6 Tips for Flying with a 1 Year Old

Disclosure: Affiliate links are also used in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Read full disclosure here.

Our Disney trip was the first time we ever flew with our daughter. She was 13 months on the way down and 14 months on the way back. Both times we got lucky and she fell asleep before take off so we never had to deal with her crying about her ears as she was sleeping! I was prepared though and had her sippy cup ready just in case.

For our first flight with a baby, it went pretty smooth, but we were prepared as I had asked questions in advance, so I knew kind of what to expect, but we also learned some stuff as we went! 

Before I share my tips for flying with a 1-year-old, I want to mention that we flew with Delta Air Lines. This is important as each airline has different rules and policies when it comes to traveling with infants and toddlers (Delta is extremely baby-friendly). I also want to mention that TSA will vary at each airport, so what we experienced may not be the same for you, but the idea is just to help you to be a little more prepared for your flight!

1. Bring Snacks For Baby

Babies and toddlers are allowed food as long as it is a reasonable amount. This is really vague and I asked around before our flight to see what I could get away with. I ended up packing 2 ready-made Enfamil toddler formula bottles (the kind you buy at the store, you can't bring premade bottles) and 8 food pouches. All went through TSA, but it did take an additional 10-15 minutes waiting to have them scanned as they had to scan each pouch and bottle individually! 

I have heard stories of food getting taken though if they think you have too much, but I have also heard of others getting through with 20+ food pouches, so I feel this all depends on the mood the TSA agents are in at the time. 

One thing I did discover is stores inside the airport do sell food pouches! We had to buy some on our trip home as we used up what we had brought with us during our trip. They are going to be double the price you pay in- tore, but at least there is a backup option if your pouches are taken and/or you feel you don't have enough.

2. Travel During Nap Time If Possible

We had planned both our flights in the afternoon, around our daughter's nap time. This worked to our advantage as she slept on take off both times, so we never had to worry about her ears popping and being upset about it. 

Another upside to an afternoon flight is you don't have to worry about waking baby in the morning as that would just make everyone grumpy!

3. Take Advantage of Early Boarding

Delta offers early boarding for families with children under 2! I just recently found out not all airlines offer this, which is a shame, as it was so helpful! You don't have to worry about other people pushing and shoving. You get on first and get out of the way, made the trip less stressful.

4. Have a Bottle or Sippy Cup Ready During Take-Off

This was a tip recommended to me by many, but I don't have any experience using it as our daughter slept on takeoff, but if you aren't as lucky, this is supposedly the best way to help their ears adjust as drinking forces them to swallow. Breastfeeding will also work too!

5. Babywear If Not Using a Carseat on the Plane

I got mixed answers when looking online to see if we could use our Ergo on the plane. We chose to do infant in lap as plane tickets are expensive and we didn't want to lug around a car seat as we wouldn't need one at Disney World, but we were worried about turbulence and felt the baby carrier would help keep her safe. However, it sounded like some airlines don't allow this at all and others don't allow it on takeoff or landing, but do once in the air. 

My husband chose to keep our daughter in the Ergo until someone told him he couldn't. We figured if we asked, that would give them the chance to say no, so instead we would just wait till we were told we couldn't. Well, no one ever said anything! So either Delta allows this, or the flight attendants we had on both flights were not as strict.

If you don't already own a baby carrier, you can currently get 25% off a Newborn Baby Bundle at Ergobaby! We love ours and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in babywearing!

6. Pack a New Toy or One They Haven't Seen in Awhile

To keep our daughter preoccupied we decided to buy a couple of new toys for the trip. This was a great way to prevent her from being bored and keep her distracted. She had started walking before the trip, so sitting for hours made her super wiggly at times. We got her this rainmaker from Target which was the perfect distraction. She loved watching the falling beads and shaking it to make noise!

We also got her a couple of indestructible books, perfect for the flight and in the hotel room. These are great as they are thin, so they don't take up much space, and they can't be ripped or torn! It functions as a book and a toy.

It helps when it's a toy they haven't seen before as they can spend hours just exploring the toy before deciding they are done. We did bring along some of her other favorite toys, such as her banana teether and links, but since she already has seen those before, they didn't catch her attention as long.