The 5 Best Toddler Beds for Planes (2023)

toddler beds for planes

Anyone that’s ever flown long-haul (or any haul!) with a toddler or young children, knows how awful it can be. Truly, truly awful. And one of the make or breaks, is giving your toddler the opportunity to sleep on the plane. Worth every parent or carers’ hard-earned cash, are these things – toddler beds for planes! The first time I flew long-haul with Freddie, I didn’t know these things existed, until I looked across the aisles and could see other parents’ angels sleeping soundly on these contraptions. 

I’ve since done a lot of research (online and speaking with other parents) and utilised a few different types of toddler beds for planes on long flights, and what follows is my list of the 5 best types, styles and actual items.

I thought I’d be a good guy (gal!) and also share some of my other helpful tips for flying with a toddler, including:
– booking a direct flight or one with a longer stopover
– toddler meals on board flights
– being the last to board
– prams on planes
– snacks, snacks, snacks

Without further ado – Enjoy!

Table of Contents

Toddler Beds for Planes #1: Inflateable Airplane Beds

This option is essentially a blow-up extension of the seat in place. They are great in that they are really comfortable but not so great in that they need a pump (that you have to carry on board) and that you have to do the actual pumping (sometimes while awkwardly leaning in to the aisle). Still, they are a bloody genius concept for flying with a toddler!

Kushy Kids Kooshion Kit

Kushy kids toddler airplane cushion review
Photo credit: Kooshy Kids

Being from Australia, I wanted to try an Aussie made toddler bed for the plane for our first go. So, after a hellish red-eye flight with Freddie, we decided to try the Kushy Kids Kooshion Kit for our next trip. The Kooshy Kids Kooshion is inflated on the plane and used to create a flat, flexible space between seats for your little one to rest on and lay flat for a comfortable sleep. The price is quite reasonable, however you do have to pay an additional fee if you wish to use their pump (prices range depending how fancy you want to go). We were really happy with this product overall.

The Best Things About It:
– accepted on 50+ airlines
– comes in a waterproof drawstring backpack that you can get your toddler to carry themselves
– super lightweight

FlyTot Inflateable Airplane Cushion

FlyTot Inflateable Airplane Cushion review
Photo Credit: FlyTot

The FlyTot inflateable airplane cushion arrives on your doorstep in a big cardboard box and includes a foot pump and some decent instructions (although, it’s very simple without them) – we haven’t used this one but my friend in the U.S has and it sounds pretty similiar to the Kooshy Kids, if not a bit bulky. It is about the same cost as the Kooshy Kids. I’ve spoken with my US friend and she has sent me over the following pros & cons for the FlyTot

The Best Things About It:
– this bad boy is self-deflating in case of emergency (which I like, but hope that none of you ever have to use!)
– it securely fits in most standard plane seats – there is a bit of an awkward aisle lean but it doesn’t sound as bad as the Kooshie Kids lean
– it is super quick to inflate once you get to that point

Toddler Beds for Planes #2: Baby Airplane Hammocks

As opposed to the toddler plane beds that are just inflatebles squished in to the gap between your seat & the seat in-front, these are mainly those inflateable pillows held up with hammocks. The idea is great and it works, however, you will find that flight attendants get a bit panicky with that weight being held by their chairs. If price is an issue though, the NapFlat is a really good place to start.

FlyLegsUp – My Flight Hammock

FlyLegsUp my flight hammock review
Photo Credit: FlyLegsUp

The FlyLegs Up flight hammock was recommended to us by a friend who had used it recently – I think it is quite a new product. She gave it to us to try (which was handy considering 2 small children and one Kooshy Kids was never going to work!). It was great to be able to compare the 2 products side by side. It’s essentially , as the name suggests, a hammock that allows you to raise your feet and legs into different positions. While there is no awkward aisle leaning, this one does feel a bit like setting up a tent – which I do not love. I do, however, love the cute little pillow it comes with for sleeping.

The Good
– adults can use it too – yes please and thank you!
– there is no pump needed – so less for you / your toddler to cart around
– it is, like the Kooshie Kids, really light and easy for toddlers to carry on their own using the little backpack it comes with.


NapFlat toddler plan bed review
Photo Credit: NapFlat

The good thing about the NapFlat, is that in designing it, the company specifically set out to address the issues some airlines have with these kind of toddler beds for planes. The bad thing about it, is that these are the very things that make the other options so much more comfortable. I do love that this is a handmade on Etsy type product, so it would feel really quite nice supporting a small business. Note: I personally have not used this products, but have mum friends who have & so these reviews come from them – but I trust their views!

The Good
– as mentioned above, these have been designed with flight attendants beady eyes in mind – the NapFlat will only take the weight of a child, so the airline isn’t as concerned about damage to their tray tables/seats
– here’s one you didn’t think about – you can put it in the washing machine!!!
– Compact, light weight and folds up for easy storage

Toddler Beds for Planes #3: Kids Suitcase that transforms into a bed (yep!)

The best kind of toddler beds for planes are these bad boys….except I can only find one company that has them available now. They are so fun and clever – just don’t baulk at the price.

JetKids Bed Box By Stokke

Jetkids BedBox review
Photo Credit: JetKids by Stokke

This is it. The Rolls Royce of toddler beds for planes! I really saved the best for last. We travel a lot (well, pre-covid we travelled a lot) – I only got to use the BedBox once before the world came crashing down, but it was so, so good for Freddie. Not only the comfort for him & the length of sleep – but the fun and adventure of the whole thing – a whole suitcase all to himself that turns in to a bed! Fun colours! He can sit on it and ride while I pull it through the airport or pull on it himself. I just love it. However, it is BLOODY EXPENSIVE – and we only got one as Freddie’s grandparents bought it for him for a birthday present.

