Kids, No Chaser

How to Fly With an 18 Month Old

Sunday, October 29, 2006 posted by Henri

Ok so we've taken a few flights now with the kid. We've gotten pretty good at it now so here's our guide to air travel with children. Step one is very very important...stop giving a flying crap about what anybody thinks. Kinda hard at first but eventually it gets funny. There are people you will encounter on a plane that have never had kids or have been blessed with angels that don't cry. A few of these people feel that you are personally insulting them by bringing a soundmaking device onto their flight. You can spot these people by their tendency to sigh loudly, roll their eyes, or continually look back at you as if you're ignoring your cell phone ringing the Macarena at Princess Di's funeral. The first look back and I usually try to give my "Hey man sorry...I'm doing me best here" look. The second look back or loud sigh and I'll respond with my "Haha kids man wow" still giving my I'm-doing-my-best-here look. Third sigh or third look back at me and now you've done it...I'm kicking your seat for the rest of the flight and blaming it on the kid. I'm throwing peanuts at you and asking you to keep you seat upright every two minutes because it's making my kid cry. I'm asking you to stop breathing so loud because it's making my kid cry. I'm asking you if you bathed today because your smell is making my kid cry. I'm asking the flight attendant to find you another seat because your evil child-hating aura scares my child. I'm asking you if you'll help me change my kid's diaper on your seat. I'm talking to you in Korean and getting mad that you don't understand me like that dude on Lost...and I barely even speak Korean...but I can keep asking you where is the bathroom or why do you look like a monkey. And the thing is...I've been that guy...the pissed guy on a flight. I remember thinking to myself when I was a younger man..."Why don't they do something?" or the best one..."Why do they just sit there and let their kid cry?" And I think God heard me thinking that and he said "meh okeydokey you get a kid next" And now I know. Sometimes your kid just has to cry...and you know that there is nothing you can do about it. And unfortunate as it is...other people on the plane/elevator/bar/DMV/Driving Range/Congo-Line just have to deal with it. This is not to say that I don't empathize to a point. I know it's disruptive to have a kid cry...but at some point you gotta realize...hey sometimes life sucks and your stuck on a plane with a baby that can not be soothed and no matter how loud you sigh, bitch or's not going to make things any better. In fact it might start mysterious peanut attack. But here's what we do to keep our kid from crying.

Flight Bag:
1. Sony PSP with Wiggles or Baby Einstein or a loop of Badger Badger Badger on the memory card.
2. My Quiet I thought all books were quiet. Anyway the kid likes it.
3. Lots of other books.
4. At least 8 bags of Teddy Grahams

At the Terminal:
While waiting for our flight the Conman starts campaigning for Mayor of the Airport. We make sure he's wearing something cute and we let him loose to work the crowd. He loves people and loves introducing himself and joining ongoing conversations. We don't know who we're going to sit next to on the flight so we let him work the whole airport. It lets him run around and expel energy and also hopefully by the time were on the plane everyone knows him already..."Oh hey there's Senior Conman the Future Mayor of the Airport...he's got Charisma! He's got my vote! If he starts balling his head off it's OK by me!"

At the seat:
Start passing out Teddy Grahams to your neighbors and those in front and behind softens em up. Keep an eye out for potential assholes...they usually don't like Teddy Grahams.

Before takeoff:
Because of the no liquids/gels security these days...always fill up your bottles after the security check. If you rush to catch your flight and don't have time to fill up at the terminal, for godsake fill up on the plane in the lavatory sink before takeoff because feeding your kid two bags of Teddy Grahams and then realizing your out of water during takeoff when you're not allowed to get up really really sucks.

During the Flight:
Wiggles or Badger Badger Badger it's like crack.
Teddy Grahams until you can't Teddy Graham no more
Read all your books
Make up stories involving the characters of the flight safety information
When all else fails...babies love Scotch.
If people get mad that your giving your baby Scotch...just do it in the bathroom.

Hey Dad I think I got this Mayor of the Airport thing wrapped up. Hmmm jumping straight to the Scotch are we?
Oh dear God they call this swill Scotch?! Quick someone give me a Teddy Graham! world stops when I see the Wiggles. Everything is good now. My Southwest wings rock. Watching the Wiggles is like floating on a cloud and being hugged by God. Dad said Burroughs said that, I think....Hmmm what is my Dad saying? He's counting...10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1....

