Flying on a Plane with 22 Month Old Boy

Updated on April 07, 2008
L.H. asks from Portland, IN
22 answers

I am going to be flying from indidana to Oregon in late april with my 22 month old son. We stop in denver and get back on another plane. I opted to not buy him his own seat because of our financial situation. I was wondering if anyone has any good ideas for activities on the plane for a kid this age. Or if anyone has ever had any problems with flying with kids this age, (do they get scared etc....)

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D.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

I took a DVD player for my 2 last summer. They enjoyed it the most, and snacks are ALWAYS a good thing! If you can wear him out before you get on the plane so he'll nap and you won't have to worry.

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S.K.

answers from South Bend on

I took my son when he was that age from Indiana to Texas. I opted not to buy a seat for him b/c the airline said if they seated me in the back of the plane,chances were there would be an open seat for him anyway. I purchased a portable dvd player for him and brought his favorite disney pixar movie. He sat absolutely quiet the entire trip! I had several passengers and even airline people tell me that he was the most behaved 2 yr old they had ever seen on a plane.. I was surprised too!

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A.M.

answers from Cleveland on

I flew with my daughter last year around the same age. She sat on my lap, and there was one stop both ways. She did surprisingly well. I brought her tall sippy with ice water, snacks, goldfish and gummy snacks. I put these in my purse, and they kept her busy and she was swallowing during take off and landing. Also I brought a new coloring book and crayons and our laptop to play video tapes. We flew from Ohio to Fort Lauderdale. She fell asleep twice and slept for the duration of the flight (I made sure to bring one of her favorite small blankets . The rest of the flight we colored, read a new book, or looked out the window, we almost started to watch a movie but didn't actually have that much time. I also brought a few of her favorite characters to play with when waiting to board the plane or on the plane. She wasn't scared (my husband was a little with his whole family on the plane).I just made explained everything to her. We ate breakfast before boarding, and lunch at the layover. I think a full belly helps a kid's mood greatly. Overall a good experience.

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C.R.

answers from Cleveland on

I flew from Cleveland to Las Vegas with my daughter when she was about 18 months and also did not get her her own seat. I have to say, that was a BIG mistake. My daughter is tall for her age and although she was being very good, she kept kicking the back of the seat in front of us. I felt terrible because I could tell that the person was getting annoyed, and I didn't blame that at all! That is a long flight to keep feeling little kicks in your back! I would suggest when you check in to ask if you can have one of the seats in the first row. Maybe someone will switch with you. They have much more leg room and you don't have to worry about your child kicking the back of someon'es seat!

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M.K.

answers from Muncie on

My husband's family is from Europe, so we have flown often with our son. My best advice is to throw all your rules out the window for the time you'll be flying!
Have tons of snacks like granola bars, fruit leathers, juice, pretzels, goldfish crackers or other treats like animal crackers that you can talk about or even play with.
Have a stash of new toys & books, crayons, and maybe small playdough (even just get them from the dollar store).
Relax and try to make the experience as fun as possible. Read books about flying and transportation and talk about things beforehand.

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K.O.

answers from Toledo on

I traveled to Phoenix from Detroit (4 hours) with my three year old boy and 18 month old girl. They did GREAT!! We brought special treats for them like: color wonder markers and coloring books, little playdough canisters with several playdough stensils, a portable DVD player with their favorites from the library, LOTS OF HEALTHY SNACKS (goldfish, raisens, yogos were a hit, and sippy cups for juice when the stewardess serves drinks). We made sure they were good and tired when getting on the plane and both of them ended up sleeping almost two hours!! My 18 month old was on my lap the whole time with a couple of trips walking up and down the aisle. One thing we brought to help with the elevation change was suckers. Although they are full of sugar, it really gave them something to focus on and helped their ears to pop! The name of the gave is...be flexible and ready to entertain the entire time. Praying helps too!! :) Hope it goes well.

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C.E.

answers from South Bend on

Hi! I just flew from Indiana to Los Angeles with my 23 month old twins and 4 month old. I had my mother and brother with me. We did not get any of them their own seats, but we each held one on our lap. They LOVED their travel Doodle Pro's (like Etch a Sketch) and drew a long time. They also loved to play with stickers and stick them in coloring books. I packed snacks, drinks, books, etc. in their own little backpack, which they thought was pretty cool. Also ColorForms from Walmart or little Potato Heads are great! Hope this helps, don't worry, things went great for us and everyone around us was very understanding!

