Taking a kid on a flight is going to be daunting.
Even if they have flown before, you never know how these emotionally unstable, pint-size dictators will behave.
I have put together 7 tips for Airplane travel with a toddler.
I hope it saves you from having a terrible journey. Truly I do.
Not only that, I hope the other passengers are grateful too!
While this is aimed at flying with a toddler, there are some fantastic baby carriers for flying if you haven’t got to the toddler stage yet!
Airplane Travel With Toddler – All The Tips!
Here are the 7 top tips!
1. Fly Overnight
My son has taken 2 long-haul trips in the first 3 years of his life (a few more short trips, too!).
Both times we have flown the return journey at night, the return journey has been the best of the two!
You already know the reason – SLEEP. The plane’s movement makes them tired, yeh, me too, but what can you do.
Once the excitement of the takeoff has gone, settle them down with a pillow and their favorite blanket/toy/cuddly thing.
Make sure you settle them with their seatbelt on! When you hit some turbulence, the last thing you want (apart from the wing falling off) is to disturb your sleeping child by putting the seatbelt on.
They will wake up, and they will be grumpy, and they will take it out on you.
Also, a few of the airlines have baby seats available. This is a great idea, BUT….not so great if you are in for a turbulent flight.
You cannot use the seats while the seat belt light is on. When you get settled, the pilot is there to ruin your life.
At least for a few minutes.
2. Sit Them Next To The Window
You may have flown quite a few times, but this is all new to them.
Sitting next to the window means they can look outside and take in all the clouds/houses/fields.
This is perfect unless you spend a lot of the flight over water, which is plain boring.
I like to play the game ‘can you spot our house?’. He always says yes, but we are thousands of miles away, so he isn’t that clever.
3. Make Sure Their Bag Has Everything They Will Need For The Flight
Let’s go through the list of stuff I packed for a recent long-haul flight:
- iPad (He calls it an iPad, it is actually a Galaxy Tab)
- Random Super Hero figures
- Sick Bag
- Change of Clothes
- Blanket/Cuddly Thing
- Kids headphones
Before leaving for the airport, make sure you have loaded up the iPad/Galaxy Tab with offline content: games, movies, TV series, and music. You may not get WiFi on the flight, so prepare content before you go.
You will want to consider a few nappies if they are not potty trained.
Although you may have loaded your hand luggage up with those already.
4. Put Their Hand Luggage In Last
You get on the plane, it takes off, and they need something from their bag. Seriously, they desperately want that Captain America figure.
This is life or death stuff – or at least they act like it is.
Would it be easier to get all the other bags out first before you get to his? Or would it be easier to reach up and grab his first?
I made the mistake of putting his in first once. Then, as I reached up and took the bags out, a water bottle fell out of my bag, straight onto a lady’s head below. Luckily the lid remained on through the air to head drop.
5. Take A Bag For Trash
If you are like me, you will get irritable with too much around you. That also means your child might too. Either that or they pick up on your irritability and immediately begin making it worse because that’s what they do.
Take a bag for your trash. It will keep your area clean, and even if it removes a trigger for irritability, it’s a winner.
6. Book Seats At The Back Of The Plane
Under normal circumstances, passengers with seats at the back usually get on the plane first. That means you can get on the plane, put your bags in the overhead locker and settle down to watch everyone else struggle to get their bags in and settle their kids.
Like a boss!
It does mean you get your food served last, but if you have snacks on the go, that isn’t a problem.
7. Take Medicine
No, not you! Well, it’s FOR them only if they develop an illness during the flight.
Small sachets are the way to go, only for emergencies, don’t be tempted to give them to get them to sleep.
Just don’t. The wife will kill you!
If you forget to take some with you, you can buy some after you get through security. You will pay more, but that’s your fault for forgetting.
Another medicine worth considering is anti-histamine (just in case).
While I am on the subject, don’t forget to keep sick bags ready for taking off and landing! A recent journey was ruined for a family and the poor people sitting behind them.
Soon after takeoff, a kid spewed everywhere, and it leaked through the seats and onto the bags/shoes of the people behind them.
I didn’t feel bad as I watched the staff and family tidy up the puke for the first hour of the flight.
Not for a second, they should have been prepared.
If you have taken the advice on board (pun intended), you have at least given yourself a fighting chance of having a decent flight.
You will have taken away some situations that can explode into a massive toddler breakdown. I also like to think that, if you have taken some advice on board, other passengers will enjoy their flight more!
Can you think of any other tips for flying with a toddler? If so, leave a comment or leave a message!
Oh, and don’t forget to secure the area!
Good luck with your flight!