Eilidh and I flew from Edinburgh to Malaga on Jet2 (Mr H had left a week earlier, via Bucharest to catch up with some friends). The plane was full of people off on their holidays. How different to getting on a plane to Manila! Most people are returning home to the Philippines or are going there for work.
It was the first time I was flying with Eilidh on my own – she behaved very well on the flight. It was still an interesting challenge, though, getting from the security checks at Edinburgh to the arrivals hall in Malaga without an additional pair of hands. At check-in I was told that my hand baggage was too big to take as hand baggage and would need to be checked in. That was a blessing in disguise. It meant I had less to carry through the airport, onto the plane and off the other side. I still had a pram, a baby, her change bag and another sneaky bag with my laptop and purse in.The first challenge was getting through security itself. In the Philippines I’d been able to wheel the pram, with Eilidh in it, round the security checkpoints, go through the metal detector and pick her up at the other side. It seems things aren’t as relaxed in the UK. I was asked to fold her pram so that it could go through the X-ray. I said that it was quite a big effort to do that, so they let me wheel it through whole, but without Eilidh. I then noticed that Eilidh’s change bag was on the table that indicated it needed a further search. Luckily all they needed to do was re-scan my iPad as I’d forgotten to take it out the bag.The next challenge was trying to buy a snack for my journey in WHSmith. I was flying on a July morning, peak holiday season and it was busy. There isn’t much room for manoeuver in the aisles at the best of times, never mind when there are hoards of people choosing which bag of crisps to buy. There isn’t much room in the self-service checkout area either. Luckily when it was my turn, a manned checkout was available.
Initially the boarding gate had been really close to all the shops. But it moved. To the furthest possible point in the airport. And then of course, Eilidh decided to go to the toilet. I won’t go into too many details, but I needed to change her outfit too. The boarding time was getting closer and closer. The baby changing facilities at Edinburgh airport are excellent. The only thing missing (they had a play pen, changing tables, a comfy chair to breastfeed in) was a loo for the mum or dad to use. This meant I needed to find a loo for me, which was big enough to take the pram into. Phew, a disabled one was free. I don’t know how I would have managed to go to the toilet in a plane, with a baby.
As I arrived at the gate, the Jet2 staff recognised me and helped me down to the plane. One person carried the pram, another carried my bags and I carried Eilidh in her baby carrier. The Jet2 staff were extremely friendly and helpful throughout my whole interaction.
Once on board, I started making myself comfortable. Not easy on a tiny seat, with a baby. And the flight was full, so no way of stretching out onto other seats. Another challenge was going to be eating the snack I had bought from WHSmith. I hadn’t had any breakfast, so I really needed to eat this snack. It’s amazing how dexterous you become when you have a baby. I just managed to eat the sandwich, only making a small amount of mess. I kept the crisps until later. And I’m glad to report that my pre-flight toilet break kept me going until we reached our apartment in Malaga.
Eilidh ate a little, slept a little and sucked her toes, a lot, on the flight (sort of like in the picture above, but this wasn’t taken on the plane!). This caused much amusement for the passengers around us. She also found the dangly bits on the lady-next-to-us’ Louis Vuitton bag very entertaining. Luckily the lady was charmed enough by Eilidh at this point, to let her play with the dangly bits. She may have been less amenable had Eilidh started to chew them.
We had checked in 6 pieces of luggage in Edinburgh: a travel cot, car seat, pram (in 2 pieces), a 30kg bag and a 17kg bag. How was I going to get these off the baggage belt, whilst holding a baby? I strapped Eilidh into her baby carrier, positioned myself at one end of the baggage belt and hoped for the best. Standing next to me was a friendly looking couple, with a strong looking man. As I saw my 30kg bag approaching I casually asked if he wouldn’t mind getting it for me. I didn’t tell him how much it weighed. He obliged and I managed to get the rest myself. Typically the pram was last, so it all had to be done with Eilidh in her pouch on my front. She seemed to enjoy it.
I then had to wheel the overflowing luggage cart, with the car seat precariously balanced atop it, to the arrivals hall whilst towing the pram behind me. I don’t think it’s ever taken me so long to get out of an airport. But we did it. And had someone to meet us in the arrivals hall, thankfully.
From there, the next part of our adventure could begin. Living in Malaga. We arrived to typical summer holiday weather – clear blue skies, bright sunshine. It felt (and still feels, 4 weeks on) like we were on holiday. But this is where we’re going to live.
More next time.