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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So in November we are taking our first flying trip with our ds. He will be 17 1/2 months when we leave. He doesn't have a seat on the plane so I am just wondering if anyone has any tips on how to make this a great trip. Do the planes have a way to strap the kids in when we are taking off and landing? I am a little nervous. I know it will be fine but suggestions would be great.
 

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We've done a fair amount of travel with DS on the plane. There's no way to strap in a lap baby, except with your own arms, if you don't have a seat for them. We always brought our carseat with us and occasionally a plane would have an extra seat that they let us have for free and we could put ds in the carseat and that was nice. Great deal, but certainly no guarantee on that (plus your carseat has to be aircraft approved.

Otherwise, bring lots of snacks and some fun little toys that are new (or that child hasn't seen in a while) and watch out for things with too many little pieces or you'll be chasing them all over the airplane floor


safe travels!
 

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It is not true that there is no way to strap in a lap baby. International flights all have a second seatbelt that strap to yours and they require you use it for take off and landing. US flights do not, and as for Canada, I don't know!

Have a good trip!
 

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I just finished four flights with my 18 month old ds and my 7 month old dfd. We've flown with him before, but not since he has reached toddlerhood. It sounds like you have already purchased your tickets, yes?

The reason I ask is that two things really saved us:

1. Most of our flights were red-eyes. The one flight we had that was during ds' normal awake time, it was a practical disaster. The red-eyes are so wonderful (other than bedtime trips through security and through the airport) because the hum of the plane helps lull the kids to sleep, and since they are normally asleep during those hours, they tend to stay asleep. If there is any way to fly after your ds' bedtime, I say, do it!

2. Also, we purchased a seat for ds because past flying experience made us desire a whole row. Previously we had flown in first class (on standby "buddy passes" given to us by a flight attendent friend) more than we had in economy, but this time we didn't have that luxury. We knew that issues with diaper changes (a lot of times, there are no diaper changing facilities on the planes and the flight attendants will tell you to do it in seat...other times there are changing facilities that are nearly impossible to use with a toddler in those tiny little bathrooms), etc. make having a little more room worth the extra cost. A lot of airlines do a discount ticket for kids. With some airlines, it is a significant discount. Anyway, if I were you I would seriously consider it.

Beyond that, here is how we did it:

*I purchased ahead of time a little rolling suitcase for ds. It was toddler sized, and he fell in love with it. Having something of his own to roll around really helped him in the airport.

*I filled his suitcase secretly in the hours before we left our home with several small toys that I purchased especially for this trip: A number of "stress ball" type sensory toys, a light up wand that lights up and whirs around in various patterns when you press a button, several new books on his favorite subjects (dogs, cats, etc.), a magnadoodle thing, etc. I knew that the novelty of the items was key in keeping him occupied. (These did help, but I have an extremely active toddler who wants to be up and moving at all times if at all possible...so they only kept him busy for short periods before he wanted to run down the aisle of the plane).

*Snacks were one of the best distraction for food focused ds. We packed some compact things like unsweetened dried fruits, rice chips/crackers, slivered almonds, and other favorites.

*The number one best distraction we took was bubble gum for us to chew, not him. We would blow bubbles, which always makes ds laugh (he also tries to reach out and pop them, or sometimes bite them, and it is a little game for us to pop them before he can get to them). Chewing gum helped our ears as well.

*ds ears did not bother him when he was alseep, but for takeoffs and landings that he didn't sleep through, he definitely needed to suck to avoid too much pain. We brought both a pacifier (actually, about five because we know how easily they can be lost) and bottles (we adopted him from foster care, thus he is not breastfed). He would alternate between the two depending on what he wanted. It was good to have both available for him.

*(This may be irrelevant since you don't have a seat for your ds.) We brought his car seat on the flight for the first flight, and ditched it by the second. He refused to use it. He would scream bloody murder when we tried to put him in. It all started the first time the engines fired up on the first plane. The loud noise and all the unfamiliar people and the . The car seat was bulky and difficult to manage, and not worth it given that we couldn't get him in. There is no other way to strap them in (though we did put ds in his own seat and tighten the seatbelt on him as much as possible a couple times when he wanted to sit independently...and you won't have this seat). I heard that slings technically aren't allowed, but no one has ever given us a hard time and we've always used them. Some sort of baby carrier or sling can be great, especially for getting them to sleep.

*ds really liked looking out the window of the plane. Though aisle seats are good for getting up and down if ds needs it, on the other hand, there is the trade off because looking out the window kept ds occupied for five or ten minutes at a time throughout each flight (when he was awake).

*I will admit that we brought my laptop and three Baby Einstein DVDs. I bought the DVDs especially for the trip, as a just in case, if all-else-fails backup. At home, we don't have a tv, and ds has never seen a movie or tv before. We got through three of our flights fine without it, but on one flight, I was desperate enough to take it out. It helped for fifteen minutes before ds got bored, which was probably the longest stretch of time ds was content on the entire flight.

*Don't fly in the late afternoon or early evening if at all possible. Switch flight times if you have to. This is *really* important! This time of the day is "almost universal meltdown time" for tots, and it is asking for trouble to fly through it. I can say that because I have lived through it.

Got to go...
 

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we always buy first class tickets wtih seats for the kids. Lots of DVDs and snacks. Plus they are always offering drinks/snacks so that keeps him busy for a while!
 

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I second everything Sierra said, she had a very complete list. I just want to add a couple toys that worked for my ds. A new book or two with stuff to do (i.e. flaps to lift, levers to pull, stuff to touch)...one that was great for us is "Tails". The travel size Magnadoodle was great and so was the little water doodle tablet (I don't remember the exact name, but it comes with a little "marker" that you fill with water and then color on a tablet and a pattern is revealed).

I also recommend reviewing the latest airline restrictions by visiting the TSA website. That will make your trip through airport security soooo much smoother.

I only flew once without a seat for my ds and I swore I would NEVER do it a second time. He was way too wiggly and that was when he was 6 months old. We always travel with a stroller that converts into a carseat (we use it as our backup carseat at home). My ds is now 3 and we just had two flights where he couldn't sit in his carseat due to us ending up in a narrow bulkhead seat and it stunk because without his carseat he couldn't fall asleep. But every kid is different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the great advice. I think now I am kinda regretting getting another sit for him. My IL's bought our tickets with points through there credit card so I didn't want to get another seat. I think I should of. I was thinking of putting my ds in a baby carrier strapped on us just for take off and landing b/c I don't think he will sit still for that. I guess I will call the airline and find out what they allow.
 

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Can you ask if it would be possible to buy an additional seat for your ds when you call for info? It may be much less costly than you are thinking, depending on the particular airline.
 

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Don't forget to give something to sip or suck on during take-off and landing! The ears not equalizing is a major problem for young ones and often the cause of airplance fuzziness and crying.

I found that the hardest part of air travel, is getting thru security. You have to fold everything up and put it through, all while holding your son. Then, they will have him walk thru separately if he walks. So you have to hope that he won't run off.

I set off the alarms once when traveling with dd who was still crawling at the time. They wanded her and then I had to put her on the floor while they wanded me. She started to crawl off and it made my heart clench. I couldn't run after her because to move from the scanning will make them call additional security. Luckily, dd didn't go far and it wasn't busy.....but still.....its something to be aware can happen.

And a laptop with some dvds really has helped pass the time.

good luck!
 
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