Best Budget Inflatable Airplane Beds for Toddlers

Author: Celine Brewer

Last Updated:

Of all the toddler travel gear I have used over the years, one of the most useful is an inflatable airplane bed for toddlers. I have used airplane travel beds on many overnight flights, and my kids fell asleep each and every time. I can tell you from experience that a well-rested toddler is a much better traveler than a cranky, overtired toddler. Some premium airplane beds can get quite expensive, but there are plenty of good quality budget inflatable airplane beds for toddlers on the market. Regardless of what you pay, I think they are worth every penny.

If you are flying with a toddler often, I think it’s worthwhile to splurge on one of the best toddler travel beds for planes, but I also understand there are many reasons why this might not be the right choice for your family. For that reason, I’ve put together this list of budget airplane travel beds for babies, toddlers and kids.

a toddler from the family sleeps on an airplane travel bed for toddler during an overnight family flight.

This post contains compensated links.

Best Budget Inflatable Airplane Travel Beds for Toddlers

My Top Picks for the Best Affordable Toddler Airplane Beds:

I know you don’t always have time to read, so here are my top picks for the best budget airplane beds to kids:

Best Overall:

Maliton Inflatable Travel Footrest – a lightweight and versatile travel option featuring adjustable height, compact packing, and a 6-month quality guarantee.

Best for Using at Different Heights:

Flypal Airplane Travel Bed – features a unique dual-chamber design for three height options, easy adjustment and stability.

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 a more expensive inflatable airplane bed for toddlers.

The biggest differences are quality and price. The price is higher, but so is the quality in the brand name inflatable toddler flight beds. With the more expensive models, 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. I’ve used my original Fly Tot inflatable airplane cushion several times a year for over 4 years and have never had an issue with it deflating.

a toddler using a budget inflatable airplane travel bed.

Another key difference is that the ones in my list of budget blow up cushions for planes don’t come with a pump. Where the premium toddler travel beds for planes all come with a pump.

The shape of the premium inflatable airplane 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.

a toddler from the Baby Can Travel blog, sits on a Flyaway Kids Bed before going to sleep on an overnight flight.
My son loved his Flyaway Kids bed.

You can buy the Flyaway Kids Bed directly from their website.

What to Look for in a Budget Inflatable Airplane Travel Bed for Toddlers and 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 the toddler airplane bed.

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.

In my experience, 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, it can be more cost effective to get a two-pack of inflatable airplane cushions.

Can You Use an Inflatable Seat Cushion 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.

I can’t stress this enough – check with your airline before buying. Besides the airlines that have outright banned the use of an inflatable flight cushion for toddlers, other airlines only allow specific brands like the Flyaway Kids Bed. To make matters more confusing, some airlines leave it up to the discretion of the flight crew.

As an example, we were able to successfully use our inflatable airplane beds on a Korean Air flight to Seoul, but on the flight home a different flight crew asked us to deflate them. This is a risk you take, but purchasing a budget airplane bed mitigates the risk somewhat.

A few airlines which do not allow use of these toddler travel beds for planes include: Emirates, Korean Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Asiana, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Air Malta, Egypt Air and Qantas.

Tips for Successful use of an Airplane Bed for Kids

Based on my years of using inflatable airplane beds for my kids, here is some advice I have for you:

  1. Make sure you test it before you go. Inflatables are prone to leaks, especially in lower priced ones.

  2. 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.

  3. Be aware that they can only use it in certain seats, which are window seats and the middle seat on larger airplanes with a middle block of seats. They can never be used on a seat which would block another passengers ability to reach the aisle.

  4. Make sure your child is still able to be buckled while in the seat.

  5. 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.

  6. Don’t try to blow up the toddler airplane travel bed during take off and be prepared to take it down before landing, even if you need to wake your child.

  7. Watch out for misleading 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 if there is turbulence. The seat belt works better if you have their head near the back of their seat. Another advantage of this sleeping position is that their legs are on the pillow in case it deflates.

Final Tips on Using an Airplane Travel Bed for Kids

These inflatable airplane beds for toddlers can be used from baby to kids around 7 years old, depending on the height of your child.

Inflatable toddler airplane beds have been more than worth it for my family, however your child won’t automatically go to sleep just because you have one.

Read all my tips for getting a toddler to sleep on the plane.

image of toddler on airplane with text overlay of 6 Budget Inflatable Airplane Travel Beds to Get Kids to Sleep on Planes

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Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.

Celine also writes about family travel on the site, 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

Read more about Celine Brewer.