We've travelled with Owen before. We're the kind of people who actually buy a seat for our under 2 rather than keep him on our laps. We've only had him as a lap child on 1 flight and it was the worst one we've ever taken - even though it was only 2 hours. We like the freedom to put him down for a nap in a place that is familiar to him - a place that gives us a break. We like to be able to feed him while he's sitting still, not teetering on our laps or standing cramped between us. And, we like the ability to bring his car seat onto the plane and have it when we get there. No worrying about lost car seat and having to rent one when we arrive.
This time was different - sure at Christmas, Owen was able to walk - but he couldn't run. At Christmas, he was happy to play in his seat - read books, play with cars and balls on his tray, and eat / nap. It appears those days are over. It probably doesn't help that we're doing the potty training - he knows when he makes the potty sign we'll whisk him away to the bathroom. We had the portable seat to fit over the grown up one. He does actually go most of the time, but sometimes I think it's just a way to get one on one attention.
The flight to Hawaii was pretty good - a few mishaps - someone assigned to a middle seat that broke up our party (she was moved to another spot) and we had to move from row 42 to 43 because apparently we were unable to read the row numbers. But nothing too bad. Owen was generally happy - walked the aisles, watched all the faces as we repeated the trek from the last row of the plane to the edge of first class and back. Up and down the same aisle over and over - gripping my finger to make sure I wasn't too far behind. Occasionally, he'd make the move through the galley to walk the other aisle. He didn't like the commotion of the flight attendants gathered in the back galley. The only time it was hard was when it was time for him to nap. Pete got him to sleep though.
The return flight we weren't as lucky. He didn't seem to want to walk the aisles - he wanted us to carry him up and down the aisle instead. He ate and used the potty - signed 3 times and went 3 times - even when we told him we had to wait (there was a little turbulence). We read books, colored and played with the interlocking rings. But he was a bundle of energy and wouldn't really walk the aisles - he stationed himself between Pete and I in the aisle and that was all there was to it. He was louder and less easy to please - maybe he didn't want to go home?