Flying with a lap toddler

By Aimee on


Firstly I must say how fortunate we were. The flights weren’t full and for both flights we had a seat for our daughter. The only time we had to actually have her on our laps was during take off, landing, and the first hour of the flight before the guy next to us moved to a spare seat. A big thanks to the flight attendant who asked him to move.

It was early when we left to Perth and had to wake up P to take her to the airport. She’d also had her immunisations two days prior and was still running a bit of a fever and was off. Not good conditions for her first flight.

She had her bag packed and was pretty excited about being out of the house. Even if it was still dark.

We arrived at the airport and after reading a number of blog posts about it I brought my carrier for easier travel through security. Except they asked me to take it off which just made it all worse. But we were through and everything there was fine.

I filled up drink bottles and we had some breakfast before boarding. The plane was delayed by 20-30 minutes which was fine as P just ran around and looked through the windows outside to the planes. Hot tip! the travelators are the best of fun! We gave her some nurofen before we boarded for any ear pain experienced on the plane.

Once aboard the air hostesses handed us her infant belt and we were away. She was fantastic for probably the first half of the trip. After that she was very tired and very grumpy and very little distracted her.

Selfie silly face

Her backpack

  1. Snacks
  2. Water bottle
  3. Pencils/stickers/book/pencil case
  4. Miniature dinosaurs
  5. 2 books
  6. Small handbag
  7. Baby bottle / Dummy
  8. Baby doll
  9. Quiet book
  10. Hat
  11. Headphones x2
  12. Headphone splitter
  13. Necklace and bracelet
  14. Sunglasses

My Backpack

  1. Change of clothes for her and me
  2. Cup
  3. My drink bottle
  4. Phone
  5. Bullet Journal
  6. Pen and highlighter
  7. Toiletries - Moisturiser, deodorant, sunscreen, toothbrush etc.
  8. Nappies - 5 cloth Nappies
  9. Wipes
  10. Changing mat
  11. Wet bag
  12. Scarf


Things that worked

Stickers! I brought some stickers, a little book, and some pencils and had them all in a pencil case. She spent lots of time using stickers

Scarf! This was great as a pretend blanket for P, a pillow, or for her to just cover up her face and play peek-a-boo with it. She also really liked playing with the tassels.

Snacks! This was a bit hit and miss depending on the snack. She didn’t really have an appetite on the way over due to immunisations so nothing worked but on the way back crackers and mini m&m’s worked a treat. With the mini m&m’s you could distribute them slowly and turn it into a bit of a game. It was perfect for descent when you needed her to sit still on your lap.

Photos! We spent a good chunk of time looking through photos and videos on my phone of herself. She loved it!

Baby! As well as babies bottle and such. On the flight there Baby brought a lot of comfort. On the flight home however she stayed in the overhead locker.

Safety Manual! She thought the toddler in this picture looked like a monkey

Tray Table! putting this up and down was fun too!

Cup! This came in handy if she wanted to drink something that wasn’t her water. And not just on the flight, this was great for the airport and even the houses we stayed. This one won’t work for those kids that aren’t confident with a cup but P now is.

Caribiners! To attach things like baby or P’s backpack to a belt for extra hands free! (Baby was wearing a doggy harness to help with this as she’s big and didn’t fit the backpacks)

Also bonus if you can bring your partner along! Sam was the best of help.


Things that didn’t work

Mini Dinosaurs! She loves these at home but she just threw them around the plane.

Books! Not because she doesn’t love them but she wasn’t all too interested in them during the flights

Headphones! She also wasn’t too interested in wearing the headphones and watching a show. If I had managed to download Wiggles though, that would have been a different story.

Walking the aisles! She got scared of some of the people on the plane and just wanted to be carried.

Nappy Changes! It was ok with the first plane when there was a change table in the toilet. Not so good on the second plane. We did a standing change on the second flight. It worked but only because it was a wet nappy, not a poopy one.

P wearing Glasses

Who wore it better?

There were many things that worked and a few things I thought would but didn’t. Each flight was so different as well and it has taught me the best thing you can do is to stay calm, just go with it and be a little lenient.