Can you answer my questions about flying with children?

(23 Posts)
BuzzardBirdBloodBath Thu 03-Oct-13 16:32:24

I can recommend the inflatable BubbleBum booster seats. A doddle to use and take up very little room when not inflated.
I don't know if Jet2 fly to your destination but I can tell you that they seat you next to your DC's even if you haven't paid for preference seating. We flew with them this year and we were on a French plane so maybe have a look? They were also cheaper than Ryanair for us.
I would think you would manage well with 2 hold bags as long as the allowance isn't something like 15kg and a hand bag each is a good idea.

"Lapin daydreams about a BA flight on a plane with shiny black seats, and those magic words, complimentary gin refreshments"

Eurotraveller on BA is not at all bad all things considered and you receive snacks and a drink too.

noramum Thu 03-Oct-13 16:09:16

ShoeWhore: Germany

homebythesea Thu 03-Oct-13 11:14:01

On the train you can get up and walk about and there is the view to admire etc etc. it may be only 1.5 hrs flight but when you add the 2 hours in the airport including hellish security etc plus waiting time for your baggage at the other end and the fact that airports tend to be further away from where you want to be then you might find there is little difference time wise door to door

ShoeWhore Thu 03-Oct-13 10:47:35

nora what country was that in? We had a very bad experience in Cyprus and saw some awful car seats in Spain (thankfully had taken our own that time) but in France we got great seats 2 of which were brand new and still in their original packaging! It is a bit of a lottery though I agree.

ShoeWhore Thu 03-Oct-13 10:45:46

We've had good experiences of hiring car seats in France but I think we booked with Hertz. However I would really recommend the Trunki boostapak - got some last year as they cost roughly the amount we'd have been charged to hire car seats! The dcs loved them. (They are a little on the heavy side but our 5 and 6 yos were so excited by them that they carried them anyway grin )

I usually book 3 bags between 5 of us.

noramum Thu 03-Oct-13 10:43:46

I would never again hire a car seat. For over 4s you only get a booster. The rest - we had written confirmation from the hire station not just the company and a verbal one on the phone the day before - no seat, then we were offered a broken seat.

They had to search their whole depot to find one. We spend over an hour sorting this out in our home country so we had no language problems. It was also a wellknown company we just several times before.

We have for DD, now 6, a Boostapak which doubles as a bagpack. Not a lot of storage space but quite good for travelling.

Suitcases - we normally take three for the three of us. I just refuse to compromise and as we don't go to hot countries we need waterproofs, shoes, coats, games, books, activity stuff etc. We also take a laptop to watch DVDs.

LapinDeBois Thu 03-Oct-13 10:38:50

Thanks for all your advice. More questions.... I've just checked Ryanair again and the flights (to Limoges) have gone down £150 - now £467 for 4 flights. Is this usual? I sort of assumed that once flights were released the prices only went up... Now even more unsure. Should I snap these up, or does the fact that they dropped mean they might drop further, or others might drop? <Lapin daydreams about a BA flight on a plane with shiny black seats, and those magic words, complimentary gin refreshments>. I don't know why I feel like such a novice - I used to fly a lot pre-kids hmm.

AmazingDisgrace, that's funny, someone else mentioned train to me today. I'm not sure. We've done it once, down to Provence, and it was lovely in some ways, but I didn't like the fact that you keep your luggage with you. It was a real bunfight trying to cram the cases on the train, and that was only with two of us... Also it was a bit of a drag lugging the cases across Paris for the change over (though Lille was easy on the way back). And wouldn't the kids get more bored on the train compared with a one and a half hour flight? Interesting thought though. Any further convincing arguments grin?

AmazingDisgrace Wed 02-Oct-13 23:11:39

Where are you travelling from? If possible I'd get the Eurostar to Paris then the TGV onwards. A bit like in the UK, SNCF the French rail operator release seats 3mths beforehand and their Prems (advance purchase) seats can be a serious bargain. We (2 adults, 2 youth -12-26yrs and 1 child) got Paris to Perpignan in SW France for €140 one way. Eurostar release their fares 4 mths in advance and to get the best deal you need to be on it and booking that as soon as they come out. SNCF update theirs at midnight French time so 1am here but well worth it..no worries about luggage etc

1stMrsF Wed 02-Oct-13 20:12:30

Bubblebums for boosters. They pack flat in your case then whip out on the other side and inflate. We took them on hols this year for our 4yo twins and they were great.

We also packed 4 bags for 4 adults and 2 children, distributing the kids stuff around all the bags. This was a welcome change after having to take so many nappies and dining boosters and buggies and other crap the last two years...

We always book seats together, it just takes the angst out of it for us.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Wed 02-Oct-13 12:01:09

Take your own booster seats. My girls are about the same age as yours and usually use high back seats but we take booster seats on holiday.

I have never prebooked seats and we have always been sat together. But then I have never flown Ryanair...

We usually take 2 medium suitcases and 2 little cases, The last couple of years we have been with BA so we have been able to put them in the hold but other times, with Easyjet, we have taken them on as hand luggage.

Crutchlow35 Tue 01-Oct-13 17:33:17

buy the children or get from ebay trunki boostapak. It is a rucksack and car seat in one.

