A flight with a toddler is never going to be a walk in the park because let's face it, even a walk in the park isn't always that pleasant with a little one in tow is it? Patrick is no exception, he's wild, independent and the very last thing on his to-do list is to sit still for almost five hours on a flight. Which just so happens to be exactly what we needed him to do a couple of weeks ago and I'll be honest and admit I was nervous, this isn't our first time travelling with our babes on a flight, far from it - Noah is a seasoned flyer. But our wild child is another kettle of fish and I knew it would be a constant battle of wills, which it was. Looking back at both the departing and returning flights, I know what worked and what really didn't and if I can help one person have a slightly smoother journey then my tips will have served well.

I'm not going to bother with the usual spiel you will find in almost any similar post, in saying 'you shouldn't be nervous', because I was, heck I barely slept the night before for thinking about it. We had a two hour transfer post flight to get through afterwards so it wasn't like once the plane touched down all was well and good - far from it, luckily he slept on the coach and thank goodness as it was the very early hours.

Snacks, I know you can buy things at the airport and even on the plane but I am 100% behind the stance of packing your own. I was pretty shocked to see how bare the shelves were in Manchester airport, especially for drinks, given it wasn't the height of summer season when we travelled but alas that was the case. I packed a variety of things for Patrick from fruity flakes and raisins, to smarties and haribos. My honest thought process were sweets he would love that were new and novel, weren't messy and would equally take a little while to chomp on. Smarties worked great though I know the sugar content doesn't bode well for a flight, I really didn't care, if it was going to make him happy and all of the people around us in turn, then he could have them. Minus the tiny amount in the smarties, I largely avoided chocolate just for the sake of the mess, chewy sweets are genius for take off and landing as no doubt the excess saliva means a lot more swallowing and therefore hopefully no painful ear popping.

Seat choices. This is something I thought I'd nailed. Always, always select your seats online beforehand, I know it can be expensive but I truly wouldn't run the risk of being sat apart and it isn't fair to expect others who have paid, to move. The rows on the plane were three and three, separated by an aisle which was simple enough, I opted to sit in the middle with Noah and Pip either side of me and then John on the other side of the aisle. Having Patrick by the window was a great idea as it was an added distraction because if truth be told it was hard work trying to have him understand he had to sit down with a belt on. He had just turned two, two weeks prior so it wasn't an option for anything else and upon landing he truly sobbed as he just wanted to be held and cuddled. It was hard as John felt so far away and talking across to each other wasn't always easy. On the return I chose to have two in front and two behind, this worked SO much better, the boys weren't annoying each other or arguing over who had what. John and I could talk easily and we could play peekaboo etc through the seats. The flight home was an absolute breeze and I'm certain this was why. Even though I somehow ended up with a sleeping Noah beside me and a sleeping Patrick on my chest for 80% of the flight - not sure how John wangled that one.

Activities - Following on from the snacks, I went for the same theme of 'less mess is best' and it was. I didn't want to be chasing pens around the floor, searching for lids or having cars rolling across the dinner trays. Without a shadow of a doubt opt for some form of 'digitalness', we used the ipad and jam packed it with films - it worked a treat and was a huge help. Aside from that I had grabbed two of the water magic pads by galt, these were complete ace in the holes as the boys played with these for over an hour. A simple filling up of the pen with water and they were away, the pages dried back to white so it was reused over and over again. On top of those two, sticker books were really popular, especially with Patrick - he'd never really used one before so it was novel for him. I would say to keep things quite new so they're sure to be interested, the pound shop and amazon were my go-to's for little bits and pieces to pack into the flight bags.

Other passengers - It pays to be nice, we all know that nobody particularly enjoys sitting near babies on a flight, even more so if they don't have children themselves. Heck when me and John had our child free holiday last year I wanted to be as far away from any as I could possibly be. BUT, we were all children once and I can sympathise with any family that's trying to wrestle a screamer on a flight - I've been there. People forget that though and it's easy for them to forget you're a person too, I heard the loud huff very clearly when we sat down for our return flight from the woman behind, but I just turned, smiled and said 'sorry, fingers crossed for sleep ey?', she looked a bit embarrassed to be honest but agreed and wished us look. I immediately felt ten times better knowing she probably wouldn't be judging me as harshly now, and thankfully for us all, both boys slept the entire way.


Sack off the meals - I've never been a lover of aeroplane food and my toddler is hard enough to coax into eating greens on the ground so I'm not going to attempt it at 37,000ft. We don't bother with meals whilst we're in the air, we eat at the airport and snack whilst we fly. My main issue is sometimes the food is in the way, if I'm trying to juggle two children I don't want to add in three trays worth of food and drink perching above all of our thighs. It's a recipe for disaster. Planes aren't known for their vast spaces and so limited the small amount we do have for a good portion of the flight by pulling down our trays isn't top of my wise choices list.

Flights are one of those things in life that you just can't predict, you could face hours of delays and have a really rough ride, or you can breeze through and have a sleepy babe the whole way. We're all always preparing for the latter aren't we, let's face it - I definitely was. But the chances are slim and so in my eyes I think preparing for everything is a must. Spare changes of clothes, sleeping comforters, calpol etc, don't let yourself be stranded up in the air with something you weren't prepared for. And if all else fails, hit the wine and throw snacks there way every few minutes.


  1. We flew with my eldest when she was 5 months old, it put is off that much that we haven't attempted it since and she will be 12 this year

  2. It's hard going flying with a toddler. I'm always armed with snacks, new toys, activities to do, IPad etc.

  3. Flying with a toddler is tough! Thanks for the useful tips <3

  4. I haven't even thought about flying with my children yet!It scares me to much x

  5. Oh I can only imagine what’s it’s like to fly with a toddler. I know how hard travelling with one is though. Ha.