Anyone want to sit next to a 2 year old?

As seems to be typical of our lives now, we always end up leaving at least half an hour later than planned. No matter how hard we try to be on time, one of the kids needs an emergency nappy change, is hungry, sick or whatever but we’re always running half an hour behind. Generally I always build this into our plans so that it doesn’t matter if we’re late.

This didn’t quite work on our recent journey back to London.

We set off 45mins late (don’t ask why!) but I had allowed us an extra hour for our journey so no great shakes. About half way to Avignon airport we had a chorus of I’m hungry, I’m hungry mummy repeatedly, so we stopped off & got a sandwich for the toddler, changed nappies, fed baby with milk etc.

We arrived at Avignon airport 45mins before the plane was due to leave, much to the panic of the checkin lady who flapped about saying the plane was boarding and we had to go through immediately. Having deposited myself & the nippers in the terminal, my hubby ran back to the car to collect the cases & bring the car seats.

Air France lady flapped some more asking for our baggage which I explained was coming (the airport is very small & the car park is less than 1 minute away). She checked us in waving ‘no need’ at our passports and flapped some more about our bags. An official looking man came over & I worried what he was going to say. Nothing in fact, he just smiled and as soon as our bags came in, he whisked them off without weighing them.

Allez vite she cried, I was of course getting a bit stressed now, my hubby wondered what all the fuss was about as there were at least 30 people milling around with tickets in the terminal & there was only 1 plane scheduled for take-off that day. But with Madame insisting we rushed through security (as fast as you can when you have 2 young kids & keep setting the alarm off). Hubby now realised he still had hire car key & had to run back to deposit that…phew.

Once through the other side (or should I say through a doorway) we were in the departure lounge which had the doors open straight onto the apron & the plane was sat there ready for boarding. As everyone else was leisurely boarding at their own pace I checked our boarding cards and discovered the flappy lady had only gone and put us all on different rows with our 2 year old sat on her own 3 rows away from either of us. She’s only been off my knee 2 months and now she has to sit on her own. I think not!

Of course my hubby went mad at this point, having been pushed frantically through security only to find everyone else chilling out and then to discover the so called ‘family grouping policy’ appeared to mean ‘somewhere on the same plane’.

On boarding I calmly explained the situation to the stewardess who said she’d sort it out once everyone else had boarded & not to worry. She couldn’t understand why they had allocated these seats especially as we weren’t the last people to check in.

True to her word, all was sorted and we took off happily seated together as a family. I do wonder though what the people would have thought if they’d been sat next to a random 2 year old for take-off! Not surprisingly they happily switched seats with us.

Our lesson learnt though, whilst the French airports are tiny & quick to get through we shouldn’t cut it quite so fine, especially with baggage. We normally don’t get stressed when travelling but this has confirmed in future we need to allow 2 hours extra - 1 hour for being late setting off & 1 hour for stopping on the way.

Now travelling backwards & forwards has become almost a whole day’s effort when it used to be such a quick hop…and soon there will be 3 little ones…now I am scared at the thought of that!