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Flying with babies or small children is not exactly stress-free. One of the worst situations to be in is when your little one wants to sleep, but just can’t get comfy. Babies up to the age of two generally fly for free, but there is no spare seat for them.

Our 10-month old daughter generally prefers to sleep during a flight. Until recently we were lucky enough to be able to book business class to have the middle seat for her to let her spread out, meaning she actually slept quite well. But as she’s getting bigger she’s having to sleep on our laps, which she will quite happily (loudly) tell us just aren’t comfortable enough.

Thanks to Family Traveller and Keepemquiet.com we were given the opportunity to try out a new gadget. It’s essentially a big, inflatable cushion that creates a seat extension, inflating to fit in the space between your seat and the seat in front, providing a level platform to lay out on. For babies or small children it must feel like flying First Class, almost converting their seat into a flatbed. Even for adults, it looks tempting. It’s easy to carry as an additional travel item as it comes in a small bag with its own air pump. It can be inflated as soon as the fasten seat belt signs are switched off and you’ll only have to put it away prior to landing again. The Plane Pal inflates quickly using the air pump and once it’s up you just put it in front of the seat.

Of course, the prerequisite is that your child has their own seat but there are ways to make it work fitting it between two adult seats. It’s tight and not ideal, but can be done. Once in place, it won’t move during the flight. However, if you’re sitting in the first row or emergency rows where there is more space, it would be good to be able to attach the cushion to the seat, to prevent it from slipping away.

We have now used it on six flights and are happy that we can offer our daughter this luxury. Whilst it’s another piece we have to carry, it’s worth it to make flights as comfortable for her (and as stress-free for us!) as possible.

The Plane Pal is available from KeepEmQuiet, a one-stop shop for kid-friendly travel related products and accessories to help you to have more fun on your trip. For entertainment, there’s the KeepEmQuiet travel packs – a range of backpacks designed for long trips and tailored according to gender and age from 1-3, 3-5 and 5+ years. They include a selection of educational activities, books, toys, games and healthy edible treats to keep restless children occupied for hours on end. To order KeepEm Quiet Packs, The Plane Pal and other useful products visit the KeepEmQuiet website.

The lowdown

The inflated Plane Pal measures 57cm x 44cm x 75cm and weighs 900 grams. Total weight including pump and bag is about 1.3 kgs.

Pros

  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Comfortable
  • Also for adults
  • Over 40 approved airlines for use
  • Lightweight (Plane Pal, pump and travel bag weigh total 1.3 kgs)

Cons

  • Another piece of carry-on
  • Air pump is a bit big and sometimes makes squeaky noises when inflating
  • No mounting option to fix it to the seat
  • Own seat required for babies