I’m sitting on a plane, 5 hours in to an 8 hour flight from Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City, surrounded by our 5 kids, and do you know what I’m thinking? You’d never guess! I’m thinking “Oh……only 3 hours left!” Yep, I’m serious! That’s how much I love flying! You think I’m crazy don’t you?
I’m not really sure what it is. The why, the how or whatever way you may try and analyze it. I just love flying! I’m extremely uncomfortable, only one of the kids are asleep, we are out of snacks and there is a crying kid a few rows in front of me who has barely let up all flight, but I love it! I guess it just comes with my insatiable love of travel. If I’m on a plane, I’m travelling, I’m where I’m meant to be!
So as I sit here, fantasizing about sticking a lollipop in the crying child’s mouth, I thought I’d just share some of my random thoughts about flying, flying with kids, and what I love about it.
I think, if I’m completely honest, one of the things I love most about flying is the fact that I am forced to sit down and do basically nothing for an extended period of time. Being a mother of 5 kids, this is unheard of. Taboo!
The real excitement begins at the airport. If I’m in an airport I’m happy. I haven’t actually done it before, but I’m sure that I’d be happy to just visit an airport without even flying anywhere. Watch the planes, the people with their suitcases and tickets in hand. The boards showing all the arrival and departure flight details. It’s just such an exciting place. I’ve told Pete so many times now that one day, when the kids are grown up and it’s just us, I want to go to the airport with our passports and backpacks and just close our eyes and point to a flight on the board and book tickets there and then and go. Wherever that may be! Can you even do that? That’s pretty much what they do on The Amazing Race. Which by the way, is another thing we’re doing when the kids are grown up. Even if I have to track Phil Keoghan down and demand he resurrects the show (and allows Australians to be contestants…..)!
Aeroplane food! I love it! And I love telling people I love it and getting the same reaction time and time again. “How could you love it? It’s disgusting”. I don’t really know what it is. Maybe it’s the novelty. Maybe the fact that it’s a meal that I’m not preparing or one that I’m not handing cash over for. Maybe it really is disgusting but in my little ‘plane travel bliss bubble’ I’m just so happy I don’t realize it……
Kids! It’s really not that hard to keep them happy on a plane. Even on a really long flight. I do prefer flying at night, as I recommend in my post – Flying With Kids It’s No Big Deal, as they tend to sleep for most of the flight. But even day time flights are not that bad. The fact that they have no choice but to stay in their seats helps. They can’t run off or demand too much as they realize pretty quickly they’re not going to get it. Our kids have colouring, activity and reading books, shared use of iPad’s and that’s about it. We often fly budget airlines that either don’t have, or charge extra for TV’s so more often than not, watching TV is not an option. They’re cool with that. And on the occasion we do have a flight with TVs, it’s an awesome bonus for them!
TV…..Ok so on this flight I’m a bad Mum. I said no to paying for TV for them, but I got it for myself….. But, I can justify this. They have entertainment, I don’t. My phone’s nearly out of battery and the computer that I’m working on has nothing but Microsoft word on it. And basically, I don’t want to spend the whole flight working and looking after kids. I haven’t watched a movie for months, so guess what – I’m treating myself and I don’t feel guilty even a tiny bit.
Ok, so I just took a break from writing this to watch a movie. I was going to wait and finish my writing then watch one, but as I was talking about it, I got all excited and couldn’t wait. The choice of movies was pretty poor. Hardly anything appealed and I didn’t want to watch anything too ‘adult’ in case the kids looked over. And don’t even get me started on that – I think it’s so wrong that some of the available movies are super violent or sexual or scary. On our last flight I had to keep our 4 year old distracted as the man diagonally across from her, and right in her line of sight, was watching some psycho zombie blood splattering killer movie….. Anyway, so I start watching this movie I’d never even heard of about bank robbers. It’s a pretty good movie and I’m getting right in to it. Then I glance over at the guy diagonally across from me and he’s watching it too. But he’s further in to it than I am. So, for the entire movie I have to do everything in my power not to ‘cheat’ and glance over and possibly spoil the ending for myself. And it’s so tempting, I can barely help myself. Like when you’re a kid and you know where your parents hide the Christmas presents. You don’t want to spoil the surprise but the cupboard door is calling your name, teasing you…… Maybe it’s just me. I have no will power and basically, I’m just a big kid. I did well though, I only looked a few times and only spoiled the ending a little bit…….
Maybe I should change the title of this post to – ‘The ramblings of a crazy lady who loves flying but perhaps needs some sleep’……. I can’t sleep on planes. Or cars, buses, boats and probably submarines! So, while Pete falls in and out of sleep for most of the flight, complete with open mouth and that funny head bobbing you see people on trains doing as they try desperately to fight falling completely asleep, I watch as one by one each of the children succumb to their heavy eyed need for sleep and try not to think about how tired and grumpy (who me?) I will be by tomorrow.
Back to the subject of kids – ours are not always angels on flights. We get the odd meltdown, the odd “but I don’t want to wear my seatbelt” psychotic tantrum. They sometimes fight. Kick the seat in front of them until the man in front turns and gives me a death stare. They need the toilet 324 times. They want drinks then spill them all over themselves. They manage to find food that didn’t come from us……. But, for the most part they are good. They love flying nearly as much as I do. They are certainly used to it. I love seeing people trying to hide their “they better not be sitting near me” looks as we board the plane. I love hearing other kids playing up more than ours (I’m just being honest, I know other parents can totally relate). And I love when people comment on how well behaved the kids have been, so obviously surprised and probably secretly wondering if we’ve either severely threatened them before boarding or slipped a little fenergen in to their fruit snacks…….
We got lucky on this flight and have nearly 4 whole rows to ourselves. We have kids laying across seats all over the place. This NEVER happens. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling so positive about flying right now. Maybe that’s why I don’t want to land yet. Maybe if we were all on top of each other like most flights my mood would be different and this post would read a LOT differently. Who knows? Right now I’m happy in my little bubble and really disappointed that the flight map is now saying 40 minutes to destination. I knew we should have booked tickets to Athens instead!