Paraphernalia, Solo with kids

Review: Kids Fly Legs Up flight hammock

​Over the years, I have acquired quite a collection of ‘essential’ products for travelling with kids that have ended up gathering dust after failing to work (for my daughter at least) or proving completely impractical.

Young girl asleep in an aeroplane seat, using a Fly Legs Up Kids hammock to turn it into a bed - my Kids Fly Legs Up review

So now I am much more ruthless about what actually makes it into my packing, especially if it has to be fitted into my overstuffed hand luggage (as you’ll see from my new travel tips vlog about solo travel with kids, pack light is up at the top!).

But something to transform an economy seat into a bed for kids, helping my daughter to sleep on the 12-hour flight to and from the Turks & Caicos islands? Kids Fly Legs Up had to be worth a try.

The idea is simple: you attach the product around the tray table in front – so it can also be used in Premium Economy too but not in the front bulkhead seats of economy – and with different size inflatable cushions to fill the gap from the seat, it makes a sort of hammock or mini shelf to let smaller kids lie flat rather than try to curl up in the cramped space.

You can also use it as a play area although I’m not sure how well that would have worked for us when she was awake and wriggling: perhaps for older kids though – it’s aimed at ages 2-9.

And it all packs down pretty small into a 10inch drawstring bag, which fits three inflatable cushions and the main product itself.

Attempting a trial run at home, as I didn’t fancy unwrapping it for the first time at 35000ft with jetlag, it’s pretty straightforward, even without a tray table. We did briefly hit a snag as rather than being marked ‘left’ and ‘right’ as per the instructions, my review sample was marked ‘right’ and ‘right’.

Despite that, the design is simple enough that there’s only one real way to set it up. So simple that my husband did look doubtful about how useful it would be.

On board, I whipped it out for the final quiet stretch from Antigua to Providenciales. Loud Velcro aside, it wrapped firmly around the tray, my daughter anchoring the other end on the seat and once I’d blown up one of the inflatable pillows to put into the scooped out section, we were ready to go.

I admit I’m still a bit baffled by the need for all the inflatable cushions: one large one seemed to fill the space for us, although it did have a tendency to slip down slightly over time or get pushed at an angle by my daughter’s feet. Presumably you might need a different number on a different size plane or with a different size child (or I’m missing something) but one worked for Minnie so I didn’t puzzle too much about it – especially as the site says there’s ‘no right or wrong way to use it’.

You can experiment to make a reclining chair for older kids too and obviously use one as a pillow if you partially inflate it.

With her seat reclined, she could curl with her head on a pillow on the arm rest, legs bent – far comfier than trying to squeeze into a single seat. I’d worried she would end up kicking the seat in front but with the cushion to rest on, she actually pushed her feet against it less.

Small girl and toy monkey relax in a Fly Legs Up Kids hammock, turning an economy seat into a bed - my Kids Fly Legs Up review

Recommended by monkeys (and small girls)

On the way out, I’d rigged it up in the aisle seat – on our return, I put her by the window and that was definitely a better solution. Less chance of her draping limbs into the aisle and if someone else needed to get out, this wouldn’t block the way.

I had wondered if we would have to pack it away for landing/take off – something which I later saw the site recommends – but the crew seemed quite happy with it as long as her seat belt was done up and visible, especially when she was tucked up in a corner. Admittedly it’s not hugely obvious once there’s a child lying down covered by a blanket either.

At around £50 (84.95AUD) including standard p&p to the UK, it’s not something you’d buy on a whim. They ship worldwide including next day UK delivery, and it’s also available on Amazon.

Small girl sleeps in a Fly Legs Up Kids hammock, turning an economy seat into a bed - my Kids Fly Legs Up review

But the proof is in the testing. My daughter slept for around 10 hours out of the 12-hour return journey, including a touchdown in Antigua. And while she’s normally not bad at sleeping on flights, this was unexpectedly good.

Even better, because she slept, I slept. And as any parent knows, you can’t put a price on sleep. Although if I had to, £50 for a good night’s sleep on a long-haul flight for both of us seems a small price to pay.

All I need are some more long-haul flights… because this is one travel product which really shouldn’t be gathering dust.

UPDATE: It’s worth doublechecking whether your airline allows you to use this – I’ve never run into an issue (so far) and it does comply with safety regulations and being tested by a Civil Aviation Safety Authority engineer. However some airlines have briefly banned this and similar products, before allowing them again, while others say they leave it to the discretion of the cabin crew. At the time of this update, Qantas and Jetstar will not allow this or similar devices (at least officially).




A travel product that turns a plane's economy seat into a bed sounds almost too good to be true - but as my Kids Fly Legs Up review shows, this is one travel essential that's really worth putting in your hand luggage when travelling with kids. #flylegsup #travelhacks #planehacks #flyingwithkids #flightessentials

Disclosure: I was sent this for the purposes of review. All opinions and ability to be easily baffled by inflatable pillows are my own.

Instruction image courtesy Fly Legs Up. All other images are copyright MummyTravels