We got our first inflatable airplane bed for toddlers way back in 2016 and have been using that original Fly Tot inflatable toddler airplane bed plus a couple of others ever since. We always find a way to bring our airplane beds for toddlers on our long haul flights, knowing it’s our best chance for a good sleep when flying with toddlers and kids.
We sometimes feel like the extra space to bring the airplane travel bed for toddlers (plus having to carry them around for our entire trip) might not be worth it, but when flying with toddler that extra space for playing and sleeping always ends up being more that worth it. In the end, they are one of our airplane essentials for toddlers and we never regret bringing them!
Even just a few hours of getting a toddler to sleep on the plane (and not on our laps) is worth it to us.
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In this post, we will review three of the best inflatable airplane travel beds for toddlers and kids. We’ll include a few of the other popular ones and how they compare.
If these just aren’t in your travel budget right now, you can check out these top budget inflatable airplane travel beds for toddlers we recommend to turn the airplane seat into a bed.
Types of Toddler Airplane Beds
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 our 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.
Best Airplane Beds for Toddlers
The Flyaway Kids bed is similar to the inflatable airplane cushions below, in that it extends the airplane seat to make it a bed for toddlers and kids, but it does have some key differences.
You can read our full Flyaway Kids Bed review here.
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 helps eliminate the issue of having the inflatable flight cushion not being flush with the seat.
It’s extra important to have your child’s head near the back of their own seat when lying down on a Flyaway Kids bed. Since your child is higher up, there’s the potential for them to be hit if the seat in front of them reclines. Besides that, there is no impact to the person seated in front or their ability to recline.
The Flyaway Designs Kids Bed also comes with a pump, but it’s a much more compact pump and it will fill the inflatable airplane cushion in about 90 seconds. I was amazed at how quickly it worked and without the whistling (if this is a concern for you)!
The other benefit to 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, but the pump will take up far less room.
You can buy the Flyaway Kids Bed directly from their website. If you find it to be out of stock, we recommend signing up on the Flyaway Designs website to be notified when it’s back in stock so you don’t miss out.
Read our full Fly Tot review here.
The Fly Tot is an inflatable cushion for airplanes 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 extra tight spaces, you can use it upside down to fit in the space. We find the Fly Tot usually fit flush with the airplane seat or slightly above it.
It can take up a significant portion of your carry-on luggage, and especially if you are carrying two of these inflight beds for toddlers, plus the pump.
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 before you take it with you.
Other Fly Tot alternatives are the Plane Pal cushion and the Kooshy Kids Kooshion.
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.
The dimensions of the Kooshy Kids Kooshion vs Fly Tot are slightly larger (Kooshy Kids: is 60cm x 38cm x 44cm) but the 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 does have the option of a battery operated pump, but we’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 it’s not a concern. I have never had anyone even notice when I’ve been blowing up the inflatable airplane bed.
The JetKids Bed Box is one that we haven’t tried yet. It’s different in that it’s a ride on suitcase that transforms into a bed on the plane, so there is no cushion to blow up. If you were in the market for a ride on suitcase and a portable airplane travel bed, this might be a good alternative. It has about 23L of space for your toddler’s carry-on items.
It’s carry-on size and will convert the 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 another part that rolls over top of the airplane seat and the extended lid of the suitcase create one uniform area for you child to lie down.
The downside to this option is that it’s an extra thing for parents to carry if your child doesn’t want to ride on it or pull it. We’ve always tried to travel minimally and with backpacks that left our hands free to make it easier to keep kids close. We also tend to take public transportation when traveling with a baby, toddler or children, so reducing the number of items we carry has always been a priority.
While this is the most expensive 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.
New to us is the Travel Nest by Seat to Sleep. While we love the Flyaway Designs and Fly Tot, 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 our full review of the Seat to Sleep Travel Pillow here.
The Travel Nest is for children aged 3 to 10, so as your toddler ages out of the ones above, rest assured that you still have options! We want to do anything we can to keep kids comfortable and able to sleep on the plane. This is well worth the price.
The Seat to Sleep pillow folds incredibly small and could easily clip on a the outside of your toddler travel backpack. It’s quick to inflate and deflate – without needing a pump. I especially like the 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.
Our kids found them incredibly comfortable and fell asleep within minutes using them on a long haul flight.
Visit Seat to Sleep and use discount code BABYCANTRAVEL on your Travel Nest inflatable cushion for kids.
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. We 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 companies 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
Our 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. We prefer 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 the window seat or the middle seat of the center row on larger airplanes.
- 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. You’ll want to inflate the airplane seat bed for toddlers in place anyways 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 Travel Bed Suitable for?
Typically they are geared towards children who are 2 to 7 years old, given that you would 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 bulk head seats). Otherwise, we recommend bringing a baby carrier for travel on the airplane. You can use it after takeoff to help get your baby 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. 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 and Kids Worth It?
The answer to that question will depend on how much you intend to use it 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, 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.
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.
More Toddler Travel Resources
- Best Places to Travel with Toddlers
- Top 12 Toddler Travel Essentials you Shouldn’t Leave Home Without
- Best Airplane Activities for Babies and Travel Toys for Toddlers
- Top Tips for Traveling with a Potty Training Toddler
- Best Travel Potty Chairs and Folding Toilet Seats for Toddlers
- 5 Things You Must Know Before a Road Trip with Baby or Toddler
- Dealing with Toddler and Baby Jet Lag