Woman holding baby while sitting in an airplane seat

I can’t believe I’m saying this. We survived flying with two toddlers on a cross-country flight. Dare I say, we even thrived. I snuggled my one-year-old daughter for a contact nap, sipped a Dunkin’ coffee (thanks, JetBlue!), and read my Kindle. For over two hours. I looked over at my husband across the aisle, who had his eyes gently closed while our three-year-old was watching Frozen. Oh, and our 15-pound dog was an angel snoozing in his carrier under the seat.

I had been anxiously anticipating the chaos of flying with two toddlers on a six-hour flight for months. I worried about the crying, I prepared for multiple blowouts, and I considered buying ear plugs and treats for our nearby passengers.

How did we do it? What was the secret? Honestly, pure luck. This won’t work for everyone and it certainly won’t work for us every time. But in a world where we read horror stories of toddlers having big feelings in public places and what feels like inconveniencing the world, I wanted to share a glimmer of hope. That they are cute little humans and sometimes it does work out okay.  Here is what worked for us.

Schedule Your Flight With Your Kids In Mind

We booked a flight that left Logan at 6 a.m., which was pretty intentional. We kept our kids up late and then woke them up at around 3 a.m. to get to the airport. It threw off their routine so much that once the novelty of being on a plane started to fade, they were content to keep things very low-energy and napped for long stretches during the flight.

Stay Near The Airport

Since our flight was scheduled so early, we drove up the night before and stayed at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport. The hotel is close to the airport and has a 24/7 shuttle. This kept our stress level in check so we weren’t rushing through the weekend bridge traffic on the day of our flight. We were able to settle in our room, eat at the hotel restaurant, and even check out the hotel pool (always a favorite).

Have A Plan For Your Gear

Besides luggage, we decided to bring both of the kids’ car seats and pack-n-plays on the plane. We bought large duffle bags for the pack-n-plays and checked them along with our luggage. Our younger daughter is a champ at napping in the car so we brought her car seat with us onto the plane and installed it. Our older daughter has a very hard time sleeping in her car seat so we checked hers and let her sit in a regular seat.

Have Tech Options Ready

We have the Disney+ app, which allowed us to download multiple movies and Bluey episodes on our tablet. We also downloaded a few on our phones in case there was a problem with one device. Thankfully, JetBlue has charging stations under each seat, but we had an Anker Power Bank in case we ran into trouble. We also bought cute toddler headphones that said they were “tablet compatible” but came with the wrong cord for our Apple products. So our three-year-old used our wireless earbuds instead.

Pack All The Snacks

This applies to adults and kids alike. We splurged on individual snack packs of Veggie Straws, Goldfish, Cheerios, and M&Ms to keep the kids occupied. We also felt comfortable giving them appropriately-shaped lollipops, which last a long time, help quiet any fussing, and can help with ear pressure discomfort from flying.

Low-Tech Options

We brought along a few low-tech options to constantly cycle in and out which kept the kids pretty busy. They had a couple of Quiet Books, which are cloth books with tactile activities on each page like zippers, buckles, and knobs. We also used this drawing tablet and these water markers that kept them busy for awhile too.

Flying with two toddlers is definitely a challenge even when they’re on their best behavior. If the judgment of other people feels stressful, remember that your tiny humans are allowed to take up space in the world too. And you’re doing great. And you’ve got great kids.

Shannon Brady
Shannon moved with her husband to Cape Cod during the pandemic to be closer to family. She is originally from Providence and married her high school sweetheart Tom. She went to college at Boston University and earned her degree in human physiology. She worked as a preschool teacher before applying to graduate schools to pursue her degree in physical therapy. She attended USC to get her doctorate in physical therapy and spent 10 years in Los Angeles with her husband. During the pandemic, she and her husband bought a home in Dennisport to be closer to family. After over two years of infertility, they welcomed their daughter Lily. They then welcomed their second daughter Hailey a short sixteen months later. Shannon is a physical therapist and a board-certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist, although she currently stays home with her girls, who are now one and two years old. She is passionate about using her knowledge in physical therapy to empower parents and give them confidence around their baby’s development. She is an avid runner and former Girls On The Run coach with a strong desire to advocate for young women and girls in sport. She also enjoys reading, cooking, snuggling with her dog Jack and watching reality TV. Shannon’s favorite part of living on Cape Cod is being able to watch fireworks from Chatham to Hyannis from the beach on the 4th of July.


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