Traveling with a baby can be challenging no matter how you choose to do it. But there’s no denying that flying comes with a few special challenges all its own. Once you’re on the plane, you can’t just get off. So, it’s important to plan ahead! Keep reading for a few tips for traveling with a baby on a plane, from preplanning to on-boarding.
How Early is Too Early?
There’s aren’t any uniform rules on the age an infant can fly, which means every airline can be different. Keep in mind that the younger your baby is, the less adapted their immune system just yet. Flights are public, packed with people from all walks of life, carrying an untold number of germs and bugs. If you’re okay with that, and your baby is healthy with no lung or heart issues, there should be no reason you can’t fly as early as a couple of days after the birth.
Decide Where You’re Headed
If you’ve never flown with your baby before, it might be wise to start with a shorter, domestic trip. Flying across the seas for 18 hours might be pushing it for a first-time excursion. Try a flight that’s two hours or less. Even if things go sideways and you’re both miserable on the flight, you can take comfort in the knowledge that a landing isn’t too far off.
Decide on Your Flight
Once you know where you’re going, you can figure out the airline you want to use and the type of flight you want to book. Though looking for the cheapest flights seem appealing at first, the cheapest flight is not always the wisest for traveling with a baby. Ideally, look for flights with no layovers and airlines that are kid-friendly. Keep in mind that you’ll want to check your luggage, which incur additional costs. If you must take a flight with a layover, look for flights that have a bit of time between flights. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself running through the airport dragging along your baby and all your baby gear in a mad dash to reach your connecting flight. Not only will you be exhausted, but it’s also a sure bet your baby won’t be a happy camper either.
Decide on An Extra Seat (Or Not)
Of course, it’s your choice, but it’s safer if you pay the extra costs associated with a second seat so that you can strap your infant carrier in. If you’re traveling with a toddler, they can have their own seat and seatbelt. While it might save you some money on your ticket prices, it can make flying more challenging when you have to hold your baby or toddler in your lap the entire flight. Check with your chosen airline because some offer discounts on child seating.
Decide to Skip Early Boarding
It can seem smart to pre-board and skip the long line of people waiting to get on the plane, but then you’re stuck in your seat while waiting for everyone else to board. If your baby is fussy or you have an antsy toddler, this can make the flight seem longer than it is. Opt to be one of the last to board, or if you’re traveling with a partner, one of you board early and get your bags situated, while the other walks around and keeps the little one occupied.
Decide Your Carry-On Items
Wondering what to pack? You’ll definitely want your diaper bag as a carry-on, so make sure to load it up with diapers, extra wipes, a blanket, and a change of clothes. Pack enough breast milk or formula to last through the flight (unless you intend to breastfeed on the plane), and if possible, try to plan your baby’s feeding times during take offs and landings. Air pressure changes are the worst during these times, so sucking on a bottle can help alleviate your child’s discomfort.
Remember that traveling with a baby can be challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible. Lots of people do it all the time with fabulous success. A little planning and forethought can go a long way in making your travel experience as hassle-free as possible. With that said, we hope these tips for traveling with a baby on a plane have helped give you a good starting point as you look for your next flight to book. Happy flying!