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How To Survive A Long-Haul Flight With A Toddler

How To Survive A Long-Haul Flight With Toddler

A flight that tests your bottomless patience is a long-haul flight. Add a toddler or two to it, and you look like that soda bottle shaken a thousand times before opening the cap.

Now, the question is how to survive a long haul flight with a toddler.

Well, the answer is there’s no one rule fits all. We can try not to shake the bottle of soda too much. Rest is on your luck and their mood.

I can simplify and lay down a path since I’ve traveled that path quite a few times.

I know at times when traveling alone how difficult it becomes to travel with a toddler alone.

Hang in there, mommy or daddy. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeves so you can get a little shut-eye or a cup of coffee at peace and watch an entire movie.

Own your space

Own Your Space

A long-haul flight with a toddler or toddlers can be pretty tough if you think of letting your baby sit on your lap for 15 hours.

Being comfortable is the last word in a long-haul flight. So, your seat matters, its position, the legroom, and the distance from the washroom. A highly complex math indeed.

So before you fly, it’s worth investing even if you must buy extra legroom and a seat for your toddler.

When my chatty kid was a talkative toddler, she loved being seated beside the window. She would pretend to play with all her toys and talk about the terrain we were crossing.

When we traveled from our hometown to the USA, we chose a bassinet seat, and she decided to stay on the floor because she had just discovered the art of crawling.

I’m sure some of you can correlate with my situation.

Also, remember you won’t be allowed to sit on emergency exit rows with a kid. Your choices are limited, so plan before buying your seats.

Your newly potty-trained toddler might be reluctant to use a diaper, so the distance of the seat from the washroom should also be considered.

If you are traveling alone with your kids, try to get an aisle-side seat because your toddler might need to use the washroom often, so it’s better not to bother the other passengers usually, especially when sleeping!

That said, when my bub turned one, we had to travel for 15 hours on a flight to the USA. For most of the flight, she ate and slept.

She played for a bit on the floor but never slept in the bassinet seat. I had to carry her on my lap. Even when my husband wanted to help me, she would not leave me.

Anything can happen on a long-haul flight with a toddler. Be mentally prepared!


Avoid the last seat at all costs. You’ll not be able to lean back.

pre-order food

Pre-Order Food

All long-haul flights provide meals for kids. But it’s better to pre-order so they know they must arrange a kid’s meal in advance.

I’ve traveled mainly by Qatar Airways, which serves decent meals for kids. I always pre-order it when my booking is done.

When you have a picky eater on board you must know the menu beforehand so that you can make prearrangements for snacks or food that is approved by your kid.

If your kid is allergic to certain things, you can tell them beforehand.

Flight time selection

Flight Time Selection

My kid has always been better on a nighttime flight.

I had 15 hours of layover at MontrealPierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. My next flight was at 10:35 p.m. We had dinner, changed into pj’s, and she slept as soon as the flight started. She slept straight for almost 10 hours.

After her sleep, she was fresh; hence, no tantrums, just chitchatting in a tone that’s considered a tad bit loud. But it’s better than a full-throttle howl! No one was bothered! A kind co-passenger even appreciated her while disembarking.

I know your kid might not want to sleep on the flight. Or, they may feel comfortable on a daytime flight.

A long-haul flight with a toddler might become a nightmare if the toddler doesn’t want to sleep.

Just try to keep them engaged with conversations, surprises, favorite snacks(less sugary, if possible), games, and, as a last resort, screen time.

Jet lag will hit you all hard due to a sleepless flight. So, here are 9 tips to help your kids beat jet lag.

Mum and Dad, things can go wrong. Just breathe and move on.

Kids will be kids! How much ever you try, things won’t go as planned! But clean the mess up, pat yourself, breathe, and move on!

Dress up comfortably

Dress Up Comfortably

Always dress them up comfortably when traveling with your toddler, preferably in cotton materials.

Any other fabric might cause discomfort. It might feel too thin or too thick.

Dress them up in layers. Usually, babies and toddlers have higher body temperatures. They are fine in a relaxed environment.

I have seen that half-sleeved tees and full pants are more comfortable than full-sleeved tees or half-pants. I have always carried a soft, light jacket for my kid; it worked wonders.

Dress yourself in light, flexible, and comfortable clothes, as you might have to move your body as and when needed by your little munchkin.

portable potty

Portable Potty

A long-haul flight with a toddler means you have to queue up in front of the bathroom, often.

It’s not unlikely that your newly potty-trained toddler will not be able to hold the pressure for long.

I would suggest you bring a portable potty seat and portable pee bottles for girls or boys if you’re comfortable with that.

I had used diapers, though. Being a germophobic mom(once), I was not keen on using a washroom that was used by everyone on the flight.

