Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Flying with an 18 month old

     It can be a scary thing for first time parents to travel with their little one on their first long flight. It definitely was for me. I will admit that I was more nervous about the flight than my husband. I am the type of person who cares about what other people are thinking or saying. My husband, on the other hand, could probably care less. I kept worrying about how the other passengers will react to my child if he acts up. I know this can be a common fear in many people. Here is my personal experience and what we did to try to have the best experience for all.

     For our flight to Orlando, we were up bright and early to catch our early morning flight! We had to wake up Liam and he was surprisingly in a good mood! Probably because he woke up at the Happiest Place on Earth and new he was about to head to another happy place.

  He is Mr. Independent already. He wanted to hold his Mater that he built with his dad and his backpack. Whenever I offered to help he would say "No" or if I tried to hold anything for him, he would take it back. I can't believe how fast he is growing!

     Now as I had mentioned before, I was feeling very nervous about our flight. When we would talk about our trip to other people before left, I always expressed my concern about how he would do on the flight. I know Liam has a lot of energy and I had no idea how I was going to keep him still for 5 hours on an airplane. My dear, sweet husband listened to my concerns day in and day out up until the day finally arrived when we would get on that plane. He had saved up money and surprised us with first class seats! I was shocked! I never even brought up the idea to get first class seats because I knew it was just a ridiculous amount of money. I was completely touched by how thoughtful my husband had been. We were all pretty excited to experience it!

     When we got to board, I was so impressed with all the leg room! It was perfect for Liam to stand up and walk around. This was great because as we waited for the rest of the plane to board, we let Liam walk around and get a little more energy out. We absolutely loved being in first class and who wouldn't? Cal and I joked that maybe this wasn't such a great idea because now we always will want to fly First Class and that will not always be possible!

   So how did the flight go? It was difficult! Our flight was pretty early in the morning and he was a ball of energy. We tried to run him before we boarded so he could get out all of his energy out, but he still did not want to sit still. The first hour we were able to keep him occupied with one of his play packs. He would color with me and then he found the stickers. Our flight attendant got a good laugh at Liam's decisions on where to put his stickers.

     We were offered some breakfast. I wasn't too hungry and had a cheese and cracker plate while Calvin had some oatmeal. Liam munched on some of our food. After breakfast is when things got a little harder. Liam was finished with sitting still. We resorted to using the Ipad and putting on a movie for him. He usually loves Monsters Inc, which is what we played, but for some reason he was scared of Randall! I understand that he is the villain of the movie, but Liam was never scared of him before. So whenever Randall appeared, Liam would whine and try to bury himself into either mine or calvin's chest.

      We knew Liam was due for a nap which explained why he was getting cranky. Calvin tried to walk him around to hopefully rock him to sleep, but Liam wasn't having that. To us, we felt like we were making the other passengers in first class feel uncomfortable. I happened to notice the two gentlemen sitting across from us kept staring. I assumed that they were giving me looks of disapproval and pretty much, "get your child under control!". At the end of our flight as we were getting ready to get off the plane, one of the gentleman who was staring at us earlier said to me, "He's a good kid". I smiled and responded, "Thank you! We tried our best." and he assured us that Liam did very well and that he knew his daughter wouldn't have done as well as Liam had. Needless to say, we were shocked! Now that I look back on it, Liam wasn't necessarily screaming at the top of his lungs or running around like crazy. He would fuss and whine, but of course to self conscious first time parents on their first long flight, it seems like he is the loudest person on the plane. To us, everything that we thought Liam may have been doing that would disturb the other passengers, seemed 10 times worse than it really was. I was just finally happy to get off that plane and off to our hotel!

     On our way back home, it was a totally different experience. We left Florida in the early evening this time around. We flew from Florida to catch our connecting flight in Los Angeles. This first leg of our flight, we had first class seats again. We pretty much did the same things we did the first time around. Liam was running around all day and we also made sure to let him run around the airport before boarding. 

      Once we took off, we gave Liam another one of his play packs. He colored and again stuck stickers on mommy. This time it was on my head! Silly little guy. When he got bored with that, we turned on a movie for him. I believe we watched How to Train a Dragon 2. He sat through the whole movie and was very interested.
     When the movie was getting close to being over, we could tell he was getting tired. He was fussing a little. We tried our best to help him get into the most comfortable position possible. Soon he was off to dream land. He must have been pretty exhausted. He slept through the last hour of the flight, while we waited an hour for our connecting flight at LAX, and all the way home. He did wake up when we landed, but it was only for a little while. Once we got in our car to head home, he was asleep for the rest of the night. 

     It was definitely two completely different experiences and the only thing we did differently was the time of the flight. Based on my personal experience, I highly suggest booking a flight that would be either during their nap time or bed time. Another thing you may be saying to yourself is, "we don't have first class seats with all the leg room". To be completely honest, the leg room was more for me. I thought that Liam would want to just hang out in the extra leg room that we had, but he didn't. He wanted to run up and down the aisle instead. All you really need is snacks, activities like coloring, or something like an Ipad that would have apps and movies on it. And for my advice for caring about what other people on the flights think, just don't. I was so worried about him during the first flight and assuming others were judging us, but it was all just my stress and anxiety. As long as you're doing all that you can to ensure your child is comfortable, there's nothing more you can do. I just kept telling myself that I paid just as much money as everyone else on this flight and I deserve to go on vacation too. 

     I hope this helped a little for those first time parents worried about taking a long flight with their child. If not, I hoped you at least enjoyed reading about our little experience!


  1. I would've been self conscious too, but it sounds like you guys did a great job keeping Liam occupied. How nice of that passenger to compliment you on Liam. Also, how fancy pants that you guys got to go first class! ;)

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