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Flying with a Toddler :: One Year Later

This time last year, Emma took her first flight to Ireland. I was anxious but excited to see how Emma would take to flying in a plane, but it wasn’t the best experience. Perhaps she was over-tired or just annoyed at having to be held during the flight but she cried every second she was in the plane to the point where she was making herself poorly. This is the most worried I’ve been about Emma, especially as even when she did fall asleep, she seemed to be hyperventilating in her sleep.

Looking back, the Ryanair flight just didn’t suit us. There was a lot of queuing, delayed flights and generally a little less space in between seats. Whatever the reason was, those two flights were pretty unbearable and the three of us were filled with dread at the thought of doing it all over again. The holiday on the other side was keeping us going, but how would Emma take to it one year later?

Part of the problem at 18 months old, is that I couldn’t explain anything to her. I couldn’t warn her about what was to come or reassure her that delays are only short and there isn’t long to wait. These days, she understands phrases like “we have to wait our turn” or “just a bit longer” and it calms her down…but there was none of that a year ago. If anything making the exact same journey one year later has made us all realise how much she has grown up without us even noticing.

From the moment we set off, it was exciting to Emma. We decided to order a taxi to go to the airport and sitting all by herself with a ‘big girl’s’ seatbelt on made her smile no end. In a last minute bold decision, we didn’t take the buggy (our first trip without one) so we told Emma this and she seemed to be so happy. She ran around the airport, following her brother all the way although I did find myself constantly calling out to her so she didn’t run off too far.

This time, we decided to fly Aer Lingus and it was the best decision we could have made. Aside from the obvious (as so many Ryanair flights had been cancelled), we didn’t have to queue at all…an absolute first! The check in was quick and easy, as was the security through the family entrance. When we went to Ireland last year, we didn’t use the family entrance but it makes such a difference as they are really accommodating with babies and children. Emma had to part with her milk AND her comfort toy as they needed to go through the X-Ray, which obviously made her cry but the security officer let me carry her through the X-Ray instead of making her walk through solo.

On the flight itself, as Emma had a seat to herself it was a game-changer. She’s always been independent and it just makes everything much easier than holding her on the previous flight. She was fascinated with the buckle and when we took off, I set up the iPad with pre-downloaded shows on the Netflix app that stay downloaded for 7 days. Emma’s current favourites are Minions film or Beat Bugs and she settled down right away with her milk. On our travel days, I didn’t worry at all about the amount of milk she was drinking. She’s a milk fiend so usually I have to dissuade her to have milk with every meal, but to make things easy, she drank as much as she wanted along with a few Organix crisps.

We’ve now settled back into our Brighton life and had such a smooth journey over to Ireland. It made the holiday stress-free and I really felt like both Emma and James enjoyed  the travel days. We made sure we had plenty of time on our side, as Emma was walking and carried her if she couldn’t manage – I found the additional time crucial as I imagine it would get stressful if we were running to the gate carrying our toddler! What was heartening was how much easier travel is now she is that bit older, and it’s made me feel more confident that we can jet off on a sunny holiday some time soon!


  1. October 25, 2017 / 12:48 pm

    It really is so much easier to fly when they’re a bit older, isn’t it? My daughter is much easier to entertain now and is really happy to sit in her own seat and watch the iPad or ‘read’ stories. #fortheloveofBLOG

  2. October 25, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    Hi Bridget! I had a very similar post to yours, comparing travelling with a baby and travelling with a toddler. I love how much more independent they are. My little one however still appreciated a good bed time routine – even though she was a little big older. lovely post xx

  3. October 29, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    Oh no! This is my fear, we’re flying for the first time with the kids next year and Jessica will be 18months old – I’m already anxious about how she is going to be! Glad this flight was better for #fortheloveofBLOG

  4. October 31, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    Ah that’s brilliant that the flight was so much easier. It’s amazing how much better it gets when they’re older and can understand, plus having a seat of their own is a god send (although not on our bank balances). The only thing I would say is the baby change board is far harder to use with toddlers than babies. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

