Luxury Family Adventure
Martin and Robyn decided to embark on an amazing luxury family adventure, leaving their home town of Cape Town, South Africa to fly to over 12 countries in just under a year, with their little girl Ava. I interviewed Martin to find the low down on his experience and which airlines he preferred for family travel.
Carrie Bradley:”How old was Ava and how many countries did you visit?
Martin Diessner:”We left when she was 5 weeks old, and travelled for just under a year. If I remember correctly, she was on over 35 flights in her first year and visited more than 12 countries during that year of travelling.”
CB:”What airlines did you use and which was your favourite and why?”
MD: “Most of the trip was booked through Star Alliance and we travelled a fair bit on Lufthansa which was great, especially on long-haul. We found them accommodating and helpful. The best part with Lufthansa is their German lounges or in fact the First Class terminal in Frankfurt – its more like a hotel including a massive spa/bath centre which Ava enjoyed a lot! Inter-European travel sucks pretty much on every airline, as the seats even in business class are very narrow, and there is usually no First Class.
Singapore Airlines provides a great service and was my favourite. They provide a great business class product, are very family friendly and professional. The most disappointing travel was probably on United Airlines, due to the fact that their planes were very old especially inter-state side.”
CB: “Did you specifically choose airlines for their child facilities, comfort etc?”
MD:”Not really – we decided on Star Alliance as they have a super comfortable booking engine and had a great offer for around the world trip – 2 adults and 1 infant for one year with 14 stops or so for just under $40k.”
CB: “Did you use the airline bassinets or the aircraft seats for Ava? Which worked out better and why?”
MD: With Lufthansa the bassinet was perfect, although we got lucky that first class was not always fully booked, so in the end Ava was given a spare seat or even full size bed at many occasions. With both she slept very well.”
CB:”What items were most useful to pack in your hand luggage to entertain or calm Ava?
MD: “Bottle of course. On the early part of the trip, she was so small so didn’t need many toys or much entertaining. The rest was all available on the plane -plenty of “new” stuff from the seat itself that a baby loves exploring and in some cases even ‘taking apart’!
CB:”Did you encounter any issues when flying with Ava and if so how did you deal with them? i.e illness,meltdowns etc.”
MD:”Not really – she was a pleasure to fly with. Mostly slept through – I guess the vibrations of the plane make a child fall asleep easily”.
“Even if you don’t breastfeed, use this as an excuse for long immigration queues.”
CB:”What would be your top 3 tips for flying with a baby on a world trip?”
- MD: “1) Do it when the baby is as little as possible – she/he will sleep for most of the time. The older they are,the more trouble!
- 2) Even if you don’t breast feed, use this as an excuse for long immigration queues especially the United States.
- 3) Insist on taking the baby stroller(we used car seat combo Maxicosi with Bugaboo) on to the plane, if you are flying in First Class. Our worst scenario was carrying child/luggage around airport, and having to wait for ages upon arrival for it to be delivered.”
CB:”Would you do it again?”
MD: “Yep, although now we have another one and a third one in the making. The more children, the more hectic travelling is. The attraction of foreign countries to them is probably less important at younger ages, then when they can actually experience other cultures and places properly. The beaches in South Africa are as nice (if not nicer) than those elsewhere, so at the moment we lie low and rather have the kids enjoy their (15!!) cousins around.”
Flying with more than one child? Then read Selina’s guide to flying with four under 8 years old!
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