The alarming prospect of fidgety, sleepless children on long-haul flights is enough to make any parent think twice about that dream holiday. But help is at hand from specially designed inflatable kid’s mattresses. Flying With A Baby tested two such products – Plane Pal and Flyaway – on a flight that could turn laid-back Brad Pitt into a jibbering wreck: London to Sydney via Singapore, with Singapore Airlines. (For other kids travel pillows and neck pillows see this post)
Flyaway Inflatable Airplane Travel Bed Review
If you are wondering how can I get my child to sleep on a plane, this may be the answer? More than a travel pillow or an inflatable leg rest pillow, the Flyaway is an L-shaped mattress, where the uppermost section rests on top of the aeroplane seat, supported by a ‘leg’ which braces against the floor and keeps the bed level.
Made of light grey vinyl, it’s a very slick piece of product design.
It takes about 100 seconds to inflate. There are two inflation valves which operate one-way to prevent any air escaping while you blow it up, and a third escape valve which releases air pressure if you over-inflate. Talk about attention to detail.
The Flyaway travel bed is designed to fit between any economy or premium seat and can adjust to fit the space between seats.
This unique feature of the Flyaway Kids Bed, includes separate adjustable air compartments that can be inflated to ensure it fits securely on all economy class seats from all airlines.
The length can adjust from 60cm – 80cm long and the width adjusts to inflate the space available on the seat between the arm rests, ensuring the product stays firmly in place throughout the flight.
But there appears to be a slight design compromise if you need to inflate it fully: one of the valves is in the pillow area, which could cause discomfort for a child resting their head on the plastic cap. However an airline or carry-on pillow will fix that issue.
The Flyaway’s killer app is its holistic design: with the mattress resting on top of the plane seat’s base, any child lying on it benefits from one seamless, 80cm flat ‘bed’.
It even has a couple of token side bolsters, though whether they’d have the heft to stop a kid rolling off sideways is questionable. However, these are useful during play time; to stop toys and crayons rolling off the wipeable seat.
You might also need to get the approval of your neighbouring passenger, especially if it’s a mum whose bassinet might be hanging above the mattress. They might fear some wandering child feet will kick the bassinet and disturb the baby they’ve fought desperately to get to sleep.
If you are concerned about the seat in front of you reclining, that potential issue has also been well considered during the design process.
The product is made of a highly durable material and will adjust to fit the space available. The red pressure relief valve located on the side of the product will automatically release air pressure to adjust if required. Clever!
It is pricier than other sleep devices such as the Plane Pal and Fly Tot but cheaper than than Stokke JetKids Bed Box.
Verdict for the FlyAway Inflatable Airplane Travel Bed
My four-and six-year-old, both preferred the comfort and robustness of the flat, one-piece Flyaway mattress. Staying exactly in place helps keep children slumbering – which is what every parent wants on a long-haul flight.
Need to Know Before You Buy
The Flyaway Kids Bed is considered a “carry-on” piece of equipment and an in-flight sleeping aid (same as inflatable pillows) and it is not regulated by aviation authorities including the FAA / EASA or CASA.
The Flyaway Kids Bed was designed with input from IATA to ensure it meets all of IATA’s strict criteria for inflatable comfort devices. However, it is up to the airline to decide if it is permitted on board.
Some airlines prohibit the use of inflatable mattresses, seeing them as a safety hazard that could block seat rows in the event of an evacuation.
Lots of airlines do permit their use but check which ones first!
The airlines that do permit them are quite prescriptive about where they are used: the window seat of outboard rows, and the middle berths of a four-seat central cluster. Some airlines which currently approve include American Airlines, WestJet, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Australia,
You can use at bulkhead seats (where the bassinets are) Check your airline’s website’s Travelling With Children section for their particular rules.
Do Airlines Allow Airplane Toddler Beds & Inflatable Footrests?
Quick answer? Some do and some don’t. Below details the airlines which officially allow or prohibit them and state this on their website. Just click on the links to view their entire policy.
Airlines who officially do NOT allow most sleep travel gadgets/airplane beds for toddlers and say so on their website are:
Airlines which OFFICIALLY APPROVE some sleep devices for children (as long as certain guidelines are met) and say so on their website:
However, note that the final decision will always rest with the crew.
- Air Mauritius
- Air Vanuatu
- Cathay Pacific
- EVA air
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
The Flyaway comes in a convenient travel pouch with its own small pump and easily fits into your carry on luggage.
Dimensions: 50cm wide x 60-80cm long x 52cm high
Load: up to 50kg/110lbs
Max height: 130cm/4 ft,3 “
Age range: 2-7 years
Price: £120.00/£98.00 Currently only available from the Flyaway website, although they do ship internationally.
What do you think? Is the Flyaway the best toddler bed for plane travel? What kids’ travel accessories do you recommend?
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