New and would love some advice..

krijkee

New member
Hi :happy-wavehello:

Quick rundown on my situation. I am flying to Australia from US in 3 weeks. I will be there for 6 weeks total. I am traveling alone with my just 2 year old
(30lbs) and 4 month old boys. I don't need a seat in Australia for my youngest as my sister has one, but will need one for my 2yo.

I have a Recaro Como and Cosco Scenera for him. My flight is an overnight flight, so I am tempted to take the Como as it means he might sleep most of the flight if he is comfortable enough. However lugging that thing on my own will be hard.

I was also probably going to take my double stroller which I will gate check, so I am trying to figure out how on earth I will do it. I could strap my youngest to me and put the como in one side of the double, with my eldest in the other?

Which seat would you take?

Any BTDT parents have advice?

TIA for any opinions.
 
ADS

niccig

New member
The Scenera. I do this trip once a year and I take the Uptown, which is just as light as the Scenera. I have a Como too, and no way would I lug that through an airport by myself and two kids.

To get through the airport you can put the scenera in a stroller and use a bungee cord through the FF beltpath to secure it to the stroller. Your 2 you can ride strapped in the car seat. Or I have a folding luggage cart ($20 from Target) and bungee cord car seat to the cart, and DS rides strapped into the seat. This is what I do with my 4 year old, as we no longer need the stroller.

On question, which airline are you flying with? If it's QANTAS you have to call to get approval to use a car seat on board the plane. The customer service rep. will ask questions about the car seat, how wide it is etc. I call and they tell me what they want to know, then I go measure the seat and call them back with the details.

QANTAS will let you gate check a stroller at the USA airport, but you don't get it back until you get to baggage claim at your final destination...tough if you need it for a layover or if you have a LONG walk from the gate to immigration and then through to get your bags and customs. Also, Brisbane international airport won't let you gate check your stroller for the return flight. They do have strollers available for you to use, but you can only get those after you've checked your bags and gone through immigration/security. I'm not sure about Sydney as I don't fly through there. If you're flying a different airline or airport, find out if you'll get your gate checked stroller back on arrival, and if you can gate check it when your depart.

Can I say what a PITA it is to travel with kids to Australia....

My advice is to call the airline/airport and see if they will give you assistnace with getting to/from gate with your gear.

Take your double stroller as you'll need it at the airport here. Strap the scenera to the stroller. Both kids can ride in the stroller. That will get you to the gate here in the USA. Also have a carrier like a sling in your diaper bag to carry your 4 month old at the other end if you don't get your stroller back. Your 2 yo will need to walk if you don't get your stroller. You'll have your diaper bag (take a back pack) and the car seat. I was carrying our car seat and DH was carrying DS, and people still offered to take the car seat for me...Australians are very friendly, so I'm sure someone will offer a hand. Or, you could take a fold up luggage cart on the plane with you, so you can strap the scenera to it, 2 yo rides in that, you carry 4 month old and have back pack on....that will get you through immigration and to baggage claim to get your stroller. You could also check stroller with luggage in USA, and then just take the luggage cart combo to the gate. It's up to you and whether you're stroller will be waiting for you at the gate when you disembark.

Phew I am tired...I've got to hand it to you. I've NEVER done that flight alone with DS, let alone 2 children. He's 4 yo, so I'm running out of excuses why I haven't done it yet.

I'm only around until the end of the week, so if you have more questions, ask away....
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
I'm thinking in the scenario PP described, a car seat bag with good padding and a comfortable strap would be a good thing. You might also look into whether you'd be allowed to carry on umbrella strollers. If you can, bring two and a set of stroller connectors. That way you'd have them at your destination, and be able to push the kids, car seat in bag over one shoulder (I carried mine messenger-style with a single-strap bag, worked great) and carry-on over the other. That's what I did when I travelled alone with 2 little ones (though I did not do an int'l flight so I just gate-checked the umbrella strollers, I'd put the connectors in my carry-on.)
 

niccig

New member
There's also the travelling toddler strap. It straps your car seat to a rolling car seat bag. http://www.amazon.com/Traveling-Toddler-Seat-Travel-Accessory/dp/B000JHN3AS

You could carry the baby in a sling and then have car seat attached to a rolling bag. The only caution I have with this, is if you're connecting to a domestic flight within Australia. We had a carry-on bag that is fine here for domestic flights and was fine on the international leg, but from Sydney to Brisbane leg the bag was too big and they took it away from us when swapping from international to domestic terminal. They did give us a small zippered plastic bag to take some things out of the carry-on that we needed. They do allow rolling bags, but they have to be pretty small.

Other options are like the PP said, get a car seat bag, either with wheels or back pack straps to carry/pull the car seat. Kids can be in the stroller and if you don't get your stroller back, you can carry the baby, pull/carry the carseat and hold on to you 2 yo hand. Again, I think if I was doing this by myself in an Australian airport, someone would offer to help...

Did I already say that getting to Australia with kids and car seats is a PITA?? Just give back the gate checked stroller at the GATE!

