Air Travel with Kids? Nah, Not in India

 

Air Travel with Kids Nah Not in IndiaAir Travel with Kids Nah Not in India
Air travel for kids in India

 

A quick trip to Europe, for once without my darlings, gives me plenty of scope to ponder on the challenges of travelling with children. I’m so used to having to manage toilet trips (and occasional “accidents”), requests for weird and wonderful snacks and drinks, an irritable baby and a fractious toddler on my travels, that flying solo feels like an absolute luxury.

Although India’s airports have improved enormously since I arrived here a decade ago, they are still pathetically under resourced for anyone travelling with children. When I was a single girl around town, my primary concern was inevitably the state of the duty free shopping experience, which in India was always a sad shadow of its European counterparts. Now, my main obsession is the lack of baby changing areas, the dirty toilets, the non-existence of child friendly menus at the (thankfully now respectable) number of eateries.

I travelled from Mumbai to London alone a few months back with my two boys. The fact that there is no baby changing facility in the entire airport is in itself shocking. I ended up having to balance the baby on my knee, trying to avoid actually sitting on the dirty toilet seat, while attempting to keep my toddler from touching the surfaces, on which I could almost see the germs festering. I got his dirty nappy changed finally, thanks to sheer willpower, and ended up having to leave it on the floor next to the toilet, wrapped in a nappy bag, as there were no bins in sight.

On landing back into Mumbai, the situation was even worse. The toilet close to the baggage claim is not even clean enough to take kids into. As a result, one woman resorted to changing her baby on one of the hard plastic benches dotted randomly around the place. She looked apologetic, embarrassed and vaguely traumatised, but the poor woman had no choice. Her baby was howling and its nappy was obviously full.

In contrast, travelling in Europe and the US with children is a delight when it comes to sanitary facilities. Big, nicely lit baby changing rooms playing soothing music, with complimentary baby wipes and disposable soft covers for the little one to lie on.  Feeding rooms with rocking chairs (yes, really) where Mum can feed her baby in peace. Play areas for children, where energetic toddlers can burn off some of their energy.

India and Indians love children, and it is ironic that the powers that be don’t think it necessary to make their little lives easier when they are leaving and arriving into the country. Perhaps the popular view is that women, as always, will just find ways to manage. Maybe it has taken so long to get the basic facilities  (eat, drink, check in) up to scratch or at least to a basic level of acceptability, that the “luxuries” are still a figment of someone’s imagination. Probably, and more likely, these “benefits” are not considered important because they don’t result in additional revenue, so they are relegated to the bottom of the pile. That explains the Thai foot spa and the fancy Bollywood themed restaurant (which has no baby changing facilities either).

I have heard a rumour though that the masterminds behind the new glittering Mumbai airport terminal, which will open shortly, are going to great pains to ensure the entire customer experience is seamless from start to finish. Apparently this does include cognisance of the needs of nursing mothers, babies and children. I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised on this front, but I won’t believe it until I see it.  Until then, I’ll just have to suffer Mumbai airport’s horrible facilities, and keep my fingers crossed that my children don’t have any little accidents while leaving or arriving into the country.

 

Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty images


More On >> Mom

Related Articles -

Learning to Fly: Babies on Planes

Benefits of a Prenatal Wellness Programme

First Trimester: Dos and Don'ts

Follow us on Twitter for all updates, like us on Facebook for related stuff

Yahoo Cricket

Most Viewed

  • Sunny Leone does a Zeenat Aman; wears transparent saree!
    Sunny Leone does a Zeenat Aman; wears transparent saree!

    T-series' upcoming film EK PAHELI LEELA has been creating buzz for quite some time now. …

  • Age gracefully, don't cover the lines: Kareena Kapoor
    Age gracefully, don't cover the lines: Kareena Kapoor

    New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) Bollywood's fit and fabulous Kareena Kapoor is on her way to turn 35, and she's clear about not attempting to be 22! She feels the key to ageing gracefully lies in letting the "lines" be, especially when it comes to men. I hate it when I look at somebody and know that they have tried to cover the lines," Kareena told IANS in an interview on a recent visit to the capital. Looking svelte in a golden shimmering gown, exuding a rare glow and charm, Kareena shared her …

  • Alia Bhatt Finally Reveals Her Relationship With Sidharth Malhotra
    Alia Bhatt Finally Reveals Her Relationship With Sidharth Malhotra

    Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt are the new and much talked couple in the Bollywood. Recently at the launch of a show actor Sidharth Malhotra caught the photographer and asked him to give his camera. He started taking Alia Bhatt’s picture. On this situation during the music awards event, Alia Bhatt was questioned about the on going relationship with Sidharth as she has been spotted with him at different events and places together. …

  • Yahoo Movies Review: Dum Laga Ke Haisha
    Yahoo Movies Review: Dum Laga Ke Haisha

    Dum Laga Ke Haisha continuously makes you smile. This is a film with a big heart and you’ll also love watching this one for the kind of nostalgia it evokes. …

  • What’s Up? Karishma Tanna And Upen Patel Meeting Each Others Family
    What’s Up? Karishma Tanna And Upen Patel Meeting Each Others Family

    Romantic date was not just inside the Bigg Boss 8 house for the romantic couple Karishma Tanna and Upen Patel. As named by Farah Khan, UPMA celebrated Valentine’s Day together with a classy dinner date. Not just this, Karishma also took Upen to her house to meet her mother. From the time they both have got out of Bigg Boss house, the duo are spending time together with their friends and were also spotted at parties and events. …

  • When Sonam Kapoor Crashed Out On The Sets Of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
    When Sonam Kapoor Crashed Out On The Sets Of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

    Seems like Actress Sonam Kapoor is having her hectic schedules these days. She is been shooting in Gujarat with actor Salman Khan for their next film of Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Take a look at the photographs of Sonam Kapoor, she just crashed out, looking so comfortable, she took a quick nap on the sets of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Sonam Kapoor has been attending various events and award shows and equally she is managing her shooting of her upcoming movie Prem Ratan Dhan Payo with …

  • Snapped: Deepika Padukone At Friends Wedding In Delhi
    Snapped: Deepika Padukone At Friends Wedding In Delhi

    Bollywood diva Deepika Padukone has been busy with back-to-back shootings of her upcoming films. Between all the hassles, Deepika took time out to attend her best friend’s wedding in the capital city, where she has been shooting since a while with co-star Ranbir Kapoor. Deepika Padukone had donned a Sabyasachi pink saree with elegant jewellery that finished her look. …

  • Ab Tak Chhappan 2 Movie Review
    Ab Tak Chhappan 2 Movie Review

    AB TAK CHAPPAN 2 is an 80s plot with a 90s twist with director Aejaz Gulab trying to give it a current flavor. It doesn't work. Nana Patekar is at his blistering best... …

Loading...