  5. November 1, 2017 / 8:58 am

    My experience flying with kids was when my youngest daughter was 2 and we did a 12 hour flight to Australia from South Africa. And then another 2 hour flight from Sydney to Brisbane. The airline we flew with was brilliant and I must say my toddler was not at all restless as we took toys with and she was kept busy with kiddies movies and color activities. The only thing was that she had terrible ear ache with our flight from Sydney to Brisbane. The same with the flight home – it was a breeze.#DreamTeam

  6. November 1, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    Im going to remember this tip! Aer Lingus going forward! Ben is yet to go outside the country and with my redundancy in February, a holiday is on the cards! #dreamteam

  7. November 1, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    Ryanair is such a faff. We are stuck with them as they are the only airline that flies to Portugal (my home country) from Stansted which is the closest airport to where we live, but every time I curse them and swear it’s the last time! The iPad is our best friend as well as Organix everything 🙂 #dreamteam

  8. November 1, 2017 / 3:03 pm

    Ooh having flown to Ireland with both my kids (without hubby) since they were babies I feel your pain!!! It’s definitely easier once they pass the toddler stage. My two know the drill now and really enjoy the trip – glad to hear this year’s flight was a success! 🙂 #DreamTeam

  9. November 1, 2017 / 4:01 pm

    I’ve not flown with my two yet but the thought of flight delays and toddlers fills me with despair!!! #DreamTeam

  10. November 1, 2017 / 4:49 pm

    Oh I’m so glad you had a good flight. It’s definitely easier as they get older, thank god for Netflix! When we went to Mallorca it was a evening flights both ways so she slept for both of them but it’s good to be prepared. Having their own seat helps as well I think. x #dreamteam

  11. mammasschool
    November 1, 2017 / 7:38 pm

    I’m so pleased you’ve had a better experience. We had a terrible 2 hour flight with our eldest at 18 months, and then a fantastic 12 hour one 7 months later….just a few months made all the difference #dreamteam

  12. November 1, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    I absolutely hate Ryanair! Ive had so many problems with them that i flat out refuse to fly with them anywhere now! Im so glad you had a better experience this time #dreamteam

  13. November 1, 2017 / 9:56 pm

    Glad you had a good flight. We’re yet to brave a trip abroad. Just the thought of it scares me. But we’re determined to get away next year! #dreamteam

  14. November 2, 2017 / 12:17 am

    So happy you had a good flight! My little boy was 20 months the first time we flew and he also had to sit on my knee he did quite well but being so tall he was quite uncomfortable. Next time he will be 3 and a half and have his own seat, so I’m hoping it will be quite the adventure for him!

  15. November 2, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    Oh yay, I’m so glad you had a better experience this time around xx #DreamTeam

  16. November 2, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    Glad this experience was better than your first. It definitely makes a difference when they have their own seat!

  17. November 3, 2017 / 10:11 am

    Great to hear you had a better experience this time round. We have been dreading this moment and we have not braved a holiday abroad yet. It’s going to be 2019 now so by then the boys will be old enough to know what is going on xx #DreamTeam

  18. November 3, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    Ahhh so good to hear flying was a lot better this time round. We have still yet to do this! I definitely think that the different airlines make a difference. And some seem much more family friendly than others (like the old Cyprus airways – which was a dream). Thanks for being a super hostess over on the #dreamteam xx

  19. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...
    November 3, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    I have a phobia of flying so have never taken the children on a plane, can’t imagine how stressful it must be trying to fit around a routine #dreamteam

  20. November 3, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    A year just makes so much difference at this age doesn’t it. So pleased that it went well this time for you lovely. You’ve reassured me a little too as we’re trying a flight for the first time with our two next year but our littlest will be nearly 4 by then so there’s hope haha. Thanks for being such a fab co-host with me at #DreamTeam lovely xx

  21. November 5, 2017 / 8:48 pm

    It’s fantastic that things have got easier over the year and everyone enjoyed the flight this time. #DreamTeam

  22. November 10, 2017 / 11:26 am

    Just a tad bit more, and she will look forward to it and be fascinated by every little thing! I’m glad this time out was easier! xoxo #DreamTeam xoxo

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