We recently got back from my baby’s first long-haul flight. We flew from Manila to Munich with a 50-minute stop-over in Singapore to change flights. Since this is my first time flying with a baby by myself (the husband already flew to Germany a week earlier for training) and also my first time to ride a plane with a connecting flight, I wanted to share my experience. Unilike other flights I’ve had before with stop-overs, this one required a change in planes during the connecting flight.
We left Manila on a rainy Wednesday evening. The flight was delayed by half an hour. The 4-hour flight to Singapore went smoothly and we actually saved time in the air (we got there in 3 hours and 20 minutes) but the delay from take off, had me 30 minutes late for boarding the second leg of my flight.
When we landed in Singapore, I honestly believed that the plane for Munich had already left. They announced that boarding gates close 10 minutes before the actual flight time. After deplaning, I saw that the Munich flight was still on last call. We deplaned at Gate D and I had to get to Gate A of the same terminal.
Now, for anyone who has ever been to Changi Airport, you’d know that it is amazingly huge! My baby went nuts during landing and fell asleep right before deplaning. So I did what any insane mom trying to catch a flight would do. I ran across several gates while carrying a sleeping baby by hand — no carrier, no stroller. What would normally take 30 minutes by walking (as stated by the signage) I took in 15 minutes. Suffice to say I was nearly in tears and was totally out of breath by the time I got to the boarding gate.
Here’s the clincher, when I got there I heard the stewardess say to her fellow crew members: “Passenger 2 and 3 from delayed Manila flight are now on board”. We made it just before the gates closed. So glad they waited for me. I heard that some carriers leave passengers behind if it causes too much delay to the flight. There is no definitive guideline as to how long they will wait for you before the flight takes off. If there is a significant number of people connecting that is
coming from a delayed flight, there is a likelihood that they will wait but if its just a handful (in my case 3 people including myself and my baby), they might not.
Lessons learned when it comes to connecting flights:
- If traveling by the same airline, checked in bags are usually moved to the next flight by the carrier (there are some airlines and instances where this does not apply and you may need to collect your bags at the baggage claim and re-check in for the next flight)
- Choose longer layovers when you are traveling with small children as it may be difficult to transport them from one plane to another. It is better to have more time to transfer planes and to take care of other things (ie bathroom breaks in the airport, etc) than to run from gate to gate or even worse from one terminal to another.
- Have your passport ready (in case you need to go through immigration again) and your boarding pass ready for the next flight even before you deplane from the first one
- Check the flight information on the flight (it usually displays the gates for the connecting flights), if this is not available, you can ask the gate agent standing near the exit of the plane. Or you can check the monitors in the airport.
- Don’t forget your carry-on items from your first plane.