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L.S.

answers from South Bend on

I got some great advice from a Mom who took her kids on long flights (Indiana to Australia) and I used it on a Chicago to Alaska flight. For take off and landings bring some thing that the child can suck to help with pressure changes. Bring several new items (toys, coloring books, etc.) and some gift bags.
Every so often announce to the kids that it's present time!!! They open the present and get the little item. It keeps them interested, presents are always fun even if they are cheap little things and it will make the flight more enjoyable.

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J.H.

answers from Cleveland on

When my oldest son was about the same age we flew to Vermont, stopping in Maryland. I bought a few new books and didn't give them to him until we were on the plane. I also put together 2 small photo albums with random family/friend photos. In the album I also put pictures from magazines like animals, fun toys and close up pics of little kids to talk about eyes, ears, nose etc. It worked like a charm. Just remember to save a book or two for the ride home. Have fun .

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L.R.

answers from Dayton on

buy him a super cheap non-messy toy that he has never seen before. do not breakit out until he just starts with a bit of fussyness on the plane. it worked for my son when we flew to England. imagine 7 1/2 hours. all it took was a match box car and crayola color wonder markers. also, take plenty of snacks!!!

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B.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

My daughter took her first plane trip when she was about that age. I bought a couple of new pop-up books and toys that were easy to manuver while she was sitting on my lap. The newness of the items seemed to keep her attention. Also, you might try delaying naptime so that he sleeps some during the flight. I know you hear horror stories about other people being annoyed by your little one, but on both the trip there and back everyone sitting around me was very nice and tolerant. Also, you might ask beforehand if the plane is full and if not, ask for a seat that isn't next to anyone.

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J.P.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi, I've been in your situation twice already. We took our son on a plane at 10 months and at 15 months. Granted your child is a tad older but these tricks may help. Try to book your seats with no one next to you.. you may get a free empty seat! If not, when you board ask the stuardess if there is a chance that the person next to you could have another seat if the plane isn't full (if your 3 seats across). Usually the stuardesses take it upon themselves to do it for you. Even if you dont buy the extra seat they are usually really nice about it. We flew Continental Air. So hopefully your little one can get a seat. Take off is the scariest so just hold him close when the plane shakes. Try to give him something to drink as soon as the shaking stops.. that will help with the ear pressure. He'll prob cry for about 10 mins so dont stress. Most likely you will have 2 or more other kids on the plane around the same age doing the same thing... Oh, this sounds bad but give him some tylonol before you board. It takes the edge off. As for entertainment... bring his fav toys or a small dvd player with a word world DVD or Elmo.. one of his favorites. Oh, if you really have the option to choose seats. Try to get the seats that are right behind first class. You will have a wall in front of you but tons of floor space for him to stretch his legs (and yhou can change a diaper if desperate!). I hope this helps! Good luck :)

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C.C.

answers from Cleveland on

I have been flying with my kids since they were a month old. The age you are flying with now I found to be the most challenging. I have 3 children 10 boy, 5 girl, and a very active 2 yr old boy who will not sit still. The first time I flew with him he was almost 1 and was not walking so it was ok. On the flight back which was just right after his first birthday and at that point he was walking it was a nightmare, all he wanted to do was walk and now a days they do not let you stand in the isle or walk the isle. Good luch changing that diaper in that little bathroom. Every summer my kids go to my parents house in AZ and I always fly alone with my husbands job he doesn't get much time off anyway I want to be completely honest it is a pain and especially the security checks. Don't get me wrong I don't mind them checking but when you have to remove everything and with three children its tough. All I can say is that you need to bring alot of little things to keep him content. Like the others have said try to see if the plane is not full and if you can I always try to get the first seat on the plane only because there is all that floor space and they can sit on the floor to play. They don't seem so cramped. If you have any other questions let me know. C.

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A.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

I just flew to FL w/ my girls, the oldest is 4 and my youngest is 18 mos. We did not buy a ticket either for my youngest, and she sat in our laps. I would take snacks w/ you on the plane for him to eat as the plane is taking off and landing since the ears can be uncomfortable at the time. Eating will help open his ears. I took a coloring book, crayons, other books and a video player to keep Addie entertained. Mireya, my oldest, was good w/ a coloring book and card games like go fish. ALso, if taking something for him to drink, the sippy cup, or whatever he uses at this point, will need to be empty before you go through security. Oh and I took their blankets w/ me on the plane so they could snuggle and hopefully nap. It wasn't so bad. Good luck!

