How uncomfortable is flying with a lap infant?

WishUponAStar3

Believer In Big Dreams!
Joined
May 23, 2011
Help, I keep going back and forth on whether I should buy a seat for my 1-year-old for our November trip to WDW or if I should just keep her as a lap infant! How uncomfortable is a longish flight with an average-sized 1YO on your lap? We're flying from LA, so it's about 5 hours. Aside from cost, the other reason I wanted to keep her on my lap is because that way the 4 of us will have one row to ourselves, as opposed to splitting into two rows and sitting next to others outside our group- I figure that will be safer for avoiding Covid exposure on the plane. But if it's really hard to keep little ones contained and calm in a shared seat for that long, should I spring for the extra seats and split our party into 2 rows? What would you do? Thanks in advance for the advice!!
 

EACarlson

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
I would not want a 1 year old as a lap child for that long of a flight. By the time my kids were one they were squirmy and always moving. I would buy a seat, strap them into a car seat in the window and almost guarantee they sleep a good portion of the flight. What is the make up of your traveling party? It's you, the small child, who are the other two? I would book one row of three and then the aisle across.
 

Haley R

With all the strength of a raging fire
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
We’ve always bought a seat for our 2 yo and used his car seat. There’s no way he would’ve sat still on our laps. He’s a wiggler and constantly moving. He’s used to sitting like that in the car so he seemed content doing it on the plane
 

sponica

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 16, 2017
I flew with a lap rider at 20 months and have regretted it to this day. Don't get me wrong, she was the ideal lap rider, non squirmy and just sat there....but she really wanted her own seat and my lap got really tired of having a little person sitting there. 4 years later when her sister was 20 months old, we bought her a seat.
 

georgina

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
Lots of variables. Time of day, length of flight, child personality. When my oldest was little she would sleep on flights if timed right, people who walked by on the way out would say they had no idea there was a small child on board. I flew home from Orlando in May and the woman next to me had a lap child who slept the whole time, this was a late evening flight. I had the window seat, good thing I didn’t have to use the restroom! However, these were 2 hour flights. Five hours sounds too long to hold a lap child to me.
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Definitely buy a separate ticket. Especially if you don’t plan to buy extra legroom seats. You can always stick him/her on your lap at times but you will appreciate the extra space during such a long flight.

If you are really concerned about COVID we sprung for business/first class for our 2021 flights to give us a bit of an extra buffer, both during the flight but also when boarding in the airport. I told my kids not to get used to it!
 

Betty Rohrer

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 19, 2010
Help, I keep going back and forth on whether I should buy a seat for my 1-year-old for our November trip to WDW or if I should just keep her as a lap infant! How uncomfortable is a longish flight with an average-sized 1YO on your lap? We're flying from LA, so it's about 5 hours. Aside from cost, the other reason I wanted to keep her on my lap is because that way the 4 of us will have one row to ourselves, as opposed to splitting into two rows and sitting next to others outside our group- I figure that will be safer for avoiding Covid exposure on the plane. But if it's really hard to keep little ones contained and calm in a shared seat for that long, should I spring for the extra seats and split our party into 2 rows? What would you do? Thanks in advance for the advice!!
I have done the flight in reverse from east coast to LA and would never try to hold a year old for that flight again. think about sitting and watching a TV program for an hour how would it go? bet I know the answer. Covid or no covid I would buy the seat and use the carseat that she is used to using in the car. also you can not use the tray table most times with a lap child. plus based on our flight our checked carseat was damaged and unusable when we arrived. nothing was open at time we arrived so we had to hold on way to family's home.
 

SLThomas318

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
From a safety perspective, it is ideal to purchase a seat and use a car seat. Aborted take offs/landings and turbulence can cause injury to a lap child. Granted it was a smaller plane, but there was a runway overrun crash in Canada where everyone survived except the lap infant. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johngo...dent-boards-call-for-infant-safety-restraints
We felt this way too… it was safer and we needed the car seat on the other end. We bought lighter easier to travel with car seats for air travel/rental cars. We also used the CARES harness on the plane in situations where we didn’t need to bring a car seat for our destination.
 

bakerr6

Earning My Ears
Joined
Sep 21, 2022
We've done it with both our boys when they were under 2 (we still have another flight in March with our youngest without a ticket).

2 hour flights - we full their bellies and stick them in a front carrier for takeoffs and landings.
 

tjmw2727

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 21, 2001
We've done it with both our boys when they were under 2 (we still have another flight in March with our youngest without a ticket).

2 hour flights - we full their bellies and stick them in a front carrier for takeoffs and landings.

Baby wearing is not allowed for takeoff and landing, (and should not be done at all) and please don't do this even if the FA doesn't notice. I don't want to post the why's here as it's hard to do without being graphic but look it up and I doubt you will continue to do this.
 














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