We had seen these cushions-for-kids designed for use on airplanes. So when we saw a mum’s brief assessment on one of these cushions online, we invited her to expand on her comments and write a review for us!
As a mum to two young toddlers, I am always on the lookout for gadgets or items that are useful and make things less complicated for us when the situation calls for it.
Last month in June, we were due to travel from the US back to Malaysia via China Airlines. We had specifically chosen China Airlines as they had the Family Couch option (the Family Couch is basically one whole row which allows you to put the leg rest up during the entire flight, essentially becoming a bed) in Economy Class. We paid extra for this feature back in 2016 and the boys were able to stretch their entire body, sleeping soundly for the 13 hours+ flight from Taiwan to San Francisco.
However, after booking our tickets, we discovered that the airlines were no longer providing this option on board. We were beyond stressed at this point. How could we get two toddlers to sleep comfortably when the chair didn’t fully recline? We knew that it was uncomfortable enough for adults, with limited space and having to sleep sitting up on the airplane.
Founded by Mothers
I start searching online for ideas in the middle of the night and came across this: The Original Fly-Tot, an inflatable cushion placed in the space between your seat and the seat in front of you. This gadget was developed by two mothers who enjoyed traveling but had found that it was a stressful situation when accompanied by young children on flight – there was a lack of comfortable space for them to sleep.
On the Original Fly-Tot’s website, it touts the cushion as ‘light and compact’ and that it ‘quickly inflates and deflates.’
With the addition of ‘proven to provide more rest time’ and ‘children can be safely buckled in while asleep’ among other things, I was instantly sold!
Since we had two toddlers, that meant having to purchase two sets. Because we were due to leave in a few days, we ordered the Fly-Tots from Amazon as they offered two days free shipping. We bought two units of Fly-Tots with one pump for approximately $131 USD (RM537). It arrived as expected, one day before our departure.
The Fly-Tot cushion is compact, but it is the pump itself that will take up most of the space. It took up about 1/4 space of our carry on luggage. However, it was so lightweight, weighing no more than 2 lbs (0.9 kg). The cushion is made of durable material and easy to wipe clean if it becomes dirty. We tested out the cushion and sure enough, it was easy to inflate within minutes using the pump. We also read reviews from buyers stating that they just blew into the cushion by mouth and it worked just as fine. It also deflates within minutes too, which involves just opening the valves to press out the air.
Flying with Fly-Tots
On the day of the flight, we were excited to put the Fly-Tots to the test. As our flight was a red eye flight at 2am, naturally the boys were cranky and tired. They wanted to sleep. As soon as the seat belt signs were off, my husband got to working and pulled out the Fly-Tot. He positioned the first Fly-Tot cushion in the space between my youngest son and the seat in front of him. No one noticed my husband pumping air nor were they bothered by the sound of something being inflated.
My husband inflated the next one within minutes as well. Both Fly-Tots took less than ten minutes. The children were able to stretched out their legs and curled up comfortably watching TV. True to what Fly-Tot had advertised on their website, the children are safely buckled in while still lying flat on the seat. This feature is particularly useful during those moments of turbulence. Our kids were buckled in the entire flight and slept soundly without any incidents.
A Restful Flight
I highly recommend this product as it allowed my husband and I to relax on the plane. We could rest, instead of worrying about having to cradle the children in our arms during long flight while they are sleeping. We had already feared they would fall out of our arms when we too fell asleep.
The children enjoyed having the extra space to roll around and stretch their legs. It made for happy children, and that meant happy parents too. We continued using it on our second leg of the trip. We had a lot of curious parents looking at us too while in flight. I couldn’t help but beam happily as I knew this was a product well purchased. It will make life so much easier on future trips to come.
Tips:Do check with your airline prior to purchasing the Fly Tots to ensure that this product is allowed on board. Or check this list. We had no issues with using the Fly Tots on China Airlines. The staff only reminded us to use it after take off and to deflate it prior to landing.
By Sophia Phang
Sophia is a mother of two boys, age 5 and 3 whom constantly keeps her on her toes. She is currently residing in Malaysia after moving from the States. Sophia has a Bachelor and Master Degree in Social Work from Fresno State and has a total of 7 years of experience working with abused, neglected and at risk children.