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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    US
    Posts
    254

    International flight with toddler

    Hello my fellow Mom Berries! I am hoping that someone else here has had the pleasure (ehem, torture) of flying cross-Atlantic with a very rambunctious 14 month old and can pass on their survival tips. DS and I will be taking a 14 hour flight from Europe back to my hometown in the PNW SOLO. Unfortunately due to flight schedules, we will be airplane constrained during non nap or bedtime, which I anticipate only compounding DS's inability to sit still. I did not purchase DS his own seat so he will be sitting on my lap.

    Has anyone survived a lengthy plane ride with a toddler? What helped to keep them from driving your fellow passengers crazy? Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on repeat on the iPad? New toys? A window seat? Whiskey? (For mom only of course) ... Any ideas/suggestions would be awesome.

    Thanks in advance!
    D.S. lil Bam Bam

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    3,962
    My advice is to wear a bunch of colorful bangle bracelets. This worked well for me because I never wear them so it was EXTRA fascinating. I would wiggle & jangle my hand to get her attention when she was starting to do those horrible back arches that say, "LET ME WALK AROUND THIS DAMN PLANE!!!" I would bring her focus to the bracelets and every now & again give one to her. She was so interested in them...the fun part is buying jewelry for yourself instead of toys for baby to prepare for the flight too!

    Besides that I got lucky. I still nurse so that helped too.

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    England
    Posts
    187
    I am not a mum (so hope you don't mind me giving you advice!) I just have quite a bit of experience travelling long haul - and have done since I was tiny.

    My biggest piece of advice would be to move around whenever you can - wander down to the back of the plane and look out the window, walk round in circles (your plane will presumably have two aisles), generally people are fine with kids crawling/toddling up the aisle as you walk to the bathroom or back of the plane (with the parent right there behind him!) especially if it's a daytime flight! you may meet other people with young kids or kind grandparent folk!

    I would look at the layout of the plane (which you should be able to online) and reserve seats asap - I would aim for bulkhead seats as there is more floor space for him to play in - there are normally cribs but your son will be to old for these. they aren't always available though if you don't have an infant with you. Otherwise I would recommend seat where you can make a quick exit! You don't want to climb over strangers if he decided to scream half way through dinner. I don't know how many people you are travelling with but if you are on your own I would recommend the aisle seat either on the middle or the edge of the plane. If you are travelling with a partner and there are 2 seats on the edge then choose them.

    Some people say kids prefer the back of the plane - near the engines - and you are also near kitchen/flight attendants then too.

    To be honest - despite the cost I would honestly advise you to purchase him a seat! It would make the entire experience more comfortable for you both - and is safer for him too - but I understand it can be expensive when you have family living half a world away so it isn't always possible!

    Finally (sorry for the essay) I would bring plenty of snacks (goldfish, pretzels, raisins), movies (don't worry about screen time hah!) and a selection of toys and books

    You'll be fine!!

    EDIT: When rereading through this I realise what I wrote made it sound like it thought it was ok for kids to randomly walk about the plane without parental supervision! What I meant was that during quieter time - such as the 30 mins following a meal when most people are napping or watching a movie, it would be ok to let your child toddle in front of you as you walk up the aisle to the back of the plane! To allow them to stretch their legs! Of course you shouldn't let your child randomly crawl around, and I realise that it is important not hinder the hostesses work!! I am sorry for any confusion this may have caused.
    Last edited by emilylou; May 27th, 2013 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Information did not make sense!

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    US
    Posts
    254
    Thank you taz and emilylou! Great ideas (especially the bracelets ... I never wear jewelry so I think something new on momma might do the trick for a bit). Unfortunately this is a spontaneous, last minute trip so buying a seperate seat for DS is not financially doable and DH will not be joining us. I wasn't even able to pick our seat when purchasing the ticket so hopefully airline personnel will take pity on us at check in and give us an aisle.

    I know I am just being overly anxious about the long flight with DS and that I can only do so much to keep him quiet/entertained. I just hope we have understanding neighboring passengers! We took an hour long flight last month and the passenger who was supposed to be next to us, immediately requested a seat change after seeing that he was seated next to a toddler. DS didn't make a peep the entire flight, but the whole thing was quite a spectacle and has made me a little extra sensitive.
    D.S. lil Bam Bam

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    995
    Ooh... been there, done that.

    Here's some of my best advice, as kooky as some of it might sound.

    1. If it's really only you and Bram, you may want to consider getting him a seat if you can afford it. It's a long flight, and it means that if he's not walking through the isles, he's on you lap. It's a long haul...

    2. Bring books he loves, and bring new ones along as well. We've found that reading great books can be a fantastic activity, especially ones that he already knows, loves, and can 'read' with you (if he knows the phrases...)

    3. A few simple, non-noisy toys that can be used imaginatively in many different ways, like the stacking rings. This way it doesn't bother your neighbors, and can be utilized in many ways (stacking them, looking through them, wearing them as bracelets, putting them on your head...)

    4. Dress him in the cutest outfit that is doable for travel. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but the truth is that your flight-mates will be much more sympathetic to your cause if they think your son is super-cute. I'm sure he already is, but a irresistible getup never hurt a toddler on an airplane!

    5. Bring plenty of snacks that you don't mind him munching on more regularly than he usually munches. Also, pacies, bottles, or anything to suck on are great for take-off and landing to ease his ears.

    6. Wear sneakers or very comfy shoes - if he walks you'll be following him up and down the isles for a while!

    Good Luck!!!

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