Kids On A Plane – A Survivors Account

It’s been nearly a month since we took our first ever plane trip with 2 children and I think I feel ready to share it with you now.

OK here goes…

We arrived at the airport a good 2 hours before our flight leaving plenty of time to leisurely make our way though security and have breakfast before boarding. However I hadn’t considered that 2 hours only feels leisurely if you are travelling alone, with kids it’s a totally different ball game.

Factoring in the bag drop, car seat drop, monumental tantrums, toilet trips and lost comforters we were seriously running low on time. I stressfully grabbed coffees at Starbucks in an attempt to keep our ‘we only had 3 hours sleep and want to die!’ thoughts at bay but with minutes to get to our gate, way too many bags/children to carry and only two hands I had to very reluctantly chuck them straight in the bin.


Luckily we made it to the plane on time and flipped a coin for who got to sit next to who. Winner got the four year old, loser got the two year old. Turns out four year old’s are pretty awesome to sit next to on planes, seeing their excitement and wonder at the world has got to be one of the best bits of parenting. Even if they do end up making you feel pretty stupid…

how fly

Sitting next to a two year old on a plane is errr… interesting?! Actually sorry, it just sucks.

no seatbelt2

I’d rather take the difficult questions…


…over being sat next to a person who only wants to do one of two incredibly irritating things.

plane activities

Unfortunately the cabin crew didn’t particularly like being repetitively summoned over by a toddler who just wanted to blow raspberries in their faces; and fellow passengers didn’t particularly like the headaches induced by a window being constantly punched.

It was a difficult one to deal with though because if he was doing one of his preferred activities he was happy, and if he was being prevented from doing so, then he was audibly not happy. Quandary, quandary, what to do?! Maybe a little straw poll over the tannoy?


Turns out it was a lose, lose situation because everyone just wanted him to sit quietly in his seat not touching the window/buttons which was never going to happen.

So we had a lot of very different air travel experiences going on – some of the best bits of parenting, some of the worst bits of parenting and a whole bunch of miserable looking bastards who just got unlucky.


We also had a few other families with young kids around us which you may assume to be a good thing. We exchanged a couple of those ‘OH BLOODY KIDS!’ looks but I often find that if their kids are behaving better than mine, then those knowing looks also contain an element of judgey smugness…

lame kid

(if you have been paying attention you may notice that we were sitting on the right of the plane in previous pictures and are now pictured on the left. I did it wrong. I can’t be arsed to do it again. I apologise for my sins and hope you note that I usually take great pride in depicting scenes as life like as possible. Just tonight, I don’t feel like doing it again. Sue me.)

So anyway it was all going a bit BHVJHV325%^%&(*(VGsfefdsBNVUPJ^!&THWKLNKDNK. Until…

ENTER: The trolley of dreams full of snack packs and alcohol…


Oh EasyJet you little beauty!

Look at all the things for him to do! Paint the seats with laughing cow dippers, soak the pointless books we bought in pineapple juice, stab us in the legs with those lethally sharp colouring pencils and eat the packet of Nutella with his fingers before wiping his hands though everyone’s hair and then just… relentlessly head butting me.

But you go kid, knock yourself out! Do whatever you like, just do it quietly(ish) and leave me to my numerous, small bottles of fizz.



P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


28 thoughts on “Kids On A Plane – A Survivors Account

  1. Kathy Caley

    My god it was like our trip but minus one seat as Leo is still under 2….. Nutella everywhere…… Sooooo much screaming about the belt, the tray, the window…. Ha ha ha. At least they sell prosecco. Even if it is a bit warm!

  2. Emma Mackley

    Love it! We had a similar experience earlier this year, although I was informed by the lovely steward that my kids were by no means the worst, and that it was “carnage” down at the front due to one small person. Upon meeting the (very harrassed looking) parents of said small person at baggage claim, they told us that he spent the entire 4 hour flight alternating between screaming & running up and down the aisle and headbutting the seat in front. It was all rounded off nicely for them when the (sour faced) lady next to them asked if they could please try to “control their child.” We were very impressed with their decorum, and the fact that they didn’t tell her to f-off. Is it the small people that are stressful or the judgey, sour faces all around?!

  3. Ruth

    Just survived a 2.5 hr flight with 7, 5 & 2 yr olds…. reasonably bearable chaos, apart from when the plane stopped climbing & began to level off, when the 5 yr old shouted “we’re going down!” – half our neighbours laughed, half turned green!

  4. Cat

    Brilliant, as always.

    I have learnt a lot from this, namely: Take two huge valium with a double gin right before flight. Pass out, let husband deal with the kids. Wake up, feeling refreshed and not giving a f*^K that you are public enemy number one.

  5. Carie

    The last time we flew the girls were 2 and 9 months and we managed by a going with grandma and grandad and b iPad apps on our iPad and Grandma’s! Now there are three of them and they’re bigger … We just booked the ferry!

  6. Charlotte - Write Like No One's Watching

    This made me snort. When we took Bill away aged 15 months, it was like I’d taken an angry pig on the plane with me. So much rage. Aged two-and-a-bit and he was ‘okay’ but that’s because my hand luggage consisted of toys and sticker books. And absolutely nothing for me. We went away just us two recently and it was a shock to the system. I didn’t actually know what to do with myself. What’s three like? We go in September and I’m nervous… xx

  7. Jay

    We let our two year old run up and down the aisle to his heart’s content. Pro: less screaming. Con: two hours on your feet running after a toddler. Pro: you get to “meet” people. Con: traffic jams when other parents have the same idea.

