Travel tips & gear

Our first flight with a toddler

I love flying. I enjoy everything from the bustle of the airport to the exhilaration of take off and even a bit of stomach turning turbulence.

However, I had a horrible niggling feeling about our first flight with our toddler, Tin Box Tot. Would she be scared? What would we do if she was sick? And how were we going to keep her under control through the airport and while we were in the air?

Mr TB and Tin Box Tot on plane
Mr TB and TBT enjoy some sticker fun



Our first flight with TBT came about because we were heading to Sweden for a wedding. More about this mini-holiday another time. Back to the flight…

I needn’t have worried about TBT being afraid or ill, she took it all in her stride. However, I’m glad I did some advance planning around the things we took to keep her entertained.

Spread around our hand luggage we had an array of snacks, books and activities. Here’s my packing list.

A few of the items we found most helpful were:

  • A sticker book – peeling and sticking kept TBT occupied for quite a while. She loved her new bird-themed stickers so much that ‘owl’ was added to her vocabulary during our little trip.
  • Flash cards – these have become one of TBT’s favourite toys. She gets really excited flicking through the pictures with us and using words or baby signing to tell us what they are.
  • Card books – TBT is adamant that she is in charge of turning the pages, so we go through these pretty quick, but books are guaranteed to keep her occupied for decent periods of time.


We also passed time waving to the other planes while we were on the runway and looking at the clouds while we were in the air. When given the opportunity to run up and down the aisle TBT preferred to ogle the other passengers and didn’t move more than a row from our seats.

In case my worries about sickness had come to fruition we had spare clothes and a carrier bag to hand to wrap up soiled items.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though. About half way into our flight TBT had a minor breakdown. We had been up since 4am so the poor thing was shattered. 

After what felt like a lifetime of bawling, but was probably only a few minutes, the chap at the end of our row of three seats discretely found somewhere else to park himself. The extra space made a big difference. TBT was free to wriggle and soon settled back down.

She stayed awake until about 10 minutes before we landed and missed touch down all together.

Tin Box Tot sleeping
Landing was thrilling for our tot!

On a scale of one to ten, our first flight with a toddler was an eight. It went a lot better than I thought it might and having new things for TBT to look at was well worthwhile. 

Next time we fly we’ll have to pay full price for TBT to have her own seat as she’ll be over two. While I begrudge paying an adult fare for a little person, the space will be welcome.

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