The idea of taking your wild and crazy one year old on a closterfobic plane where they are confined to their seat can be incredibly stressful. All of the potential horrifying circumstances that you may or may not have to face head on. What helped me was to simply prepare and plan as much as possible so I felt at least a little more confident embarking on this daunting endeavor. Here are five survival tips for flying with a one year old on a plane…
1. Choose an evening flight time close to their bedtime
For me, the time that made the most sense was an evening flight close to or right at his bedtime. I chose the 7:45 flight time, which lined up perfectly for giving him his bottle right before take off so that by the time we were in the air he was almost completely asleep and slept the entire 2 and a half hour flight. That, honestly, is probably the most ideal situation for when flying with a one year old. Especially if you are taking a really long flight, that is is truly a must. Also, try to ensure that their afternoon nap is shorter than usual. This will help guarantee that they go to bed on the plane.
2. Buy them their own seat
I know it can be pricey but WELL WORTH IT. I put him in his car seat right (here is a list of the best travel car seats) next to the window so he could sleep in peace and I could also enjoy a glass of wine and book while he snoozed away. It’s like he wasn’t even there. This also takes away from the stress of simply hoping and praying you have an empty seat next to yours. After all, by the time they’re one, they pretty much won’t sit still and be content on your lap. Not to mention, quite uncomfortable for them to have to sleep on your lap the entire flight. I mean, what if you have to use the lavatory and you’re flying by yourself?
3. Pack Lightly
Getting on and off the tiny plane with your little one and all of their extra necessities can also be a challenge (esepcially when flying by yourself). Make it easier on yourself by planning ahead to pack just the basic essentials. You don’t really need much more than:
- 3 diapers
- a change of clothes
- a few snacks (non messy ones)
- a few small toys
- an i-pad or small mobile device and headphones
4. Make sure they are sucking on their binky or a bottle during take off and landing
This will help ensure they don’t have any problems with their ears popping and in turn have a meltdown because they are uncomfortable, possibly even preventing them from going to sleep.
5. Don’t feed them too many snacks before or during the flight
So I made the mistake of giving my little guy an entire banana plus a lil biscuit cookie before the flight and he ended up throwing up right before the plane took off, which was the greatest nightmare of all time. Luckily, the flight attendants were super helpful with assisting me when needing to take both my little one and the car seat to the lavatory to clean up as much as possible. But to avoid this from happening to you, be very conscientious of this potential disaster.
In summary, I hope these tips help you on your future travel adventures with your little one. I think the key tip in all of this is to choose a flight at their bedtime to optimize the likelihood that they sleep the entire flight so you can sit back and relax as much as possible.