It was finally the day we were heading home, and after 9 and a half weeks of travelling, we were ready to go.
With military precision, we got our luggage and children to Heathrow Aiport by 7.50am. Craig took back our rental car to the Europcar off-site and caught the shuttle bus back (eventually).
Now we are seasoned travellers, we knew that we couldn’t get Evie to sleep before heading through security. Unfortunately, she was already yawning and yawning a lot as we entered the security queue. Luckily for us, as we have been through so many of these checkpoints we didn’t get stopped or asked to unpack our belongings.
The security officer was even kind enough to tell us about a play area which Thea was very excited about. It turned out to be an indoor jungle gym and Evie slumbered peacefully in the front pack as Thea played. I took the opportunity to do a final bit of shopping before our plane started boarding. Armed with a coffee and our minismised hand luggage we headed on board. We were flying with Malaysian Airlines to Auckland with a 17 hour stop over in Kuala Lumpur.
Our first flight left London at 11am in the morning and was going to be a long, long flight at 13 hours and 25 minutes. I had prepped my nappy bag full of snacks, toys and extra clothes for our little people. Along with our plane pal for Thea and our trusty black cloth we tried our best to get through it. I was glad of the extra snacks as they only served us a meal 2 hours into the flight and 2.5 hours before the end of the flight. Where Singapore Airlines had given us muffins, sandwiches and other snacks like fresh fruit throughout the flight and on request, Malaysian Airlines only served one sandwich as a snack and were surprised when we asked for others.
To their credit, they did let us put Evie down on the floor to play with her toys. This was very important as she had only been crawling for a few weeks and was desperate to get on the move. She was also teething and trying to cut her 6th tooth on this flight, queue grumpy and fussy baby. The bassinet was also too small for her so she had to sleep on me when 7pm London time rolled around about 5 hours before the end of the flight.
I tried to sleep and managed a bit of a nap, but Craig didn’t get any sleep at all. Once again the discomfort of the plane and meal service just as we wanted to sleep at the end of the flight didn’t help. When we finally arrived in Kuala Lumpur we were pretty desperate to get to the apartment I had booked for our layover. Our Airbnb host had helped us book a private transfer with a trusty taxi driver. We met her outside the terminal after breezing through passport control and settled into the air conditioning for the 50-minute drive to the apartment.
Unfortunately, it was rush hour and it took a lot longer than we’d hoped. Craig couldn’t keep his eyes open and drifted off in the cab. We were very pleased to arrive at our apartment which had a sky pool in the building and some cafes downstairs within a few minutes walk. Craig went out to grab us some food while I got Evie to sleep in the blessed air conditioning. After a quick bite, we fell asleep for 6 hours or so, broken for me between feeds for Evie and comforting her while her teeth played up.
Craig and Thea headed up to the sky pool later in the afternoon for a quick swim while Evie and I napped. The 17 hours were disappearing pretty quickly as we packed for the final time and headed back to the airport. Evie was not a happy chappy in the cab and as soon as we arrived at the airport I hightailed it to the parents’ room where there was actually a curtained off feeding space! Evie fell asleep as soon as she was full and we found a noodle bar for dinner.
We were delaying going through security while Evie slept but as she kept sleeping and time kept ticking on we went through passport control. It turned out that no-one made us take her out of the front pack for the first time ever in an airport and she ended up having an hour and a half nap! An A+ for parent and baby friendliness for Kuala Lumpur Airport. We spent the last of our Malaysian currency on an iced coffee before getting on our final flight.
Unbelievably our flight was only a third full, which meant we could have a full row each to sleep in. The timing was also pretty good for our girls, two hours into it was their normal bedtime. Evie went down pretty easily and they gave us a bassinet this time which she happily slept in. Thea fought us on going to sleep but eventually did go to sleep lying across a row. She even had to be woken up 45 minutes out of Auckland!
Evie slept on and off for most of the flight, and I tried to sleep when I could. I am pleased to report I managed to watch the second Fantastic Beasts movie on this flight. A feat I have not managed up until now. Craig had a row to himself and eventually managed to sleep for a good 4 hours. We were all in excellent spirits when we arrived back in Auckland. It was probably a combination of arriving home and actually having slept on the flight.
Customs and passport control took as long as usual before we headed out the doors onto our home turf. Both our Mums were there to greet us and it was so nice to give them both a big hug.
It was the end of an epic adventure.
We’ve been home for 3 weeks now, and after a 10 day jet-lag recovery period we are settling back into NZ life.