It’s hard to believe that as I write this post, one week to the day (and time), we were touching back down at Luton Airport after a blissful few days in the Menorcan sunshine after we finally bit the bullet and took the Beans on their first foreign adventure (not counting Curly who has been abroad many times).
I wrote a post just before we flew, telling of my anxieties about air travel with the Beans to another Country. I was, of course, very excited at the prospect but nervous all the same. I needn’t have worried, of course, because really things couldn’t have gone much better.
The Adventure Begins
way too early on Friday morning having had very little sleep thanks to (a) me worrying and (b) the Beans being unable to sleep as they were too hot in bed. Hubby and I somehow managed to drag ourselves out of bed, get showered, dressed and all the Beans into the car, ready to leave our home at 3.30 am as planned.
As expected, the roads were clear, so we had a pretty good run to the airport until the last few miles when we discovered it was less than straightforward trying to find the airport parking location we had booked.
The sat nav thought we were driving in a field; we KNEW we were driving on the road. We tried using my mobile phone for directions. Still, even with other ideas and then finally (a little too late, I know), I decided to read the paperwork that said, “follow these directions as sat nav can’t find us” oops, I should perhaps have read that BEFORE setting off then!
Thankfully after our detour around Luton, we found the parking and processed quickly before boarding the bus to the airport.
Excited Little Beans
The Beans were very excited at the airport but waited in line at check-in without too much fuss. We have never flown from Luton before, and I’m sorry to say we didn’t find it the easiest of Airports to navigate. Once we had checked in the bags, we then had to go to another airport area to check in the pushchair before heading upstairs for security.
By the time we arrived upstairs, it had resembled a cattle market with a sea of people all pushing to get through as quickly as possible. At this point, we realised we were quickly running out of time and definitely didn’t have time for breakfast as we had planned. Thankfully, one of the Security Officials took pity on the crowds and opened up a further lane, enabling some families with small children to get through a little quicker.
Once through security, we then had to run as fast as the Beans’ legs could carry them to board the plane with minutes to go before take-off.
Ready for take-off
We placed the Beans’ Trunki Boostapaks into the overhead lockers in our haste without thinking to take out their tablets to keep them amused whilst waiting for take-off. At this point, their hunger kicked in, and their patience began to wear a little thin, but then just in the nick of time, we were cleared for take-off, and they had something else to think about.
Little Bean reminded me very much of myself when I first flew; she excitedly watched out of the windows at the other planes landing and then squealed when I told her it was our turn to take off. Beanie Boy was quite quiet, watching out of the windows. Curly sat back and relaxed, Jelly Bean lifted his arms in the air like he was about to hurtle down a rollercoaster, and then the engines roared louder, signalling the start of our journey.
First time fliers
Little Bean was initially a little worried about the sound of the engines until I assured her it was ok; as we moved faster and faster along the runway, the Beans excitement grew, and before we knew it, that weightless feeling struck as the wheels left the tarmac. We took to the air (this is when I usually feel a little sick, one look to Hubby told me he felt the same, but we plastered on the smiles for the Beans).
The flight passed without too much stress; thankfully, I had packed enough small books, games and a snack each for the Beans to keep them entertained. The elder three had their tablets so submerged themselves into their favourite shows and games. Jelly Bean flitted between Hubby and me, looking at books and having fun with his stickers (and, of course, chatting up the pretty Air Hostesses!). After a little chat with one particular Hostess who took a shine to the Beans, we even managed to pop in for a chat with the Captain once we had landed. The Beans thought this was amazing!
Our flight lasted just two hours, and before we knew it, we were touching down to blazing sunshine. I was a little disappointed to see that we had to exit the plane through a tunnel, so we didn’t get that blast of heat when you exit the plane via a set of stairs onto the tarmac, but that time would come soon enough as we collected our transfer bus after passport control and baggage reclaim.
Passport Control was a different experience as a family of six. I’m used to getting the solemn face of the Passport Controller who looks from my face to the passport and then hands it over and waves me on. With the six of us, we handed over a pile of passports and waited whilst he checked each Passport and called out the names of each Bean before giving each of them a smile and a wink. Little things like that made their first travel experience a much happier one – although Little Bean was very disappointed she didn’t get a stamp on her passport.
Coach for six!
We had booked transfers via Hoppa and were very impressed with their service. The instructions to their Customer Service desk were straightforward to follow, and the staff were super friendly. Imagine our surprise when we left the airport to find not a taxi or a minibus waiting to take us to our resort but a COACH! Yes, a 52 seater coach for the six of us!! We certainly had space to spread out and be comfortable. The transfer took shy of 30 minutes to reach our destination, our #instantfreedom fun in the sun was about to begin . . .
Come back soon to find out more about our family getaway to Menorca with Villas.com
DISCLAIMER: Our holiday was provided courtesy of Villas.com in exchange for an honest account of our experience. All words, opinions and images are my own and may not be copied without my permission.