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  #1  
Old September 1st, 2012, 11:29 AM
cjcruises cjcruises is offline
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Default overseas flights with children...

Hi

We'll be leaving for our cruise in less than 3 wks, flying Toronto-Barcelona. We leave Toronto at about 6 pm and arrive in Barcelona around 7 a.m.

We want our kids to fall asleep ASAP once we board the flight, as they'll only have a few hours to sleep. Our flight serves breakfast, so I figure they'll be awakened about 90 min (??) before landing.

When we land, their bodies (and ours) will think it's 2 a.m.!!!!

What have you tried to minimize jetlag and maximize in-flight sleep when travelling with children? (My kids are 11, 11, 9 -- in case it matters).

TIA
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Old September 1st, 2012, 11:45 AM
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Make sure they have lots of activity before boarding so they have burned off all their energy for starters.
When our kids were young we would give them all Gravol to take just prior to a long car trip or flight. It would reduce the chance of air or car sickness with the added benefit of making them drowsy. Worked for us.
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  #3  
Old September 1st, 2012, 11:46 AM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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My suggestion is to just go with it. Your children will not be tired upon take-off. I doubt they go to bed at 6PM at home. Don't use Benedryl- In my case it made my son just out of sorts.

Kids will sleep on the plane out of sheer boredom. Once you get in the air- there will be drinking and food service. They will have already handed out pillows, blankets, footies and blinders for your eyes. The kids will be excited about these things- as well as the movies and games mounted on the tv in front of them.

Give them a chance to have their beverages and dinner. Then encourage them to get some sleep. Both my sons sleep an average of 5-6 hours on a transatlantic flight. They are in good spirits on arrival. I predict your kids will nod off around 9PM.

I on the other hand CAN not sleep on the plane. I usually get the aisle seat and people walk by and the cart hits me in the elbow, etc. So I'm a mess at the other end.
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Last edited by rebeccalouiseagain; September 1st, 2012 at 11:46 AM.
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  #4  
Old September 1st, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by rebeccalouiseagain View Post
My suggestion is to just go with it. Your children will not be tired upon take-off. I doubt they go to bed at 6PM at home. Don't use Benedryl- In my case it made my son just out of sorts.

Kids will sleep on the plane out of sheer boredom. Once you get in the air- there will be drinking and food service. They will have already handed out pillows, blankets, footies and blinders for your eyes. The kids will be excited about these things- as well as the movies and games mounted on the tv in front of them.

Give them a chance to have their beverages and dinner. Then encourage them to get some sleep. Both my sons sleep an average of 5-6 hours on a transatlantic flight. They are in good spirits on arrival. I predict your kids will nod off around 9PM.

I on the other hand CAN not sleep on the plane. I usually get the aisle seat and people walk by and the cart hits me in the elbow, etc. So I'm a mess at the other end.
I fly internationally all the time. Like every 5-6 months. Not every airline or plane hands out anything more than a pillow and blanket. Also, not every airline has the video in the back of the headrest in front of you. None of my United flights have had it. All of my Delta and Korean Air flights have had videos in the headrest and hand out the extra goodie bag with the slippers, blinder, toothbrush, tootpaste, etc.

Also, sometimes it is hard to sleep if the flight attendent insist on waking you up to sit your seat up at every meal or when the person behind you requests a special meal at a different time. etc.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 11:59 AM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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Good point-not all airlines are the greatest. Even certain plane models within the same airline differ.

One thing I did and I'm thrilled that I did- was a brought those soft thick comfy socks that you wear around the house and I brought a quilted twin comforter in one of the carryon's (not to mention snacks like dried fruit, gummy chews and granola bars)

The blanket and heavy socks came into good use because it can often be cold onboard. We ended up putting the thin airline blankets on our feet and the twin quilt spread out across the three of us and we felt more tucked in.

We sailed Princess and they have movies under the stars. My quilt ended up being so useful while watching movies (that and my hooded sweatshirt and thick socks). The wool blankets at MUTS on Princess are not warm enough.
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  #6  
Old September 1st, 2012, 12:13 PM
cjcruises cjcruises is offline
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Hi

Thanks for the responses

We are flying Air Canada. Our meal service is breakfast and we do have screens on the back of the seat in front of us.