Hopefully, you're not flying QANTAS and the airline you do fly with give your stroller back at the gate. But check that, as it might not be airline specific but airport specific. At the Brisbane international airport NO strollers can be gate checked for any departing flight. As I said, they do have strollers and carts you can use, but you have to hand over your stroller with the checked luggage, then go through immigration and security before you get to these.
 

krijkee

New member
Thanks for the excellent advice.

I am flying United and have a layover in SFO (flying out of Portland, OR) and then direct to Sydney. Same returning.

So the Cosco seat it is...

I will call United to ask how they handle gate-checking strollers. It doesn't matter so much as I have on of those leash things just in case, as my 2yo is a runner. I also have an ergo I can't live without.

I will also get a cart to push the carseat around...awesome advice on that!

I am Australian and although the flight will be tough, it will be worth it to be going home for the first time in 4 years and having my family meeting my sons!

Thanks again!
 

niccig

New member
Thanks for the excellent advice.

I am flying United and have a layover in SFO (flying out of Portland, OR) and then direct to Sydney. Same returning.

So the Cosco seat it is...

I will call United to ask how they handle gate-checking strollers. It doesn't matter so much as I have on of those leash things just in case, as my 2yo is a runner. I also have an ergo I can't live without.

I will also get a cart to push the carseat around...awesome advice on that!

I am Australian and although the flight will be tough, it will be worth it to be going home for the first time in 4 years and having my family meeting my sons!

Thanks again!

Hopefully United will give the stroller back to you at the gate. I don't know why QANTAS won't, such a pain. Sydney's International airport is much bigger than Brisbane, so that might help with the gate check. If you did need help carrying things, someone will offer or you can ask them. i know people who didn't receive help on flights, and then I've been asked several times.

For the flight there - give your 2yo dinner at SFO. DS has fallen asleep on the plane before the flight attendants bring his kid's meal. We normally board at 11pm and they feed us around midnight. I have a lot of snacks with me as DS has woken before they pass out breakfast. DS has slept 8-9 hours on the plane, so only a few hours to entertain. United should have it's own TV per seat and kid's channels. We also bring our DVD player, crayons, toys etc.

DS is actually better about the flight than I am. I can't sleep at all and am dead tired by the time we arrive.

I hear you on going home...Mum usually brings me a pack of cheese twisties for me to eat in the car on the way home, or I make her stop at a petrol station on the way home...
 

krijkee

New member
Hopefully United will give the stroller back to you at the gate. I don't know why QANTAS won't, such a pain. Sydney's International airport is much bigger than Brisbane, so that might help with the gate check. If you did need help carrying things, someone will offer or you can ask them. i know people who didn't receive help on flights, and then I've been asked several times.

For the flight there - give your 2yo dinner at SFO. DS has fallen asleep on the plane before the flight attendants bring his kid's meal. We normally board at 11pm and they feed us around midnight. I have a lot of snacks with me as DS has woken before they pass out breakfast. DS has slept 8-9 hours on the plane, so only a few hours to entertain. United should have it's own TV per seat and kid's channels. We also bring our DVD player, crayons, toys etc.

DS is actually better about the flight than I am. I can't sleep at all and am dead tired by the time we arrive.

I hear you on going home...Mum usually brings me a pack of cheese twisties for me to eat in the car on the way home, or I make her stop at a petrol station on the way home...

mmm burger rings for me!! I keep thinking about all the food I miss!

Should I bring earphones or will the ones theplane hand out be fine?

Did your DS sleep 8-9 hours in a scenara seat? I am worried about it being too uncomfortable. It has next to no padding.
 

niccig

New member
mmm burger rings for me!! I keep thinking about all the food I miss!

Should I bring earphones or will the ones theplane hand out be fine?

Did your DS sleep 8-9 hours in a scenara seat? I am worried about it being too uncomfortable. It has next to no padding.

CostPlus World Market has a lot of Australian chocolate. DS loves Crunchie bars.

We bring our own ear phones. I got a set sized for children from Target, and DH and I have noise defeaning ones, so I can try to sleep on the plane.

DS rides in an Uptown on the plane. It does have more padding, but I know other people have Scenera and their kiddos don't complain.

DS was so tired from staying up late to get the plane that he conked out. For the return day flight, we juggled bed time and naps, so that he was due for a sleep.
 

krijkee

New member
We regularly hit World Market, plus care packages. I even order Four n Twenty meat pies from an importer in California.

Thanks again for the helpful info.

My plan is to take the double stroller (its an expensive one, though - I plan on bagging it before gate checking it. More hassle but worth the trouble to avoid it getting damaged).

I will take a bungee cord and that travel strap you linked. That should keep me out of trouble and give me alternative ways to make this work.
 

niccig

New member
The worst part is getting through security, to the gate and then on to the plane. And then doing it all in reverse at your destination. I find the actual time on the plane to be the easiest part of the flight.

