This article about the Best Airplane Beds for Toddlers was written by toddler travel expert Celine Brewer and may contain affiliate links.
One of the most useful pieces of toddler travel gear I have used over the years is an inflatable airplane bed for toddlers. I have used airplane travel beds on many long haul flights with my family, and my kids fell asleep each and every time. I have found huge value in this – a well-rested toddler is a much better traveler than an overtired toddler.
Ever since the initial success I had with a Fly Tot inflatable toddler airplane bed, I have always traveled with a toddler airplane bed for long flights. I always find room in my carry-on to pack an airplane bed for our toddler on long haul flights, knowing it’s the best chance for them to get a good sleep.
When packing for family trips, I sometimes wondered if it was worth the effort to bring a toddler plane bed in our carry-on. My experience has clearly shown that when flying with a toddler, the extra space the airplane toddler bed gives our little one for playing and then sleeping, always ends up being more than worth it.
In the end, they are one of my top travel essentials for toddlers and I never regret bringing them! I’ve learned that even just a few hours of getting a toddler to sleep on the plane (and not on my lap) is worth it to me.
In this post, I review four of the best inflatable airplane travel beds for toddlers and kids. In addition, I’ve included a few of the other popular ones and discuss how they compare.
If these toddler airplane bed options aren’t in your travel budget right now, you can check out my recommended budget inflatable airplane travel beds for toddlers.
What You’ll Find in This Article on the Best Toddler Airplane Beds:
The 4 Best Airplane Beds for Toddlers
At first glance, the Flyaway Kids bed is similar to the other top inflatable airplane cushions below. Like the others, it extends the airplane seat to make it a bed for toddlers and kids, but in my experience flying with a Flyaway Kids Bed, I discovered it has some key advantages.
You can learn more about my experiences with this top toddler airplane bed in my full Flyaway Kids Bed review.
I really liked that the Flyaway Designs Kids Bed doesn’t just work as an extension to the airplane seat but instead it creates one uniform flat surface over your child’s seat and the floor area. This eliminates the issue of having the inflatable flight cushion not being flush with the seat.
When using a Flyaway Kids bed, I found that it’s important to have your child’s head near the back of their own seat when lying down. Since your child is higher up, there’s the potential for them to be hit if the seat in front of them reclines. Having their feet facing the seat in front of them has no impact to the person seated in front or their ability to recline.
Given my concerns about the size of the toddler plane bed in our carry on bags, I really liked the size of the included pump. The Flyaway Designs Kids Bed pump is much more compact than the other models, yet it still fills the toddler flight bed in about 90 seconds. I was amazed at how quickly and quietly it worked to inflate the bed. (Some of the other larger pumps on this list make a loud whistle, potentially drawing attention to you).
The other feature I liked about the Flyaway Kids airplane bed is that it doesn’t take up the full area on the floor, leaving some space to store bags under the seat in front and even access them if needed.
As for size, it’s only slightly larger (barely noticeable) than the other inflatable flight cushions for toddlers when fully deflated and rolled up. Thankfully, the smaller pump compensates for this, resulting in less overall space in your carry-on bag.
Based on my positive experiences, I recommend the Flyaway Kids Bed as the best airplane bed for toddlers.
- Uniform surface with bumpers, keeps your toddler and their toys on the seat.
- Still space under for access to bags.
- Compact and quiet pump.
- Slightly larger than other options.
- Not approved on all airlines.
The JetKids BedBox was reviewed for Baby Can Travel by Maria, one of our passionate travel moms.
The JetKids BedBox has a unique design that is a ride-on suitcase which transforms into a bed on the plane, so there is no inflatable cushion to blow up. If you were in the market for both a ride-on suitcase and a portable plane bed for toddler, this might be a good alternative. It has about 23L of space for your toddler’s carry-on items.
Read Maria’s full JetKids BedBox by Stokke Review here.
Maria likes that the JetKids BedBox is carry-on size and will convert your child’s seat to a bed. It works similar to the Flyaway Kids Bed, by extending the lid of the suitcase to create a bed with the seat. There’s a mattress and side panels that go over the top of the airplane seat and the extended lid of the suitcase create one uniform, comfortable area for your child to lie down.
One downside Maria noted about the JetKids BedBox is that it’s an extra thing for parents to carry if your child doesn’t want to ride on it or pull it. Her family tries to travel minimally, with backpacks that left their hands free to make it easier to keep kids close. They also tend to take public transportation when traveling with a baby, toddler or children, so reducing the number of items to carry has always been a priority.
While this is the most expensive toddler plane bed option (by quite a bit), if you were planning on buying a carry-on suitcase for your toddler anyways you won’t have to buy two separate items.
- Fun for toddlers.
- Creates a nice flat surface with bumpers to keep toys and toddler off the floor.
