We all know that airline food can be a bit hit and miss. And when you are travelling long haul with the 'hips' you need to make sure they are fed and watered appropriately, however it can be a bit tricky. The key is, just like they say in the brownies, (or was it the cub scouts?)...be prepared.
Recently, I've experienced some brilliant airline food, however having chosen to fly with mainly Asian airlines such as Singapore and Malaysian airlines, perhaps that is why. Lots of yummy asian dishes and lots of choice. I do have to draw the line at noodle soup for breakfast though. Normally I would love this dish, but having it for brekkie just doesn't do it for me (especially when its actually probably about midnight in real time.)
My best airline meal was definitely Austrian Airlines Business class, where everything was beautifully cooked to order. and my worst, and most forgettable was Aerolineas Argentinas where they ran out of food by the time they got to us, so we didn't get anything!
Anyway, back to travelling with the 'hips'....as we mentioned before, preparation is key, and one thing I strongly advise is to make sure that you have contacted your travel agent / airline to book the appropriate special meals required. If not, at the very latest, contact the airline a week before travel and book an infant meal or a child meal. The great thing about booking a 'special meal' is that usually the flight attendants serve these meals first, which is great for kids. Best to keep them happy. Best not keep them waiting. This also means the parent can assist with the meal before their own meal comes. A great tip is to actually ask the flight attendant to save a specific meal for you (so they don't run out like my experience on Aerolineas Argentinas), and then you can really help the kids / infant with their meal. Then just press the buzzer and they will come and serve you, and take the empty kids trays away. Again, these meals can be hit and miss, but generally kids meals are not too unhealthy, and quite plentiful.
Be warned, infant meals again will be provided (if previously booked), however may not be age appropriate. My 12 month old was given 4-6 month old pureed food as the only option. So be prepared. The best alternative is to take along a few packs of Rafferty's Garden. The 'hips' just love to suck / squeeze the yummy food from the very handy tubes, and even older babies won't mind these as they are just so delicious.
Most airlines on long haul flights will also provide snacks. They are either offered between meals, or else, just head up to the kitchen area, and they usually have a basket of sandwiches, rolls, crisps, fruit etc for you to consume whenever you want. This is a perfect option for the 'hips' who may not have eaten their meal and need a snack. Of course, you must bring your own healthy alternative aswell; sultanas are great, as are a few favourite treats.
Make sure your 'hips' are well hydrated. Water really is the only drink they need onboard, however you can get milk from the flight attendants. Again, be prepared. Sometimes, if they are busy, they may not be able to warm up milk in a hurry. Try and get young 'hips' to get used to cold milk before travelling.
A few more tips;
Bring a bib. Pelican bibs are the best as they are plastic, so easily wipeable, and fold up, and also catch all the food before it goes all over the floor.
Bring wet wipes, and lots of them.
Zip lock bags are really handy for putting snacks in, or using to put bibs in etc.
Bring something to suck on for take off and landing.
And finally, a change of clothes for all.
Oh and enjoy, especially if its an Asian business class flight (as if...)
Image: Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net (biscuits)