99% of the time I’m flying with my kids. In general Mesdames Jetlag & Mayhem (ages 7 and 5) are becoming easier to handle. Yet hanging about at the airport still isn’t that much fun. There’s almost always a fight about who gets to pull the suitcase, screams of ‘I’m thirsty’ and constant hassling from me about the importance of going to the toilet BEFORE we get on our longhaul flight. It doesn’t help that whenever we fly from Hong Kong (where we live) to London (where we are from), the flights depart at midnight. Making for two very cranky children and one adult in dire need of a Bloody Mary.
- Carry a stylish bag! Flying solo is the time to dress the way you want to look. No backpacks for me, I’m toting my favourite impractical bag with limited space and no wipe clean exterior.
- Speed through immigration. As I’m a resident of Hong Kong, I have a HK ID card although my kid don’t get theirs until they are 11. Usually I’m found queuing impatiently in the Residents queue, tutting at family’s who are taking too long (usually mine). What a pleasure to whiz through the electronic gates, impractical bag slung over my shoulder.
- Airports are great places to buy make-up, an activity I partake in about once every two years. Prior to arriving at HK Airport, I put in a quick request to my make-up artist friend as to what I should stock up on. So much fun browsing the shelves!
- Ditto for sunglasses
- Ditto for perfume
- At HK Airport the Disney Store is cleverly located just after Immigration meaning it is quite difficult to avoid. This time I got to walk right past it with no whinging children.. result!
- Smile! I am never normally found smiling in an airport. I’m normally frowning at a small person. This time I was happy and smiling at everyone. Even children.
- Get drunk! There’s something about the combination of airport lights and the thought of your upcoming flight, which legitimises drinking from 9am. When I’m with the kids it’s difficult to find somewhere to down a glass of wine before a flight. Plus I need to have my wits about me. On my own is a different story. There are so many great drinking options at the airport from the free whiskey tasters to wine at Pizza Express. Or if you’re really lucky, free plonk in the lounge. In fact I apologise to all my friends who I was drunkenly whatsapping as I sat onboard my flight to London.
- Use your air miles to upgrade. I normally never think to do this as a) I never enough air miles for the 3 of us and b) the chances of having 3 upgrade seats are rare. On my return from London to Hong Kong I decided to ask if there might be any miles seats available at check-in. I had already booked my Premium Economy seat with air miles so when I got the chance to upgrade to Upper on Virgin it was a double whammy. The only sad part was that I hadn’t arrived at the airport with extensive amount of time to take full advantage of the lounge. But it was still awesome.
Do you ever get to experience life at the airport without kids? What sort of things to do you take advantage of?