Flying long haul with our baby

We flew internationally from the UK to the US in May 2022. To put it mildly I was a little nervous. I’m not a great flyer myself (well obvs, no wings) and I hadn’t flown long haul for about 15 years. But I was also worried our baby would have been able to pick up on these feelings (I’ve heard they’re clever like that) so kept them locked as tight as possible and just focused on the excitement instead. My husband also suggested that I focus on Darcie having a good experience from it so that was a huge focus shift too and one I’ll be doing again.

As usual with me we were running tight on time, especially as it was reported the airport queues were unbelievably long at the time. We were able to check in all of our hand luggage apart from the baby bag and pushchair and we also checked the travel cot we took into the bulky items desk so we had free hands which was great.

I had booked the airport lounge for three hours before our flight but we arrived an hour late. I thought we would never get in but I genuinely think the lady behind the desk took pity on my dishevelled appearance and let us go through. A full breakfast and coffee later we were ready to board, taking the pushchair to be gate checked which was super easy.

Our luggage for the trip – we only took Hand Luggage

The staff on board our Virgin Airlines flight were great throughout and it appeared that they upgraded us and another family with a baby which was lovely of them. Granted mine was an accidental upgrade as I didn’t realise the plane was so big but they let us stay there and put the other family where *I’m pretty sure* they were going to seat us. They made a great fuss of Darcie and I thought it was an excellent touch that they served the two mums with babies first. Now that’s thoughtful and considerate service.

We were able to have a sky cot for our flight and this was such a relief as it meant Darcie wouldn’t have to sit on our laps throughout the whole flight. She slept soundly in the sky cot a few times and enjoyed watching people walk past while we ate dinner. When not in the cot she was happy to play with the toys I’d packed and yes she did have a little screen time, the choice for kids was quite good and it kept her entertained for a moment or two on a long flight.

On board, the sky cot was great while we ate a warm meal

The on board changing tables were pretty good and there was enough space. The only thing I would say is it was a completely flat surface with no straps so you’ve got to keep hold of baby.

I would definitely fly with Virgin again after that experience and think I’d probably pay for premium economy too so we know what we’re getting and get the checked luggage allowance of a suitcase per person rather than just hand luggage, especially for trips longer than a week. Although we did it we could have made it easier for sure.

I’d love to know if you’ve flown with Virgin or long haul with a baby of any age and if you’ve got any tips for future travels!

You can read more on our Florida adventures here.

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