Re: Flying with 18 month old?
Yup, new things to play with, anything to drink will help with ear popping though my DD (now 2.5) was never bothered by her ears and we have flown quite a few times with her.
Take the time to walk her up and down the aisle when the service carts aren't around and she seems antsy. No one minds, they would rather not have a screaming baby on the plane, plus we often encounter a grandma type who will coo at DD cause she's missing her own grandkids or someone like that.
DD is often amused by atypical little things, like fuzzy little balls from the dollar store (with a cup or two to transfer them around) or colourful pipe cleaners that you can bend into shapes (watch out for sharp ends). I also like cheap dollar store stickers cause they don't stick that great so I don't worry about them being hard to remove if they end up somewhere they shouldn't. Also, be sure to bring a few snacks, some that are small things she can pick up herself like halved grapes or cheerios are more entertaining.