Flying with a one year old

I was somewhat dreading flying with a one year old this time. It’s why I kept suggesting Spain as the perfect destination for our half term break. The Other Half convinced me that 31 degrees of warm and sunny weather in Abu Dhabi would be worth the 7.5 hours on a flight and when he eventually said he’d look after the baby for the WHOLE journey, I thought it would be a good idea too. I’m not evil enough to make him actually do that, and he knows it too, but it was the nice little con I needed to convince myself that all would be ok and our sometimes loud baby would be completely non-annoying to other humans seated in economy class.

Our grand plan was to keep him awake and very active at the airport as soon as we’d checked in and it meant letting him crawl about and explore wherever he wanted. We had good intentions to change him from his jail bird babygrow into proper clothes but then figured there might be more crawling on the plane, so why not keep him in his stripy suit until we were almost ready to get off

The flight there was surprisingly good. He had a good 3 hour nap perfectly timed around when lunch was served and we all managed to get a good snooze in too. He then spent the remainder of the time “chatting” to the passengers behind us, makings “calls” on the inflight entertainment system remote control and looking out the window. We all heaved a huge sigh of relief as we got off the flight and felt a lot more assured about our flight back.

Flying with a one year old on the way back was a tiny bit different. We were unfortunately seated near a man who seemingly hated babies. He glanced over at us anytime he thought the baby was being too loud, stared for a bit, and then shook his head in frustration and sighed loudly. Baby E obviously didn’t realise what was going on, obviously, but we administered his dummy a lot more than usual just to keep him silent. Two hours in and I was starting to get a bit stressed out with shakey head man who would look up like an annoyed meerkat at every baby squeak, until the Other Half, who has a far more scornful scowl than me managed to get shakey head man to stop his huffing and puffing. I eventually realised that shakey head man was getting annoyed at other passengers around him too anytime they were slightly too loud or fidgety. To him, all these fellow passengers were ruining his back to back movie time. As luck would have it, the man in front of him called a flight attendant over to recline his stubborn seat back. Both he and the flight attendant put more than a bit of welly into forcing the seat back, as shakey head man looked on horrified. It did eventually recline to the whatever the man in front of him desired and shakey head man spent the rest of the flight outraged. I predictably thought of various perfect responses to his passive aggression about a day later and wished I had gone over to him to stop him getting a potential repetitive strain injury in his neck. It doesn’t put me off flying with kids but it’s made me realise that I look forward to the impending family / adult only areas on flights so that we can all be happy in our noisy / quiet areas.

Flying with a one year old



  1. Nikki Thomas November 12, 2016 / 9:01 pm

    Having endured a nine hour flight this summer with my lot, I can imagine why you were apprehensive. I think that if you are going to travel on a plane, you really do have to put up with noise and lack of space, it isn’t great but it is not fair to huff and puff at people especially with babies as it is a long time for them to sit quietly. I’m glad you made it but I bet you were glad to get off the plane on the flight back.
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  2. John Adams November 13, 2016 / 6:41 am

    Oh wow, I wouldn’t have tried flying that far with a one year old. SHaky Head Man? Almost certainly a UKIP voter. Pah.
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  3. Sarah MumofThree World November 13, 2016 / 7:11 am

    I’m glad the flights went well on the whole, but I’d have been very wound up by shaky head man! It’s a long time to be stuck in a small space together and everyone has to accept that other people do make noise and do move! It’s good that he was cross with everyone though and not just you!
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  4. Coombemill November 13, 2016 / 8:43 am

    I think we did brave it with the first but the rest all had to wait until they were age 6 plus. Family / adult areas is such a good idea, you are always more tolerant of children when you also have them yourself.
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  5. Tara November 13, 2016 / 9:35 am

    Well done! I was worried about taking Freya on a train let alone a plane. What a wonderful experience though – and it looks like you handled it beautifully. #MySundayPhoto
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  6. Not Just Phoebe (G) November 13, 2016 / 1:39 pm

    Sounds like that man has some issues, well done for getting through that, and gorgeous photo. #MySundayPhoto

  7. lisa@intotheglade November 13, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    What a silly man! Baby E looks adorable in his stripy suit and I bet he would have given that man a gorgeous smile if he had taken a moment to say hello. You were brave tackling that flight but I bet Abu Dhabi was well worth it, we loved it xx
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  8. Jacq Watkins November 13, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    Oh god, this brought back so many memories. We always bought them a seat, no matter how young they were.
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  9. Emma T November 13, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    Sounds like it wasn’t too bad. Some people just need to learn to live with it, or not travel. Personally I’ve found other adults more annoying than kids on flights, although I’ve not been on many personally. I’m not too keen on the idea of family areas Makes me think it’ll be horrendously loud with lots of nightmare kids and families who think because it’s a family area, anything goes! Hell basically.
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  10. Molly November 13, 2016 / 9:01 pm

    Ahh I remember those days. I have to say I don’t miss that part of it young kids


  11. Sara | mumturnedmom November 13, 2016 / 11:47 pm

    I’m very glad we’re past that stage now, but we did a lot of travelling when ours were this age and we’ve had good experiences and not so god ones! I just always tell myself that it’s only 2/4/6/8 hours of my life, I’ll survive 🙂
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  12. Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One November 14, 2016 / 2:06 pm

    Braver than I would have been, and such a shame that some people just have no tolerance. We had a similar issue on a train journey where the only seats were in the quiet zone. My 6 year old was unbelievable quiet but I think the mere fact he was breathing the same air as one passenger was enough to make her tut and scowl constantly #MySundayPhoto
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  13. Katie @mummydaddyme November 15, 2016 / 10:29 pm

    Oh no sorry you had to deal with a grumpy man. We have only ever had one, from the way back from Amsterdam a couple of years ago but luckily it was a 45 minute long flight and I am not usually confrontational but I said to him that LL was just a little girl and wasn’t doing any harm. I don’t know what came over me. Flying with children is nerve-wracking at the best of times without having a grumpy person being unnecessarily unkind. x

  14. Hayley @hayleyfromhome November 16, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    Urgh, that must be so frustrating. As if you aren’t conscious enough of the keeping a little one entertained on a plane the last thing you need is someone huffing at every little thing! Sounds like he was great anyway, children are never going to be silent. I remember me and James went to Austria once before kids and on the way back a family with four kids was split up over a few seats, their son was sat next to me and chatted to me the whole way – I loved it as I’m not a great flier and he did a great job of distracting me! His parents kept asking if we were ok and checking he wasn’t annoying us but he was amazing and I told them so, he was showing me the rock collection he’d bought from the salt mines!
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  15. Fozia S November 19, 2016 / 7:37 pm

    I remember our first flight with Bee. She was 18 months and we went to Turkey. It was so stressful!

    Well done on you for not giving that man a mouthful…these people seem to forget they were children once!
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