Trans-Atlantic flight with a 15 month old

So we’re flying to Ireland from Chicago in a couple of days with Lochdale Jnr. He’s 15 months of great litte guy. He’s been back to Ireland twice already but this is the first time as a fully mobile little person.

Any advice? Other than to point out that we are crazy.

We’ve gotten him his own seat. We’re bringing along his car seat. We’re going to have both seats next to him but it’s a small, older plane so it’s going to be a slow flight (thanks American Airlines).

He’s a bit young for videos though he does like to beat the ipad. We’ll have food, diapers, bottles, toys etc.

I’m stressing out about it already as I’m fearing 7+ hours of meltdown. Cheers.

My condolences.

Is he interested in TV yet? bringing a portable DVD player can make it much easier.

Is his seat between you and your spouse? That would be ideal.

You should bring LOTS of small snack food that he really likes. Major distraction.

The reality is that you can be as prepared as possible and he still might meltdown for the whole time. Just make sure the people around you know how hard you are trying.

I heard of someone packaging up earplugs with a little note of apology and giving it to all the people seated around them. It broke the ice and helped people not to kill the parents.

Supposedly the cabin pressurization can be torture for little ones, so you might want to take some kind of pain meds. Also, if the flight is during normal sleep time, some Benadryl might come in handy if he has trouble sleeping.

If you *can *get him to watch videos, they do make toddler headphones that will fit him much better than regular ones.

If you want him in his car seat make sure you get the seat checked ahead of time to ensure it is an approved seat. And if he is in his carseat then he will have to be placed at the window, so make sure they know when you are choosing seats.

Make sure you order him a toddler meal. It should be kid friendly, but definitely bring some of his favourite snacks (& some treats too).

Get lots of small NEW toys for him. They are gold and should be reserved for when he is at his wits end … don’t give them to him all at once. Ideally you should come home with some of your emergency toys. Also, consider wrapping the toys for an extra level of special (and distraction).

Good Luck and have fun!

Some good advice, thank you.

We purchased three seats in the middle row (it’s a 2 by 3 by 2 configuration). So we have all three seats but do not have a window seat and American didn’t seem to think about it or note it…

Have a bottle ready for him. He may have graduated from those by now, but sucking on one will help relieve the pressure in his ears.

You are not crazy. I started taking my kids to Egypt younger than that, an 18-hour trip from DC. Now that’s crazy :slight_smile:

Advice above is all good. Have a lot of little snacks, favorite toys, including anything that brings comfort at bedtime. Most flights to Europe are overnight so hopefully he’ll sleep, put him in his PJ’s. Bring a few books to read to him, or whatever is your normal evening routine. I would not advise screen time as that will tend to stimulate rather than sedate.

I second this. Go to your local toy store and buy 20 $1 things up by the front counter (the wind up toys, plastic animals, tops, cars, silly puddy, etc. and wrap them like the twist candy with ribbons. You want to have enough for one every 30 minutes there and back (in case you can’t find anything over there). Cheap enough to just throw away or lose if necessary. Also 5 new books that your little one has never seen before plus some old classics.

I spent 4 hours once in the bathroom on a trans-atlantic flight with a 16 month old that would not settle down. I had to stand but she sat and played on the changing table- it worked quite well for us and our seat neighbors. So my last suggestion is one of teamwork- I would just designate one of you to be responsible on the flight and the other sleep as hard as they can. After landing, the jobs are reversed so that the other can catch up on sleep while the other is the primary minder. This has subsequently been easier for us as due to my height I can’t sleep well on airplanes and don’t need nearly as much sleep.

Bring along PJs and change the kid into them after the dinner is served and try to mimic a normal bedtime routine.

Also, this is a bit extreme, but if you aren’t a regular driving family, have your child fall asleep in their car seat a couple of times just to get them comfortable with the idea.

We just did a 9-hour car trip BOTH WAYS with our then-15-month-old, so I feel your pain.

A magnadoodle
The B. Hellophone (warning: will annoy other passengers)
Animal Alphabet
Snacks in these

We had a travel DVD player but it went kaput at the beginning of the drive home. I strongly urge you to just let the kid watch TV. It will make the trip 100 times smoother for everyone involved, and it’s only a few hours of brain scrambling. How many IQ points could he possibly lose?

We flew from Ohio to Aukland, NZ with a 9 month old. It was quite a trip.

Then why recommend it?

It’s bad enough being seated next to an annoying LOUD child, without said kid ALSO having annoying LOUD toys. :mad:

My boys were mesmerized by Baby Einstein DVD’s at that age. I am under no illusion that they make babies any smarter, but they sure do buy you some quiet time. You can look at some clips on Youtube, then check some DVD’s out from the library or Netflix if your child is suitably hypnotized.

It’s the least loud of the many loud toys that entertained my daughter on that car ride, and the most entertaining feature–a voice recorder and playback–isn’t loud at all, is no more annoying than regular conversation. It’s even got a “low volume” setting that would be drown out by the sound of the plane’s engines for anyone not right next to it.

Have you tried him on phone videos of himself? At that age Widget would happily have spent hours watching a two-minute video of herself jumping/wiggling/eating/whatever.

You’re not going to be able to keep him settled in a seat the whole time. Just accept that, do what you can to keep noise and disturbance to a minimum, and set him loose!

I could always keep my kid happy on a plane for hours and hours by letting him periodically run up and down the aisles with me following. I was always conscientious about not bothering people, but they have to give a little too. If someone bitches, just shrug and say, “Well, takes a village.” The run/sit routine works out far better than sit/sit routine.


But you said upthread that it “will annoy other passengers”

Bad parent. :mad:

I’m not sure what kind of toy this is, and I wouldn’t take one that was clearly annoying, but if it just makes a noise or something and people act like they’re entitled to sleep through a flight with no disturbances whatsoever, then no, sorry. Children are in the world, too, and it really does take a village.

That should be OK. On narrow-body planes the child seat needs to be by a window, but on wide-bodies it can be in the center section as long as it doesn’t block anybody’s exit. I flew with my child on a wide-body like this and it was fine.

If you do the Benadryl route - test first a week or two before the flight. It can make some kids hyperactive, and kids that used to sleep with Benadryl can change and it wires em out 6 months later.

If he uses a soother, bring a couple and have some ready for a quick draw.

Bring some comforting things like his blanket. Hoodies are good on planes.

Lots of variety. Snacks, books, iPad stuff. Put him in the middle seat and entertain him. You’ll be fine.