The Good
– its so cute, Freddie loves sitting on the suitcase and being pulled through the airport. It lends itself to the excitement of falling asleep on a plane so there is no whinging when it comes time to nap
– the suitcase part of it comes with storage, so you can have a space for toddler plane snacks and toddler plane activities
– it’s super durable

Toddler Beds for Planes: The Final Verdict

My ultimate, quick glance summary of the best toddler beds for planes is here! A super simple summary, if you’ve got no time to read the whole article, give this cheat sheet a go.

BONUS: Tips for travelling with a Toddler!

To me, the number one saviour of my sanity when flying with my toddlers, is getting them to sleep on the plane. If this looks like becoming impossible, or if the flight is too short to get any decent length of sleep – here are a few more tips to save your soul!

1. Book a direct flight or one with a longer stopover

If you have to get your toddler/s on a long flight – try as hard as you can for a direct flight (a red-eye can even be a saving grace – they may just sleep for 8 hours straight!) – and if a direct flight is not available, get one with a longer stopover. This way, your toddler has time to stretch their legs, burn off some energy, sit down for a proper meal – and hopefully, sleep for the next leg!!

2. Request a toddler meal when booking flight/s

I literally had no idea these things existed until I became friends with a flight attendant. Bloody genius. I do find only the long-haul airlines have them though – tell all of your friends – baby meals too!!! Pasta with cheese and no sauce! Sandwiches and hidden vegetables! Woo! No more crying when they have to pick the vegetables out of an adult meal – even if these things cost you extra – WORTH. EVERY. CENT.

3. Be the last to board

I know it’s the opposite of everything you’ve been told previously about flying – but, seriously, get on that plane last. The less ammount of time spent sitting in that big metal tube with a toddler, the better. It just gives you more time to burn that toddler energy off – hey, you might burn off so much energy in that waiting time that they sleep for 8 hours (ha!)

4. If using a pram, make sure to TRIPLE check your airlines regulations

I’ve been caught out before on budget airlines who won’t take a pram onboard the plane, no matter how small (we use the BabyZen YoYo and it weights less than 4kgs). Even with me standing there crying with carry-on luggage, a toddler (who I NEEDED that pram for) and a baby, they made me put the pram under the plane. Please, please check this – as it was almost my undoing on that trip!!

5. Snacks, snacks, SNACKS!

Never underestimate the power of a snack on a restless toddler. As well as healthy snacks (fruit- nothing too juicy) – I buy from the baby food aisle, those flavoured rice crackers – they take a while to chew through but your toddler is essentially eating air so they won’t fill up before it’s time for ‘real food’. Get your toddler to help you make some muesli bars, biscuits or muffins pre-flight so that they are excited to eat their own cooking by the time distraction time comes.

6. How to travel with a car seat:

Let’s be honest: travelling with a car seat is a pain. There are several possibilities for older children, but for babies and toddlers, the only options are large, heavy, and the restrictions may differ depending on your destination, so they may be useless.. Check out our post on travelling with a toddler car seat here.

7. Travelling in the middle of potty training

Anyone that’s ever toilet trained a toddler, knows how awful it can be – especially when you are always on the go, or – heaven forbid – going on road trips (but hey, don’t let it stop you from doing what’s got to be done!). And one of the best ideas, is to BE PREPARED. Check out our post on potty training on the go here.

8. Do I need to pack a travel crib?

Short answer – no – most family friendly holiday accommodation options have them available for guests use for free or a small charge. I would, however, pack some standard crib sheets because for some reason these are rarely available in your hotel room. Also, you want your toddler to have comfortable place to sleep, where they feel safe – and their special sheets from home are the best thing for this. FYI if your toddler is too big, or past the weight limit of the travel crib, try finding a toddler air mattress to purchase when they arrive – most discount retailers sell these for reasonable prices. And, if theres no room in your luggage on the way home – you can gift it to another family. Double toddler sleep win!

Toddler Beds For Planes: FAQs

  1. What is the best toddler travel bed / best airplane beds? While all five of the above options are in the running for best travel bed, we have to give the award to the JetKids BedBox – it’s quality and features can’t be beaten when it comes to that a travel toddler bed for that long haul flight.
  2. Are inflatable beds a good idea for toddlers for long-haul flights? Absolutely, see all of the great option above – inflatable toddler travel beds are an epic idea! Anything that acts as a portable bed and gets them sleeping on a flight is a good thing.
  3. Does the Kooshy Kids come with a hand pump? While this inflatable toddler bed doesn’t come with a hand pump, you can chose to purchase it as an extra, or just use your trust old bike pump.
  4. Can I take a sleeping bag on a plane for my toddler? While technically on most overnight flight, you can take a blanket, I’d avoid taking a big bulky sleeping bag – you need to maximise that baggage allowance after all and a simple toddler blanket will do the trick.
  5. Can I take an electric pump on the plane? Short answer – no. Long answer – no. Hand pumps are the only, and the best option for on the plane.
  6. Can I take a toddler airplane bed on economy seats? Most airline will allow an inflatable travel bed, however, it’s best to check with each individual airline – particularly if you are flying economy. Some flight attendants do panic about the tray table getting ruined, or the person on the airplane seat in front being disturbed.

And there you have it – GOOD LUCK finding the best toddler beds for planes – I hope this has helped immensely!! Stay sane xx

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