I would try to bring as little as possible, as you'll be on your own and just in case no one offers to help get the car seat on the plane while you juggle the two kids and your carry-on. When I fly alone, I have one big backpack for all our stuff. DS has a kiddy back pack with his toys. I carry the car seat in front of me (but with the seat facing me, as it's too long to go horizontal down the aisle, if that makes sense). If I have the folding luggage cart with us, I fold that up and put it in the seat, most seats are too wide to pull down the aisles on some planes. And I make DS walk in front of me down the aisle. You've got the 4 month old too, so that complicate things, maybe in a front carry - I have done that when DS was little. He was strapped to my chest, backpack on my back, carry car seat in front of me.

I would also chat someone up at the gate to see if they would help. If they do, they can pre-board the plane. When DH flies alone, he has carried car seats on the plane for people. And when I've traveled alone, people seating around me offered to help. But just in case they don't, run through how you'll get everything on/off plane etc.
 

Kat_Momof3

New member
honestly, because I wouldn't try to take more than one kid on a plane without having them both in seats, I'd pick up a second scenera.

They stack easily... so what I'd do is take a bungee cord and strap the two seats into one side of the double stroller, wear the baby, and put the 2yr old on the other side.

That way, you'll be able to manage quite easily.

And when you get to where you board, tell them quite bluntly (and so the other passengers can hear and really want you to be able to get on and have your kids comfortable) that you are flying alone with two BABIES... and need to board as early as possible so that you can keep your kids content while you get them in their seats.

When boarding, just have your 2yr old sit in your seat while you install the first carseat, put your 4mo old in it, then install the 2yr old's.

When you have landed, just take out baby first, uninstall, let 2yr old out and set on plane seat, uninstall.



The other reason I would do this, aside from keeping you sane by being able to have both kids contained so you can concentrate on whomever needs you and so they are comfy and can sleep easily, is so that, when you get there, you have two seats that you already know how to install and use properly.
 

krijkee

New member
honestly, because I wouldn't try to take more than one kid on a plane without having them both in seats, I'd pick up a second scenera.

They stack easily... so what I'd do is take a bungee cord and strap the two seats into one side of the double stroller, wear the baby, and put the 2yr old on the other side.

That way, you'll be able to manage quite easily.

And when you get to where you board, tell them quite bluntly (and so the other passengers can hear and really want you to be able to get on and have your kids comfortable) that you are flying alone with two BABIES... and need to board as early as possible so that you can keep your kids content while you get them in their seats.

When boarding, just have your 2yr old sit in your seat while you install the first carseat, put your 4mo old in it, then install the 2yr old's.

When you have landed, just take out baby first, uninstall, let 2yr old out and set on plane seat, uninstall.



The other reason I would do this, aside from keeping you sane by being able to have both kids contained so you can concentrate on whomever needs you and so they are comfy and can sleep easily, is so that, when you get there, you have two seats that you already know how to install and use properly.

I only have one extra seat. I have the very front row, where they have a drop bown bassinet for my 4 month old, where he will sleep. My sister will be at the airport and she knows how to use and install the seat for my infant.

I actually read somewhere that DH could get a pass to help me to the gate. I am looking into this. So then the only hard part would be my connection in San Fran and arriving in Sydney. With the stroller, I think its doable. It can also be my diaper changing station in the terminal.

Thanks for the advice.
 

krijkee

New member
The worst part is getting through security, to the gate and then on to the plane. And then doing it all in reverse at your destination. I find the actual time on the plane to be the easiest part of the flight.

I would try to bring as little as possible, as you'll be on your own and just in case no one offers to help get the car seat on the plane while you juggle the two kids and your carry-on. When I fly alone, I have one big backpack for all our stuff. DS has a kiddy back pack with his toys. I carry the car seat in front of me (but with the seat facing me, as it's too long to go horizontal down the aisle, if that makes sense). If I have the folding luggage cart with us, I fold that up and put it in the seat, most seats are too wide to pull down the aisles on some planes. And I make DS walk in front of me down the aisle. You've got the 4 month old too, so that complicate things, maybe in a front carry - I have done that when DS was little. He was strapped to my chest, backpack on my back, carry car seat in front of me.

I would also chat someone up at the gate to see if they would help. If they do, they can pre-board the plane. When DH flies alone, he has carried car seats on the plane for people. And when I've traveled alone, people seating around me offered to help. But just in case they don't, run through how you'll get everything on/off plane etc.


Did you forward or rear face your car seat? I have the very front of the rows, where the bassinet drops our of the wall for my infant. Does this make a difference to which way I face it?
 

niccig

New member
When DS was in the infant seat, we RF of course. Then when in a convertible, I FF on plane and then RF in the car - we RF until DS was 3 yo. I FF because 14 hours for the person in front to not recline, is too long. A 3 hour plane trip in the day, I wouldn't care about their comfort, but it's such an awfully long flight to Australia. BUT, as you have the bulkhead and no one in front, I would put it RF if your 2yo is used to that. They'll probably have you put the seat in the middle of the row, so that it's not blocking anyone's exit. Oh, you might have to FF because of the bassinet. If I recall, DH and I had a difficult time getting out with the bassinet down and DS in it. So, you might have to see if it'll fit RF under the bassinet.
 

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