Travelling… it's not child's play

So mine and Laura’s wedding is now out of the way and thanks for bearing with me while I’ve been away.

I’m currently in the final stages of planning our honeymoon to South Africa and, after much to-ing and fro-ing it looks like it is coming together.

We fly out tomorrow night to Cape Town, have four nights there – including one day where we go diving with great white sharks – followed by three days in the wine region.

When we come back, we plan to walk off some of the good life with a three-day hike from Cape Town to Cape Point on a new hiking trail that has just opened, the Hoerikwaggo Trail. The trail is built on ancient paths taken by the Khoisan and is already being compared to Peru’s Inca Trail.

We’ll be following this with a trip from Cape Town to Jo’burg on the Premier Classe train, the cheaper alternative to the super-luxury Blue Train and three days in Kruger over Christmas.

Ahead of New Year, we plan to drive back through Swaziland and on to the Dolphin Coast for some beach time just north of Durban. I’ll be doing my best to do daily updates of the trip both here and on my running blog

Over the last few days Laura and I have had to travel quite a bit with my sister, her husband and their four kids up to the wedding venue in Inverness and back and, for the first time ever, I got to feel for parents on flights.

Some of you may remember a guest post by Michael Green on here about the troubles he had the first time he took his progeny abroad and I have to admit, I thought he was playing the whinging parent a little.

In fact, until now, I’ve always been one of those people who shudder when I see kids getting onboard a flight and sitting anywhere within my immediate vicinity.

Having seen the way my sister and her brood where treated by both fellow passengers and the airline, I have to now say, travelling parents have my empathy.

On our first flight up to the Highlands with EasyJet, we were delayed for boarding by one of her boys who suffers from autism needing the loo and arrived past our Special Assistance boarding time (for those who don’t know, EasyJet board in order of Speedy Boarding, Special Assistance for the disabled and those with kids under five, boarding group A and boarding group B).

When we got onboard, you would have thought we were a bunch of lepers… One woman in the middle of a row of three refused to move to either the window or aisle so my sister’s four-year-old could sit with his dad, meaning the child had to sit alone until take off.

Then when her 25-month-old was freaked out by take off and landing, the cabin crew refused a belt extension so he could sit on my sister’s lap. The reason? He was one month older than what is ‘allowed’ – despite parents of older kids clearly lying about the children’s ages so they could sit on mum’s lap.

On the return flight, my sister was given grief by the cabin crew for taking a dirty nappy (only ones, not twos) she had changed BEFORE boarding but had found no bin to dispose from her seat to the plane.

‘That’s disgusting’ bemoaned the crew member.

So next time you’re on a flight next to a whingy kid or parent, have a little patience, it might not be all their fault.