As mums, there is one thing I’m sure we can agree strikes fear into our hearts……travelling long distances with toddlers.
Recently, I did something pretty crazy and decided to take a trip to the UK with my baby and toddler on my own! After my initial feelings of “I’m a strong, capable parent” wore off, I began to panic.
Cut to me a few weeks before the trip trawling the internet for tips and products to help me out. Enter Plane Pal the sanity saving piece of gear that helped my toddler sleep for 10 hours straight on the plane!
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Quick Plane Pal Review Summary
To put it bluntly I will never travel long haul without the Plane Pal again!
What Exactly is a Plane Pal?
The Plane Pal is essentially an inflatable foot rest that you can place at the end of the plane seat, turning it into a lay flat bed for little ones. It’s also possible to use it in the car or on a train or basically anywhere you need to lift your little ones legs up to stop them aching on a long journey.
Plane Pal First Thoughts
When I first received the parcel I was actually surprised by how small it was when packed down. I had a quick peek in the bag and was impressed by the quality of the material and how durable it seemed to be.
I noted that there were some clear instructions but it’s pretty self explanatory really – attach the pump, simply fill her up and you’re ready to go! If I can do it with my pathetic little arms, anyone can.
Plane Pal Features
Overall I was impressed with the quality of the material and it certainly won’t puncture easily in my opinion.
I always take large hand luggage when travelling with the kids to fit all the extra nappies etc and the Plane Pal would easily fit in my case. If you usually travel light you may be a little put off but it’s light and comes in a handy little backpack so it’s possible to get one of the kids to carry it.
Hand Pump – The Plane Pal comes with a small, lightweight hand pump for quick setup on the go.
Quick Release Valve – This valve made packing the Plane Pal away super quick – no need to spend ages squeezing the air out, just turn the valve and it’s done in seconds.
Backpack – Everything packs down easily into a backpack that’s small and light enough for a child to carry.
Plane Pal In Use
So what does the Plane Pal actually look like in use? And how easy is it to setup and pack away alone?
As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, I grabbed the backpack and wanted it setup quickly as we were on a late flight and my toddler was cranky already.
I unrolled the Plane Pal and it only took me about 10 seconds to find the right pump attachment and fit it to the valve. I didn’t time myself but I was definitely pumping for less than one minute before it was fully inflated and ready to go.
Once inflated the Plane Pal was super firm and at the end of our flight I noticed hadn’t softened at all, I was really impressed.
My toddler laid down, put her blanket over her and about 3 minutes later she was sound asleep! Once she was asleep I made sure to fasten her seatbelt under her arm and then as per the flight attendants instructions she was allowed to stay laid there the whole flight, even if the seatbelt sign came on.
10 hours later she stirred and woke and for the remaining few hours used the Plane Pal as a play area for her toys. I was absolutely amazed and felt for sure that she would never have slept so well if she didn’t essentially have her own bed, thanks to the Plane Pal.
When it came time to pack the Plane Pal away I simply turned the large yellow release valve and the air surprised me by shooting out pretty quickly. I was worried I’d struggle to get it back in the backpack but I laid it flat and rolled towards the release valve which got rid of the excess air and it easily fit again.
So, Which Seats Can I Actually Use it With
For our first flight we were in a bulkhead seat and there was extra legroom. I was worried that the extra space meant the Plane Pal would slide around when my daughter rolled in her sleep and I’d be constantly adjusting it. I didn’t have to worry though as turning it long ways meant it was the perfect fit and fit snugly against the wall with zero movement.
On our second shorter leg we were in standard seating and again all my fears were alleviated as, despite the tiny amount of legroom, the Plane Pal fit easily and snugly against the seat in front.
So, Is It Really Worth It?
Honestly, I cannot recommend the Plane Pal enough! It changed our travelling experience and I’m so happy with it I even plan on using it in the car for our frequent long road trips.
We flew with Singapore Air and Silk Air, neither of whom had any issues with me using the Plane Pal. In fact, they didn’t even bat an eyelid when I started pumping it up. If you’re worried about whether your airline will allow them, you can always check the list of approved airlines here but heaps of the popular airlines are on there so chances are you won’t have to worry.
I am certain that my toddler would not have slept as soundly as she did if it weren’t for the Plane Pal and I won’t be flying without it ever again!
It’s quick and easy to setup and everyone around me thought it was such a great idea. Packing away was equally as easy and I even managed do it on my own with a baby and toddler to look after!