Air Traveling for the 1St Time.

Updated on April 01, 2008
J.I. asks from Manassas, VA
11 answers

Hello, I have 19 month old boy and we are going a little vacation. But this is our first time traveling by air with our son. I was wondering if any one had any good tips on how to keep the kids calm what can I expect during the flight. We will have him on our lap so I dont know if that will be hard to keep him busy and stuff.

well I hope to hear from you traveling experts.

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So What Happened?

Hello Ladies,

I appreciate you advice you much and it helped like you have no idea.
The trip was incredible great. I was not able to get a seat for him since it was all last minute but a very nice person that was sitting next to us gave us his seat and sat on an empty one so we can have three seats together. I guess I expected the worst case senario on the airplane and the opposite happened my little one was great on the airplane there was a little girl behind us and he was flirting troughout the whole flight. And on our way back the same he slept though half of the time we were on the air. I brought some snacks and stuff gor him to play with he was so excited about the whole adventure. And the best part was that my husband and I were so calm about the trip that I guess he falt the same way and thats why he dod so good.

Thanks again to all of you for advice and support.


More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

We took our daughter at 14 months on her first airplane ride. She slept for the most part. We did have a sippee cup for her (we got milk from the flight attendant once on board) and her pacifier for take off. The sucking is supposed to help with the ears popping. We also had a portable DVD player w/DVDs, and some toys for her to play with as well as some toddler snacks to munch on. It seemed to work well and she did great We were very proud of her. Good luck to you. Let us know how it all turns out.



answers from Washington DC on

If your kid is a busy body be prepared for a bad flight. We took our oldest on a flight across country when she was about 21 months. The way out was ok because there was stop mid way. We all got to stretch our legs and get something real to eat. The way back was a direct flight and we were all miserable. We had a seat for her both ways, but she didn't sit in it for more than two minutes at a time. She spent most of the flight going from her seat, to sitting on daddy's lap, to sitting on my lap and back to her seat. We weren't able to get her to nap at all. She wanted nothing to do with the books, toys or dvd's that we brought for her. So, she was overexcited, overtired and didn't know what to do with herself. And we all came back hungry, tired, bloodied and bruised. Vowing never to travel with a toddler again.



answers from Norfolk on

Dyreka had some great advice! Thats pretty much what I would say. I have 3 boys all who have flown many times. I always like to sit in the back if I cant get the one in front with more leg room. I go for the back becasue it is louder and it kinda mutes out your kids and knowone back there expects a quiet flight. Also you are right next to bathrooms and the stewardesses. you also have a better chance of having free seats near you for you to kinda sprawl out on- if you fly southwest where people can pick there seats.



answers from Norfolk on

I have flown with both of my children since they were babies and the best advice I can give is go to the Dollar Tree and buy $5-$10 worth of new little toys and new snacks. It always has worked for my kids. Also, depending on what time you are flying my children even now that one of them is 4 still falls asleep as soon as we go to take off. Maybe you will be as lucky. Buying another seat is also a suggestion because it is easier to keep them contained while in a carseat but I know I don't often do that because I don't want to spend the money. What you can do is ask when you get there how full the flight is. If it is not booked and not many waiting for standby a lot of times they will let you put a carseat on free of charge. That is always nice. If you have to take the carseat with you anyway just ask before you check it and they should be able to give you a clue how booked it is. If it booked then just check the carseat if not then take it with you to the gate.
Make sure you have purchased some water or milk for him to drink during take off and have some crunchy food so his ears don't hurt. Good Luck and I hope this helps.



answers from Washington DC on


Hello! Depending upong the length of the flight, I would fork over the money for a seat of his own. He's almost 2 years old and trust me, when I traveled with my son when he was 18 months and let him sit on my lap for a trip to Colorado (3.5 hours), I paid for a seat for him on the way home.

If you have a seat by the window - letting him look out the window is fun - pointing out clouds, etc. I know my boys think it's a blast to have the window seat! :)

I will point out that if you are nervous about this, he will pick up on it and get upset as well.

To keep him calm on the flight? I would recommend you have a small backpack for him with his blanket and toys which will be easy for you to access.

If he doesn't have tubes in his ears, I would recommend Benadryl one hour prior to flight time to help with the pressure - if he doesn't still have a paci or something to suck on. I bring along my boys sippy cups (even though they are 8 and 6) and fill them with water or juice AFTER security and let them drink during take off.

Keep it simple. Check as much baggage as you can since you will have your hands full (not in a bad way - the isles are narrow, etc.) getting on and off the plane. If you can keep your essentials in his diaper bag and pack your purse, that would be a good idea. Flights seem to be getting more cramped, etc.

Keep your expectations low and simple as well. Snacks for him - will help as well. Change his diaper right before boarding.

Most flight attentendants will be happy to help with him - especially if he's a flirt like my two boys.

Take care and I hope you have a great vacation!



answers from Washington DC on

Me and my 9 month old just took his first flight to visit relatives and he did great. The only tough part was going through security and breaking down the stroller, taking of yours and his jackets and shoes, etc. Do allow yourself a lot of extra time for the security checks and don't let the impatient looks from people behind you frazzle you.

