Bribes for Plane Travel With Kids


Faced with a cross-country flight with a toddler, I knew exactly what to do: complain about it a lot and see (not if but) how others bribed their kids on plane trips. I loaded up my arsenal of parenting bribery and just hoped my child didn’t get stuck in the aircraft toilet or threw up on anybody. Most of all, I just didn’t want to have “that child.” Surely, Humnoy wasn’t the one screaming and we made it to North Carolina in one piece and with plenty of passenger compliments to carry off the plane. Here’s how we bribed our toddler during a 5-hour flight, in order of desperate presentation:

Bribe #1: Binky Humnoy is a binky baby but when in public, we ask for the binky to be put away. Plane flights call for desperate measures and we were much more eager to plug him up and that held us over before boarding. Also, it helped with his ear pressure during take-off, which was so fun seeing the biggest smile on his face! If your kid isn’t a binky kid, ear plugs could be a good bribe and pressure relief in place of a pacifier.

Bribe #2: Brand new toy(s)You know where to get the easiest and most entertaining plastic toys for cheap? So cheap that they’re a dollar? The Dollar Tree! As we were in line to board, Humnoy was getting really fussy being surrounded by other awaiting passengers so I reach for my arsenal of kid bribes and promptly presented a brand new slinky. That kept him occupied until we were seated and took off until…

Bribe #3: Snacks (i.e., candy) I tried my hand at a variety of snacks from the healthy, raw kind to straight up junk because kids love to be quiet for junk food. The candy cane from the Santa Claus at Sea-Tac airport got much more attention than the baby carrots or the otherwise favorite, green grapes. Airport Santa bought me an invaluable 8 minutes. Next time, grab more than one dinky candy cane. Have no shame in bringing out candy for kid bribery, especially on a plane.

Bribe #4: New coloring book and funky markers Between a grown man, pregnant breastfeeder, and antsy toddler, the craisins didn’t stand a chance and we ate two bags of it (and all the junk candy is gone too). That’s when you bust out the next item in your kid bribe vault: brand new coloring book! Just make sure it’s not a sucky product though. It only interested Humnoy for less than 5 minutes on two separate occasions.

Don’t get this kit- it sucks.

Bribe #5: Movies I spent a good amount of time downloading movies and then syncing them to my iPhone for airplane-capable viewing. Of course it was the most helpful out of the bribes and lasted the longest.

Top Bribes On a Plane: Candy and Movies. Forget all that other fill-in crap. Hand them a movie and a sack of Halloween candy and you’re set.

Other tips
Wear him out You want to get to the airport early anyway so let the kid run around the ample space before boarding and hope that it helps with an airplane nap.

Make friends with surrounding passengers Be friendly and be mindful to let others know that you’ll do your damnedest to make it a quiet and easy flight for everyone. Show you’re trying to be a decent cabin mate and you’ll get it in return.

Show the cute Seriously doesn’t hurt that your kid is a social butterfly and says “Hi!” to every stranger he ever laid eyes on. Send him down the aisles (when allowed to!) and share the adorbs and it’ll make even the groggiest of flight patrons smile!


How do you handle traveling with kids?

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15 thoughts on “Bribes for Plane Travel With Kids

  1. These tips are really helpful! I have been using Bribe #5 for the longest time thinking that it is the only effective method. Now I have more weapons in my arsenal. Thank you very much for this! πŸ˜€

  2. I did it with an infant for the first time over the holidays too! It was more of a pain in the butt, but she can’t run around and is distracted by mundane objects and boobs so it wasn’t too bad. She was the talking baby on the plane, but that just charms people. Next time, I’ll be referring back to this post!

  3. We took our kids on their first flight over Christmas this year and I was worried they would get sick or be out of control. I had a great tip from a co-worker about plane travel and kid bribes. Go to the dollar store and buy fun/entertaining things, then wrap them up like presents. Kids are excited they have presents to open and takes a little extra time getting it open before they are bored and ready to move on to something else. It was great! My kids loved it!

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