Achtung! Baby on board!

As I write sitting by the shore of Lake Garda with a white wine in hand and a sleeping baby, it’s easy to forget the pain of standing on the sweltering concourse in Verona covered in shit as the plane emptied of my fellow passengers….

The holiday was planned, booked, paid for. Bags were packed, double checked and packed again. Day trips were sorted, places of interest verified via good old trusty trip advisor, and even the train and bus timetables were located. We had left nothing to chance.

Nothing it seems other than a child who had a plane journey from hell.

Yes I have read the recent articles about people who apologise for their babies on flights. And the articles by those who say you shouldn’t apologise for crying on flights. I have even read those articles about people who apologise in advance via little bags of goodies. We didn’t do that. One we thought it was ridiculous and two we just didn’t think it was necessary.

How foolish.

We flew with Lufthansa – who were bloody brilliant. We had sensible flights times, we got to the airport early, we had a gin at the airport lounge and all was well. Or so we thought.

With two young children we boarded the flight first – hurray. We got our seats, we settled in and then just as we fastened our seatbelts Rita decided she didn’t like this whole plane thing after all. It’s worth mentioning at this point that to avoid flights that were too early or too late we had sensible mid-day flights. This meant a quick change in Germany which at the time of booking made perfect sense (neverafuckingain).

So the plane set off and so did Rita, screaming, scrambling, crying. All of your worst flying nightmares at once. Before we flew Gareth had feared this. I did not. I was naive.

As we were flying to Frankfurt there wasn’t a wealth of empathetic families on the plane and by that I mean we were the only one. Deathly silence pierced by Rita now reaching top note. Constantly. No stopping. Red-faced screechy madness. There was no settling her. Not the dummy. Not Peppa. Not chocolate biscuits. Not any of the usual tricks. No-one was speaking. Apart from Rita who to be fair was making enough noise for ten flights.


Finally the unfasten seatbelts sign came on and we could walk about and she calmed. And the wonderful Lufthansa staff who saved my sanity allowed us to sit in business class the rest of the way. Out of the way class it should be called. Out of everyone else’s way where the headstrong baby can patter about without disturbing the non-family groups.

Twice I refused the drinks trolley for fear of appearances – look at her with the baby AND on the wine. But the air steward who I think was our guardian angel insisted – and the wine was free.

What’s not to like?

As we landed in Frankfurt you would think the worst of this tale is over but no, it’s not.

I will pass over the metal detector madness.
I will also skim past the longest walk in the world carrying a baby (buggy went with luggage) and a 5yo in tow – from one end of Stutgart airport to the other: which is the longest airport ever. I challenge you – walk it. It’s horrendous. We ended up filming the hilarity.

The second flight we were ready for and armed with jelly babies. Rita was calm, eating, happy, no problems with take off – phew. Gareth took her to business class and all had a joyful time.

More free wine.

Just prior to landing I went to the front and sat with her. I fastened us in and all was well. And then came the unmistakeable smell of what can only be called #anappyevent – the jelly babies, the smug little bastards had came back to haunt us – or more specifically, me.

What could I do? We were coming into land. All I could do was sit it out. We were in business class again – Lufthansa you rock, so no one else was around apart from the air steward with the wrinkled nose but even he was managing to be polite. As we came into land it only got even more hideous and there was no disguising the stench, and I knew the worst was to come.

As the fasten seatbelts signs came off and we landed, I stood up to find that unmistakable yellowy brown patch on my lovely new maxi skirt. I tried to sweep Rita up into my arms for damage limitation and smeared the shit all over my trusty faithful favourite black top.


We made it onto the concourse and sweating out of my mind in the Italian heat I hitched the skirt into my knickers to hide the stain but not the smell. I considered changing her on the Tarmac but it was so hot and sticky and shitty. We all got on the bus – a very short way – to the airport (like 3 mins max) and I will admit the smell was bad but really, who cares when it’s smeared on you from knee to boob? Er – the man who hand his arm up to his nose the whole way clearly did. Plus 5yo asking loudly ‘has Rita done a poo?’ possibly gave the game away even in our entirely non-English environment.


We got to the airport and foresight had told me to pack spare clothes in the hand luggage. God knows why but thank God we did. We hot footed it to the loo where we both had a festival wash (all over wet wipe) and a change of clothes. We emerged triumphant only to be told by Gareth that the stench was still awful and the original clothes had to be ditched in nearest bin – ugh.

Since then it’s been plain sailing. All we have to do now is face the two flights home…

Update – flights home went without any form of chaos. All was settled and well!

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Also find me on Twitter and Instagram at @notjustrsmother


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