How to Survive a Flight With Your Young Child

Disclosure: The below was provided to me to help facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see “Disclose” and "Terms of Use" tabs for more information.

Flying with your baby or toddler can be hectic, especially during long flights. Not only do you have to make sure you and your child are comfortable, you have to make sure that everyone else around you is not disturbed by your child. It’s definitely hard work.

If you have small children and are planning to take them on a flight with you soon, here are a few tips that will help you survive a long flight with them.

flying with kids

Booking Seats Around Sleeping Schedules

It’s no surprise that kids get antsy during long flights. When they get antsy, there’s a higher risk they’ll cry or throw a tantrum. Instead of booking flights during the day, why not book your flight so that it synchronizes with their sleeping schedules? For example, if you know that your children usually take naps at 2 p.m., it may be best to book a flight at around that time in order to have them sleep throughout the flight. Overnight flights may also work.

What Should You Pack

If you’re traveling with a child, always be sure to bring toys or activities to keep your child occupied throughout the flight. Also, be sure to bring an ample amount of snacks just in case they get fussy and need a snack during the flight. Blake Zimmerman, veteran travel guru, advises parents to take their kids on a tour of the aircraft as well, which will help keep them stimulated and occupied.

Boarding Your Flight

Most people know the protocol for boarding a plane, women with children and handicapped people first. Boarding early will help you and your child get comfortable in an empty plane and will also allow you to set up any activities or toys you may have brought.

Car Seats vs. Lap

Although children aren’t required to sit in seats, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends buckling young children in secured car seats. Some airlines, like Southwest, allow passengers to use extra seats for their kids free of charge. However, this may not be the case for larger airlines. For flights like these, it’s also acceptable to rest your child on your lap.

In-Flight Potty Breaks

It’s rare to find diaper changing stations in the plane and bathrooms can usually attract quite a line, but many flights allow passengers to change their kids in or out of the bathroom. Be aware that your child may have an accident during the flight, so make sure to bring more than enough wipes and a change of clothes.

Your Neighbors

It’s no secret that passengers hate sitting next to babies or fussy children. So if indeed they do get fussy, make your effort known to the other passengers so that they can at least lend you their sympathies. Let people know that you’re trying your best to control your child. If you need to, take a walk to the back of the plane, which seems to calm children down and keeps their cries from echoing throughout the plane. If your child is misbehaving, be sure to apologize. Don’t get defensive–that may annoy the other passengers.

Surviving a flight with your young children can be quite a feat, but by considering these suggestions, it’ll make traveling a lot easier.


  1. Charlotte says:

    Great tips Samantha! Travelling with kids can be a real challenge but it doesn’t have to be. Here is my secret for a peaceful flight:

    I also find that people are usually a lot more patient and understanding than you would expect. Like you said if they see you trying your best to entertain your child and make sure he/she behaves properly, other passengers will be more forgiving in case of a tantrum!

  2. Nancy Judevine says:

    Great post – I’m forwarding it to my niece who is soon to be flying with her 8 month old son.

  3. My son was a mega handful on the flight we took to Oregon last year (we are from MA). He was only about 1.5 years old, he peed through the 2 outfits I had in the carry on, I should have packed more… he was antsy no matter what toys/snacks we tried to engage him with, walking around the plane only made him want to walk around more….I am a massively anxious flyer, so thankfully my husband was there for support and we got through it together. Some pluses for us were our sons pediatrician told us a little benedryl would relax him for the flight if that was necessary, we didnt take a direct flight, so we had a break off the plane (which kind of made me not want to get back on for round 2) we were incredibly apologetic to the other passengers, so we didnt get too many glares, and my son was still nursing, so that did help relax him and me at times, so we could get a little sleep and peace. Proper planning ahead is essentional!! I dread taking another flight with him, but I plan on being better prepared when the time comes and I am hoping that since he will be older it wont be as traumatic.

  4. MryJhnsn (@mryjhnsn) says:

    The look on his face is priceless! Your tips must work 🙂

Speak Your Mind