Over the holiday season I took five flights with my 17 month old twin girls. Now that they are mobile, eating full meals and generally more curious about every single thing, it is a lot different to flying with babies. Since my babes are under two, we are required to have an adult per child, and the extra set of hands helps a lot. However, here are some other simple tips that made travelling with them a breeze.
1. Plan your flights around a nap. It is much easier to have a sleeping baby on your lap during a flight than an awake one who wants to wiggle, dance and climb all at once. Since you book more flights in advance this is not always easy to do. By chance, a few of our flights coincided with nap time and once they were asleep the flight was super easy (and any air turbulence acts as a great rocking mechanism!)
2. Book your seats with one in between. When booking our seats I always try to book a window and an aisle, leaving a seat between us. The chances are that no one will book that seat which leaves you with an extra seat. If some one does sit between you, they will always swap for a window or aisle seat as it is better than the middle seat. I also notified the air hostess as we boarded the plane that we would like some more space if possible and they are usually very helpful in shuffling people around to make an extra seat available. Happy babies = happy passengers.
3. Last to board, last to disembark. In my pre-baby days, of minimal hand luggage and speed, I always tried to be the first to board and the first to disembark. I now take the opposite approach and board last, giving the girls as much time as possible to run around before they have no choice but to to sit. Knowing that I am going to be the last to disembark gives me peace of mind that there is no rush to pack up all our belongings and make our way out of the plane. The bonus of this is that there is a shorter wait for luggage.
4. Stickers. These provided endless entertainment during the flights, and require relatively little space to maneuver. Stickers can be stuck on headrests, arms and legs, arm rests, tray table, seats, buckles, and noses. They can also be peeled off and easily discarded.
5. Go for a little walk down the aisles. One by one I took each of my babes for a walk on the plane. Luckily the flight was relatively empty so there were rows of seats to squeeze passed without disturbing other passengers. And there is lots to look at on the way – we went through the gallery, chatted to other passengers, an peeked out the emergency exit window. It stretches their legs and they were happy to be on the move.
Have you travelled a lot with your toddler? I hope to take mine on many more trips and would love to hear your tips for flying with littles.