Last year I travelled to Tenerife for a week with the girls without their Daddy. It was the first time I had flown alone with kids and I was very nervous about getting on a plane with two young children. I thought about how to fill the four and a half hour flights for a while before going.
The worst part of the journey was between the taxi and the check in desk at Manchester Airport. I had arranged a taxi to take me and the girls to the airport and after a discussion about car seats (which I had booked in advance), we made the journey to the airport without any problems. We were all excited and talked about the holiday. I had one large luggage case and three pieces of hand luggage ( a rucksack, a change bag and a small hand luggage case). I also had a five year old, a two year old and a buggy.
We flew with Jet2 from Manchester Airport and the check-in desk was much further than expected. We had to walk through the main area of terminal 2 and go down in a lift, outside, then back inside to the Jet2 check-in area. We managed it, but it was more tricky than I had expected. It was a relief to drop off the big bag. The staff were friendly and I did manage to leave my luggage with them when my daughter needed a toilet stop.
Going through security was quite challenging. Keeping hold of two tired and excited children while putting bags on the conveyor belt, locating and separating electronic devices, folding down a buggy and removing shoes was difficult. There was seemingly no help available and some of the other passengers seemed a little irritated at being held up by a minute or two. Staff were friendly and patient, but a little help would have been appreciated.
Getting around the airport was straightforward with the two year old in the buggy, a rucksack and a change bag on my back and my five year old walking closely while pulling a hand luggage case. There was some entertainment in the airport in the form of dancing animal characters, which helped pass a bit of time. There was also a cafe for a much needed coffee and chocolate muffin.
Boarding the plane was fine and we left the buggy at the door of the plane as we walked on. The Jet2 air stewardesses were lovely and welcoming as we showed our tickets and found our seats. Abigail wanted the window seat so she sat down first, Jessica sat in the middle and I was in the aisle seat.
I brought a selection of toys and things to keep the girls occupied as well as favourite teddies and an iPad with headphones.
I took out sticker books, colouring books and some reading books. I find the Mr Men books really handy as they are quite small and slim, but you still get a decent length of story. My eldest loves the Usborne See Inside series of books with lift the flaps so I brought a couple of those, but these are really big and heavy.
We were buckled up and comfortable quite quickly and easily, but then there is some waiting while all the passengers get sat down and my two year old soon became restless. I tried to entertain her with sticker books, but she was annoyed at having to stay in her seat. I ended up getting the Play-Doh out and letting her have her dummy which helped.
Once the seatbelt signs were off, my kids liked the freedom of removing the belt. Abigail was quite happy with the iPad and Jessica liked the books, but I had to keep her entertained. We treated ourselves to a snack when the food trolley came by and that helped pass a little time. I had also packed an array of their favourite snacks including dried apricots, Pom Bears, malt loaf bars and chocolate buttons.
The flight went a lot quicker and smoother than I had expected and we arrived to the airport in Tenerife feeling calm and excited about our holiday. We had daytime flights both for departure and return. My kids do not sleep on planes and I would always try to get reasonable flight times.
Having flown alone with two young children, I would say that it is not as bad as you might expect. The key is to bring lots of things to do that are small and light and plenty of snacks. If you are going on a plane journey with little ones then good luck.
If you would like to find out more about our holiday without Daddy, please read my other post about our holiday to Costa Adeje in Tenerife, please click on Costa Adeje Tenerife.