Mothers Thando Moleketi-Williams and Shiela Ho share tips on flying with children
Entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom Thando Moleketi-Williams, 36, says she took one-year-old Bathandwa on his first flight when he was five months old, and he has since flown numerous times.
Model and café owner Shiela Ho (33) first flew with Ethan when he was five months old too.
Shiela says on their most recent trip to Bali with Ethan and toddler Kira, she didn’t pack enough formula.“On our flight back, we were on the last two bottles. It’s the worst knowing you might not have enough formula to feed your children. Next time I will pack triple the amount and also I recommend packing some into all your bags, in case one gets lost.”
When it comes to travelling with a baby, Thando and Shiela agree it’s all about what you pack and how you prepare to entertain your child.
“I prepare snacks, pack his favourite toys, and books to read to him. Now that he’s a bit older, I’ll start adding activity sticker books. The buttons on the handsets and arm sets also keep him occupied,” says Thando.
“I fill a bag with toys for each of my little ones for when they get tired of the onboard entertainment programme. Also my husband and I make sure our phones are fully charged so the kids can play games on them,” says Shiela
What items do you never travel without?
Thando: Ergo Baby Omni 360 carrier, meals, snacks, water; antibacterial wipes; a nappy bag that includes the basics plus sunscreen, teething gel, a wet bag to store wet clothes, a change of clothes, sun hat and swaddle; sample sizes of baby’s bath-time products; medication; and a change of clothes for the parents/caregiver.
Shiela: spare pacifiers, milk formula, spare clothes, nappies, wipes, a sanitary bag, and their favourite stuffed animal to cuddle.
What suitcase do you use for the children?
Thando: I have a lightweight four-wheeler I can manoeuvre with one hand and lift off the conveyor belt with a baby in a carrier.
Shiela: Hands-down the Samsonite Cosmolite family. The quality is exquisite (and it’s super light. The kids have their favourite, themed luggage plus a Happy Sammie backpack for each. The integrated TSA lock is also convenient because we’ve lost so many locks in the past.
Top travel hack?
Thando: “Always do a fresh nappy change just before landing (between 20 and 10 minutes). Just take your time and be methodical about your approach when going through security checks.” Read her Instagram post for more detail.
Shiela: “We use our hand luggage (Samsonite Cosmolite) as a leg rest for our son when he’s going to sleep.”
What do you wish airlines would implement?
Thando: “Certain international airlines request parents with young kids to board along with assisted passengers before everyone else. This allows us to get settled and I wish this was a standard for all local and international flights.
Shiela: More entertainment – beyond the screen – for the kids.
Most child-friendly airport?
Thando: Hong Kong airport with all the travellators, that make the walk feel lighter. Any airport with trains between terminals is a blessing for tired feet.
Shiela: Singapore Airport. When I travelled alone with my son, the flight attendant helped me a lot by taking him while I used the washroom. The airport has a garden, indoor jungle gyms, butterfly garden, a futuristic slide and the biggest indoor fountain called Jewel.