Airplane Ear: Helping Your Child Cope with Ear Pressure When Flying

Airplane ear is a common problem especially for toddlers. Discover how to cope with it and make flying a comfortable experience for the little ones here. 

Azuri last flew on an airplane in December 2019. She was still an infant then, around 6 months so she couldn’t really verbalise her feelings and discomfort aboard the plane. Nevertheless, she was a happy passenger, just drinking milk from me most of the time. 

toddler looking out the window to see the airplane in the airport
Excited to ride the plane!


But on our most recent flight to MNL—our first after the pandemic—our fiesty little toddler had so much to say. She would say she doesn’t like airplanes when the engine revs; she complains her TikTok app doesn’t load when we’re up in the sky; she suddenly misses her other toys when she realises we only brought Baby Jay-Jay from Cocomelon, and she complains of “itchy” ears when she couldn’t handle the pressure in her ears anymore. I try to distract her by pointing out to clouds but when the plane tilts, she’d quip, “Oh no! Fell down!” Quite a handful, I would say. But she’s a kid and she’s unfiltered so what parent would stop her child from expressing herself? Certainly, not in our home. 

But on our concluding trip going home, I made sure we’d be able to manage Azuri’s discomfort. I’m not sure these tips will work for other parents but these are the things we did to help ease airplane ear.


  1. Prepare some snacks that your toddler can munch on. I gave Azuri some crunchy chips that she happily chomped when the airplane started ascending. NOTE: I made sure it was crunchy so that the little one could exercise her jaw well and she could her the sound while she was eating (distraction-check!) –so it’s basically hitting two birds with one stone. 
  2. When the air pressure changes and your toddler complains, let them drink water or juice. I saw how Azuri felt more comfortable whenever she drank water. Maybe thanks to the movement of her mouth while she swallowed that helped. 
  3. Distract your kid. Let them see the clouds, the seas, or the mountains. Or if the weather is not good, prepare some crayons and paper where they can draw or simply scratch or whatever. 
  4. Breastfeed. It soothes them. Azuri is almost three but she still hasn’t weaned so I offer her my milk when she just couldn’t handle ear pain anymore. 

I did all these on our flight home and I could say that our happy little girl did so much better than our outgoing flight. But she still said after we landed how much she hates airplanes. Lol

But what really does she know? She just told me last night she needs to ride an airplane again. Oh, toddlers and their decisions! 

To end this blog post, let me share some of the photos we had during our flight and how she had the chance to enter the cockpit and really couldn’t be bothered. Haha! 



She didn’t know access to the cockpit is a privilege


Thank you, Pilot! Hmmm. Is it me or the pilot looks like Sen Angara?