Once you’ve paid for your flights, hotel and budgeted for all your activities there might not be much left over for extra toddler travel gear.
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Or you might be feeling unsure about how well your toddler will sleep on one of the airplane beds for kids. Nobody wants to spend a bunch of money and haul something that they don’t use.
It may also be that your airline hasn’t fully approved the use of airplane travel beds for kids and have left it up to the discretion of the crew. Which means you might not get to use it.
Perhaps you don’t think you’ll use it more than this one time flying with a toddler.
While I do think it’s worthwhile to splurge on one of these best toddler travel beds for planes, we also understand why this might not be the right choice for your family. For that reason, we’ve put together this list of budget airplane travel beds for babies, toddlers and kids.
These aren’t just a group of random inflatable travel footrests for the airplane. We’ve combed through all the data to determine which are the most popular with our Baby Can Travel audience and read through hundreds of reviews to find the best inflatable airplane travel beds for kids under $50.
Skip down to the list of Best Budget Inflatable Airplane Beds for Kids
How are the budget inflatable airplane beds different than the premium versions?
There are several differences between these more cost effective airplane travel beds for kids and the more expensive versions.
The biggest differences are quality and price. The price is higher, but so is the quality in the brand name inflatable toddler flight beds. You’ll see far less complaints about the inflatable cushion becoming deflated during the flight or getting delivered with a rip in it.
If you are using an inflatable cushion as an airplane bed for a baby, you really don’t want it to be deflating. We’ve owned our original Fly Tot inflatable airplane cushion since 2016, used it several times a year and have never had an issue with it deflating.
Another key difference is that the ones in this list of budget blow up cushions for planes don’t typically come with a pump (with some exceptions). Where the ones in our best toddler travel beds for planes all come with a pump.
The shape of the premium inflatable travel beds is also a big difference. Rather than just a cube, they are more mushroom shaped. The top is wider allowing it to have a better fit between your toddlers seat and the seat in front of them. It also give more options to fit it by flipping it upside down for flights with very limited leg space.
These budget inflatable airplane footrest are much less expensive, typically around $20, and will also take up less room in your carry-on luggage.
One final difference is the companies that you are buying your airplane bed for toddlers from. There are companies like Flyaway Designs who are working to get their Flyaway kids airplane bed approved by the airlines and that’s why you’ll see it approved by over 50 airlines.
What to look for in a budget inflatable airplane travel bed for kids?
When looking to purchase one of these inflatable cushions for travel, check the dimensions of it. I would recommend getting one that is 18 inches tall by 18 inches wide and 12 inches deep. You’ll only need to inflate it to the point that it fills the space, but it will be far less useful if it’s too small for the space.
Aside from complaints about the inflatable airplane footrest being delivered with a hole or leaking after only a couple of uses, the biggest complaint is getting it to fit properly as a child airplane seat extender. There are several complaints about not being able to fit in the space once it’s inflated or that it moves around too much.
In the first instance, it likely has too much air in it to get it down onto the floor between the two seats. In the second, there’s not enough air in it.
The solution is to fill it most of the way, put it in place then perform some crazy yoga moves to get your head down to the valves to fill it the rest of the way.
You’ll get a better fit if you fill it in place. A pump will make this so much easier.
If you have two or more kids, this is a much more cost effective way to get two cushions but be sure to read our tips for successful use of an inflatable cushion for air travel.
Can you use an inflatable footrest on the plane?
Let’s just get this out of the way…. Some airlines have banned these types of products, even the premium versions. Check to make sure that isn’t the case for your airline. I read countless reviews from people that were surprised that they weren’t able to use them.
Check your airline first. I can’t stress this enough. Besides the airlines that have outright banned the use of inflatable travel footrests for airplanes, other airlines only allow ones like the Flyaway Kids Bed and yet others leave it up to the discretion of the flight crew.
This is a risk you take. Take note of the companies below that allow a full refund of kids plane beds if your airline doesn’t allow you to use it.
Airlines they list as not allowing the use of these toddler travel beds for planes: Emirates, Korean Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Asiana, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Air Malta, Egypt Air and Qantas
Best Budget Inflatable Airplane Travel Beds for Kids
What are the biggest complaints about these budget inflatable flight beds for kids?
After pouring through all the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews, there were four main complaints.
1. The bed arrived with a hole in it or it didn’t stay inflated. Either it a had tear or the seam was letting air out.
2. It had a bad smell.
3. The airline flight crew asked them to remove it.
4. It didn’t fit properly.
This was the same for each and every inflatable travel pillow we looked into. The only exception we found was the Wandering Tot which had no complaints about the airplane travel bed leaking over time or arriving with a hole in it.
You can find all these and a few others in our Amazon Shopping list for Budget Inflatable Travel Beds for Airplanes.
Tips for Successful use of an Airplane Bed for Kids
- Make sure you test it before you go. Inflatables are prone to leaks, especially in lower priced ones.
- Your baby or toddler needs to have their own reserved seat in order to use an airplane bed for babies. Unless you get lucky and snag a spare seat.
- Only use it in certain seats, which are window seats and the middle seat on larger airplanes with a middle block of seats.
- Make sure your child is still able to be buckled while in the seat.
- Installing the inflatable airplane bed for kids should not affect any of the other passengers. Install it within the confines of your seat, not in the aisle.
- Don’t try to blow it up during take off and be prepared to take it down before landing, even if you need to wake your child.
- Watch out for images that show two kids laying side by side. Airlines do not allow that. Your kid should be wearing their seat belt and they will make you wake your child to buckle them in if there is turbulence. The seat belt works better if you have their head near the back of their seat. Also then it’s their legs that are on it if it deflates.
Final Tips about using a Flight bed for kids
These inflatable travel beds for toddlers can be used from baby to kids around 7 years old, depending on the height of your child.
Inflatable travel beds have been more than worth it for our family, however your child won’t automatically go to sleep just because you have one. Read all our tips for getting a toddler to sleep on the plane.
More Toddler Travel Resources
- Best Places to Travel with Toddlers
- Best Airplane Activities for Babies and Travel Toys for Toddlers
- Best Toddler Travel Beds
- Top Tips for Traveling with a Potty Training Toddler
- 5 Things You Must Know Before a Road Trip with Baby or Toddler
- Dealing with Toddler and Baby Jet Lag
If you have any questions about this post or travel tips to offer other parents, join us over in our private Facebook group for traveling parents! Join here.