Plane and clouds travelling from SG to London

When we had the confirmation about my husband going to London to pursue his Masters, there were so many things for us to prepare and plan. One of the many and important thing was to prepare our little one for the flight itself. She did not have any exposure to anything travel related since she was born during the Covid era. She has always been afraid of loud noises, and one of them were plane sounds. Whenever we spoke to her about possible travels in future on a plane, she always said no to a plane ride.

When the study trip came, we were actually worried that the entire planning and flight would be a nightmare. Luckily the entire journey went well, and we managed to touch down in London Heathrow without angry passengers staring or cussing at us. Find out how we prepared for the 13 hours flight from Singapore to London!

Mental preparation is key!

Mentally preparing your child is important because this would help your child to know what to expect. The preparation work started way before the day of the flight itself. What did we do exactly?

In the weeks leading to the flight, we:

  1. constantly told our daughter that we will be taking the plane soon
  2. went through step by step as to what was expected which included shopping and getting items for our travels, packing our luggages, going to the airport, waiting to board the plane and having her own seat and seat belt.
  3. repeatedly assured her that she would be seated between us and that she would have us for comfort all the time.
  4. also described how the plane would take off and land (pictures and videos helped!)
  5. even bought her to the airport to see planes taking off and we felt this was very helpful in laying the groundwork
As a child, she did not like anything spontaneous and sudden, and having all these knowledge would help to allay any fears that she might have. Talking to your child about what to expect will help them understand the who, what, where, when and how. This will help to make the trip or the unexpected less scary for them. 

What to bring?

It was easy to pack when it was just two of us. With a toddler, not anymore. There were so many things to prepare and pack for our check in luggage as well as our carry-ons. We prepared two bags that were mainly for her essentials as well as things that she might need on the plane.

Disinfectant / alcohol wipes

The one thing that I always carried around (for the past 3 years and up till now) would be disinfectant / alcohol wipes. I would always wipe the tables and chairs clean to ensure that the area that she is going to be eating on would be clean. We wiped the tables and the surroundings when we got on the plane (as much as we can).

Inflatable cushion

We were doing research on what to bring on a flight and bought an inflatable cushion. It was advertised to work as an extension of the plane seat to become a bed for our child to sleep / lie in. It is probably useful if your kid feels comfortable with it, however, we ended up not using it much because our daughter preferred lying horizontally across the seat – with her head on my husband’s lap. The cushion we got was from shopee in singapore. You can also purchase similar footrest from Amazon UK!


We also packed a myriad of colouring books and storybooks for her. It would also help to pack some toys that will help to engage your child. Otherwise, there is always the plane’s TV entertainment to fall back on. However, if you are intending to limit screen time, it would definitely be important for you to bring things to entertain and engage your child.


Bring your child’s favourite snack if it is possible! You never know when you might need them. Many of our friends suggested that we bring lollipops for take-off or landing. As adults, we can regulate the air pressure either by yawning or swallowing our saliva. However, young kids might not have the capability or rather understanding to do so. Having a lollipop to suck on helps with the air pressure and hopefully prevent pain or discomfort. And that was what we did! She did not complain of any pain or discomfort during take-off and landing. So definitely something you might want to consider and try.

Consider lollipops for take-off or landing.


Pack extra essentials like diapers, wet wipes, medication, change of clothes in your carry-on luggage. We were concerned that our luggage might go missing or take longer to arrive when we land. Having the essentials on hand would be beneficial to help tide you through the flight and also the first day of arrival at least. Do remember to also bring jackets or cold wear as a carry on if you are travelling to a cold country. This is also important!

The last and VERY IMPORTANT item would be their favourite comfort item – for my girl it was her jellycat bunny which she needs for sleep and comfort every time. Every child has a favourite item that they will normally need for comfort, it might be a soft toy or a hanky or blanket and even pacifier for some.

Time of travel

Choosing what time to fly is also a difficult and important decision to make. There are different ways to look at it to see what is best for your kid. In our case, we chose a flight at night (0110 hrs) as we felt that she would be able to fall asleep easily soon after getting up and settling down in the plane. Sure enough, shortly after the plane took off, our daughter gestured that she wanted to sleep and fell asleep soon after. We were fortunate enough that our daughter managed to sleep for about 8 hours on flight and we only had to keep her entertained for about 5-6 hours after.

I would suggest to choose a flight timing that is close to your toddler's sleep time.

Additionally, you can also bring your toddler to the airport earlier to expend his/her energy with the facilities available (such as the playground). This might help your toddler to sleep better on the plane. For us, we brought our daughter to the airport to have dinner and to let her roam around prior to the flight. Thank goodness for Changi Airport with its huge space and facilities / amenities.


Another thing to consider is jetlag. We landed in London Heathrow Airport at about 0745am and even though our daughter slept well during the flight, she was still visibly tired and exhausted after the 13 hour plane ride. She was sleeping while we were on the UBER ride to our place. At this point, it might be important to try to get your child to stick to her normal nap and bedtime routine. Upon reaching our apartment (which was around noon), we went to IKEA for food and to get some essentials. IKEA was great because she got to play as well! She was then able to sleep well at night.

Important to try to get your child to stick to her normal nap and bedtime routine.


Just a recap on items to bring on flight for your toddler:

  1. Alcohol wipes
  2. Inflatable cushion
  3. Entertainment
  4. Snacks
  5. Essentials
  6. Favourite comfort item

The above list is non-exhaustive, feel free to always add on to your own list. Every child has different needs and it is important to research and pre-plan items that you will need to bring!

Talking to your child about what to expect will help them understand the who, what, where, when and how. This will help to make the trip or the unexpected less scary for them. 

The above guide serves as a guide only and is based on our own experience and research. Every child may respond differently, and preparation is key. Feel free to drop me an email if you have any queries!

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