Be sure that your toddler will want to use the loo either during taxi or turbulence or when there’s a long queue in front of the washroom. Be prepared!

Activities for a long-haul flight with a toddler

Toddlers can be demanding.

It’s tough to say what will please them or not. So, being a parent, you must have observed some traits by now.

Know what they like or dislike and observe when things start going wrong.

Favorite Toy for distraction

Favorite Toy

Always carry something that can easily distract your toddler before throwing a full-fledged tantrum.

It can be a favorite squishy toy or coloring books/crayons. For me, it was a made-up story about her favorite toy.

I would also distract her by asking her to look out of the window and search for something like clouds/ moon/ stars, basically whatever was available outside the window.

I also remember taking her to the bathroom once because her diaper was blown out. The flight was in turbulence; she was howling, and I could barely sit on the toilet bowl, let alone the thought of changing her.

Distraction was not an option at all. Everyone understood! If someone didn’t, the problem was theirs, not mine!

Try your best, but be prepared for the worst! You are not alone!


Do not carry toys that are heavy or too small. Toddlers have a tendency to throw things on ground. Either you’ll have to fish out small toys from floor all the time or it might hurt them or others if the toy is heavy.

Snacking for fun

Snacking For Fun

We all know that sugar is bad for all of us!

But occasionally, snacking on sugary things can be permitted if that brings the toddler joy and gives you a bit of quiet time.

A happy toddler should sit quietly, enjoying their favorite snack.

If your toddler loves savory food, you are in the happiest phase of your life! Bring anything that they love.

Sit back and enjoy your cuppa.


Too much sugar can end up in a sugar rush. It’s wise to reduce the number of sugary snacks.

less screen time

Toddler Screen Time

My baby doesn’t have a habit of watching the screen for a long time. The habit has been developed from the very beginning.

So she hasn’t felt the need to watch the screen if she gets to play and chat.

But, if your baby usually has screen time at home, you can limit it here. Screens do no good.

Tell them stories, and try to communicate with them when possible. Give them flight-based activity sheets.

Too much screen time can not only hurt their eyes but can also make them fidgety later. This can lead to inconsolable tantrums and sleepless flight hours.

Instead, if you engage with them, they might have a better time.

Activity book

Activity book

Toddlers need something to scribble or color once they are seated, especially if they love to paint.

Now a long-haul flight with a toddler will be quite stressful if they don’t have new and different activities in front of them.

Follow our blog on Airplane Activities For Kids to get ideas on what else you can carry to keep the kids engaged.

Buy an activity book or download a few sheets regarding journeys, airports, and flights. Or simple activity books for toddlers.

Buy washable crayons So that you don’t have to sweat over cleaning up a mess. You can opt for self-coloring pads for kids. They are completely mess-free. 

My bub loved to use a coloring pad, and playing with water is never outdated.

Window clings

Window Clings

They are our favorite things of all.

Your toddler will like those squishy, clingy things and never get tired of sticking them and unsticking them.

This must keep them busy for a while and buy you a little me-time.

When I traveled back to my homeland when my baby was two years old, she used all sorts of Halloween and Christmas clings on her window.

That kept her busy for quite some time, buying me a quick shut-eye.

Stretching techniques while sleeping in a long-haul flight with a toddler

Stretching techniques

Let the kids sleep on their seats.

I always take a window seat for my baby. I sit in the middle. This way, my baby sleeps in her seat and can spread her legs on me.

Similarly, if you choose an aisle-side seat keeping in mind the frequent bathroom trips, your baby can keep their head on your lap and spread their legs on the seat.

I have never carried that big bed box ever. And never has it been a problem.

If you want to stretch, you can walk on the aisle and do some stretching exercises near the washroom area in the back. That way, you will never bother a passenger or flight attendant.


As long as you are sane and your baby is happy and engaged you’ll have a happy flight.

A long haul flight with a toddler can be quite tedious but can be memorable too. just go with the flow.

Let them play, make a mess, and sometimes howl. Just remember this too shall pass.

Taking note of everything that has been laid down before you just soar into the air along with those tiny wings by your side.

Have a wonderful journey, voyager!

Welcome To ShuffledMind

Sayani Routh At West Rocky Mountain

I’m absolutely thrilled to embark on this blogging journey and connect with all of you. Hi, I’m Sayani, the voice behind the words you’ll find here. Through my experiences as a human being and a mom living in India, Canada, and the USA, I’ve cultivated a unique perspective that I’m excited to share with you.

Love, Sayani


Sayani Routh
Sayani Routh
A Mom, passionate reader & writer, child advocate: I share my parenting journey, inspired by my real-life experiences.


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