- You can fit the CloudSleeper toddler bed in it too.
- Requires extra hands if your toddler doesn’t pull it.
- Doesn’t provide much storage considering how much extra you need to bring.
- One more big item for the overhead bins if you can’t use it.
- Not approved on all airlines.
I own two Fly Tots and have used them for years, ever since we first used it on our trip to Japan with toddlers. The Fly Tot was such a huge benefit for my family, that it quickly became one of my favorite toddler travel gear items.
Read all about my experiences flying with this popular airplane toddler bed in my full Fly Tot review.
The Fly Tot is an inflatable airplane bed for toddlers that works as a child airplane seat extender, by filling the floor area between your toddlers airplane seat and the seat in front. It can be placed in several different ways to ensure a snug fit in either premium or economy seats.
For those times when we had very little legroom, I flipped it upside down to fit in the space. I found the Fly Tot usually fit flush with the airplane seat or slightly above it.
My partner used to grumble a bit when it came time to pack our Fly Tots. To be fair, they can take up a significant portion of your carry-on luggage, and especially if you are carrying two of these toddler plane beds, plus the pump.
Unlike the Flyaway Kids bed, you won’t be able to use floor space to store your bags, at least not if you want access to them while using the toddler airplane travel bed. The room under the seat in front of your toddler will still be available to store a bag, but you won’t be able to access it.
The Fly Tot has been officially approved on some airlines, like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad and Virgin Australia, but use on other airlines will be left up to the discretion of the flight crew. Some airlines have outright banned the use of inflatable cushions for air travel. It’s best to research your airline’s policy before you take it with you.
Comparing the Fly Tot to Other Toddler Plane Beds
Plane Pal vs Fly Tot
If you are comparing the Plane Pal vs the Fly Tot, you’ll find they are very similar. They have almost identical dimensions (Fly Tot dimensions: 55cm x 37cm x 42cm vs. Plane Pal dimensions: 54cm x 43cm x 36cm) and the shape of the Plane Pal is very similar to the Fly Tot.
Kooshy Kids Kooshion vs Fly Tot
The dimensions of the Kooshy Kids Kooshion vs Fly Tot are slightly larger (Kooshy Kids: is 60cm x 38cm x 44cm) but their shapes are still very similar. The Kooshy Kids is taller, so it will sit more flush with an airplane seat (or be slightly higher). The Kooshy Kids (use BABYCANTRAVEL for 10% off) does have the option of a battery operated pump, but I’ve never felt like that would be necessary.
All three inflatable airplane cushion companies sell their cushion with a pump, all of which will take 2-3 minutes to inflate. Some of the pumps do make a whistle noise, but I find there’s so much ambient noise while the plane is in-flight, that I have never had anyone even notice when I’ve been blowing up the inflatable airplane bed.
- Fits well on the floor and creates a almost flat surface.
- Easier to use two side-by-side because they don’t take up as much room.
- Pump is large and takes up a decent amount of room in carry-on.
- Not approved on all airlines.
- Takes up all floor space and can’t access bags under seat.
My latest addition to this list is the Travel Nest by Seat to Sleep. While I love the Flyaway Designs and Fly Tot beds, there comes a time when those may not be ideal for your child. Or perhaps you are flying with an airline that doesn’t allow inflatable airplane beds for toddlers.
Read more about my experiences in my full review of the Seat to Sleep Travel Pillow.
I love that the Travel Nest is for children aged 3 to 10, so it acts as a natural replacement as your toddler ages out of their traditional toddler airplane bed. I want to do anything I can to keep kids comfortable and able to sleep on the plane. Based on my experiences, the Travel Nest is well worth the price.
After years of carrying large kids airplane beds in our carry-on bags, I loved how the Seat to Sleep pillow folds incredibly small. In fact, it could easily clip on the outside of your toddler travel backpack. It’s quick to inflate and deflate – without needing a pump. I especially like the one-way valve which doesn’t let air out when you are blowing it up. It comes in an adorable print that everyone will love plus a small travel bag.
My kids found them incredibly comfortable and fell asleep within minutes using them on a long haul flight. My kids like the Travel Nest so much that they complain if I leave them at home for our shorter, non-sleeping flights.
Visit Seat to Sleep and use discount code BABYCANTRAVEL for 10% off your Travel Nest inflatable cushion for kids.
- Super small to pack.
- No pump required and easy to inflate.
- Great for toddlers and older children.
- Not expensive.
- Less airline restrictions on this type of product.
- Not comfortable if you overfill.
- Provides a soft spot to sleep, but your littles ones legs will may still hang off the seat or on you.
- Can take up a lot of room in the seat in economy seats.
Toddler Airplane Bed Types
You can get an airplane bed for toddlers in one of these 4 types of seat extenders for the airplane:
- Cube shaped blow up cushions (that you’ll find in my list of budget inflatable footrests).
