As a family travel blogger, I have taken many long haul flights with my kids – some good, some bad. I can tell you from experience that one of the most challenging parts about traveling with kids is flying with a toddler.
Without question, one of the best ways we found to survive a long haul flight with a little one is to use a toddler airplane bed. We used a Fly Tot for many long flights with our kids, but then we switched to the Flyaway Kids Bed. In this Flyaway Kids Bed review, I’ll share my honest experiences with the Flyaway Bed and how I like it compared to the other kids airplane beds (like the Fly Tot, Plane Pal and the JetKids BedBox).
Flyaway Kids Bed Review – Table of Contents
Flyaway Designs provided a Flyaway Kids Bed for the purpose of this honest review. As always, all opinions are our own. This post contains compensated links.
A Typical Flight with a Toddler
As parents, there’s nothing quite as bad as being stuck in a cramped space and trying to manage an overactive child. Though the flight is just a small part of your family trip, we still want it to go well, but there are no guarantees when flying with a toddler.
After you’ve spent countless hours entertaining your toddler with all the best airplane travel toys you could cram in your bag, you’re ready for a break! Depending on the age of your child, you might be able to pull out the iPad and enjoy a few relaxing moments while your child enjoys a short show. (I promise, as your child gets older, you’ll even be able to watch your own movie while flying with kids).
Why You Should Use a Toddler Airplane Bed
My experience traveling with kids has made one thing clear – a toddler travel bed for airplanes gives you the best chance to have a successful long haul flight with your toddler. In fact, I will say that getting your child to sleep during a flight is the single best thing to improve a flight with a toddler. If only there were airplane beds for toddlers?😉
If you’re on a long-haul flight with your child, then you’ll definitely want to get your toddler to sleep during the flight, whether it’s just for a nap or even a full sleep if you have a night flight.
Having an inflatable bed for planes provides your child their own sleeping area, giving them a much better chance at getting a good sleep. I’ve found that my kids, once asleep, don’t wake up until WE have to wake them up before landing to fold it away.
Getting a good night’s sleep for your child is the biggest reason to get an airplane bed, but there are benefits for you as well. Without a travel bed for airplanes, you’ll need to sit perfectly still all flight while your child’s head rests on your lap.
I am a big proponent of using one of these best toddler airplane beds for long flights, or night flights, and swear by them to get kids to sleep on the plane – it’s one of the best hacks for traveling with toddlers.
What are these Magical Airplane Beds for Toddlers?
A toddler plane bed is an inflatable cushion which fills the gap between your childs’ seat and the seat in front of them. When combined with your little one’s seat, these inflatable seat extenders create an airplane bed for toddlers and kids.
There have been several of these inflatable flight cushions for kids around for years, but what’s the latest in inflatable airplane beds for toddlers?
After years of using our Fly Tot airplane beds (we had two – one for each kid), we had the chance to test out the Flyaway Kids Bed recently. Although the Flyaway Bed is a similar idea to existing products like the Fly Tot, Kooshy Kids, or Plane Pal inflatable cushions, it’s a little bit different with some definite improvements.
If anything, I’d say that the Flyaway Kids Bed combines the best features of the Fly Tot airplane bed for kids with the JetKids BedBox (a wheeled carry-on that transforms the seat into a horizontal bed for children), while reducing the bulk.
Read our full review of the JetKids BedBox ride-on suitcase here.
Flyaway Kids Bed Review
What is the Flyaway Kids Bed?
Flyaway Designs was created by a mom who struggled through too many long-haul flights with her kids. Knowing there had to be a better way, she created the Flyaway Kids Bed.
The Flyaway Bed is an inflatable airplane bed that works to transform your child’s seat into a toddler bed for the plane.
Most inflatable beds for planes on the market work as a seat extender by sitting in the floor area between your child’s seat the seat in front of them. Instead, what we like about this unique design by Flyaway Designs, is that is still covers the space between your child’s seat and the seat in front, but it keeps the floor space available!
