FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

How to Survive First-Time Air Travel with a Toddler

by Susan Finch

Sep 13, 2017

Miniimpressions | Dreamstime

Age Specific / Toddlers

Photo Credit: © Miniimpressions | Dreamstime

If you’re dreading flying with your toddler, you’re in good company. The Daily Mail reported one in four parents admit they’re too scared to take children on a plane. Kids and small, confined spaces with a lot of people isn’t exactly the scenario for smooth sailing. But you can not just survive, but thrive, on a plane with a toddler. Here’s what to do and how to plan.

Toddler in seat on a plane

Photo: Radist | Dreamstime


Game the Seat System

Splurge on a seat for your toddler and set-up their car seat if they’re already accustomed to sitting in it long distance. But if you can’t afford the extra seat, there are ways you can game the system to try to score a free seat. Book a window and aisle seat for you and your travel companion and hope no one sits in the middle. If they do, you can just scoot into the middle seat instead.

Let them Play Before Boarding

More airports are offering dedicated playgrounds for kids to unwind before a flight. If you can’t find one, let your little one explore the airport near your gate or set-up a game in a corner. The idea is to keep them stimulated and work on tiring them out so they’re more likely to want to settle in and rest once they board.

Bring Contraband

It’s not hard to come up with plenty of forbidden snacks to keep your toddlers busy. They don’t have to all be suckers and junk foods either. Think about snacks you don’t buy as often due to the price or availability, whether yogurt melts or fruit snacks. For a crying emergency, consider packing up some sugar-free suckers or baby crackers masquerading as cookies for a quick reprieve.

toddler on plane in seat with teddy bear

Photo: Famveldman | Dreamstime


Pack Surprises

The Dollar Store is your best friend when you’re flying with toddlers. Make a special trip and stock up a handful of small toys like cars, stickers, craft supplies and even Post-it notes. Then wrap up each item like a present and add birthday or Christmas ribbon. Not only will they thrill over the delight in their presents, but it will take some time to open each one. Dole out each one every 15 minutes throughout the flight to keep them busy.

Don’t Medicate

It’s tempting to medicate your child during a flight to get them to sleep, but unless your doctor expressly tells you to do so due to a lingering illness, don’t do it. Not only can it be dangerous for your child, but they could have the opposite reaction. Some children are hyper after a dose of Benadryl, and their reaction can be completely different every time they take it. So instead of a calm and sleeping toddler, you could end up with a completely feral one who is bouncing off the airplane cabin walls.

Offer a Bribe to Nearby Passengers

The stress surrounding toddler travel is often about what others will think. No one wants to be trapped on an airplane with angry passengers focusing negative attention on you and your toddler. Set the tone from the beginning. Once your toddler gets a little worked up, offer to purchase a drink to keep passengers relaxed and happy. Chances are they will (and should) politely decline, but it will let them know you’re thinking of their comfort and happiness.


Get Mentally Prepared

Visit any online baby and toddler forum and you’ll see you will make yourself more miserable and scared about flying than the experience will actually be. Remind yourself the flight is not forever, and even if it’s a horrible experience, you will never see those people again. You owe it to your fellow passengers to try to create a calm and soothing experience, but your child is not a trained animal. He is a little person with needs and feelings and may cry. Everyone around you will survive with a little noise. Make the experience about family togetherness and extending kindness and sympathy to your child and let the other passengers worry about themselves.


Insta Feed
Destinations / North America
Sep 21, 2023

The World’s Largest Indoor Beachfront Waterpark Opened This Summer

Not quite ready to say goodbye to summer? If the weather is forcing you to head indoors, you can still take advantage of a few opportunities to splash around in the waves, without even being that far from the beach — thanks to the world’s largest indoor beachfront waterpark, which opened this summer in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

United Airlines Celebrates its First Class of United Aviate Graduates

As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.

Destinations / North America
Sep 21, 2023

Spooky Haunts to Visit in Cayuga County, New York, This Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner, which means its time to start making plans for spooky and scary stops for having fun with the family this fall. New York’s Cayuga County is always a fun visit for family travelers, but if you plan on being in the area this October, you will definitely want to explore its haunted history with some choice spots along New York’s Haunted History Trail. This curated list of haunted and spooky stops throughout New York features incredible locations showcasing the perfect combination of the state’s beautiful charm and fascinating history.

Sep 21, 2023

6 Tirana, Albania, Destinations for Family Travel

It’s time to start dreaming of your next family trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Tirana, Albania, with us.

Interior Upgrades Begin Rolling Out Across United Fleet

United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.

Destinations / North America
Sep 21, 2023

4 Reasons to Head to Franklin, Tennessee, This Fall and Winter

The next two seasons see Franklin, Tennessee, come alive with festive events, fun pop-ups and colorful lights. Family travelers planning a trip to Tennessee this fall or winter must make time for Franklin, a city just south of Nashville with plenty of history and festivities awaiting.