When did flying with kids become relaxing?

Written last week at the start of our trip to Lisbon:

I am currently sitting on a plane, M is next to me playing on the iPad. E is sat in the row in front of us with Mr H, playing his latest obsession – Minecraft. For the first time in six years of parenting, I am able to sit and relax in my seat and enjoy the peace. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself at first, then I realised it was a good time to just sit, relax, take it all in and write.

m-aeroplane
Look – my hands were FREE!! No tiny person to have to hold or attend to! AMAZING

My boys are growing up by the day and whilst it’s easy to mourn the fact they are no longer babies anymore I also want to reflect on how life is definitely a little easier now.

Going abroad with babies and young children can be really stressful. The number of essentials you need to pack is insane. Nappies, wipes, bottles, lotions and potions and that’s even before you’ve even considered how many items of clothing you need. Then there are naps to account for and working out when best to take them out of the buggy to get them ready to board the plane. Airport security can also be a nightmare to go through. Having to taste baby milk to prove there’s nothing sinister in it and praying that your overtired and overexcited child won’t have a meltdown about having to walk through the x-ray machine by themselves or purposely having to wake your sleeping baby so that the buggy can go through.

I’ve been through each and every one of these scenarios and more. Just a little over two years ago on a late night long haul flight to Hong Kong M was so overtired he wouldn’t stop crying. I practically had the whole plane staring at me because he just wouldn’t settle and the flight was delayed by over 40 minutes – a lifetime when you have a wailing child!

Our preflight experience was the polar opposite of all those times. We breezed through check-in having already checked in online. Bag drop was super easy too and we had time to spare to leisurely grab a bite to eat, we even let the boys have a quick run around in the play area before boarding.

I’ve just seen a mum pacing the aisles with her baby in a carrier – that was me just a few years ago.

So far, I’ve had a quick 10-minute snooze and have even started reading a book on my kindle. If flights are to be like this from here on in then I’m already looking forward to our next trip!

70 Comments

  1. Wow, unbelievable. Congratulations. There aren’t many people who write about having a relaxing flight with kids. Pen x #KCACOLS

     
  2. Isn’t is wonderful when they are a bit bigger Maria. I also find flights pleasurable now, hard to believe given the screaming years! Lily gets stuck into the movies and we can relax too. The holiday can once again start at the airport. #KCACOLS

     
  3. Wow that’s pretty impressive! I love the sound of relaxing haha 😉 x #KCACOLS

     
  4. That’s great that it was relaxing for you. We did a 9 hour flight with our 5 year old this summer and it was easier than a 2 hour flight with a toddler! There are definitely benefits to having older kids 🙂 #KCACOLS

     
  5. They are so lovely as babies, but it is nice when they are a little bigger and you can have a 10 minute snooze lol.
    #KCACOLS

     
  6. I actually love you for posting this. Our flights are still stressful, but I can see how my eldest (4) is starting to be easier to manage. It’s wonderful to hear that I’m not just daydreaming when I think it will be easier when they are older. #kcacols

     
  7. Lovely! Enjoy the trip. The iPad makes such a big difference with kids on a plane. I also love when the plane has a screen on the back of the chair and my son can watch that for most of the trip. #KCACOLS

     
  8. I am so glad you got to enjoy your flight! The kids being able to play makes it so much better for both you and them! #KCACOLS

     
  9. Good luck with your trip! Looking forward to reading how it went. #KCACOLS

     
  10. Adventures of Mummy and Me

    Wow! I’m so looking forward to getting to that stage of being able to go “hands free” as your say! I haven’t attempted a flight yet with my now 16mo as I’ve heard too many horror stories of it being the most stressful experience to endure! Love the sound of relaxing on a flight though! #KCACOLS

     
  11. it’s great to know there’s light at the end of the tunnel! We’re in the thick of it with a 2 year old and 6 month old. I always bagsie the baby LOL #KCACOLS

     
  12. I actual don’t think flying with kids is that hard – I’ve had 2 shockers (both short haul) but all our long haul is easy peasy. As the kids get older, the hardest thing is getting them up for early morning flights!! #kalcols

     
  13. this sounds fab Maria and it gives me hope that one day we will enjoy a trip again haha!! #KCACOLS

     
  14. Surprisingly enough my last solo flight with my two (then 18mths and 3.5yrs) was remarkably uneventful! We flew from Toronto to London (around 7hrs in the air) and I actually managed to have a little kip myself. They love to surprise us! #KCACOLS

