Taking 20 month old daughter on plane

Erin - posted on 06/22/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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I am taking a trip by myself with my daughter by plane. The flight will be about 2 1/2 hours. I personally hate flying and I am worried about going by myself with her, but we are surprising my mom for her birthday. Can anyone give me any advice on how to handle her on the plane?

Thanks

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Tori - posted on 07/04/2010

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Hi, I have experience in this situation personally and fro a professional point, as I was a member of cabin crew for 10 years. Any child needs occupying on a flight. make sure you take a colouring book and stickers (tescos do a big book of them), a few light weight books are great, Topsy and Tim go on an aeroplane is great. Snacks are the easiest in a variety of ways as she can munch away during the flight. Don't worry about all the other passengers on board as we all know children are allowed to fly!!!!! if she's kept occupied then she will be happy and so will you. You will have her on your lap for take off and landing and she will be secured using an extention seatbelt. this should be offered to you once you have seated. ask for assistance in using it if you haven,t done so before but give yourself plenty of time to get books and a drink ready for her before take off so she will settle. If you do need to use the toilet then you will fit in together. I would suggest you ask where the nappy change is when you are given your extention seatbelt. ask for assistance if you have bags and they disembark using steps. you may take your buggy right to the aircraft door and then the ground staff will put it into the hold for you. this can happen both uk and abroad. easier to have your buggy with you when rushing to to gate to board the plane! take a spare set of clothes for her and t-shirt rolled up for you, and take enough nappies in case of a delay.but buy your nappies when you get to your mum's saves space in the case. ask when you check-in if it would be possible to have an empty seat next to you if the plane isn't full. then during the flight your daughter can sit in a seat of her own. she will have to go back on your lap and be secured in the extention seatbelt at any time the seatbelt sign is put on. let her talk to the people around you and ask her to say hello to the crew and wave at them. you'll be surprised at the help offered if you show people that you are travelling alone with her. I always changed my son just before boarding the flight so I may not have to do it straight away on the plane. I waited till last to leave the plane instead of rusing to get your bags which you'll wait for anyway! hope i helped you a little. have a super time. Tori

Lucy - posted on 06/23/2010

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I have just done a 23hr around the other side of the world trip with my 20month old. To be honest it was not easy but having survived it (twice in a 2 week period, went there then 2 weeks later came home) 4.5hrs will be fine. Definitly go with some favourite snacks and don't expect her to stick to normal eating routine on plane or eat their food. My saviour was a bag full of new books/small toys she had never seen before. I just went to op shop and got them. Pull them out as needed making a fuss over them. If she is a tv watcher then take or borrow a portable dvd player and play her favourite dvd for her. Good luck you can do it and everybody is very understanding. Also get up and walk the plane with her whenever you can. You will be fine!

Cassie - posted on 06/22/2010

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snacks, drinks, toys, books, drawing - but my biggest hint is take stuff she has never seen before - her old toys may not keep her occupied for long :-) maybe borrow something off a friend or even just go to an opshop for some really cheap toys, doesnt have to be anything special anything she hasnt seen will be interesting and will keep her occupied for much longer (my 18month old loves stickers but i never give them to her keep them for special times so she is occupied longer like when we go out 4 dinner or a really long drive etc) hope this helps, cassie

Paula - posted on 07/01/2010

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Hi there. I have a daughter same age and also an ex flight attendant! Firstly have you got your seat? aisle? window (easier to keep her in one place) Try and go online to the airline site and chose an appropriate seat near the toilets, galley and not the middle of the airplane. Give her something to eat before you get onboard. She will be so excited and wont want to eat once onboard and when its time to land she will be tired and hungry. Have plenty of food available (muffins, snack fruit, waterbottle that wont leak, milk, cookies, and a treat like she loves). You will need to have her sitting on your lap for take off and landing so the crew will help you with this and of course this is the most stressful time for parents. If you get a window seat, she can look out. (I used 1ml of Phenergan to take the edge off) and this calmed my daughter down beautifully. We have travelled together on numerous flights now and I make sure her nappy is changed before we board the plane, she has a full tummy and a good run around the airport to tire her out. The phenergan is not supposed to be used by kids under 2 but in this instance, I used half a dose and it was perfect! For you - be calm, no-one else really minds about noisy or disruptive kids. If she cries, let her and dont let her fly with a cold as her ears will be very sore and its quite dangerous. If the passengers want to entertain her, fantastic (I also make sure I have eaten before I get on board as its a tricky time to enjoy a meal). Books, surprise toy and lots of chit chat to each other works. Trying to hold down a toddler is scary and the crew will certainly ensure you do and this is ok, you will get through it. PLEASE ask at the check-in area if someone can assist you to the gate. They should take your stroller off you at the gate so you can have it at the airport if its an early morning or late evening flight. Letting her run around is the best thing so as to tire her out. ASK ASK ASK the crew for help and PLEASE let then know you are a wee bit nervous about flying. If you let people know, they can help you - dont suffer. Hope this helps, good luck and ENJOY!!!