My kids have flown several times, so the novelty of flying won't be too great, though they are pretty psyched about the trip, so I think that will have the adrenaline going. I haven't flown Air Canada on a long haul overnighter in almost 20 yrs, so I don't know what they offer in terms of pillow / blanket, etc.

I do remember on my last Can-Eur flight that they seemed to wake us regularly with announcements and food service.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 12:31 PM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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I'm really surprised that they won't have a dinner too on your 6PM flight. That seems odd but i'll take your word for it.

In that case- you'll have time to kill anyway before the flight- so better eat in the airport or it will be a long time before your next meal (and bring snacks that don't crush easily or take up too much room).
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Last edited by rebeccalouiseagain; September 1st, 2012 at 12:31 PM.
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  #8  
Old September 1st, 2012, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by cjcruises View Post
Hi

We'll be leaving for our cruise in less than 3 wks, flying Toronto-Barcelona. We leave Toronto at about 6 pm and arrive in Barcelona around 7 a.m.

We want our kids to fall asleep ASAP once we board the flight, as they'll only have a few hours to sleep. Our flight serves breakfast, so I figure they'll be awakened about 90 min (??) before landing.

When we land, their bodies (and ours) will think it's 2 a.m.!!!!

What have you tried to minimize jetlag and maximize in-flight sleep when travelling with children? (My kids are 11, 11, 9 -- in case it matters).

TIA
OP - you will also receive dinner on this flight, so quite doubtful your children will go to sleep until after dinner service is complete. Too noisy and disruptive.

I can't imagine children of this age easily going to sleep on a cramped plane at 6:00 anyway. You will all get a pillow and blanket, but suggest you get them all an eye mask and bring socks so,they can take their shoes off. Then, hope for the best.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjcruises View Post
Hi

We'll be leaving for our cruise in less than 3 wks, flying Toronto-Barcelona. We leave Toronto at about 6 pm and arrive in Barcelona around 7 a.m.

We want our kids to fall asleep ASAP once we board the flight, as they'll only have a few hours to sleep. Our flight serves breakfast, so I figure they'll be awakened about 90 min (??) before landing.

When we land, their bodies (and ours) will think it's 2 a.m.!!!!

What have you tried to minimize jetlag and maximize in-flight sleep when travelling with children? (My kids are 11, 11, 9 -- in case it matters).

TIA
It's only a 6 hour time difference between Toronto and Barcelona. It will be 1 a.m. Toronto time when you land. I doubt the kids will get much sleep at all. There will be food and beverage service until 7:30 pm and breakfast at 11:30 pm.

I try to schedule eastbound flights that leave around 10 or 11 pm so that we actually get some sleep.

Perhaps wake them up at 5 a.m. or so at home so that their bodies start to get adjusted to the new time.
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  #10  
Old September 1st, 2012, 02:42 PM
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It's only a 6 hour time difference between Toronto and Barcelona. It will be 1 a.m. Toronto time when you land. I doubt the kids will get much sleep at all. There will be food and beverage service until 7:30 pm and breakfast at 11:30 pm.

I try to schedule eastbound flights that leave around 10 or 11 pm so that we actually get some sleep.

Perhaps wake them up at 5 a.m. or so at home so that their bodies start to get adjusted to the new time.
This was the only flight we were able to book.... and we are from Halifax, which is an hour ahead of Toronto, so our bodies will be thinking it is 2 a.m. Thx
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  #11  
Old September 1st, 2012, 02:53 PM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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You will be fine. It will all work out. When you arrive in Barcelona you can get some sleep- whether you are heading to the ship or to a hotel.

Kids are very resilient and they adapt easily. Much more so than adults.

We flew to Madrid a couple years ago- thankfully the flight wasn't very full and my son actually was able to spread out over three seats. So he slept almost the entire flight. He was ready for action when we got there. I took a three hour nap and then went to bed around 10PM and for the rest of the trip we were both on European time. We had no problem whatsoever adjusting to the new time zone.
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Last edited by rebeccalouiseagain; September 1st, 2012 at 02:53 PM.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 02:55 PM
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We haven't flown transatlantic with our kids yet, but I vividly remember doing this trip myself at that age
What seemed to work best was to talk about the flight, how whatever sleep we got on the plane and to last us until a nap around 1pm the next day. We found about an hour or so of rest recharged us enough to keep going without messing up our sleep. I don't think my parents slept, but it did a world of good for me! Then it was early to bed and try to reset to our new time zone. We always had a fairly easy going first day in Europe, which also helped.
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  #13  
Old September 1st, 2012, 03:13 PM
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We just took my 3.5 year old abroad and he adjusted fine. Your kids can handle this like champs, I bet. Better to not stress out if they cannot sleep on the plane. If it were me, Id give them diphenhydramine at the start of the flight. We did not even do that with our little one.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 05:17 PM
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We flew from Boston to Barcelona with a plane change in Dublin overnight (changing at like 6am) with our daughter when she was 5, and she was fine.

