Travelling with Kids: mutiny at 30,000 feet



Last month, for the first time in his life, my nine-year-old son had to make do without a window seat on a plane. This happened thanks to his mother who, having booked tickets from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai with Etihad Airways at the last minute, forgot this all-important detail while hurrying to complete the online transaction.

Travel Travelling With Kids

Getaways take on whole new challenges when there are children involved. Our globetrotting parents share their triumphs and mistakes when taking their brood abroad.

I didn't find out about my unpardonable oversight until we had boarded the plane and were shown to seats beside a smug teenager ensconced by the window. While I stared in utter joy at my aisle seat - my first in a long, long time, because Calvin, of course, always gets the window and my husband the aisle (on account of his lanky frame, he claims) - my son plonked himself down in the middle seat and looked at me with betrayal in his eyes.

It was instant mutiny.

He refused to eat or drink or talk to me or even accept the toy the stewardess handed out. He just sat there, either reading the safety instructions card or memorising trivia from his battered, dog-eared airplane guide. The only time he looked up was during take-off, when he turned his attention to the window and sighed as though the very purpose of living had been taken away from him.

We landed in Mumbai in the midst of a heavy downpour. This made Calvin cheer up considerably because his vision of a rain-soaked holiday, complete with giant umbrellas and rubber boots and frogs, was going to come true. But before we disembarked, he made me solemnly swear to bag him a window seat on the Etihad Guest website 24 hours before our flight back to Abu Dhabi.

"Yes, of course," I said sincerely, and we went on to enjoy two blissful weeks at my parents' suburban Mumbai home. It rained non-stop the entire time and, because the street was flooded and I didn't want Calvin disappearing down an open manhole (which happens a lot to unsuspecting pedestrians in Mumbai during the monsoons), my mum and dad took to accompanying Calvin to the roof every afternoon, where he got to stomp about in puddles to his heart's content before traipsing downstairs for hot chocolate and cookies.

A day before we were to fly back to Abu Dhabi, I tried to check-in online and get that window seat, only to find out that the flight was operated by Jet Airways and that the airline currently does not offer web check-in for passengers on codeshares.

I broke the news cautiously to Calvin, who was staring raptly at a large frog that had climbed onto our bedroom windowsill.

"It's OK, mum," he said, when I'd finished explaining. "I bet if we ask nicely at the airport, they'll be happy to give us a window seat. And even if they don't, it won't matter, because I'll have this frog to keep me company. Now, say 'hello' to Hoppy."

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

RESULT

Brazil 2 Croatia 0
Brazil: 
Neymar (69'), Firmino (90'+3)    

Fixtures (6pm UAE unless stated)

Saturday Bournemouth v Leicester City, Chelsea v Manchester City (8.30pm), Huddersfield v Tottenham Hotspur (3.30pm), Manchester United v Crystal Palace, Stoke City v Southampton, West Bromwich Albion v Watford, West Ham United v Swansea City

Sunday Arsenal v Brighton (3pm), Everton v Burnley (5.15pm), Newcastle United v Liverpool (6.30pm)

Another way to earn air miles

In addition to the Emirates and Etihad programmes, there is the Air Miles Middle East card, which offers members the ability to choose any airline, has no black-out dates and no restrictions on seat availability. Air Miles is linked up to HSBC credit cards and can also be earned through retail partners such as Spinneys, Sharaf DG and The Toy Store.

An Emirates Dubai-London round-trip ticket costs 180,000 miles on the Air Miles website. But customers earn these ‘miles’ at a much faster rate than airline miles. Adidas offers two air miles per Dh1 spent. Air Miles has partnerships with websites as well, so booking.com and agoda.com offer three miles per Dh1 spent.

“If you use your HSBC credit card when shopping at our partners, you are able to earn Air Miles twice which will mean you can get that flight reward faster and for less spend,” says Paul Lacey, the managing director for Europe, Middle East and India for Aimia, which owns and operates Air Miles Middle East.

Squads

Sri Lanka Tharanga (c), Mathews, Dickwella (wk), Gunathilaka, Mendis, Kapugedera, Siriwardana, Pushpakumara, Dananjaya, Sandakan, Perera, Hasaranga, Malinga, Chameera, Fernando.

India Kohli (c), Dhawan, Rohit, Rahul, Pandey, Rahane, Jadhav, Dhoni (wk), Pandya, Axar, Kuldeep, Chahal, Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, Thakur.

Bareilly Ki Barfi
Directed by: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Starring: Kriti Sanon, Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao
Three and a half stars

Zodi & Tehu: Princes Of The Desert

Director: Eric Barbier

Starring: Youssef Hajdi, Nadia Benzakour, Yasser Drief

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices