This time last year, Emma took her first flight to Ireland. I was anxious but excited to see how Emma would take to flying in a plane, but it wasn’t the best experience. Perhaps she was over-tired or just annoyed at having to be held during the flight but she cried every second she was in the plane to the point where she was making herself poorly. This is the most worried I’ve been about Emma, especially as even when she did fall asleep, she seemed to be hyperventilating in her sleep.
Looking back, the Ryanair flight just didn’t suit us. There was a lot of queuing, delayed flights and generally a little less space in between seats. Whatever the reason was, those two flights were pretty unbearable and the three of us were filled with dread at the thought of doing it all over again. The holiday on the other side was keeping us going, but how would Emma take to it one year later?
Part of the problem at 18 months old, is that I couldn’t explain anything to her. I couldn’t warn her about what was to come or reassure her that delays are only short and there isn’t long to wait. These days, she understands phrases like “we have to wait our turn” or “just a bit longer” and it calms her down…but there was none of that a year ago. If anything making the exact same journey one year later has made us all realise how much she has grown up without us even noticing.
From the moment we set off, it was exciting to Emma. We decided to order a taxi to go to the airport and sitting all by herself with a ‘big girl’s’ seatbelt on made her smile no end. In a last minute bold decision, we didn’t take the buggy (our first trip without one) so we told Emma this and she seemed to be so happy. She ran around the airport, following her brother all the way although I did find myself constantly calling out to her so she didn’t run off too far.
This time, we decided to fly Aer Lingus and it was the best decision we could have made. Aside from the obvious (as so many Ryanair flights had been cancelled), we didn’t have to queue at all…an absolute first! The check in was quick and easy, as was the security through the family entrance. When we went to Ireland last year, we didn’t use the family entrance but it makes such a difference as they are really accommodating with babies and children. Emma had to part with her milk AND her comfort toy as they needed to go through the X-Ray, which obviously made her cry but the security officer let me carry her through the X-Ray instead of making her walk through solo.
On the flight itself, as Emma had a seat to herself it was a game-changer. She’s always been independent and it just makes everything much easier than holding her on the previous flight. She was fascinated with the buckle and when we took off, I set up the iPad with pre-downloaded shows on the Netflix app that stay downloaded for 7 days. Emma’s current favourites are Minions film or Beat Bugs and she settled down right away with her milk. On our travel days, I didn’t worry at all about the amount of milk she was drinking. She’s a milk fiend so usually I have to dissuade her to have milk with every meal, but to make things easy, she drank as much as she wanted along with a few Organix crisps.
We’ve now settled back into our Brighton life and had such a smooth journey over to Ireland. It made the holiday stress-free and I really felt like both Emma and James enjoyed the travel days. We made sure we had plenty of time on our side, as Emma was walking and carried her if she couldn’t manage – I found the additional time crucial as I imagine it would get stressful if we were running to the gate carrying our toddler! What was heartening was how much easier travel is now she is that bit older, and it’s made me feel more confident that we can jet off on a sunny holiday some time soon!