Good trick...that's why he's called Dad and I'm called baby. Hmmm I'll put up more of a fight on the flight back...and I'm laying off that Scotch.



Blogger lf said...

so scotch is the trick huh? i'll have to remember that for if i ever have kids! =)

10:21 AM

Blogger themikestand said...

"If all else fails, babies love Scotch" should totally be your blog's tagline.

And you should format those instructions for printing, folding, and laminating. Brilliant.

11:35 AM

Blogger honglien123 said...

Thank you! Of all the traveling with babies posts I've seen your's is by far the best. I fully advocate travel advice that basically reads: to hell with what other people think.

Dude, and here I've only been traveling with crackers and juice. I've been doing it all wrong all these years eh?

11:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

funny post & we could totally relate to EVERYTHING you wrote re: the plane ride! now sam's hankering for a psp...thanks a lot. it was great seeing you guys again...are you as exhausted as we are?!

11:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great photo montage. Flying babies are a trip. Getting their kit through paranoid TSA is a modern challenge as well. Liquor is something I haven't tried yet. Hmmm...

Sandy Clark - Writer - Geek - Dad -

10:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello! This is soooo funny. I came across this post looking for ideas to keep my 18month old entertained on the plane.
You are so right how people can get. If I get mad enough I think I will tell them that when they are filthy rich they can dly their own jet..until then it's public transportation. Deal with it.

6:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi,loved ur article but have one giving scotch to 18 month old safe..?
please reply am traveling soon

8:55 AM

Blogger Henri said... giving babies scotch is NOT safe. Do not give your baby scotch. Or switchblades. Or nunchucks. OK maybe like tiny little baby nunchucks that might be ok....well just to be safe NO. NO nunchucks of any kind.

9:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

how much scotch???flying the article

3:44 PM

Anonymous Eunice said...

Love love your article! I have been having anxiety about our trip to the Philippines in a few with w/ am 18 month old and you have giving me hope and lighten up my mood! Thanks! At least I know there are survivors of travelers w/ babies!

11:25 AM

Blogger The New Model Mommy said...

Oh my god, you just made me smile for the first time since I started reading Websites about how to travel with an 18-month-old. And now I'm going to follow your Blog. I think I'll take all ur advice, except for the Scotch and the Korean. We speak Hebrew, and someone might think we're terrorists...even before they meet our little terror! Seriously though, very nice. I think I'm going to start following ur blog now. Keep up the good work.

12:21 PM

Blogger Tarah McBride said...

Sweet post. Like the pics with commentary. Face a flight tomorrow morning, and a good sense of humor goes a long way! Baby Einstein is like crack. Cheers!

5:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh thank you for this wonderful blog! You can imagine travelling with active 18-month-old twins..The people in the front-seats couln't stand ocassional excitements that my kids had..I really tried my best to keep them occupied and the kids themselves were good..but they expected total discipline! and..were sympathizing with each other on their fate!

8:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One little bit of advice we have tried in the past. Have plenty of free drink coupons to hand out to people around you. People will tolerate a lot more when they get something for free from you. The teddy grahams to pass out are great as well for the people under 21 but a free beer can be better. Just hope they don't get too drunk or they will be more free about what they say. Though extra liquids will also make them the annoying passenger that has to continually get to to head to the bathroom! :)

8:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been VERY bervous about flying with my 18 month old and I came across this blog and I am going to use your advice. Well not the scotch, but the fact that I can't change anything if she's fussy. This was great to read and brought some fun to a stressful situation!

5:27 AM

Blogger Linda said...

I can't stop laughing long enough to book my flight... this is comedy gold!

1:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 12 days away from a 7 hour flight with a 3 yr old and an 18 month old. Thanks a MILLION for the perspective on crying babies and other peoples reaction to them. I will attempt to carry this perspective in my heart on travel day! LOVE the idea of passing something out to our nearby neighbors - cookies, or drink coupons as another poster suggested. That will surely make me feel less bad about what will surely occur at 30,000 feet. :)

5:36 AM


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