1. No matter how tidy you think you are, the three rows around yours will look as if they haven't been cleaned once in the past two years. As hard as it is to do with a little one, try to disembark before the cleaning crew arrive.
2. Toys with little bits are not a good idea. If you take a puzzle on a plane you will absolutely lose at least one piece. It's just a fact. I'm sure it could be scientifically proven.
3. Toilet training and airplanes do not mix. I can promise you that the moment you get your squirming little one down the endless aisle, the toilet queue will multiply by at least five and/or the seatbelt sign will come on. My policy is nappies until the words 'hold it' are meaningful.
There are also things on my babies list you'll probably still need, but in addition, here are some things that in my experience are absolutely worth their weight:
1. Snacks. Go for things that aren't too filling and of course have limited squashing potential. Raisins, rice cakes, grapes, crackers all spring to mind.
2. An emergency Kinder Surprise. Save it for that awful moment when nothing else will keep a tantrum at bay.
3. Socks! You will be spending a LOT of time walking up and down aisles if your little one has recently mastered the art of walking (or crawling for that matter).
4. A new toy. Cheap and nasty from a dollar/pound shop is best. You can 'forget' it on the plane afterwards.
5. Mini magnetic drawing board. With a string to attach the 'pen'.
6. Dinosaurs, farm animals, figurines. Pop them all in a sandwich bag to keep them together.
7. Velcro. Even you'll have fun pulling it apart and putting it back together. If you're really clever, you can cut out little pictures from magazines, stick them onto cardboard and add velcro to the back. Get a larger piece of card and stick a strip of velcro on and let your little one have fun sticking the pictures on and off.
8. Books; goes without saying really.
9. Magnets. You can buy cheap little sets at newsagents or dollar shops sometimes.
10. A favourite toy from home.
11. Plasticine. It doesn't leave a messy residue behind on the tray. Playdough is less good because it does.
12. Sticky tape. Our little boy loved being given free reign with a roll of the stuff, if the situation called for it (ie if Mummy had exhausted all other options except the Kinder Surprise).
13. A threading board. You know those little cards with a series of holes to thread a piece of wool through?
14. Pipe cleaners. These little beauties weigh almost nothing but make great snakes and necklaces.
15. A smile. Preferable if both you and the toddler can muster one. It's endearing and it makes co-passengers think you're nice, not noisy.
Got any other ideas? I'd love to hear them.