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Kids On a Plane – A Survivors Account of Flying With Children

Kids On a Plane – A Survivors Account

Flying with children

For those of you who are either unaware or who are just new to Funlocity, I have kids, who I bitch about. A lot.

Before you get your pitchforks out, folks, understand that just because I moan about them daily and swear under my breath a million times a day, doesn’t mean that I don’t love the fucking bones off them. So there.

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Anyway, it’s been nearly three months, since we took our first ever plane trip to Hawaii, with two children under four, and I think I feel ready to share the horror experience with you now.

You’re not going to find any top tips or how-to guides in this post. Think of this more like a wild episode of Lost, without the hunk lead or the plane clash. (Thank God!)   

Here goes….

Like all good middle class nut jobs who have the sweet illusion that having a family holiday would be amazing, we got to the airport two hours early, thinking we could leisurely walk through security and have breakfast before boarding.   

Airport with people

However, I made a rookie mistake. Two hours to do all the above as adults is plenty of time. Doing the above with kids in just two hours is impossible.

Taking into account the check-in desk, where both kids wanted to be weighed, to have their soft toys weighed and then their Trunkis weighed; the car seat drop off; colossal tantrums over lost soft toys and three pee trips, we were completely running out on time.

Add in one mommy (me!) who’d been up since 4am, a husband with the consistent need to change queues through security every five minutes and you get the gist. 

Needing my morning fix more than ever, I stressfully grabbed coffee and cake from the nearest Starbucks, in an attempt to keep my “I’m going to kill someone in a moment” thoughts at bay. But, with only minutes now left to lunge for the gate with too many kids/bags/Trunkis/soft toys to carry, I chose the only sane route and ditched the coffee, but not the cake. No mom in her right mind would EVER throw away cake.   

We made it on time, bundled in and decided that the only fair way to decide which kid to sit next to should all reside on a simple coin toss.

Winner gets the three-year-old, loser gets the two-year-old.

Weird, but it turns out that three-year-olds are remarkable to sit next to on planes, seeing all their enthusiasm and wonder at the world has got to be one of the best bits of parenting, so far. Even if they do ask a million questions that you have no answers too, like, how do planes actually take off? And, why is her TV working and mine isn’t?

Sitting next to a two-year-old on a plane is errr… fine?! Actually sorry, it’s just pants.

I’d rather take the arduous questions of the three-year-old over being sat next to a person who only wants to do one of two extremely exasperating things; opening and closing the bloody blind and switching the lights on and off. Blah!

Flight attendant at work

Strangely, the cabin crew didn’t predominantly like being repeatedly summoned over by an infant who just wanted to beep their nose; and other passengers didn’t especially enjoy the window induced headache that they all received by her constant need to bang it shut. Every. Single. Time. 

It was a hard dilemma, actually, as when she was doing it, she was happy and not screaming, when she wasn’t permitted to do these two things, well, she audibly wasn’t. Ummmm…. 

To be honest, it turned out to be a lose-lose situation for all onboard. Everyone via me, probably my husband and maybe our three-year-old, wanted her to sit quietly and not touch any windows, buttons, magazines or food, which in any world where kids live is never going to happen. 

So, so far we have a range of very different air travel experiences going on. Some, highlighting the very best bits of being a parenting, others (me) showcasing how not to parent and that left a whole bunch of ill-fated looking flyers who just got unlucky. Soz.

We were in fact, err, lucky to have a couple of other people with young kids sat around us which you may think was a good thing. It wasn’t. Of course, we exchanged the normal ‘bloody kids’ looks, but annoyingly I just found their kids a lot better behaved. Cue in, the ‘judgey smug look of death.’ Maybe she bribes her kids better than me….

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So anyway, it was all going a bit wrong, until, the trolley of my dreams arrived, full of snacks, fizzy drinks and wine! Oh, cabin crew lady, how I love you.

Look at all the shiny new things that my devil of a two-year-old can NOW do.    

Paint the seats with Dairylea dunkers, soak the pointless sticker books we bought in blackcurrant juice, stab us in the legs with those fatally sharp coloring pencils and eat the packet of Nutella with her fingers before wiping her hands on my hair and my white skirt, and then just….persistently kick the seat in front, while I whispered ‘stop that’ harshly, but to avail.

Oh well kid, knock yourself out. If this is what it takes to keep you quiet(ish) then I say go, girl!

That might have been the copious amounts of cocktails talking. No, me. No, wait.



  • Brian K

    Brian K has been a writer and publisher for 10+ years and has worked for LiveYourAloha as a freelance author and content manager for several of them. There's not much about Hawaii he can't tell you about!