If you can, plan your flight around his nap time or early in the morning. My flights were very early in the morning and my little guy fell asleep as soon as we took off and slept the entire flight both ways.

Allow yourself plenty of time, bring their toys and food relax and go with the flow. Best of luck, have a good trip.



answers from Washington DC on

Hope you have a good time! You might reconsider buying him a seat, though-- a wiggly 19-month-old could be hard to hang onto during a flight unless it's a very short one.Also if you hit turbulence, it can actually be difficult to hang onto a child safely. If he has to ride on your lap, I believe some baby catalogs carry some kind of "seat belts" that help secure the baby onto the adult during flights so at least he'd be belted while on your lap.I'd search the web. Bring lots for him to do and look at, more than just one cuddly toy! Bring things he's never seen before so there's a little novelty and extra distraction. I've seen so many families travel with kids and not bring anything for the kids to do, so do bring stuff-you'll be glad you did even if it's a bit more to carry. Remember too there are often airport delays and you don't want to be stuck for an extra hour or two or three in some airport with nothing but one board book! He'll love seeing the activity in the airports at this age too--that'll be fun right there!



answers from Washington DC on

Make sure you get him his own seat and take his carseat and use it on the plane! This serves 2 purposes: (1) you are going to need it at the other end and (2) he's already used to sitting in it in the car ---- and being still! This will allow to handle him better. You can get a traveling bag for it, which makes it easy to carry. As everyone already said, take snacks, puzzles, books, etc. Also opt for direct flights whenever possible. Hope this helps!



answers from Washington DC on

Hi. Travel with kids can be challenging, but fun. As a former military member married to another one, I can tell you that travel can be done with kids without losing your mind, it just take a lot of preparation. I took a five hour flight at least 6 times with an infant and a toddler in tow, so don't stress, it's not too bad. Here are a few tips:

1. Make sure you bring snacks like dry cheerios, bananas, graham crackers, string cheese (most children get cranky when they're low on protein), grapes (good for thirst in this day and age when liquids are restricted) and make sure you bring an empty bottle that you can ask the flight attendant to fill with juice once you're seated.

2. Swap out your diaper bag for a backpack. Backpacks have more room and are a lot easier to carry around an airport. Fill it with diapers (as many as you can fit) lots of wipes, books, toys (an etch-a-sketch is always a winner) your snacks, paper and crayons, and baby's comfort object. Smaller pockets can hold your personal items. I would recommend foregoing the purse and incorporating your wallet and sunglasses etc into the backpack.

3. Wear slip on shoes. This is a life saver. They make you take your shoes of in the airport, and I've found that my airport experience is a lot more pleasant when I make the whole family wear flip flops or slip on sandals.

4. If you have a boppy pillow, TAKE IT WITH YOU. Your little one is likely to fall asleep on the airplane and having the boppy to rest your arms on while you're holding him will be an immense help. It's worth it to lug it around.

5. Don't skimp on the stroller. A lot of people take only an umbrella stroller to check at the gate, but I recommend taking the full stroller. You can stow all of your carry on stuff in the basket or hang it off the handle. Your son will be more comfortable and even has a place to nap if you get stuck in the airport.

6. Don't forget to take snacks for the grown ups too, and keep everyone hydrated. It helps. Trust Me.

Hope this helps and have a lot of fun on your trip.



answers from Washington DC on

I've traveled with my two children at least twice a year since they were born, mostly on transatlantic flights. When they were babies we always requested seats with extra leg room and/or the baby baskets (6-9 mo, the four seats in the middle facing the wall, where the 'basket' is attached). Having extra leg room helps (but you can't have the seats next to emergency exits until they're 16 yrs old). Recently you have to pay extra (~$20 - $35) to get the seats with extra leg room.

We always nursed, let them drink from a bottle, suck a pacifier, or chew some chewing candy during takeoff to help with ear pressure. Another trick was warm towels in plastic cups held to the ear -- an airline host gave us that one trip. We would also gently tug on ear lobes or massage the jaw just below the ear.

We had them run around in the airport a lot before bording.

We would carry age appropriate toys and books. At 19 months I suppose it was toys that kept fingers busy, puzzle blocks or travel 'busy stations' -- those tend to be a bit bulky though. If he's old enough, my kids really enjoyed when I would draw a landscape and they would add the stickers. They were more mesmerized by me drawing a picture and telling a story at the same time.

Hopefully he'll fall asleep. Be prepared and energized to keep him occupied. Make sure you get to the airport earlier than you usually do, it takes longer to negotiate an airport with a baby in tow.

During one trip my 2.5 yr old son spent the entire flight looking for the door to get out. We spent a good part of the flight circling the aisles until he was tired enough to fall asleep.



answers from Washington DC on

We traveled to Colo from Va (about a 4 hr flight) when my son was 8-9 mths. We kept him busy by scheduling his trip during his normal nap time so he slept for about an hour and a half as well as traveling w/ a laptop and played movies for him. He really seemed to enjoy it. He did have his own seat though because it would be to hard to travel w/ him on our laps. We tried that once to FL and thought best to get him his own seat. It worked out better for all of us. Videos, books, puzzle books, travel games. Try whatever entertains him now.

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