We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Making long haul flights comfortable for kids...

Melbourne, Australia
6 posts
Save Topic
Making long haul flights comfortable for kids...


We are travelling on Sunday from Melb to San Fran. We are going to mostly be travelling overnight and looking for tips on how to keep the kids asleep and comfortable. We have a 1 year old (he will be held) an almost 3 year old and a 4 1/2 year old. On our last long haul flight they really struggled to stay in their seats - they are all tummy sleepers.

So does anything help? Neck pillows, extra pillows? Would the CARES restraint be helpful? Taking a car seat is not feasible as we don't have enough adults to carry anything other than our luggage and kids.

Many thanks

Upper Montclair...
Level Contributor
29 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Making long haul flights comfortable for kids...

Well, after they get really tired from trying to stay up they usually do end up falling asleep. However I have found that the neck pillow was helpful. Hope that helps!

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
112 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Making long haul flights comfortable for kids...

Start explaining to your kids now that you are travelling on a plane and will be on there all night and that they will need stay in their seats and sleep there. Let them know that you will be next to them the entire time.

Continue to reiterate this until you are on the plane.

Take PJ's and their favourite snuggle toy. Try to follow their usual bed time routine as best you can.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
26,692 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Making long haul flights comfortable for kids...

I would also suggest that a flight is very exciting and different and they may be too excited to sleep until well past their normal bedtime. I wouldn't worry too much about trying to get them to sleep, but just content, which of course gets more difficult the more tired you all get.

I suspect some people will think this is a horrible idea, but with kids of this size, and a flight of that duration, i would seriously look at using the floor. You have two small children who will have their own seats, and then you have two adults seats with an extra child, right? So you might be able to lift the arm rest between two of the seats, allowing one small child to lie down there, and then another across that same space on the floor below those two seats. That won't work if you have turbulence and they have to be in their seatbelts, but its worth considering.

You still have a third child to squeeze in there somewhere, but maybe you will all have to sleep in shifts in order to allow everyone a few hours each. Once they are asleep, can they be moved? Some kids wake quickly; my kids sleep like logs once they are out and we would have been able to move them into individual seats. My kids have always traveled with neck pillows. I like them.

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
1,916 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Making long haul flights comfortable for kids...

As Toddlers-on-Tour-Au said, a preflight briefing for the 2 older kids is a good idea. Reminding my son how to be a good passenger and the benefits of being a good passenger has always helped me. I believe you will have more success if they know what to expect. I do not believe there is much point in trying to plan too much, because there is too much you will not have control over. The standard books, toys and snacks will help. I do not know your flight times or the Melbourne airport, but arriving early and getting through the lines, allowing time to walk or eat something is also something I do.

One problem you will likely have is packing your carry on luggage. You will have limited space, but more importantly limited help to carry it. Hopefully the 2 oldest will be awake enough to walk, they probably will be, in my experience, but they are not big enough to carry much besides some toys. Gate checking a stroller will help with the youngest. I do not know the San Francisco airport well, but as a general rule carts for carry on luggage are not common in the US. With diapers, baby food, snacks, clean clothes for the kids, and toys, you will not have much space. Prebook a bassinett if possible, but the one year old may be too big.

Level Contributor
18,129 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Making long haul flights comfortable for kids...

I doubt that you would be allowed to let them sleep on the floor - big no no!

If the two adults sit in the middle seat of 4 then your kids can stretch out on their own and lay their heads on your laps. Is the 1 year old small enough to fit in one of the bassinets available. Have you booked a bassinet?

If they have a favorite rug/pillow/blanket it might be an idea to take that along. Something familiar can be calming.

Also, I suggest that both adults get a really good night's sleep before you go because you probably won't get much sleep on the flight.

One thing I found with my kids was they used to get earaches on takeoff and landing because they couldn't clear their ears with the pressure change. Getting the bub to take a bottle (or breast) can alleviate this. For the older ones, try getting them to blow their noses.

On an overnight flight, let's hope you get lucky and they sleep the whole way!

Good luck.

Belleville, Illinois
Level Contributor
27 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Making long haul flights comfortable for kids...

Portable DVD player and an airline safety restraint for kids. I bought one for my 2 year old and they turn the seat belt into a car seat type restraint. Life saver for mom! (flew with 2 small kids by myself).

Also, bring plenty of snacks and various activities such as crayons etc.

7. Re: Making long haul flights comfortable for kids...

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 27 October 2012, 13:17