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Reshma - posted on 07/23/2010

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I've been on a few flights with my kid, one was over 28 hours. For the most recent one (6 hours) along with what everyone suggested above, I look some play-dough. It was a little container, but it kept him occupied for a while. He also liked playing with the little plastic cups that are handed out for beverages- that and some cheerios. He loved to empty and refill the little glass with the cheerios.

Tiffany - posted on 07/23/2010

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:)!!
I jsut did this!
She was 20 months old last month, and we took her on a 2 1/2 hour plane ride to my sister's 3 provinces away.
We brought a few books, that was good. A drink for her to sip on during take off and landing to help her ears. And DONT FORGET EARPHONES. There are kid's shows on her personal TVs, GREAT for distraction.
She was great - looking out the windows etc. Dont worry, honestly.

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my hsuband is a pilot and so we do a lot of traveling and as our daughter was born we have started to fly more with her. We were a little nervous this last trip because its been a little whlie since we flew and didn't know how she would handle it but she was pretty good. she is 21 months old and the only problem we had was the wait on the ground, she didn't like just sitting there and the decent. Her ears bothered her on the decent ut she was ok. She just grabbed at her ears. She uses a pacifier to go to sleep so we had that with us and that helped her with the pressure in her ears. We just kept her occupied and she did great.

Amilia - posted on 07/18/2010

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I just came back from vacation with 20 month old twins. Going and comming was great! Plenty of snacks, drinks, new toys. I brought them travel size magnadoodles they are great! I let them skip their nap at home to make them more tired, but they where too excited to sleep on the plane. The only thing that tired me was going through security with 2 kids 2 strollers and carry on! Less is best if your traveling alone. Your daughter will be fine!

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How exciting.
Remember to take enough nappies and food onto the plane for 12 hours (just in case of delays). Call the company and find out how far you can take the pram. Some flights they just stow the pram as you board, so it's useful to have her in the pram as long as physically possible.
Take well loved toys as well as new ones to keep her entertained. Something to suck on or chew on while the plane takes off and lands will help with the change in cabin pressur.
Learn to relax if you're anxious, deep breathing and meditation might help. You'll fine.
You have no control of what happens on the flight, so just imagine that the experienced pilot will get you there safe and sound and clear your mind of all negative thoughts.
If you're anxieties are that strong, perhaps you could talk to someone about why flying gets you feeling this way.
Good luck and hope you're mum has a wonderful surprise!

Lisa - posted on 07/06/2010

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Plenty of advice here from everyone :) I've gone from Europe to Nepal (and back again) alone with my daughter and she was 20 months at the time.

THINKING ABOUT IT IS WORSE THAN THE ACTUAL FLIGHT!

I stressed myself out thinking about the flight beforehand. I read everything I could find and asked everyone I knew with kids what they thought. There's nothing wrong with being prepared but you're not going to learn much more than you have from these replies, so don't waste any more time on it, you'll only stress yourself out!

Just be prepared to give your daughter plenty of attention; read books, the in flight magazine, let her watch the little tv if there is one and a portable DVD player is FANTASTIC. Borrow one if you don't own one. A bottle for take off and more importantly landing. Don't worry about what the people around you think if your daughter is upset. Most of them will have had kids of their own at some stage and remember IT WILL END. 2.5 hours really isn't a lot. You can keep her entertained for that long. She will probably surprise you and be a complete angel.

Enjoy your trip Erin, and your daughter too!

Lisa

Shelley - posted on 07/04/2010

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Just have fun, she will be fine. I was so worried about a 15 hour plane ride we took in the spring, but it was the 10 hour time difference that was the problem. The most difficult time for me was take off and landing when she had to sit on my lap because she hates to be forced to sit somewhere. At that time I really pulled out the goodies to keep her occupied.

Diana - posted on 07/04/2010

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a 2.5 hour plane ride is easy, just like waiting at the doctors but a little longer! I just flew from Australia to England with my 21 month old by myslef, - no thats more challenging. Just make sure you pack their favourite toy and some snacks

Alisa - posted on 07/03/2010

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I fly all the way to europe with my 2 kids on was 15 mnths and the other was 5 yr, by myself. I brought lots of snacks & a potable dvd player, which was very useful throught out the whole trip!!

Liz - posted on 07/03/2010

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Im off to the Uk in a few weeks with my 21 month old and my 4 year old, so all of these suggestions will come in really handy. Thanks. A friend also suggested to me to take a bag of 'surprises'. Go buy a cheap toy, book or activity for each hour that you will be on the plane and wrap it up. Let your child have a new present every hour and it should keep them relatively occupied.

