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Don't lie to me, ladies, or pretty it up: tell me the truth! What is it REALLY like to fly with a toddler?

I've been putting off this trip to see my family since my 29 month old was born! I'm sooo afraid of flying with her. The plane trip would be at least 7.5 hours, including a plane transfer.

What is it like to fly with a toddler ALONE? With absolutely no help?

Thank you.


Asked by Anonymous at 9:12 PM on Feb. 2, 2010 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • I have flown and done bus travel with my daughter [3 years] many times. We always have a great time. She is very well behaved. I just make sure not to give her lots of liquids before travel and little bits of food every little while [less potty runs], I make sure to have snacks and drinks though for when she is hungry thirsty. Also, a great strategy that I've found is buying her a few cheap new toys for the flight. I don't show them to her until we are in the airport or on the plane. It works wonders! They get excited about the new toy and they are consumed by it because they haven't had time to be bored of it yet LOL I also bring lots of books.

    Answer by BaisMom at 9:26 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • my sil/bil fly with their kids alot and i don't hear of any horror stories lol. on the other hand there was a little girl on the flight that i went on for my honeymoon and she was puking all over the place LOL so i guess you'll have to wait and see

    Answer by princessbeth79 at 9:17 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • It really depends on the toddler. When I first started travelling alone with my little ones it was easy. My oldest is easy to deal with one is easy to occupy and keep busy. When we fly we usually fly about 9 hours or so. As I added another one it was a little bit harder but still doable. Now I am up to travelling with three little ones. It is just something you adapt to and have to expect the unexpected like diaper blowouts or crying or truly anything. Lots of sleep beforehand and being prepared I think is key. Also for us snacks are a must and helped to pass a lot of time. Theywere kind of a treat when they were being good and a savg grace when they were at their worst. I am sure that you will do fine. In the end I think it is what you make of it.

    Answer by Melbornj at 9:19 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • I flew from Germany to Minnesota with three kids, aged 5, 3, and oneyear old. It went quite well actually. They slept on the plane or colored a coloring book and the only problem I had was in the JFK terminal in New York when the two older kids wanted to play and run around. But a nice retired teacher got to talking to me and the kids and they settled down. They were always good kids and I expected them to be good on the flights. They were. I just kept calm and then they followed my lead.

    Answer by Lindalu2 at 9:25 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • P.S. Bring your child's favorite blanky and/or snuggle toy! They are bound to get tired a few hours in. You're more likely to get them to lay on you and take a nap if you have a comfort item, versus them staying awake and being a cranky terror.

    Answer by BaisMom at 9:27 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • I've done it. I've flown with babies, toddlers, kids and teens. Some of them were alone and some were with my dh. We're military so we've traveled a lot.

    Honestly, it's just like taking a road trip with them, some trips are better than others, it's just going to depend on the mood of the kid at the time. Take toys - some "old favorites" and some new ones as a special treat just for the trip. Take snacks if you can - even if you have to pay more and buy them once you're past the security checkpoints. Take "kid size" earphones, because that way your lo can watch a movie (the last flight we took was from Seattle to Tokyo, and they had a few movies showing at once, on different "channels", and you plugged ear phones into your armrest to listen). The "muff style" ear phones would prob. work better for a toddler than ear buds.

    Pack extra clothes in your carry on - for the lo and a change for you, too, for spills.


    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 9:59 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • Talk to the airline when you get your tickets, or when you're checking your luggage - go even more early than required to the airport so you can do this before they hand out all the seat assignments if you haven't already talked to them / picked your seats already. If you can, request to have 2 seats by the window (you really don't want to be on one of the bigger planes, the ones with the row of 5 in the middle, with 2 seats on each side, and be stuck with a toddler in the middle of that row of 5...)

    If you're by the windows in one of the 2 seat sections, or, if you talk to them and are given 2 seats out of a row of 3, with the 3rd seat unoccupied, then you have more privacy for when your lo is sleeping, or when they start to get restless, etc.

    Be prepared to walk up and down the plane with them, just hold their hands and let them walk to stretch their legs sometimes, if flight conditions allow it.

    gl :-)

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 10:03 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • We just flew with our 5 month old a few weeks ago. From SC to CA. She did great. However, there was a toddler a couple seats behind us and he got bored/restless after awhile and then he ended up crying - rather loudly, too. Which made my daughter cry. We decided that when she gets to the toddler age, people can come see us.

    Answer by Christina807 at 10:25 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • We flew from Guangzhou China to LA (13 hours) with a 13 month old who had only known us for 2 weeks and I was surprised at how well it went. Try to get an overnight flight if you can so that your little one will be sleepy for most of the flight. Bring extra clothes for everyone in your carry-on and make sure you have plenty of snacks and something for him/her to drink during take-off and landings.

    Answer by DEpley at 11:09 PM on Feb. 2, 2010

  • OP

    Thanks for all of the advice and suggestions.

    I am considering an overnight flight, but the problem is, the plane leaves near her bedtime, and it lands 1.5 hours later, where we'll have to wait an hour to board the next plane. I'm afraid that the plane transfer will wake her up completely, and she won't sleep on the 2nd plane.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:00 AM on Feb. 3, 2010