Why is this important? With most airlines charging for extra checked bags, more travelers than ever are filling the overhead compartments with large carry-on suitcases. We find a disadvantage of the other plane beds for kids is that you lose this storage space, but we love that the Flyaway Kids Bed lets you keep this valuable storage space.
Once the Flyaway bed is installed, your child can use the extra real estate to play, eat and sleep on the plane.
What’s included with the Flyaway Kids Bed?
In addition to the Flyaway Kids Bed inflatable cushion, you’ll find a handy card with instructions for use, a travel bag and a compact pump in your box. We love the compact size of the pump compared to the large pumps provided by other toddler plane beds (we show a comparison picture later in this full review).
Setting up the Flyaway Kid Bed on the Plane is Easy!
The setup of the Flyaway Kids Bed is simple! First you unfold the inflatable toddler airplane bed, then all you need to do is inflate two separate valves – one for the vertical leg and one for the horizontal bed. Before you know it, voila! You have a toddler bed for the plane!
Inflate your Flyaway Bed within the confines of your seat rather than in the aisle. This allows your Flyaway Kids Bed to inflate to fit within the space.
I found that putting away the Flyaway Kids Bed is even easier, just open the valves and squeeze the air out. I admit to having a little difficulty folding it back up the first time within the confines of my seat, but I just carried it off the plane and folded it up properly when I had more time and space.
Pro Tip: We always recommend trying out any new toddler travel gear at home first before using it on your family trip. While the Flyaway bed is simple to use, you probably don’t want to be trying it out for the first time on your flight.
What are the Rules for using the Flyaway Bed Safely?
As you’d expect with the highly regulated airline industry, there are a few rules pertaining to the use of an airline bed:
- You can only use the Flyaway travel bed and other inflatable airplane seat cushions after takeoff. We all hate doing it, but you’ll have to wake up your child when the plane starts to descend. Flight attendants are quite strict about the fact airplane toddler beds cannot be used during takeoff or landing. I’ve learned it’s always best for parents to be on the good side of flight attendants, so we recommend adhering to this rule, even if it means waking your child up.
We recommend waiting until the meal has been cleared and everyone is settling into their flight. This is the best time to discreetly inflate it without any disruption to your fellow passengers or the flight crew.
- The seatbelt can (and should) be used while your child is sitting or sleeping. When your child is fast asleep on their inflatable bed for the plane, make sure they have their head towards the back of their own seat and fasten the seatbelt across their chest.
If my child seems uncomfortable with the seat belt as he’s getting his wiggles out before he falls asleep, I’ll put it on immediately after he falls asleep. I usually take the time to get the seat belt ready before he falls asleep.
You should also note that the Flyaway Kids inflatable airplane toddler bed can be used in bulkhead seats but not in the exit row.
The Best Seats for using the Flyaway Kids Bed
To ensure the best chance at using an inflatable flight cushion for your child, make sure you have the right seats. This diagram shows where it can be used inflight (after takeoff and before landing, of course).
As you can see, airplane beds for kids can only be used in window seats or the center seat(s) of the middle block on larger planes. In other words, they cannot be in a location which impedes the path of any passenger trying to reach the aisle.
Flyaway Bed Approved Airlines
The Flyaway Kids Bed has been approved by over 50 airlines. Flyaway Designs does a great job at keeping their website up-to-date with all the airlines that have approved their inflatable airplane bed.
Aeroflot, AirAsia, AirAsia India, AirAsia Indonesia, AirAsia X Indonesia, AirAsia Japan, AirAsia Malaysia, AirAsia X Malaysia, AirAsia Philippines, AirAsia Thailand, AirAsia X Thailand, Air Calin, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air Mauritius, Air Transat, Air Vanuatu, American Airlines, ANA, Angola Airlines, Cathay Dragon, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Delta, EasyJet, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airlines, Eva Air, Frontier Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Iberia, Icelandair, JAL Japan Airlines, Jet Star Pacific (Vietnam), Jet2.com, KLM, LATAM, LOT Polish, Luxair, Malaysia Airlines, Norwegian Airlines, Scoot, Silk Air, Singapore Airlines, TAP Portugal, Utair Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Australia and WestJet.
