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5 Toddler Airplane Travel Stories That Will Drop Your Jaw

While enjoying my daily scroll, I encountered a fun post of stories about toddler traveling nightmares. Someone asked, “What are your toddler travel adventures?” Here are the top-voted stories.

1. Unexpected Babysitters

“On a flight many years back, my mom was traveling with me (as a toddler) to visit her parents, and somehow we were booked for two far-apart seats,” explained one. “Mom asked the people sitting by one of the seats if they would be willing to switch. They said no.”

“So she went down to the other seat, which was between an elderly couple. She asked if they would switch, and they also said no. So she said, ‘Oh, okay, here’s my two-year-old’s activity bag and snacks! Thanks for babysitting. I could use a nap myself.’ They very quickly agreed to a switch after that.”

2. The One-Time It Worked Out

“My kid still talks about the first time we weren’t seated together. She was about four years old and a relatively experienced and good flier, but only we knew that. I had been put in an exit row on the aisle about five rows behind her aisle seat,” another shared. 

“The airline told me to switch with the person next to her because who wouldn’t want the aisle seat? My kid was seated next to a preteen and another sevenish-year-old child whose parents were across the aisle with their other young kid. So I buckled my kid in, gave her the toy and snack bag, pointed where I would be, and went and sat down.”

“The parents looked horrified that they were being left with another kid. The fact she was seated next to other kids, and we were both on the aisle, so I could see her made me feel ok about it. I checked in with her about halfway through the three-hour flight.”

“She was coloring and sharing her fruit snacks. The other parents said she had been great because she was the distraction that kept the older two from picking on each other. There is no other scenario I can think of where having to split mom and preschooler in a plane would have worked out.”

3. Inverse Experience

“I once had what can only be described as the inverse experience. I arrived at my aisle seat to find a toddler and a mother in the other two. Before taking off, the husband comes down the aisle to chat. I offered to let them sit together. He declined. She explained they like to get a little space from each other,” one elaborated.

“Okay…Now it’s time for beverage service. Mom has several rounds and passes out. For the next segment of the flight, I got to listen to the toddler occasionally saying ‘mommy, mommy’ while poking her with zero response (yes, she was still breathing).”

“Fortunately, the child returned to their entertainment without any hysteria each time, but boy, was it an uncomfortable experience.”

4. The Scream and Swap

One mom explained, “This happened to us with our 5-year-old. The airline refused to put us together, and a passenger two seats down refused to change seats—same seat, different aisle.”

“Well, I sat my kid next to the guy, and my kid started to scream, so I told him to go right ahead and cry that I couldn’t do anything. Ten seconds later, the guy was ready to swap seats.”

5. Disney Vacation Returning Flight

“On the way back from our Disney vacation, the airline split our five seats (hubby, me, and three boys, ages 8,6,4) because 12 teenagers wanted to be together. I emphasized to the gate agent that we paid extra to ensure we were together,” one mother shared.

“She asked the guy in charge of the large group, and he threw a fit that I was requesting he moves anyone in his party. So I ended up across the aisle from my eight and four-year-old. My hubby was about six rows in front of the six-year-old, and we were in the only aisle without working in-flight entertainment in the entire plane.”

“The kids were exhausted after a week at Disney and somewhat cranky. The guy in charge of the other group ended up next to my two kids. He made several very snarky comments about how they ‘better be on their best behavior or else.’ I replied, ‘I’ve offered to swap seats with you multiple times. So I’m making you one final offer- will you switch seats with me so I can sit by my kids?” 

His Response

“He said for $500 cash, and he would switch. Flight attendants saw the entire exchange. So I leaned across the aisle, handed my eight-year-old the iPad, and said, ‘Y’all don’t fight too loudly, try not to spill your drinks on this man,’ and put in my headphones and read a book for the 2.5-hour flight home.”

“The guy was punching my arm (left a bruise) to get my attention to tell me my kids were annoying him because they were watching a movie he thought silly was stupid. I told him he had his chance to move, he chose to play games, and he won a silly prize.”

“My kids were sniping at each other (they were cranky and exhausted but behaving reasonably well). At this point, hubby obliged me by turning around, waving at me, and pantomiming for me to take out my headphones and make sure I was ok.”

“When we landed, I had to carry my youngest because he was asleep, and somehow all five of our bags were at the back of the plane. As I tried to get our luggage, the guy lost it on me because he wanted ‘get off the plane right now.’ I told him he was ‘welcome to get off but would be required to carry either my two kids or the five suitcases, his choice, or hand me $500 for my trouble and inconvenience.”

“The fact that I kept a straight face for the entire interaction still makes me giggle. The airline now has a note on my file that my children are ALWAYS to be seated with me.”

We hope you enjoyed these parents’ confessions from Reddit about traveling with toddlers on airplanes. Do you have a toddler traveling story?

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