     
  15. How lovely my children are 6 and 4 and flying with them still terrifies me haha #KCACOLS

     
  16. It’s all the stuff too isn’t it. No more carting round the whole house in your handbag for the just in case moments! We haven’t tried a flight yet… yours looks like it was a dream. #KCACOLS

     
  17. Sounds fabulous! We have a five month old baby and haven’t even contemplated taking her on an aeroplane yet! #KCACOLS

     
  18. After just having got back from Portugal and having to sing 10 green bottles all the way there I am insanely jealous!!! #kcacols

     
  19. Where off to disneyland paris in a few weeks and I am quite anxious about how my 2 year old will deal with the 3 hour train ride. Pray for me haha #kacols

     
  20. Great. I’m def looking forward to this stage. I’ve done so many lone flights with my little one and most of them have been hell!! #KCACOLS

     
  21. I’m glad traveling is getting easier for you now. Both my girls are actually very good on a plane, as long as they have an iPad each to watch were pretty good to go. Next year we are doing long haul though so that will be a real test of their traveling tolerance!
    #KCACOLS

     
  22. I’m so jealous right now… so glad to hear it gets easier as they get older! Our first flights weren’t mayhem but they weren’t exactly relaxing just because of THE FEAR! #KCACOLS

     
  23. That sounds lovely. And it is always good to have a relaxing flight since the trip itself can be tiring by default. #KCACOLS

     
  24. Nice to have something to look forward to in a few years.but for now, I’m still the lady with the baby carrier 🙂 #KCAKOLS

     
  25. We just flew with 5 kids ages 1-9 and they were great as well, even the baby! congrats on a relaxing flight! we are definitely in the minority!

     
  26. I’m dreading our first flight! I think I may choose to holiday within the UK until he is old enough to be kept quiet with inflight entertainment #KCAKOLS

     
  27. Our little one is 3 answer I’ll be honest I have avoided any family holidays which would includ a plane simply because I couldn’t hack the stress of bringing a baby on a plane

     
  28. Sorry forgot #kcacols

     
  29. Good to know it gets easier, it sounds like you had your fair share of troubles in the past! We’ve stuck to driving to get on holiday so far with our baby – a wise move by the sounds of it! #kcacols

     
  30. I regularly fly with my 6 and 3 year old on my own and it’s getting easier each time , for which I’m incredibly grateful #kcacols

     
  31. huge victory for you!

    #KCACOLS

     
  32. Good for you! Such well behaved children. You must be very proud. #KCACOLS

     
  33. Ha – I’m not at that stage yet! I have 3 boys, and the little one is just over 2. One day I’m sure I will be able to sit there while they’re all busy doing something (like my 7 year old already is), but until then… it’s mad mad mad! Well done! #KCACOLS

     
  34. Its great when you do feel it getting easier, I feel like that with my two now, I remember the days when I’d get on a flight and had to breast feed one and give the other one a drink, food and games all at the same time. It’s bliss now, glad you enjoyed the peace.

    Mainy

    #KCACOLS

     
  35. I have my first flight with our son in a couple of weeks, it’s only short haul so we will have to see how it goes!! #KCACOLS

     
  36. Thank you. So good to hear travel gets easier. We have a 2 and 3 year old and are currently traveling. Mostly it’s brilliant but they defiantly keep us busy and no chance of a sneaky snooze. Hope you enjoy(ed) Lisbon, it’s a wonderful place! #KCACOLS

     
  37. This is reassuring, It’s nice to hear a positive flying experience with kids! I have planned not to fly with the boys until they are older as I’m afraid of it being stressful! #kcacols

     
  38. You must be doing something right, if your young’uns are so well behaved!
    Nice post. #KCACOLS

     
  39. So lovely, I love flights, they should be like the start of the holiday – sadly my boy has put paid to that for a few more years. Thank you for giving me hope 🙂 #KCACOLS

     
  40. Actually sounds lovely!I haven’t been on a flight with a child for a good 12 years but I was lucky and always found him well behaved thank goodness!I always imagined I’d be one of the Mum’s who’d be wandering around with a screaming baba!! x #kcacols

     
  41. Ahh we’re Looking to take our little one away next year hope it’s not too stressful ! Bet it was nice to have a little chill time #KCACOLS

     
  42. Poppy Reflects

    It sounds like you had the perfect trip this time! It does seem to be luck of the drawer but I often find kids surprise you by being better than imagined. x #KCACOLS

     
  43. Wow! So lucky! I think I’ll wait until my son is a little older before we try and get him on a plane. Long car journeys are still a bit of a struggle. #KCACOLS

