Flying with Toddlers – Avoid these Top Mistakes


Intro to Flying with Toddlers

It’s Tyler here from  If you’ve been following along, you know that I just returned from a trip to Washington D.C.  It was my first trip to our nation’s capital.  But it was also my first time on a plane and the topic of my post today: Avoid these Top Mistakes when Flying with Toddlers.

Tyler and Mom posing with an airplane
Tyler and Mom posing with an airplane


I have to admit, it was a source of great trepidation for me and my parents to be flying with a toddler.  Close to three hours in a small confined space with hundreds of strangers.

Sounds awful right?  Honestly though, it went really well.  Here’s some tips for safe and comfortable flying with toddlers.

Pick a strategic flight time

The best time for flying with toddlers is during your child’s normal naptime.  If you can time it properly, your child will fall asleep as soon as the flight takes off and will wake up around landing time.

Know your limitations

While it might be fun to take a trip around the world, keep in mind that your toddler may not tolerate a half-day or longer flight.

Be smart and start with 2 to 3 hour flights.  If you have to take a longer trip, consider a flight with a layover rather than a direct flight.


Purchase a seat

While toddlers younger than 2 years old can sit on a parent’s lap, it’s a very unsafe and uncomfortable way to fly.  You’ll probably spend the entire flight with a squirming and grumpy toddler on your lap.

Better to purchase your toddler their own seat (and then they can use their car seat as well)

Tyler buckling up!
Tyler buckling up!

Pack wisely

Remember that once you’re onboard, you’re reliant on the supplies you’ve brought in  your carryon bags.  Even in the airport, it’s not easy to obtain toddler specific items like diapers, formula, etc.  So make sure you bring all necessary supplies.

Be familiar with family boarding procedures

While the specifics vary among airlines, most allow families to board ahead of the general population.  This can give you much needed extra time to get your little ones situated.

Also, familiarize yourself with airline and TSA policies for car seats, strollers, breast milk, etc.

Consider TSA pre check

TSA pre check ( is a way to skip the normal security line.  To get your precheck credential, you will need to undergo a one time security screening.

The cost is $85 and the credential is good for 5 years.  Children under age 12 don’t need their own credential, so your credential will allow your children through as well.


Well that’s it.  My best tips for flying with a toddler.

Related Content

If you’re looking for info on more transportation options with toddlers, click here.

Thanks for reading.

Tyler@The Traveling Toddler

Have you ever taken a flight with a toddler?  Any advice for our flying toddlers?  Leave your comments below.

8 thoughts on “Flying with Toddlers – Avoid these Top Mistakes”

  1. i definitely agree with the part about tea recheck. We breeze through the line each time. Well worth the money.

  2. Does anyone know if a car seat is considered a carry on or personal item or do you have to pay extra to bring a car seat.



    1. If you are paying for a seat for your child, the car seat should not count against your carryon or personal item allotments. For example, your child could bring a piece of luggage, a diaper bag, and their car seat. And it should not cost extra. You should double check with the airline though. However, if you are bring on the child as a NONPAYING lap-child, then i’m not sure what the rules are

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