- Mushroom-shaped inflatable plane cushions (like the Fly Tot).
- An inflatable cushion that covers the entire seat and area between the seats (like the Flyaway Kids bed).
- A ride-on suitcase that converts to a toddler airplane travel bed like the JetKids Bed Box.
Are Inflatable Toddler Airplane Beds Allowed on Planes?
Yes, for some airlines. It’s important that you research your airline before using an inflatable airplane bed for kids or the JetKids Bed Box suitcase. I can speak from experience that airlines which have a strict no-use policy will ask you to remove it if you set it up.
Which Airlines Will Allow You to Use a Toddler Airplane Bed?
Where possible, the kids airplane bed manufacturers have listed the airlines that have either given approval for using their airplane travel bed for kids or given an indication that it could be used at the discretion of the flight crew.
- Plane Pal Approved Airlines
- Kooshy Kids Approved Airlines
- Fly Tot Approved Airlines
- Flyaway Kids Bed Approved Airlines
- JetKids Bed Box Approved Airlines
My Tips for Successfully using a Toddler Airplane Bed
An inflatable airplane bed, like the Fly Tot or Flyaway Kids Bed, is the best way to create space to play and for sleeping. With these tips, your airplane travel bed for a baby, toddler or child will increase your odds of success for getting your little one to sleep.
- If using it as a plane seat extender for your baby, never leave your baby unattended since she can still roll off.
- You will need a reserved seat for your baby or toddler to use an inflatable bed for the airplane. Your toddler (under 2 years old) or baby will need to be in your lap for takeoff, landing and during any turbulence.
- If a flight attendant requests you to put your child in your lap, please politely comply – even if your baby or toddler is sleeping. They are looking out for the safety of your child.
- Make sure to position your child’s head near the back of the seat with feet on the toddler airplane bed, so you can use the seat belt in case of sudden turbulence.
- Never try to use your Bed Box or inflatable airplane beds for kids during taxi, takeoff or landing. In my experience, it’s best to wait until the meal service is complete and everyone is settled in their seats.
- Make sure you have the correct seats for using travel bed for toddlers on the plane. You will need a reserved seat or a spare seat to use it with. Only use it in a window seat or the non-aisle middle seat(s) if your larger plane has 3-4 seats in the middle.
- Never use your toddler travel bed for the airplane in a way that might impact other passengers. When used properly it should not interfere with the person in front of you or their ability to recline.
- Never try to inflate it in the aisle, do it within the confines of your seat. I have found that inflating the airplane seat bed for toddlers in place works best to get the most snug fit.
- If you are asked to remove it, politely apologize and remove it. Flight attendants are your best friend when flying with a baby or toddler. In most cases using one of these airplane sleep aids is at the discretion of the flight crew.
What Ages is an Inflatable Airplane Bed for Kids Suitable for?
Typically they are geared towards children who are 2 to 7 years old, given that you need to have an airplane seat purchased for a child in this age range. They can still be used for infants and babies, if you have a reserved seat or are able to get a spare seat next to you.
What Can You do if Your Airline Doesn’t Allow You to Use an Airplane Bed for Toddlers?
If you are flying with a baby, you can request an airplane bassinet (if available and if you are seated in the bulkhead seats). Otherwise, I recommend bringing a baby carrier for travel on the airplane. You can use it after takeoff to help get your toddler to sleep.
If you have a purchased seat for your toddler or baby on the airplane, you can travel with a car seat if it will help your baby or toddler sleep. If not, the Seat to Sleep Travel Nest is an excellent option that you can use on any flight.
If you don’t have a purchased seat, always ask if there are any spare seats on the flight – I have found that agents are usually eager to help parents traveling with a baby or toddler. You can bring your car seat right to the gate and gate check it if you can’t get a spare seat.
And the big question… Are Inflatable Airplane Beds for Toddlers Worth It?
The answer to that question will depend on how much you intend to use your toddler flight bed and the age of your children. If you buy it early on (when they are 2 years old) and plan to use it at least once a year, then yes, I believe the cost is absolutely worth it – especially if you will be doing long haul flights.
It’s no big deal to have a child sleep on your lap for a short flight, but when we are talking several hours… I would say that having them have their own space where they can spread out is more than worth it. I can tell you from experience, that having a well-rested child makes traveling with kids so much more enjoyable.
If you will only use it on one or two flights, then you can probably survive without it. The flight is a very short portion of your trip.
Don’t forget, you can also make use of them on other forms of transportation like on trains or ferries. The airplane travel bed for your toddler can even be used in a car.
I hope that my experiences using these kids airplane beds help you make the best decision for your family vacation. Enjoy your flight!
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This post was written & edited by:
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 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.