Note that several more airlines leave it to the discretion of the cabin crew.
Curious about your airline? Check the Flyaway Designs webpage for the latest list of Flyaway Bed Approved Airlines.
Airlines that don’t allow the Flyaway Kids Bed:
Air France, Asiana, British Airways, Emirates, Fiji Airways, JetStar Australia, Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, Philippine Airlines (PAL), Qantas, TUI, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines.
Flyaway Designs reports that some parents have still been able to use their Flyaway bed on these airlines, but if you are using one of these carriers, make sure you have a back-up plan. I can speak from experience about Korean Airlines – we tried using an inflatable travel pillow on our way to Thailand, but they asked us to deflate it.
If a flight attendant informs you that you can’t use your toddler travel bed, please be respectful to the flight crew, apologize and remove it.
What are the Pros & Cons of the Flyaway Kids Bed
Between using many inflatable airplane beds for kids on our own family travels and having some of our readers review other brands of travel beds, we have a thorough understanding of what the pros and cons of these products are. Based on my use of the Flyaway Bed while flying with my own kids, here are the pros and cons as I see them:
8 Pros of using the Flyaway Kids Bed
- While the price of the Flyaway Kids Beds is on the higher end of the inflatable airplane travel beds, I was impressed with the quality of it. The upfront cost may seem like a lot, especially when compared to some of the cheaper alternatives, but in my opinion the benefits are more than worth it. Let me ask you this, would you pay $100 to have your child sleep on the flight?
- Speaking of the high quality of the Flyaway Kids bed, there is one main reason you want to invest in a high-quality inflatable airplane bed. Sure, you can spend significantly less for a cheap airplane bed, but the risk of it deflating is much higher. Do you really want to wake up your sleeping toddler to reinflate your saggy airplane bed?
- The Flyaway Kids Bed has a recommended age of 2 to 7 years old, so you’ll get to spread out the cost over multiple long flights.
- Like the other toddler beds for flights, you’ll get the benefit of more sleep, more space and more freedom! You’ll be free to move around and not worry about disturbing your sleeping child. No more being held prisoner by a child sleeping in your lap!
- I liked that it’s fast and easy to inflate and deflate and my husband liked that the hand pump was much smaller in his carry-on bag vs. some of the previous airplane beds we’ve used.
- Having a hand pump allows you to inflate the Flyaway bed in it’s final resting spot, ensuring a snug fit. This isn’t possible with inflatable beds you have to blow it up with your mouth.
- It does not affect the person in front or their ability to recline.
- We used our Flyaway bed for the first time on a short 4-hour flight. It was a night flight and we wanted our son to sleep, so we felt it was worth the effort to bring it.
He easily fell asleep on it an hour into our flight and slept soundly until I woke him up. Without hesitation, it will be coming with us on our next flight.
We recently lent our Flyaway Designs Kids Airplane Bed to friends and here is their review:
“This was money!! The Flyaway Bed was amazing for our son, who will be 3 next month. I set it up as soon as we reached cruising altitude and he slept for 5 hours straight until the plane started to descend and I had to put it away.”
3 Cons of using the Flyaway Kids Bed
- Like any extra toddler travel gear, it’s going to take up extra space and add weight to your carry-on. That said, the Flyaway bed packs noticeably smaller than the Fly Tot.
- I did find that because the Flyaway mattress adds to the height of seat, the tray table was resting on my son’s legs when I had it down. It wasn’t a huge deal; I just kept his drinks on my tray.
You also need to be careful that your child’s head is at the back of their seat, since the additional height would make it possible for them to get bumped in the head if the person in front reclines.
- As previously mentioned, I found it slightly more difficult to fold up the Flyaway bed within the confines of my seat. The extra piece that inflates to be the supporting leg was the issue.
But, to be fair, I had gone against my own advice and used it on the plane for the first time. My husband later folded it up properly and said it was easy (not sure what I was doing wrong). It easily fit back in the travel bag along with the pump.
