Flying Long Haul with a toddler – top tips

This time last year I was in the thick of preparations as to how to get Little A to Malaysia for Christmas without too much stress and upheaval. I spent a lot of time searching forums looking for answers on how best to travel and in particular what sleeping/seating arrangements to make for the flight. Little A was just turning one and as he has always been big for his age I was concerned that he would not fit in the travel bassinet (the clip on cot you can request with a bulk head seat). The Grandparents we were off to visit generously treated him to his own seat but I was concerned that it would be difficult getting him to sleep in an adult’s seat. Then I read that you can take car seats on board. The general guidelines state that you can take a car seat on a plane as long as it is forward facing (not your Maxi Cosi Pebble for example) and conforms to safety standards. Each airline commands different criteria and I struggled with Singapore Airlines as to exactly which model they would accept. In the end we took our Maxi-Cosi Priori XP car seat as it complied with current European regulations and hoped the airline would be happy with it.

Next obstacle was how to lug the heavy car seat through the airport with the rest of our other kit. In America you can buy attachments for your American car seats to wheel the seat through the airport as a stroller with your child onboard but last year I could not find the same solution for the British market. In the end I bought some strap on wheels I found in John Lewis so at least we could tow the seat through the airport.

No one batted an eyelid as we made our way through the airport and once at the check in desk we clamoured for any free bulk head seats. Basically if you are taking a car seat it is still better to have the bulk head as the space is much tighter if the person in front reclines their chair in the standard rows. We managed to get 2 seats bulk head and one behind and once on board we secured the seat using the plane seatbelt and unbelievably once Little A once ensconced in his travel sleep bag with his Nay Nay (dummy) and after his evening milk he slept the entire way. Before you accuse me of being too cocky the flight home was another story; we missed our connection due to a delayed flight and had to bed down at 2am in Singapore in a somewhat less than salubrious hotel room courtesy of the airline.

The long and short of it is that taking a car seat on the plane is a great way to keep your toddler secured in an environment that is familiar to them and it is a no brainer to try and book night flights where possible.

Another saviour was the car seat cover I have blogged about before which helped save the car seat from any food/drink calamities and stopped Little A getting all hot and sweaty once in the hotter climes – click here for post.

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