Dawnie - posted on 07/03/2010

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Give her loads to do. Also try to BE calm children smell fear and then react accordingly. I also will be travelling with my bean next month, so good luck to us both! lol

Charlotte - posted on 07/03/2010

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My lucky daughter has been on a plane quite a bit as we have been to Spain twice, Tenerife and Scotland twice in the 20 months she has been alive. We have had some good trips when she has slept all the journey or chatted to people on the plane or played with magazines and toys and others where she has screamed the plane down. Try to make sure you have lots of drinks and snacks and ensure she is drinking on take off and landing as her ears may hurt. Maybe take something like smelling salts or something to calm her, we got something they recommended in Spain and the plane stewardesses offered help. Try to be calm yourself and point things out make it an adventure. Good luck.xx

Maygan - posted on 07/02/2010

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Oh yah I forgot to mention lol the one time he was terrible I had a few sips of wine once he passed out ( from exaustion from all the screaming he did I swear) It calmed my nerves very quickly :)

Ginny - posted on 07/02/2010

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You have been given some great advice! I am a flight attendant and would love to offer some additional tips.
1. If she uses a car seat on a regular basis bring it on the plane! It is the safest place for her for take-off and landing and she knows she has to stay seated in it. Put it in just like you would in your car. Just make sure it is says Airline Approved in red lettering on it.
2. DVD players are great if she watches TV. Maybe a new video of one of her favorite shows. Just remember the headphones!
3. Her fav snacks are a must, but the airline provides beverages. My airline does not hesitate to give out drinks before take-off to a parent with a sippy cup of their own. I bring the single serve sugar-free kool-aid packets and get a bottled water before take-off.
4. Remeber they have sensitive ears! It is best to have them drink something on accent and descent so their little ears don't clog.
5. Bring on carryon that fits under your seat. I also bring an extra set of clothes for her and a shirt for me in case she gets airsick.

Hope you have a great trip! Most of all remember to relax and take all the help you are offered!!

Maygan - posted on 07/02/2010

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im a pro at this! I also used to hate flying, but its funny i got so nervous about the baby that I got over my fear fast. Ive flown over 13 times with my 20 month old. Heres my tips in random order

The best thing is to try and fly during her nap time. If shes into DVDs get a mini play and bring a fav and a new one she hasnt seen. 2nd pack a stroller thats easy to fold because if you plan on taking it to the gate with you youll have to fold it and hold/ watch her at the same time. I pack a backpack not a diaper bag that way i have two arms free at the airport. As soon as Im seated I unpack the backpack and put everything I can in the seat back pocket in quick reach. (toys cups snacks etc) I always bring easy snacks like cherrios ets but i buy the mini oreos as a last minute emergancy snack :)
Her ears may be sensitive so have her drink out of her bottle or cup on take off and landing.
I take a small package of wipes and like 5 diapers so it doesnt take up too much space in the diaper bag. Change her right before you get on the plane and you probably wont need to change her on the plane.
I tried Benedryl once out of desperation ( he didnt want to sit still in the seat) and it made him wilder so unless you know the effects dont try it!
If your flying southwest ask at the check in desk if the plane is booked. If not go towards the back and plop her in the middle seat. Chances are if people dont have to they wont sit with a baby and you may get lucky and have a whole row to yourself.

If she crys...this has only happened to me once i swear
You can walk up and down the isle with her or sometimes if the flight attendants are nice they let you stand near the bathrooms with her. And remember..most people will have kids of their own and be understanding and if they dont..anyone can do anything for 2 1/2 hours :)

Good luck!

Maygan

Daphny - posted on 07/02/2010

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3 words: Keep her busy. Most airlines have in-flight kids program on demand these days that can keep her attention. Prepare some suprise toys/sticker books/games. Make sure she doesn't see them till she's bored and starts to fuss on the plane. And don't take them all out either. Pick one and play WITH her. Also snacks and drinks.

I took my 2 year old as well as my then 13 months old on a 14 hour flight back in Feb. It was very hard but all the tricks worked. I've also got lots of tips from this web site:
http://www.flyingwithkids.com/travel_tip...

Hope it works with you. Happy traveling and Bon Voyage!

Charlene - posted on 07/02/2010

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Nice tips Paula.I haven't flown yet with my 20month old but I'll remember these tips when I do.

Jessi - posted on 07/01/2010

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Hopefully your flight falls about the time of her nap. I've taken my daughter on a plane for two round trips already, once when she was 9 mo, and again this past february when she was 16 mo. Both times, we made sure the flights were during her nap time. She slept through most of every flight. When she wasn't sleeping, we were reading books, looking out the window at all the "little people" or she was drawing with her crayons. My daughter is usually a little terror, but she was VERY good during the trips. You want to make sure you have something for her to suck on like a pacifier or sippy cup to help with her ears popping. And definitely snacks, they help preoccupy them when they want to get up and run around. her favorite toys would be good to preoccupy her as well, but you risk losing them so ones that are easily replaceable are best.
That's all I can think of right now, good luck! Have a great trip!

Michelle - posted on 07/01/2010

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yeah when my little girl was 12 months i took my first ever flight with my 3 girls with me i was scared they were excited i was told to make sure at the time of take off and land make sure she is sucking her bottle soi did and all went well and my 2 older ones had chewing gum it was a 2 hour flight so we bring toys too they were fine i was worse than them but all went well

enjoy ur flight

Julia - posted on 06/29/2010

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My friend's just been to turkey with her 16month old and said he was fine, just take food, drink and toys.

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just make sure she has something to drink, some snacks and books or toys to keep her occupied... I flew back and forth on a 4.5 hour flight with my son and it went just fine.

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