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L.C.

answers from Dayton on

I have flown with my daught several times and until she turned two did not buy a second seat. I only did after that because you have to. I made sure I got a seat that was on an aisle where no one else had purchased a ticket, so that I was able to use the empty seat. Hannah wasn't scared, but she did have some trouble with ear pain and pressure during landing. A sippy cup to help her swallow and relieve the pressure helped. Color books, crayons, portable dvd or laptop that plays dvd's is good. Books to read, a magnadoodle. Head phones with music, his favorite handheld toys. Lots of little snacks. I basically had a seperate bag for her toys and snacks that I carried on with me. Not only did it help on the plane, it gave her something to do during layovers.

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B.H.

answers from Lima on

Most airlines will allow portable DVD players and then he could watch his favorite dvd.

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J.T.

answers from Columbus on

Other respondents have offered a lot, but here are a few things-- you can check a stroller at the door of the plane. It does NOT count against your baggage limit. They will return it to you in Denver, so you have it during your layover, and then again at your destination so you have it in the airport.
You can also take his car seat without it counting against your baggage limit. If they don't have an extra empty seat (which they will give you, even if you didn't pay) you can check it at the door of the plane too.
Ask to be seated in the first row, where you can put him in front of you for a while. Bring a blanket you don't care about to lay down because the floor is nasty. You can tuck your things under your seat IF the person behind you is not using it.
People are pretty understanding that you really can't control a toddler. I use my 'let others over hear voice' so they know I'm trying-- "No, no Jack, we don't scream, use your quiet voice"....or whatever.
Watch out, he'll probably LOVE flying! Good Luck!

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B.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

Buy yourself a new small cookie sheet and some cool magnets - abc's, characters, etc. You will both have fun creating scenes on the cookie sheet and then when you get home you will have a new cookie sheet!!!

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K.T.

answers from Cleveland on

When I fly with my daughter, I first try to tire her out while waiting in the airport for the flight. We walk around the airport a lot so hopefully she will nap on my lap for at least a portion of the trip. Second, I buy her a brand new toy (that doesn't make a lot of noise). I don't let her see it until we are on the plane and it occupies her for a while. New toys always occupy more time than an old one. I also bring her favorite stuffed animal or some other kind of lovey. I also bring plenty of books b/c she loves when I read to her. I just read it quietly while she's on my lap to not disturb others. We have flown with her several times and are doing so again on Friday. We have never had any problems and get compliments on how well behaved she is!

A couple of other tips... change his diaper right before boarding so hopefully you won't have to do many changes on the plane(it's a little cramped). Also, bring a sippie cup for him. It will help during take off and landing for his ears. We use them and haven't had any problems.

Good luck to you and enjoy your trip!

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E.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

L.,
Try bringing along a small video/DVD player. That is what I did when I traveled to Florida (nonstop with her in my lap) with my then 23 month old. Plan on holding it though, because with your son on your lap, you will not be able to use the tray in front of you (unless he has flat legs (haha)).
E.
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L.E.

answers from Columbus on

HI.

We are big time travelers and have been dragging our kids around the world since they were infants :-) Before every trip I visit dollar stores (like Marc's) or Target dollar bins and stock up on a variety of cheap new toys/games/activities. This way when they get bored with something after awhile you can pull out something new. And since they are all so cheap we don't worry if they don't make it back from the trip. My kids are now 5 and 8 and they look forward to their old backpack being stocked up with new surprises for the trip! Hope this helps. Also on the fear thing, if you aren't afraid they won't be either.

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A.D.

answers from Toledo on

Definitely some great advice on toys and food. Getting an isle seat is also a great idea or one with no one next to you as the space is a big advantage. Getting them tired or waiting for their nap is also a great idea because like a car ride the plane typically does the same thing and makes them sleepy.

I did find out after flying with my son the first time that you can get a "gate pass" (if you are flying alone) since you are flying with a child to have someone that isn't flying to help you through security and to wait with you. They go through the same security, just don't board the plane. You just have to check in at the ticket counter and ask for one, assuming you are flying alone. If this is your first time flying with a child I have a ton of advice that I learned as well so feel free to email me and I can help you out some more. Good luck I am sure it will be fine.

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