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Tips For Flying With A Toddler

Last month we took a cross country trip to California with our then 15 month old.  This was our first time flying with her, so I was kind of nervous how she’d do having to sit the whole time.  We’ve taken road trips with her and she did ok, but we did a lot of driving at night.  And this was going to be different since she had started walking 2 months prior and was in the constant state of motion now.  We decided to fly Southwest because of two things. First off, we got three tickets for the price of two tickets with other airline carriers.  The second thing was that you get to check 2 bags for free and since we were traveling with a little one, we also had the option to check a car seat and stroller for free to.


Tip #1:  Don’t be afraid to bring the car seat on the plane.

We decided to buy a seat for her,  even though we didn’t have to, because  we figured she would be comfortable and it was something she was used to sitting in.  Luckily, Southwest still has family boarding, so we got to board after the first group of premium boarders so we could get the car seat in and all settled.

Tip #2:  Bring snacks and a drink. Lots and lots of snacks!

We brought all kinds of different snacks for her.  Little ones love to eat, so snacks will occupy them for quite some time.  We brought all kinds of puffs, crackers, pouches, &  fruit chews for her.  Make sure you bring stuff you know they love.  You are allowed to take a certain amount of baby food or formula through security, so make sure you check the TSA website before you go for the most up to date guidelines.  You also want to make sure you bring a cup/bottle they like.  Once the plane has taxi’d and started to lift off from the runway, give them a drink or snack to help with any ear popping they may have.

Tip #3:  Bring some fun toys, books, or phone/tablet apps.

This is kind of a no brainer.  You want to make sure you have stuff to occupy them.  My daughter loves books, so I bought a few new lift flap books for her.  They are great because they love lifting those flaps to see what’s there.   Apps and shows are great  for them to play with, just make sure you bring head phones if they’ll wear them or turn the sound off to be courteous of others.  This next toy I made to bring was a hit and she loves to play with it still.


It was a $1 cup of cookies or crackers that you can get at any local grocery store and a bag of pom poms from a craft store.  I cut a hole in the lid and voila! Instant fun.  I can’t tell you how many times we dumped and put the pom poms back in the cup on the flight.

This was our first time ever flying Southwest and we learned that you will most likely run late, so plan for that if  you have a layover and have to change planes.  We did have a layover, but we didn’t have to change planes.  It was nice to not have to take the car seat out and put it back in again.  We only had about a 20 minute layover, so I wanted to run off and grab some food.  I wasn’t sure if they would let me, but they did and told me to hurry so I could be back before they started regular boarding.  I only had time to run to the little deli and get us sandwhiches, but that was better than nothing.

Our flights were pretty uneventful besides running late, and I’m pretty sure it’s because we planned for the long trip.  We didn’t have any meltdowns and the only crying fit was on the way back because she was tired.  Quickly fixed by letting her sleep on my shoulder.  So if you plan to take a flight with a little one, make sure you are well prepared!

Enjoy Your Adventure,                                                                Samantha

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