Flying With A 2 Year Old vs. A 1 Year Old – Who Wins?!

Anyone who told you flying with a two year old is tough has obviously forgotten what it’s like to fly with a one year old!  Last week my friend Laura and I flew to Bangkok on the short-ish two and a half hour hop from Hong Kong.  

In the red corner was my two year old, armed with a feisty attitude and cheeky grin.  
Sky on the plane

In the blue corner was one year old Lily, constantly on the move and charming everyone in her path.
Lily on the plane

Round 1: Value for money 

The huge benefit of travelling with a one year old is that you don’t have to buy them a seat.  In most cases an infant fare is 10% of the adult’s fare.  Once your kid is over 2 years of age then you’re forking out approx. two thirds the price of an adult fare.  But then at least they are sitting on their own seat. In this instance, Laura was a double winner in that the plane was empty (Bangkok is a bit politically unstable at the mo) so Lily had a bank of seats to herself!

Winner – the one year old!

empty plane

Round 2: Getting from A to B in an airport

Whilst I love the fact my two year old is steady on her feet and can tote her own bag, she’s very slow. Very very slow. She likes to stop and pick things up from the floor or moan that she’s tired and insist I carry her.  A one year old is still light and you’re more likely to be travelling with a stroller.  Or simply pop them into a baby carrier e.g. the wonderful Ergo and you can stride through the airport, hands free and laughing at all the parents like me who are chasing their toddlers.

Winner – the one year old!

Laura with Ergo

Round 3: Behaviour on the plane

Between 12-20 mths of age is the toughest time to fly.  Your child doesn’t have the attention span to sit through a movie, wants to run up and down the aisle and/or climb all over the seat.  Whilst you can employ various tricks to occupy them, I was slightly smug watching my two year old happily play with stickers or the iPad whilst I drank my Bloody Mary.

Lily with ice

Occupying Lily with a cup of ice

Sky with ipad

Winner – the two year old!

So who won overall?  Hands down, flying with a two year old is easier than a one year old.  I got to watch a movie, enjoy a few drinks and as long as you come armed with activities/bribes, a two year old can be tamed.  A one year old is a law unto themselves, still shrieks when they’re tired, hates to be contained and needs constant entertaining.  At the end of the day, I’d rather be flying alone in business class but unfortunately that’s not an option.


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  1. Mrs ATWWAH

    I totally agree. You can reason with a 1 year old. Master ATWWAH was a nightmare when he was just learning to crawl/walk as being in a seat was too dull. He wanted to explore. Now books and the iPad entertain him. As well as him giving us a running commentary on everything 🙂

  2. Sharon

    I agree as well!! Definitely the hardest flights we have done have been when our kids have been one. Younger and older is so much easier!!

  3. Mama Obito

    I went on board with my 4 years old and 5 months old son. It was a short trip 2 hours flight but I had already got the nightmare two weeks before the trip…hahaha…

  4. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey

    GULP, I have to take my first solo long haul with Mister who’ll then be 2. I am still scared even after this great wrap up.

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