Toddlers thrive on routine and structure, and an airplane trip is often a very non-routine thing. Their whole day is changed up and they have no idea what to expect. I've found that my toddlers do better when we spend a couple days preparing them for the trip. This could be as simple as telling them several times that we will be going on an airplane soon. Showing pictures of airplanes is another great idea- and take the time to also show pictures of the inside and explain how you'll be sitting and what activities you can do. I usually do a Google Image search of things like "toddler reading on a plane" and use these images to show and talk to my child. I keep the attitude light and excited, but not too excited.
I also always make sure to tell them we will be coming home. Sometimes as adults we forget that they don't know what to expect at all. Sometimes unpleasant airplane behaviors could be a symptom of anxiety that could easily be avoided by reassuring a toddler we will be coming home.
Have your toddler help with packing, and if they are old enough, have them pack a small backpack with toys for themselves. They are sure to feel big and important with a bag they packed themselves!
One great travel suitcase is this Mercedes-Benz suitcase that can be wheeled like a regular suitcase or your toddler can ride on it like a bike!
Many parents take along strollers, and that can be a very helpful tool in getting around the airport with a toddler! If you are bringing your carseat on board and want to save some arm space, consider one of these carseat trolleys. You strap your carseat to it and roll it behind you like a suitcase! Then it folds down to fit easily in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.
Find an area to walk, or run, around. I am always scouting possible "run stop" locations whenever I am out with my toddler. I found the perfect one at the Denver airport- it was on a slightly secluded upper level of the B concourse, and there was a ton of open space to roam, plus a long moving walkway that nobody was on. My toddler got his wiggles out before the flight.
Don't count on airport food! With how busy airports have been lately, I recommend packing snacks ahead of time so that you aren't caught in a long line as your plane is boarding. Although, if you arrive early enough and things are going smoothly, you'll have enough time to grab a bite to eat (or grab a milk from a newsstand).
Here it is.... the moment of dread for so many toddler parents- being on a plane!
Running a holiday sale or weekly special? Definitely promote it here to get customers excited about getting a sweet deal.