We've learned and grown from our personal experience with flying with a toddler.
Our first flight was 5.5 hours long from Atlanta to Portland to see my folks in Vancouver. We thought we had prepared, but boy were we wrong.
Within 2.5 hours of the flight our daughter was screaming to get out of the plane. We had to walk up and down the aisles for the remaining flight, embarrassed as could be.
Did I mention the flight was 100% booked?
Imagine standing in front of the entire flight passengers trying to get a little girl to stop crying. Nonstop for the remaining flight.
We had a parent tell us as we were walking to baggage claim that we did the best we could, and not worry about about the nightmare that just occurred.
From that point on we learned from that situation, and prepared differently going forward.
Here's what we learned:
Typically if your child is under the age of 2, they can ride in your lap for free. For long flights I don't recommend this. Bite the bullet, and pay for the seat.
Airline attendants can pack your stroller on-board with the coats.
Make sure you pack a cooler for food and teething toys.
Chilled chamomile tea helps with the teething by calming the nerves.
Bring your car seat so the baby can sleep comfortably.
- Baby Wipes
- Change of clothes
- Plenty of snacks and bottles.
- Extra zip-lock bag for soiled clothes.
- Milk, juice, and formula for a baby is exempt from the 3 ounce liquid rule.
- Car Seat
Make sure your baby chews on a pacifier or toddler chew gum during takeoff to help reduce pressure in the ears.
We also recommend informing the airline head of time about any allergies. Typically they'll not serve nuts if there is a tree nut or peanut allergy on board.
If your traveling out of the country, you should get travel insurance as your primary health insurance doesn't cover you or your dependents medically while abroad.
You should book for a row in the back of the plane to minimize attention. Usually there's restrooms in the back, and your toddler can stretch.
Always book a direct flight as getting back onto a plane can add to the frustration or better yet, humiliation.
Some would say to pre-board before everyone else onto the plane. I disagree. The least amount of time on the plane the better.
Finally, if you have a toddler, ask a flight attendant if they have a wings to pin on their clothes to make them the child feel like they're part of the flight crew.
Follow these tips, and you should be good to go on your next flight out!