Pip, keen to share his toys and raisins, and it was adorable to see them interacting.
We were sat in the very front row before it becomes business class and when I walked to the galley at the back of the plane I could see a few more families too. Quite a cacophony at times! I felt a bit sorry for the honeymooning couples.
No films allowed
Mr Cath and I decided to watch the Lego movie but it was doomed from the start: after eventually ascertaining that his headphones didn’t work, having tried swapping them with mine and so on, we called the flight attendant but were ignored (maybe they thought Pip kicked the button or something). Finally stopping one walking past, we got new headphones and started again… but by now Pip was needing some attention. We tried watching it with him on our laps but after a few minutes his attention span wandered – understandable really as he was looking at a tiny screen with no sound! After bedtime the moment had passed and we felt too knackered to watch anything so ended up just reading for a bit then dozing off (someone had woken us up at 6:30am that morning, which did mean we got to the airport in record time, enabling some actual shopping, so I should have been grateful really).
Back in the day it would have been unheard of for me to not watch films all night on a flight, but we were conscious of the opportunity to sleep. Dull I know. Yawn.
Got there in the end
All worth it to be here anyway!