Flying with a toddler can be quite a challenge, let alone that you – like me – travel to the other side of the world. My trip to New Zealand in early 2018 was the ultimate test to try out Jetkids’ Bedbox, an innovative all-in-one trolley and sleeping bag.
Text & photos: Angelique van Os
The challenge starts at Schiphol Airport, because with a very mobile toddler of three years old, long queues for customs are a crime. Fortunately, the Jetkids Bedbox offers some relief, because for toddlers and toddlers the suitcase can be used as a successor to the trunki (the cheerful colourful suitcases on which children can also ride and rest). My son Kasper steals the show with it, because sitting on the suitcase he waves and laughs at passers-by. Unfortunately such a suitcase doesn’t work miracles and he still runs away from time to time. He gets tired and tired of waiting. It is a good distraction and as soon as the queue starts to move, he climbs on the suitcase again to drive on. When we’ve finished passport control, he can race for a while and uses the suitcase as a carriage, which is possible because of the flexible and sturdy wheels. Once in the plane we place the suitcase upright in the extension of the seat, where my son can stretch his legs.
Our flight to New Zealand takes over 23 hours (!) in total, with a fifteen hour stop in Hong Kong. My son doesn’t sleep for the first few hours, but he watches relaxing movies and makes puzzles. Unfortunately my wayward toddler doesn’t want to know anything about the mattress, so it remains unused in the suitcase. About two hours before arriving in Hong Kong my son falls asleep. After having slept and swam in a nearby hotel, we continue our journey with another 11 hours flight. Kasper is fresh again and happily waves to the Asian officials and stewardesses from his Bedbox. The second half of the flight he sleeps more than seven hours from his chair, which is also very pleasant for us as parents.
The return journey is quite similar, although Kasper sleeps narrowly this time and doesn’t want to lie on the chair. But that’s not because of the Bedbox. I also removed the mattress from the suitcase to make more use of the limited storage space. Twenty litres seems quite a bit, but with the mattress and a blanket the narrow suitcase is quickly filled. Now there is more room for extra clothes, books, food and cuddly toys. Back on Dutch soil we also use the suitcase in the train, because the Bedbox is also very suitable for that purpose.
- Nice and sober design, but the bright red or blue accent colours make it a real eye-catcher. The included stickers might be a bit more cheerful in terms of colours, but of course you can add to that yourself.
- Easy to convert as an extension of a chair or bed. Provides peace and quiet during the flight whether or not your child sleeps and that makes the suitcase unique.
- Flexible and strong wheels.
- Durable plastic material; can take a beating and that’s a must with small children.
- It’s great for travelling during long waits, or it’s also great for bridging the walking distances at airports.
- The pull and carry strap is on the short side, which means that at some speed or when you pull the suitcase as an adult, you quickly push the wheels against your heel, the suitcase abruptly comes to a halt and the child falls off. This happened several times, so I temporarily extended the tire with a piece of string. Not ideal, but effective, because on the way back this hardly happened anymore. Also it doesn’t go well when you’re taller with a short rope, so I find that a serious drawback. Jetkids could easily adjust this by delivering an adjustable, longer strap to the suitcase. Problem solved.
- The contents of the case is limited; with the mattress and blanket and a set of extra clothes, the case is full. A little more space is desirable, but this is probably due to the limited size of the airplane seats.
- The Bedbox is not allowed on all airlines. The budget airlines often make it a bit difficult, although that is weird, because it does not take up much extra space when you have booked a seat. So it is wise to check in advance with the airline if the suitcase can be taken as hand luggage.
The Bedbox is a beautiful and handy product that your child will also have a lot of fun with. It relieves a long, tiring journey for the whole family. For babies and toddlers it does mean that you have to book an extra seat, but if your child sleeps well you are more rested yourself. A good start to a holiday and worth the money!
“The Bedbox is a beautiful and handy product.”
The Jetkids brand Bedbox was created in 2008 by a Norwegian couple, both working in the travel and flying industry. As frequent flyers and parents of three young children, they regularly experienced the recognizable sleeping problems associated with travelling. That had to change. After years of designing, refining and complying with strict safety regulations, the Bedbox is the result. The special suitcase of only three kilos with a capacity of 20 litres can be partly folded out due to the retractable cover and thus offers young children more legroom and even more lying space in the extension of the chair. A light mattress and matching side cushions are included, so that babies and toddlers in particular can lie down completely and – hopefully – sleep well. And handy, you can also use the washable mattress for the little ones as a changing mat. The Bedbox can basically be used for children from 0 to 7 years old, although I wonder if toddlers older than five really want to sit on it and it fits in terms of legroom.