Am I Insane?!? I Just Booked An 18 Hour Nonstop Flight With My Toddler!

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Long Flight with a Toddler
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class. Photo courtesy of View from the Wing.

We Booked An Incredibly Long Flight with a Toddler

17 Hours & 50 Minutes……

We got this.

My wife and are I professional travelers or so I tell myself. 😉 To be fair we have lived on the road and traveled long term many times. Our family travel has taken us to over 60 countries where we have ridden every form of transportation from rat infested cruise ships to first class cabins. We have also stayed at every type of accommodation from hellholes to Presidential Suites.  

On family trips we have endured long overnights in airports multiple times, treacherously long bus journeys and some of the most challenging days of our lives. We have experienced all of the joy of traveling with children and many of the challenges. 

We got this.

Or at least that is what I am telling myself after I just clicked “Book” to confirm our upcoming 17 hour and 50 minute flight from Los Angeles to Singapore. My wife and I will be fine, but we are also taking our almost four year old daughter. 😱

via GIPHY

An Amazing Trip Planned

While I’ll have more on our complete trip later, we’re heading out to Asia on a trip that started with a mistake rate. Awhile back the Ritz Carlton Singapore had a very cheap rate (about $17 per night) for a standard room. By the time I had heard about it (right before it died) the prices were a bit higher, but it was still an amazing deal.

In exchange for four nights at the Ritz Carlton Singapore I paid just over 7,000 ThankYou points TOTAL which I value at about $100. For comparison, the cheapest room at the hotel for the same four nights is $2135.97 SGD or ~$1575 USD. Yes, that is just shy of $400 per night or roughly 16X what I paid.

PDXDealsGuy reviewed the hotel for us when he stayed last year on the same deal. Here is his full review.

Long Flight with a Toddler

Can We Survive

Well I’ll start with a spoiler. The answer is yes we can survive. I have no doubt that it will be difficult, because being on an airplane that long is difficult no matter what, but we can handle it. Why is that?

It’s simple. We have an ironclad family bond with our angel daughter. Our little Ellie does no wrong. Just kidding of course. It’s because we are flying in business class. 😊🌍✈🎈🎉

Long Flight with a Toddler
Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class. Photo courtesy of View from the Wing.

It’s Still A Long Flight

Even with the extra space, this is still a long flight for anyone. There are a couple of things that make me a bit more hopeful that we’ll live to see the other side:

  • Ellie has flown a decent amount including to Europe when she was little and quite a few longer trips to Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean.
  • While she is still a toddler, with the exception of the occasional accidental seat kick, etc. she is pretty well behaved and calm.
  • The flight departs at just before Midnight Pacific time. Hopefully we can keep her up late and she’ll sleep the first 8-10 hours naturally.
  • But mainly, because……..Business Class! Ok, it isn’t the best seat in the industry, but it is far better than flying in the back.

Will this be a terrible mistake? I’d say the odds are 50/50. I’ll have a follow up post with all of our plans and contingency plans for this “adventure”. Either way we’ll have a good story to tell.

Long Flight with a Toddler

How We Booked

This booking is fairly straightforward since I transferred points from Citi ThankYou to Singapore Krisflyer and then booked the flight directly.

Here are some quick stats about our booking:

  • Cost: 88,000 Krisflyer miles per person one-way. 264,000 Krisflyer miles total + $16.80 USD
  • Booked: On the Singapore Air website
  • Mileage Source: Transferred from Citi ThankYou*

Note: Most of my ThankYou points were earned on my (discontinued) AT&T Access More card earning 3X for online purchases.

Long Flight with a Toddler

Returning to Singapore Airlines

On a side note, I have flown Singapore Airlines many times in both Business and First Class and have come to really love their service. I have no doubt they’ll take excellent care of us as a family and this is also a great opportunity to share the riches of the miles/points hobby with my wife so she’ll continue doing crazy things to earn points. My only complaint is apparently the Prawn & Chicken Laksa isn’t available on this flight. 😢

Long Flight with a Toddler
Prawn & Chicken Laksa in Singapore Air Business Class. One of my favorite meals on a plane ever!

Conclusion

I can’t tell you how excited I am that Ellie is finally getting to an age where we can do longer more ambitious trips. Asia is my favorite continent and I am so excited that Ellie is about to make her Asia “peace/victory sign in every photo” debut.

So are we crazy? Would you fly this long on an airplane with a toddler in Business Class? Would you do it in Coach? Are you just waiting to finish this sentence so you can troll me in the comments explaining why children shouldn’t be allowed in premium cabins….. 😁


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43 COMMENTS

  1. Brave, brave man. This could go very sideways. A very well stocked iPad with games/movies/cartoons is your only prayer. Good luck bro.

  2. I don’t get why you are wasting your time eating terrible laksa in business class, when you can get the real thing in Kuala Lumpur for only RM6.50 which is $1.50 USD. Even in Singapore, it’ll probably be at most twice that price but probably not as good but still better than what you’ll be served. Just seems silly to eat a $1.50 meal in J class.