     
  44. It does get so much better – my 3 are easy to fly with now that they are teens and tweens. Although…we did have a major incident with a cup of coffee and a blanket as we were coming into land at Dubai airport which resulted in a very cross 18 year old having to completely change her clothes! Perhaps some things never change!! #KCACOLS

     
  45. I never travelled on a plane with my kids when they were small so luckily missed out on that stress, now they just sleep on the plane and it’s nice and peaceful! 🙂 #kcacols

     
  46. Sounds like an amazing flight! I feel now that I never fully appreciated the time a flight gave you to do reading / writing / snoozing! Hope you had a wonderful trip to Lisbon. Can’t wait to read about it! #KCACOLS

     
  47. Great to read that the flight went well. #KCACOLS

     
  48. That’s super impressive! I can’t imagine a flight with my four being relaxing..EVER!!! we haven’t even attempted to take the 2, 3 and 4 year old on a plane together yet, I think I’m going to need a sedative! #KCACOLS

     
  49. We’re going to Lisbon in February! After Australia in August, I’m hoping it’ll be a breeze! Little L will be 2.5yo. I look forward to the day I can sit and enjoy some peace on the plane again. Have a great time xx #KCACOLS

     
  50. I’m so jealous! When we went on holiday at the start of the month and since Piglet was on my knee for the whole flight I had completely dead arms! #kcacols

     
  51. Sounds idyllic! And still far away for me. I have yet to brave a flight with my two, but I’m hoping we will next year. I’m hoping for a peaceful one like yours! #KCACOLS

     
  52. I haven’t taken my two on a plane at all yet and at 19 months and 3 months I don’t think I will be in a hurry! Haha #KCACOLS

     
  53. my baby is 6 months and he such a lovely boy in a plain:) I guess it will be more stressing if he will be older:D
    #KCACOLS

     
  54. Aww I am so glad it is easier now! I have never dared taking mine on a plane, but it sounds terrifying! #KCACOLS

     
  55. I thin kyou may have cracked it, tell me your secrets we have a holiday with a 5 hour flight and 17 of us next year. We need some tips lol #kcacols

     
  56. Yes, once they can be tamed by an iPad, its ‘plane’ sailing for now on!! xx #KCACOLS

     
  57. The Speed Bump

    I’m deliberately avoiding flying until SB is old enough to amuse herself a bit more! Sounds like you had a lovely relaxing flight! #KCACOLS

     
  58. Your description of travelling with babies and young children is exactly what I worry about and is why we keep putting off flying with Little B. It’s so good to hear that it’ll get easier in just a few years! #kcacols

     
  59. So another four years to go for us! Although to be fair our last flight in the summer with baby K wasn’t too bad, I’ve found he can do four hours straight on a flight without having a complete meltdown. Our first flight with him wasn’t too bad either, on the actual plane, in the airport was a complete different story he had a total meltdown from check-in till we actually boarded the plane, I was actually apologising before we even got on the flight. All part of the parenting experience I suppose :o) x #KCACOLS

     
  60. I’ve yet to have the courage to take my five year old anywhere far enough to require flying, but it is nice to know that she is old enough now that it wouldn’t be the nightmare that it might have been a few years ago. I give all the credit in the world to those of you that fly with toddlers. #KCACOLS

     
  61. Hey congratulations glad to hear it gets hear it gets easier! Our Eurostar journeys are a breeze so long as the kids have a DVD! #kcacols

     
  62. Glad your flight went well. My daughter was really good when we flew back in May but unfortunately I can’t say the same about my son! x #KCACOLS

     
  63. That does sound relaxing! I haven’t flown with my daughter yet but we will be soon – and this has given me hope! haha thanks! #KCACOLS

     
  64. So looking forward to reaching that stage when you can enjoy a flight / holiday without the stress and panic!! #KCACOLS

     
  65. Who knew a plane journey was the key to some relaxation time?? I would still hate the packing though! #KCACOLS

     
  66. Wow! Flying with my oldest two boys was nothing like that. Maybe it is time to try it again. #KCACOLS

     
  67. Wow lucky you – we are sooo far off this stage!! #KCACOLS

     
  68. My husband’s parents live abroad so we have flown with Arthur quite a few times since he was a baby – luckily he has always been pretty good (no screaming!) but it is definitely getting harder to keep him entertained and the amount of ‘stuff’ you need with a small person is insane!! He never sleeps on the plane either. Glad you can see the positives in them growing up a little with certain things that get easier 🙂 #kcacols

     
  69. I’m so glad you had a great flight! I don’t think we’ll even attempt it for a good few years Edith is a nightmare to keep still!

    #KCACOLS

     
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