In fact, she continually asks why I don't book overnights for all our flights, and I have to explain that the planes keep certain schedules, and say, flying to Alanta doesn't involve an overnight.

As another poster indicated, we also try to plan a light first day with either a nap or early to bed to help adjust to the new time zone.

Good luck with your trip and have fun in Europe!
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Old September 1st, 2012, 06:54 PM
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If they've never done it before, don't bother with the drugs. Drugs are better used only when needed, and you don't know if they're needed yet. They probably won't be, children are pretty adaptable, and (usually) much better at sleeping than adults. You'll have more problem than them, I dare say.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 08:28 PM
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I gave my older son Benedryl once on a plane and he stayed wide awake. I felt really bad about giving him a drug to try to make him sleep. Another time, I took some leftover Perocets from when I had my C-section with me on a flight. I thought they would make me sleep. Yikes- they made me goofy and more talkative than normal. Everyone one the plane knew me by the end of that trip.

Say NO to drugs.
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  #17  
Old September 2nd, 2012, 01:16 AM
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Everychild travels differently, we've done a handful of international with ours.. luckly they travel well on airplane and adjust well.

We always try and get them up early on travel day, that helps a bit. On international flights its hard to really get them down with in seat videos but we generally find they will go down for 3-4 hours after meal and movie they just naturally wind down.

The bigger challenge is keeping them from falling asleep the first 3 days once you arrive at your destination... must keep them moving, if you let them nap you are finished!
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 01:30 AM
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They will sleep if and when they are ready to. Try not to think about what time it is at home - its irrelevant. They will have plenty of movies/games to keep them occupied and the flight isn't THAT long. Avoid using medication to "settle" them as it often has the opposite effect!
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 05:15 PM
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We have flown overnight with our kids from Toronto to Europe 5 times in the last 3 years - all but one on Air Canada. The first time that we did an overnight flight our younger daughter had just turned 6. Generally our flights left later in the evening but I believe we had dinner and breakfast on all of them. Air Canada will give you a blanket and a small pillow but the kids and I bring our own (softer) blankets along as well.

What we have found works best for us is to drop our bags where we are staying and then go for a walk. The fresh air, daylight and exercise helps to give everyone a second wind. We never plan to do much on that first day knowing that everyone will be tired. We generally go to bed early the first night. After a couple of days everyone has usually adjusted to the time difference. As long as you have realistic expectations for the first couple of days of your trip and don't try to overdo it then they should be fine.


PS - we just returned from 2.5 weeks on the East Coast - I love Halifax!! You are lucky to live in such a beautiful city!!

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Old September 6th, 2012, 12:02 AM
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Default I did long-haul with a hyper 5 year old!

We did a long-haul flight this summer with our hyperactive 5 year old. We flew non-stop JFK to Athens, Greece. I was so worried, because my son is a really, really active kid. He would be your "worst case scenario" type child for a ten hour flight! I was prepared with lots of entertainment for him, and it was FINE.

The bottom line is, everyone is uncomfortable in cramped seats on a long-haul flight. I would not assume your kids will sleep enough to make a difference. If they sleep for most of the flight, great. If not, that's okay, as long as you bring some activities for them. I brought a DVD player with lots of movies, a back pack full of toys, and his security blanket. He slept about half of the ten hour flight.

In my opinion, the big challenge is when you arrive, and everyone (including you) is exhausted. There is just no way around that. I decided to give my son a small dose of benadryl (with my doctor's permission) AFTER we arrived in our hotel room in Greece. The whole family napped about three to four hours, and we all woke up refreshed and went out for a lovely dinner. The time adjustment after that was easy. DS was tired from the ordeal of travel and slept most of that night as well!
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