When Kids Fly

When Kids Fly

To the nice lady in 27F,

First of all, I want to apologize about all the seat-back kicking. Constant thuds to your lumbar spine are no way to enjoy a flight. And of course, the screaming, the wailing, the screaming again. I’m just so sorry. It was only the third time I’d flown with Theo—and he’s two.

I thought I was so prepared! I had his favorite books, a few stuffed animals, a twee wooden puzzle that’s shaped like Swiss cheese with a little mouse attached to a string. Adorable. And also: utterly useless. When we were circling JFK two hours past his bedtime, nothing seemed to quiet him. That’s when I tried to strap him into his car seat (I know, I know, rookie move), and as you may recall, that was around the same time he knocked into the flight attendant who then spilled Cabernet all over your wrap. Your white wrap.

What I wanted to tell you is: My son and I won’t be getting on a plane again until he’s thirty-four. And I hope this gives you some peace. Meanwhile, please accept my sincerest apologies—and by all means, send me the dry cleaning bill.

Exhausted and defeated in 28E

Unless your child is old enough to know that yawning alleviates a change in air pressure—or for that matter, what a change in air pressure even means—take off and landing can be brutal if you’re not prepared. Start with something to suck on (bottles, pouches, drinks with a paper straw). When all else fails: YumEarth lollipops. And once you level off at 35,000 feet, let the games begin.


    This cute rolling case morphs into a seat extender, which in turn transforms an airplane seat into a cozy little bed—complete with mattress and pillow.

  2. JetKids Ridebox Ride-On Suitcase
    Ridebox ride-on suitcase
    JetKids, $149
  1. Headphones

    There’s a reason kids can’t borrow your buds:
    Over-the-ear headphones with an eighty-five-decibel volume cap are best for sensitive ears.

  2. Onanoff Buddyphones Inflight
    Buddyphones inflight
    Onanoff, $30
  1. Stickers

    Give them the window seat and let them go to town. Just be sure to pick the kind that isn’t permanent, and peel them off before disembarking, because #passengershaming.

  2. OMY Removable Tokyo Stickers
    Removable Tokyo Stickers
    Omy, $13
  1. Tegu Blocks

    It’s such a simple concept: colorful wood blocks that are also magnetic so turbulence won’t send their creation flying.

  2. Tegu 14-Piece Block Set
    14-piece set
    Tegu, $37
  1. Wikki Stix

    The same satisfying squishiness and moldability as Play-Doh, but more contained and with more sculptural potential.

  2. Wikki Stix Neon Pack
    Wikki Stix Neon Pack
    Amazon, $5
  1. Best Apps

    An airplane cabin is not the place to get righteous about screen time. If a backlit, two-dimensional moving image is what it takes to calm your child, yourself, your fellow passengers, by all means, download before boarding.

  2. Sago Mini World

    Sago Mini World

    This brilliant app corrals the entire suite of Sago Mini apps—all of which encourage imaginative, stealth-educational play—into one.

  3. Robot Factory

    Robot Factory
    by Tinybop

    Kids get to build all sorts of robots and then—here’s the good part—test them.

  4. Astro Cat’s Solar System

    Astro Cat’s Solar System

    Inspired by the Professor Astro Cat books and created with help from a quantum physicist. For older kids, and works particularly well if they play with a parent.

  5. Thinkrolls 2

    Thinkrolls 2

    Puzzles, games of logic, and other engaging ways to keep their attention rapt.

  6. Stack the Countries

    Stack the Countries

    It’s a geography lesson that doesn’t seem like a geography lesson—perfect for travel.