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How to Keep your Sanity When Flying with Little Ones

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Oh, the joys of getting on an airplane with little ones in tow. A few months ago I had my first plane flight with my son solo. We were flying from Disney World in Orlando back home to LA and I felt like I was doomed from the beginning. My son and I were both sicker than dogs, it was an evening flight before he was ready for bed, and I was in an airport I was totally not familiar with. As we were both coughing with our noses running everywhere (lovely picture right?) making our way through the airport carrying my son with four bags on each of my arms ( I kid you not), I thought I would never make it home alive.

Well, I made it alive and today I’m here to share some tips on how to keep your sanity when flying with little ones!

Use the family lines

Family lines are there for a reason and they are a total God send. We all know how long and miserable the airport lines are when you’re waiting to walk through the metal detectors and the family lines are so much shorter. Thank you, airlines, for having mercy on those of us traveling with toddlers!

Get an aisle seat

Chances are you’re going to have to change some diapers or make some bathroom visits during your flight and nothing is worse than asking the nice gentleman with his whole computer system set up on his tray to move every ten minutes.

Bring snacks

Bribery is key. If all else fails, give your kid some treats. Airlines really lack on food these days so the tiny bag of peanuts they serve isn’t going to cut it. Feel free to share the snacks with the lovely people around you, too. This may help you later when your child starts screaming loudly. They’ll be less likely to be upset at your with a stomach full of delicious cookies.

Make everything last as long as possible

If you’re reading a book, read it an extra time. If your child is interested in a toy, try to make them interested in it just a little bit longer. Keep them busy for as long as possible.

Pack new things

Bring a few new books, a special new toy, or a coloring book your child hasn’t seen before. Your child will be so much more interested in a new item than if you bring things they’ve already seen tons of times.

Make friends with the flight attendants

We made sure to be extra nice to our flight attendants and talk them up. They were so gracious, brought us extra napkins and food when we needed it, and were just a big help to us in general. Kindness goes a long way.

Bring a pillow and a blanket

If you get so lucky as to have your child take a nap on the flight, they will be much more comfortable and more likely to sleep longer if they have a nice fluffy pillow and warm blanket.

Bring an iPad or laptop to play your child’s favorite movie or TV show

This one will go a long way, especially for kids who don’t normally get to watch a lot of TV. They will think it’s extra special that they get to watch shows on the airplane!

Limit liquids

Don’t let your kid down a ton of drinks or you’ll be in that itty bitty bathroom way more than you want to be.

Breathe and stay calm

Chances are most people on the airline have kids or know kids so they understand that kids misbehave sometimes. Try the best that you can and do everything to keep your child happy and entertained and let the rest be.

Have you ever flown with little ones? What is the best tip you’d give to other moms on flying with little kids? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Allie Cuevas

Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

A child should always fly in an FAA approved car seat or CARES harness - therefore you need the window seat (for the carseat). Sorry guy with the laptop!


Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

Oh, I've been there alone... more than once... for long international flights... with an active toddler! I agree with many of these points, but I must say, limiting liquid intake borders on child abuse in my opinion. Cabins are so dehydrating and liquid intake should be encouraged and often! Parental convenience is a terrible reason to advise otherwise.


Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

Bring small suckers like dum dums for take off and landing. It works like gum, making the child swallow and therefore helping with the pressure change in their ears.

Sheila Popovich

Monday 21st of January 2013

Did you know that some (maybe all?) airlines will allow someone (ie husband) to get a pass to meet you immediately off the plane at your destination? The same pass will also allow for a person to go through security and make sure you get to the gate when you're boarding. This is if you are flying alone with a child. A friend of mine flew from Phoenix where her parents live back home with a 20 month old. Her husband was right outside the plane door with the stroller ready to go when they landed in Portland. They don't advertise this feature-you have to ask and get the right pass but it's pretty awesome if you're alone with a child.

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