  8. Tim

    So funny – and so true, Katie. No matter how much time we allow when we arrive at the airport, it’s never enough, is it? I find booze is the only way to get through it all. Sometimes we even allow ourselves to have some too …

  9. Philip

    Don’t book with Ryan Air, we booked to bring our grandchildren down to France but they got Chicken Pox just beforehand. Talking to Ryan Air they informed us that they cannot go on the flight with the pox, we asked for a refund and they said it wasn’t serious enough so we don’t get a refund – if it is serious enough to be removed from a flight why can we not get a Refund?

    Needless to say that is an airline off the list for any future flights!

  10. Adrian

    I’m going to have to go through counselling again now – I’d only just got over the one hour – ONE HOUR – flight we took to Cornwall with Little B in June. How anyone flies with a toddler longer than that is beyond me. I can usually only take two minutes of being kicked in the stomach or punched in the face but we did half an hour each. He can’t even say no likey seat belt so he uses violence to make his points clear. The nice man in the seat in front who we apologised to every 30 seconds has presumambly now got PTSD.

  11. Tassarella

    Lol awesome. We decided to take our 15 month old on a 3 week holiday to Asia which involved 6 flights. 2 of these flights were over 17 hours and on a “dry” airline, heading into a “dry” country so I couldn’t even down a vodka when I got off the flight. All in all it wasn’t *too* bad, but I could have done with that Vodka.

  12. Wave to Mummy

    Ha ha I love the title Kids on a plane… :D I usually just resort to a bribe of two seasons of Peppa Pig on a tablet. Even that doesn’t stop all the head banging, window closing and button pushing but it does distract the little terror for a bit at least.

  13. Jess @ Along Came Cherry

    Haha! We are planning a trip to the states either at the end of this year / start of next. I am so scared about the flight, Cherry not so much as she will happily sit and watch the iPad for hours but Tiger is just going to want to get down and run off. Plus he is a real screamer if you get him on a bad day. I can’t decide whether it would be better to do it at night when they might sleep of T might just scream and keep everyone awake or the day when he will want to run around. Scary thought! x

  14. Elizabeth

    Hilarious article, thank you for sharing it. I remember flying with my the. 5 week year old who did one of those explosive poos just as the seatbelt sign and ‘we’re beginning our descent’ announcement came on… And desperately wrapping her in nappies to stem the tide and keep everything clean.

  15. Emma

    Love this post :) Our two (4 & 6) were great on our recent flight to the U.S. (mainly due to heavy iPad usage and consuming their own body weight in snacks!) But when our youngest was 2 we did a night flight where he (very noisily) refused to sleep the entire flight – right until the point we landed when he finally fell asleep and then refused to wake up when we landed so had to carry his sleeping body weight all the way through security! The duty-free didn’t make it home after that!!

  16. David Pridham

    My grand-daughter is now quite a seasoned flyer at the ripe age of 3 years. She can be a handful, if her mood takes her that way (can’t we all), but we’ve found that as long as she is reasonably well occupied, she is a pretty good traveller. Our last trip was to the USA and in truth, she was a real star. My daughter in law, goes well prepared with fun packs for every hour, plus a bunch of her favourite snacks and now that she has found the joy of head phones, that has just added to the mix. The worst part for her and ourselves, is usually the preamble to the flight, in particular in the USA, where they seem to have a penchant for everyone, practically having to undress and re-dress, before you even get to the plane, which leads to huge queues, which not many adults like, never mind kids. Note of caution to travellers too…check just what is regarded as a ‘child’s meal (if included), as some Airlines, have a rather odd idea, about just what children like – some of which you would just not believe, even if I told you, gross would be an understatement, so don’t accept it and demand an adult meal, which you will find your child will be more than happy with.

    1. Cheryl

      Same! I don’t let it get to me and I figure if running the aisles annoys anyone that’s ok because I’ll never see them again anyway!!
      It’s the people who have their light on or laugh continuously at the film they’re enjoying through the ‘night’ that I want to tell are most unhelpful.

  17. Jan

    We flew occasionally with one baby – twice at 4 months, twice at 11 months & once at 15 months (we flew back without her…no, we were returning to the UK from living abroad)
    After that we had 3 more children & avoided flying like the plague – all holidays were by car. Never flew again until the youngest was 10. Flying is stressful enough without small kids in tow!

  18. oleuncleaj

    To all parents.

    Please DO NOT take kids under 5 on a plane. EVER! Take it from me, on behalf of all other passengers, there is absolutely NOTHING worse than a screaming kid in an aircraft cabin. Even turbulence. Or having to pay for drinks and food. Or Ryanair’s ‘service’.

    If you have kids under 5, there are things called trains (inc. Eurostar). Use them, please.

  19. Gemma

    Ha! I feel your pain. Try an 18mo on a 25hr flight (UK-Aus). It felt like it would never end. From reading this I think we’ll wait until the kiddies hit the slightly more bearable age of 4 before attempting long haul again.

  20. Alana

    Hahaha very accurate. I’m travelling around Asia, solo, with 3 kids (8, 3, 17m). People physically react when they see me and the boys. I get comments AND thats when we board! If people are rude its easier to cope with their “naughty” behaviour hahaha.

    The only way I can through it is know how crap it will be and I assume ill never see anyone on the plane again. The 3 year old is the worst. Kicking chairs is the one thing ill make sure he doesn’t do. I try to limit screaming and hiting people on the head. AND the seatbelt issue. I want to get a vest that you can strap them in!!

  21. Melissa Smith

    Oh Goddess this is heaven! So enjoying the fact that my children are now 10 and 13. Reading this made me feel so relaxed and peaceful – like taking off a too-tight bra. Almost makes up for the fact that we can no longer afford to fly anywhere because we have to buy masses of food and new more-and-more enormous shoes.

  22. Mel

    We fly on Saturday with our 5 & 6 year old girls…. I need to get stickers and the works. Wish us luck. They have been fighting all week.


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