Surviving Our First Flight Together

Weeks before our trip, I posted about all the stuff I was taking with us to keep #ToddlerGoodwin occupied on the flight. I was afraid he’d be bored/he’d be scared/his ears would hurt/he would cry so I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of entertainment options in case we’d need them.

Our journey was split into two legs. From DC/IAD to Toronto/YYZ and then from Toronto/YYZ to Copenhagen/CPH.

The first leg went way better than I could have imagined. Even security wasn’t too terrible. (More on that in another post!)

We let #ToddlerGoodwin run around and play while we were at the gate. We took turns walking up and down the hall, using the restroom, and changing diapers while we waited. When it was time to board, Tommy went on first. He handled all of the carry-on luggage and got the CARES harness set up. This way we weren’t holding up passengers in the aisle while we got situated. We also figured it was less time that #ToddlerGoodwin would have to squirm around while we waited for everyone else to board!

We chose to use a CARES harness so we wouldn’t have to be bothered lugging a car seat through the airport. We weren’t going to have a car in Copenhagen (except for our one-day trip to Sweden, where we just planned on renting a car seat) so we didn’t see the point in dealing with it just to have it on the plane. The CARES harness slips easily over the seat and adjusts easily like any other car seat/high chair buckle. They are a little on the pricey side ($75-$80) but we found ours used on a local parent sale/swap site and got it for half price. We plan on passing it along/selling it so we can get some of our money back, too.

I waited with #ToddlerGoodwin until the last call for boarding and then we got on. We left the stroller at the gate and all we had to do was get to our seats and buckle in. Once settled, we were basically ready for takeoff!

I had a ton of toys activities packed (and even gift-wrapped!) in my bag, but I figured for the short flight, it couldn’t hurt to give #ToddlerGoodwin his Kindle so he could watch a couple episodes of NickJr.


(Side note: Say what you will about the Kindle or the iPad… some love it, some hate it, some think screen time is evil, some think it’s harmless… We try to use it as sparingly as possible, and I figured this was a good time, because it might detract from any freak-outs during takeoff!) 

We took off and the kid was completely oblivious. He had his Kindle and he was happy. I had heard to make sure that kids eat or drink something to make them swallow, which helps relieve ear pressure during the ascent/descent, so I kept handing over fruit snacks and his sippy cup. All he ever did was stick his finger in his ear once or twice, that was it.

We landed in Toronto and didn’t have a whole lot of time before our next flight. Because our gate was so crowded, we decided to just stick together and board at the same time. Since Tommy had already set up the CARES harness once, it wasn’t a problem and we were all buckled into our seats right away.

It was about 8 p.m. or so, so we were hoping that eventually, the excitement of the day would take its toll on #ToddlerGoodwin and he’d sleep for awhile.

Yeah, about that… We encountered a few problems.

They didn’t serve dinner until about 10 p.m.

They didn’t turn off the cabin lights until almost midnight.

We kept encountering turbulence, so the captain would come over the speakers and the lights would come back on temporarily.

And of course… do YOU ever REALLY get comfortable enough to sleep well on a plane? No? Me, either.

I know some people suggest giving little kids Benadryl to help them sleep, but I wasn’t going to just give #ToddlerGoodwin medicine that he didn’t really need. I’d also heard that it could have the opposite effect on some kids and crank them up instead of chilling them out, and I really didn’t want to deal with that.

We did bring his pillow and blanket from home and tried to get him tucked in on the seat between us, but he just couldn’t get comfortable. He’d start to doze off, but as his body would relax, he’d sink into some awkward, uncomfortable-looking position and I’d try to move to give him a little more room or support his head a little more… only to wake him up.

And man, was he mad when he woke up. He’d cry for a few seconds or two, or grab at my sweater like he was trying to shake me, and then he’d fall limp against my shoulder again and doze off. He really was exhausted, and I think any of the crying he did was just out of frustration. And thankfully, the crying bouts were brief. He woke up three or four times, maybe, cry for a minute, and then go right back to sleep. He didn’t cry for hours on end (like the kid on our flight home) and he actually did manage to get SOME sleep, so I considered our flight a success.


But did WE get any sleep?

Hahahahahahaha. Nope. Around 8 a.m. local time, as we were somewhere over Iceland, I guess, the sun was up and it was getting pretty bright. #ToddlerGoodwin normally wakes up around 8, so we figured it was time to rise and shine!


It was okay, though. The only thing we had planned after we arrived in Copenhagen was getting to the apartment, getting something to eat, and getting everybody down for a nice, long nap!

I also wrote about surviving #ToddlerGoodwin’s first flight for Mamalode.
You can read my post here!

Are you a travel blogger? Any tips for plane travel with little kids? Leave your website below in the comments so we can stop by and visit!



  1. This is a preview of coming attractions for me, so I’m so glad you shared your experiences! I feel so awful for little ones on planes — they’re too yound to understand why their ears hurt, and those cramped seats are the opposite of what active children like! It sounds like you gave him the best possible experience.



  2. It must be so difficult travelling with a child. You were so organised and prepared but somethings like turbulence you just can be prepared for. You did great though 🙂


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