The Flyaway Kids Bed vs. Other Airplane Beds for Toddlers
As mentioned, we have either personally used, or have had Baby Can Travel readers test out all the most popular toddler airplane beds. Our review of the Flyaway Kids bed shows that it has many significant advantages vs. the Fly Tot inflatable airplane cushion and the Fly Tot alternatives.
8 Key Advantages of the Flyaway Bed vs. the Competition
Here are some of the key advantages that we liked about the Flyaway Bed vs. the alternative airplane beds:
1. As you can see in our Flyaway Kids vs Fly Tot comparison picture below, the inflatable portion of the Flyaway Kids Bed folds up to roughly the same size as the Fly Tot pillow. But the Flyaway Bed pump is significantly smaller than the Fly Tot pump. The Fly tot used to take up 50% of my husband’s carry-on bag, while the Flyaway Kids bed would take up approximately 1/3.
2. Despite the smaller pump, the Flyaway Kids Bed inflates in 90 seconds. Many similar products can take 2 or 3 minutes (or even longer longer if you don’t have a pump, like with the cheaper airplane seat cushions for planes).
3. My little one is an active sleeper, so I liked that the Flyaway Kids Bed has bumpers like the JetKids BedBox. Bumpers, which are lacking on most brands of similar products (like the Plane Pal), are helpful if you have a little one who moves around a lot or likes to drop their toys!
4. Also similar to the JetKids BedBox, the Flyaway Kids Bed has a support leg that keeps the floor space available for storing your bags. Given the overhead storage bins are almost always full, this extra space for storage is super valuable for parents flying with all their toddler travel gear. Other inflatable footrest types fill that space instead.
5. The Flyaway Kids Bed has been designed with a pressure release valve to help adjust the pressure inside during the flight.
6. The Flyaway Kids bed keeps the flight bed for toddlers at one even level. The other inflatable plane cushions, like the Fly Tot, can be lower than your child’s seat. Some parents report some discomfort for their child, but to be honest, it’s never been a major issue for us.
7. The Flyaway Kids bed can be used in the bulkhead seats. The other plane seat extenders may need to be flipped to fill the space or may not fit in as securely.
8. And finally, the Flyaway bed has the most approved airlines of all the inflatable airplane beds for toddlers.
Is the Flyaway Kids Airplane Bed Just for Toddlers?
While it’s recommended use of the Flyaway Kids Bed is for toddlers and kids (from ages 2 to 7 years old), it can be used as an airplane bed for babies. You can only use it as a baby bed for flights if you’ve purchased a seat for your baby (or toddler under 2 years old) or you’ve lucked out with getting a spare seat while flying with a baby.
If you have purchased a seat for a child under 2 years old, make sure you know the rules of your airline and if a child restraint is mandatory.
If you plan to use an inflatable travel pillow for a baby airplane bed, you will still need to pick your baby up during takeoff, landing and during any turbulence – even if your baby is sleeping!
Is a Toddler Airplane Bed Worth the Investment?
We’ve traveled extensively with our kids’ travel beds. Based on our years of experience, it has been more than worth the investment, the effort and the room in our carry-on bags to travel with our airplane beds for toddlers. Why? Our kids have slept on every flight that we have used these inflatable airplane beds for kids on!
There have been a few flights where we left them behind because they were not night flights, or were too short, and we weren’t sure the kids would sleep on the plane because of the time of the flights. As luck would have it, they did fall asleep on me and not being able to move made for a very long flight!
I recommend buying a good quality one when your child is 2 years old (if you aren’t traveling with a car seat on the plane) so you can get the most use out of it. Buying a good quality airplane bed allows you to spread the expense over many flights, making the per-cost use quite reasonable, given the big benefit you get from using it.
Our experience traveling with kids shows that a well rested little one is a much happier and willing traveler. So, the answer is absolutely yes, a good quality travel bed for airplanes is worth the investment.
Where to Buy the Flyaway Kids Bed
We hope you have found our Flyaway Kids Bed review helpful in your purchasing decision. If you’d like to buy a Flyaway Kisd Bed, or would like more information, you can visit the Flyaway Designs website directly. It is not sold on Amazon, or other online retailers.
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's been helping new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has contributed to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.