    • Because I don’t generally like plane food all that much even in business class and the Laksa they served was great. I’m not saying it was world class or better than on the ground, but it was tasty and filling. To each his own, but I’d rather have a good laksa than a dry steak.

  3. Business class: yes. I just had a premium business class seat on a relatively short flight, and my 2-year-old made himself right at home.

    Coach: it depends. If I had another adult with me, it’s doable. But business class would be much preferred either way.

  4. I flew SQ F with a lap infant from LAX-NRT with my wife and look infant (6 mo at the time). She did OK going to Tokyo but not so great coming back. Since there are only 4 in the cabin, I felt bad for the other passengers (I assume they paid cash). The crew really catered to our baby though.

  5. To a toddler, J (especially on SQ) might as well be a King bed. A few walks up and down the aisle waving at other passengers, coupled with SQ’s excellent IFE will make 18 hours literally fly by. Have a great time!

  6. Nice deal on the Ritz Carlton Singapore and I thought I read it before on the site. Your link to PDX explained it. Enjoy your family trip!

  7. Have fun in Singapore! I’m from there, will be back early Feb (flying TK J – amazing food too) – give me a shout out if you’re around 🙂

  8. You will be fine if you are prepared. My now 7 year old has made 2 trips to Asia flying west and 2 trips to Asia flying east(from DFW), 2 in F and 2 in Y.

  9. Awesome trip. I was wondering how far in advance did you have to make the booking and are you waitlisted like ANA? I’d like to use SQ but never used points with them before.

  10. We’re doing exactly the from Europe with our 4 year boy in qsuites. How do u intend to Keep your toddler entertained for 18 hours…..

  11. My last paid business class flight had a connection which I missed due to the first flight running late. This caused an involuntary downgrade to coach for the remaining seven hours of my flight. I hope that doesn’t happen to you!

    • Could happen for sure. We do have a bit of flexibility so I could see delaying ourselves instead of the downgrade. The lowest class on this plan is Premium Economy, so I’m sure even a downgrade wouldn’t kill us. 🙂

      I agree! Singapore is one of my favorite places in the world.

  12. I just did 11 hours with a 18 month old and it was hell. Imagine bouncing a child in your knee for 11 hours because they cant sit still. She finally fell asleep when the landing gear came down. Enjoy!

    • Yikes! The longest we flew with her as a lap child was about 5 hours. She did do the flight to/from London from the West Coast, but she had her own business class seat for that. I would go nuts having to bounce a baby for that long. Dad of the year award to you!

  13. My guess is you will not have any problems. Two years ago when my daughter was almost 5, we made the trek from Chicago to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific in business class. She continues to talk about that flight. Usually we fly economy, but I wasn’t going to sit 16 hours and not sleep because I can’t sleep on planes. We hardly heard a peep from her the entire time except for help cutting up her meal. Between sleeping and watching movies, she was kept quite entertained. You wouldn’t have known a child was even there. I am jealous — enjoy the trip! One day I hope to make it there.

  14. You’ll have a great time! Your daughter is a seasoned traveler who has probably spent more time in airports than she will spend on the plane in this flight. Clearly she has not spent all her airport layovers running and screaming around the concourse – if she did that you wouldn’t be contemplating taking her on this flight. Last summer my family made a complicated trek to the Caribbean that involved what was supposed to be an overnight trip with one plane change for my daughter, SIL, and 3 year old granddaughter. Cancelled and delayed flights (thanks, United!!) turned their journey into an 18-hour ordeal involving an unexpected hotel stay and two plane changes in the middle of the night. When they finally arrived on the island, both parents were dragging, but little L was still bopping cheerfully along like the Energizer Bunny, pulling her tiny rollaboard and charming everybody she met. As my daughter said on one of her calls along the way, “Don’t worry about her. She LOVES airports.”

    • It’s always great when children love the experience of travel. I always was excited by it when I was younger and of course I am now as well, which I think does rub off. And yes you are right. As far as traveling small children go, she is pretty darn good.

  15. I think you’ll be fine.

    It always pains me to spend all those points on a young kids or children, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do! If only there way to do business class for the parents and premium economy for the young kids and still keep them next to you.

    • Haha I feel the same. It is a waste, but a good family experience. I wouldn’t feel guilty with older children (in fact I have done this before with my son) making them sit a little further back if it made sense. Of course at this age that isn’t a possibility.

  16. Great job Shawn. Enjoy Singapore. My 7yo daughter has been flying since she was an infant. We just did the LAX Singapore trip last year with one stop in a China. No issues. She is a wonderful traveler and complains less than most adults. It is all about the parents attitude and preparation. And to hell with people like A who think J and F class should be reserved for snobs like them. We travel in both so get used to it!

  17. 18 hours with one toddler no problem 40 hours with two toddlers no problem 40 hours with two toddlers in a wife now we have a problem my wife whined and complained more than my boys did

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