Artandco Tue 01-Oct-13 11:05:54

Book car seats with car hire- makes life easier

Max x2 suitcases all children's in one , adults in one. Children's will have space left for anything you buy/ toys you want to take . That means each adult can take one case and one childs hand or one adult with cases one watching children. More than x2 cases won't fit in hire car easily either

Artandco Tue 01-Oct-13 11:05:34

Book car seats with car hire- makes life easier

Max x2 suitcases all children's in one , adults in one. Children's will have space left for anything you buy/ toys you want to take . That means each adult can take one case and one childs hand or one adult with cases one watching children. More than x2 cases won't fit in hire car easily either

gybegirl Tue 01-Oct-13 10:59:03

Just a note on other car hire companies' car seats, they show high back boosters on the booking screen, you ring and confirm a high backed booster, you then show up and get given a seat-only booster. Europcar I hate you. That's why we always take out own smile.

gybegirl Tue 01-Oct-13 10:54:18

I decided a while ago that holidays with kids are, if finacially possible, about making things easy for yourself. Otherwise by the time you've got to your destination you may have saved £100 but you're all ready to kill each other.

Anyhow my thoughts!

I've used holiday autos for the last few years and they've been great. Even had a free upgrade this year! Don't order the smallest car if you can help it. Don't think you'll be able to pick up your car half an hour earlier than agreed (an issue if your flight times take you over another day car hire) you'll just be sat there for half an hour with two small, hot, bored children.

I do take our own car seats. It's an extra £40 total I think with Ryanair. Holiday autos only provide you with little boosters and I don't see why being on holiday suddenly should change my view on car safety! It's really no hassle taking your own.

Yes yes to seat reservations. Not being to together would be a nightmare - i've seen them do it to people.

Ryanair are great in my opinion. They are cheap and reliable and if you pay extra for the priority boarding can get seats no problem. I'm unwilling to pay an extra £500 to be smiled at grin. However, cost your flights including all the charges so you know what saving your making before you book.

Take as many bags as your comfortable with. We took three hold bags this year for 9 days camping. Again, I am not one of the 'fit it all in a carry on' brigade. I recommend booking two bags. You can always add a third via their website so long as you haven't checked in on line already.

About the booking:
If dates are flexible on things then have a good look around first for flights. Sign up to the holiday autos emails - they often have deals like free extra driver etc. These deals don't last long so book when you can.

Car sick kids? - beg/borrow/purchase in car DVDs and take them with you. You might be happy looking at the view but at 4 and 7 your kids will be complaining and you'll be getting stressed if it's a long journey the other end.

Ryanair will not assist you if anything goes wrong with regards to the flights. They are also a real stickler for the rules on baggage and printing off boarding passes prior to arriving at the airport. If you follow all their rules to the letter you will not fall foul of them. They may be cheap but they are not always cheerful and many pax do fall foul of their wide range of charges.

They also do not fly to Toulouse.

kilmuir Tue 01-Oct-13 10:25:29

Avoid ryanair, hideous.

LapinDeBois Tue 01-Oct-13 10:23:26

We're going to Dordogne/Lot border, so hopefully flying to either Limoges or Toulouse. BA flights are currently £1050, compared with Ryanair's £600, so still quite a difference even allowing for charges. I'm hoping to fly Easyjet, as their charges are more reasonable, and I loathe Ryanair, but they don't release their flights for another couple of weeks, so we'll have to see. Interesting about Holiday Autos. We've had good experiences with them, but haven't used them for about ten years, so maybe they've gone downhill.

Ireallymustbemad Tue 01-Oct-13 09:09:03

We tend to take 3 bags for 4 of us but mine are 12 and 9 so their clothes are bigger!

Car seat wise I always used to take our own. Car seats don't tend to take up baggage allowance. I would go for lightweight boosters though.

homebythesea Tue 01-Oct-13 09:04:30

If there is a washing machine in your villa you can take half as many clothes as you think you'll need. Bear in mind also that most of the day you will just be in swimmers anyway- you won't wear many clothes IYSWIM!

What part of France are you intending to fly to?.

1. Would only take a booster seat for your youngest child. Holiday Autos have had very mixed reviews online, would also check out other car hire places like AVIS or HERTZ as well.

2. Do you really have to use Ryanair?. Is there no other airline you can use instead?. Once you've added on all their extra charges and fees it would probably be cheaper to use a "full service" carrier instead.

3. Other carriers like BA have a far more generous baggage allowance on shorthaul flights and they do not charge you to put such a case in the hold.

LapinDeBois Mon 30-Sep-13 22:36:41

I am about to book flights for a holiday in France next summer. Four of us travelling - me, DH and two boys aged nearly 7 and nearly 4. We have never flown with the kids before, and I am feeling a bit unsure of various things, and trying to avoid some of the ridiculous excess charges that seem to have appeared in the last few years since I flew!! So, can you tell me...

1) Car seats. Am I better to take seats with me or hire them from the car hire company? ATM I only use little boosters for occasional journeys - most of the time they're in high-back seats. But am I being too precious? Will probably be booking via Holiday Autos if that makes any difference.

2) Seat reservations. I'm kind of assuming this is essential, but it makes me really cross how much (particularly) Ryanair charge for this. If I turned up for a budget flight without booking a seat allocation in advance, and with a three year old child, would they really seat us separately? Not worth the risk, I guess...

3) Packing. I know you save lots of money by booking hold bags in advance, but how many do I need? Two week holiday, pretty much guaranteed warm weather if not mega-hot (S of France), villa plus swimming, but not beach. I'm thinking two hold bags plus a piece of hand luggage each. Is that enough? Excessive?

If anyone has any other tips (particularly about the booking stage - I've got a while to worry about the actual travelling!), I'd be really grateful.

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