What It’s Like Flying With a Toddler on an Airplane
Travel is a big part of so many people’s lives. It’s important to see different parts of the country and world, and get to spend time with family and friends who live faraway. But when you’re more than a car ride away, flying can be stressful. Especially if you’re flying with a toddler! Toddlers aren’t exactly known for their patience and understanding, right? It’s hard to explain what it’s like flying with a toddler on an airplane unless you’ve been there. But we’re going to give you some tips and pointers to make your next (or first!) flight as easy as possible.
If you don’t know what it’s like flying with a toddler on an airplane, it’s sort of like trying to stuff a badger into a cage.
The thing is, airplanes are small, enclosed compartments. And toddlers have BIG energy! So expecting them to stay seated and silent for hours at a time is … expecting a lot. When flying with a toddler, you can almost guarantee that you’ll break a sweat. You have to try to keep them in their seat (more or less) and fairly quiet during the flight.
But also, most parents try really hard to not impede on the comfort of other passengers. That means keeping your little one from kicking seats, being too loud, or invading people’s personal space. You’re not going to be able to deflect every seat kick or loud exclamation, to be clear. Kids are going to be kids, even on an airplane! If you’re lucky, other passengers will be more than understanding, and some may even offer to lend a hand during the flight. But also, be prepared for those passengers who aren’t exactly thrilled that your little one keeps asking them questions about dinosaurs or planes.
The best thing you can do when flying with a toddler is prepare. You can’t be too prepared!
Leading up to the flight, talk to your little one about your expectations, and what they can expect on the plane. Go over the importance of using their indoor voice, and keeping their hands and feet to themselves. This also might be a good time to revisit the stranger danger conversation!
A lot of airlines have priority boarding for families traveling with children. If the airline you’re flying offers it, use it! Good rule of thumb when flying with a toddler: you want to be the first on the plane, and the last ones to exit. It just gives you more time to get settled in.
Make sure you have everything you need for the flight.
Don’t assume there will be food: bring lots and lots of snacks and drinks. A fed and hydrated toddler is a happy toddler! Also, relying on the in-flight food means you might have options that your kid doesn’t like. We all know how finicky toddlers can be, so pack snacks and treats you know they love.
Also, be sure to be prepared to keep your toddler entertained. Most flights offer some sort of in-flight entertainment, but bringing your own tablet and headphones is highly recommended. Pack plenty of toys too! One thing that works wonders is packing something new that your toddler hasn’t used before. There’s nothing like a shiny new toy to distract a fidgety toddler.
It’s so important to know what it’s like flying with a toddler on an airplane before you take off. That way, you can be prepared as possible to help make the experience as stress-free as possible.