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Mompreneur takes the stress out of flying with kids.

Mompreneur Debra Pally wins Red Dot award for Flyaway Kids Bed

 

Meet a mum who invented a travel accessory that proves that mothers really do know best!

 

I can't help it... I LOVE to travel!

The thrill of discovering exciting new cultures, exotic foods, fascinating people and charming places. I even took a year off after uni and travelled around Europe and parts of Asia, and ended up back home in Brisbane, Australia working in the marketing department @flightcentre after my trip.

I happened to meet a Swiss man on one of my adventures, fell in love, and decided that Switzerland would be my new home.

But having kids changes EVERYTHING.And for me, flying long distance with my children was not really a choice...if I wanted to see my friends and family, I just had to brave long-haul flights with my babies.

When you have 36 hours including stopovers, to get to your destination, there's plenty of time to think: why the hell does this have to be so hard!

So here is my journey of inventing a product that has changed the way kids fly economy.

Flyaway Kids Bed lets kids sleep and play in comfort.
And happy, well rested kids = a happy and well rested mum!
Child sleeping with book on Flyaway Kids Bed

 

We all know travelling with kids is beyond hard. It takes some carefully packed secret weapons and a well-thought-through plan of attack to survive in one piece. Honestly, I’d probably laugh and cry at your survival stories!

My kids are not perfect… I have 2 young boys with heaps of energy, cheeky personalities, and they love to annoy each other. I love them to bits and have found my own ways to prevent melt-downs and full-on fights.

But when we are all exhausted and outside of our comfort zone, sometimes I just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel – even if it is a sunny beach and warm hugs from my family waiting for us on the other side of a long-haul flight.

Mother Debra Pally with 2 boys 

 

I know I shouldn’t be a “people pleaser” but if I am being honest, the thing I’m most worried about when I fly with my kids is the frustrated, disappointed or even disgusted looks from the passengers around us.

I’m a good mum! My kids are good kids!

 I just wish the world would understand that forcing kids to sit in a plane seat for 12 hours at a time is a recipe for little monsters, not sleeping angels.

In the last 5 years, I’ve relentlessly (and sometimes hysterically) Googled every product available to make flying with children easier. I’ve tried many of them, but could not for the life of me find a solution to stop toys and coloring pencils from rolling off the tray table and seat.

I know you know what I am talking about.

So, after spending one flight on my hands and knees searching for toy cars with my iPhone torch under plane seats, I finally figured there must be a better way!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn our child’s seat into a comfortable space for them to sleep and play? Where toys are not lost, messes are easily cleaned, and they can find a comfortable position to sleep!

 

I started my Flyaway Kids Bed journey with a wish list:

This product must:

  • Enable kids to sleep and play comfortably

  • Prevent toys from falling on the floor

  • Be “wipe-cleanable”

  • Be light weight

  • Be easy to set-up and put away

  • Not take-away from mum & dad’s leg-room or storage space

  • And fit on all airlines economy class seats

     

    I even hand-made a couple of prototypes until I had a rough idea about how my product could look and work.

    Suddenly, out of no-where, airlines across Australia announced a total ban on inflight sleeping devices for children.

    I felt like I had hit a brick wall. My product idea was banned on Australian planes before it was even a product, and I struggled to understand why.

    Couldn’t the airlines see that parents around the world were crying out for relief and that there was a clear need for this product?

     

    And so I dug deeper and began to ask questions:

     

    WHY did airlines ban inflight sleeping devices for children?

    WHAT were their concerns? And finally,

    HOW could my design be different so that airlines would see the huge benefit of accepting it on board their aircrafts?

     

    I truly believed that I could design a product that satisfied both airline requirements and passenger comfort at the same time… but getting it made and manufactured is another story!

    After a long journey of alignments with airlines and air transport authority decision makers, I am beyond proud to let you know that parents now have a solution to make flying long distance with our kids more comfortable. Whoohoo!

    But for me personally, by far the greatest accomplishment (and relief) is knowing that my kids will finally sleep soundly and play comfortably using Flyaway Kids Bed on our next trip home to Australia for Christmas.

     

    Flyaway Kids Bed child reading book on plane

     

    Honestly, I gave the Cabin Safety Director from Singapore Airlines a huge hug when he told me that it was officially accepted on board!

    Are you a long distance flying mum or dad? I’d love to hear which airlines you fly with! I'm still working away on getting even more airlines to officially accept my product on board, and it'd be great to know where to focus my hustle.

     

    Have a fantastic day!

    Debra