Baby travels on plane! "Oh no, not again, baby travels on the plane. It would be a tormenting flight because of child's continues cry." Such and similar thoughts occur to many people seeing baby boarding the plane. I had such a stereotypical opinion as well till our son was born. My point of view changed when my husband booked plane tickets and finally we could travel again.
I say finally and again because since my pregnancy we had to postpone our travels. To our greatest disappointment my doctor did not approve any kind of traveling. So we stayed at home all nine long months. Thus, when our son was two weeks old, we happily planned our trip to Turkey.
Get rid of the fear of unknown!
Doubts and fears about the flight wrapped me at once. How it would be to have baby on the plane. What should I know, what should I take with me, what a child will need, how would he feel. Such and many more questions mixed in my head. For several seconds I regretted the idea to travel. It was her majesty - fear of unknown. So I had to overcome it. Some weeks before our trip I’ve been working with myself. I said to myself that everything will be fine, because I knew, if I am fine, the baby will be good as well. If I am stressed, the child will be uneasy as well. And it did work out. On the day of flight, I felt calm and happy. Our child slept almost all the time during the flight and nothing to be said about crying.
After that trip by plane I’ve made a list of things to take with you on the plane and prepared tips for flying with a baby.
My experience: baby's age - 5,5 months, flight duration ~ 3,5 h - from Vilnius (Lithuania) to Antalya (Turkey).
1. Baby travels with you - Calm down and relax
Most important thing before any trip (on plane, train, by bus, car) – to stay calm, listen to your heart and trust yourself. When you are relaxed, your baby feels fine as well. If you are very anxious, stressed or nervous a child will be uneasy too. You have nothing to worry about. The only and the most important thing your baby needs is YOU. From my personal example, I advise you to prepare for the trip psychologically. It would be very helpful if your husband supports you. I can understand how a newly made mom feels about her several months’ newborn. Try to relax and all the flight will be fun. But you have to take care of some things before taking a flight.
2. Passport for a baby
If you are going abroad, you’ll need to have a passport for your child. Don't forget your baby travels! So before booking the flight, order and make a passport. You can save some money if you order a passport in advance. Because a different fee is applied for making passport in one day, in a week or month. If the period longer, the fee is cheaper. Well, at least in most of European countries.
The same is with visas. If you need a visa, a baby also needs a visa. Take care of that thing in advance as well.
3. Ticket for a baby
Your child will have his separate plane ticket. Make sure you include all details about your child when you book your flight. With some airlines, you can reserve your seats at the same time as you book your tickets. With others, you can only reserve seats when you check in. The good seats go quickly. I think every mom wants that her baby travels in comfort! So find out the earliest time for check in and go straight to it.
Sometimes children younger than two years do fly for free, but not always. Most airlines charge a percentage of the adult fare.
4. A seat for a baby
If your baby is less than two years old, he will share your seat and sit on your lap using extension seat belt. The cabin crew will provide this for you and show you what to do.
Our son was seated on my lap. He almost slept all the time in my arms. Well, it was a bit tiring but some airlines offer small pillows and blankets, so I made myself comfortable. On our way back from the trip, we were lucky that a plane was not full, and we had one free seat. So all three of us had our own seats. My advice is to buy a separate seat for a baby who is older than six/eight months, especially when flight lasts longer than two hours. Your baby travels in comfort, right?!
5. Baggage allowance for a baby
Double-check if your baby gets a baggage allowance. In order not to sacrifice your hand luggage, in favor of a well-stocked changing bag.
If you can afford it, you may want to pay for extra luggage allowance.
However, most airlines do allow a baby’s changing bag in addition to your hand luggage. Remember to check the airport restrictions for carrying liquids. You are generally not allowed more than 100 ml of products like baby lotion or nappy cream and they need to be carried in clear bag. But regulations change, so check it time to time.
If there are restrictions to the liquids, so there are no for food and milk for a baby. That means you can take what you need for the journey in your hand luggage. This includes:
- expressed breastmilk, formula or cow’s milk;
- boiled water to make feed (must be in a baby bottle);
- baby food.
I advise you to take extra for delays, too. You may be asked to taste any milk or food during the security checks at the airport. Your baby travels with full stomach and happy.
6. Baby’s carry-on bag includes:
- Wet wipes, nappies (diapers) and nappy sacks. Carry a small wash bag with them so you don’t have to drag your entire hand luggage to WC. The toilets on planes are tiny but some have changing tables. Most often a WC for babies is on the back of plane.
- Several sterile dummies, if your newborn uses them.
- A baby’s sheet and blanket as the smell can be comforting. I saved space in my carry-on bag, had no blanket, but put a huge scarf on my neck. When my son was asleep I folded it out and covered him with it. I advise not to take a big heavy blanket because your child sleeps on your lap, so he is warmed by you. In any case you can cover him with your sweater, scarf or jacket. Your baby travels warmly!
- Spare clothes. Also bring clothes for you in case you spill his drink in a spot of turbulence.
- Baby spoons and bibs if your baby is on solids.
- A couple of favorite toys, and a new one, too.
- Enough formula milk and food for the journey. If you are breastfeeding so no additional food for you to take. Breastfeeding is relatively easy on plane and can be carried out quite discreetly. I just advise to wear loose blouse and a buttoned sweater. Also you may cover yourself with a scarf or a baby’s blanket (some airlines offer covers).
- A book or tablet for you, if your child is asleep. If you are flying with your husband, so it’s a good time to have a talk or just to be with yourself.
7. A stroller or/and baby carrier.
To make it easier, when your baby travels to the airport, I advice to take your baby in a stroller (usually if you are on a charter flight). You give out a stroller by the entrance to the plane. But rarely you get a stroller while leaving the plane. It is usually taken with a checked baggage. A stroller is very useful when changing planes or if you need to go from one terminal to another. It is more convenient to push a stroller then carry child in hands.
If you do not want to have a stroller, then you can use a baby carrier. I used Babybjorn baby carrier (have to say very comfortable for both and mom, and baby). I used it at check in, at security check out, and boarding/exiting the plane. My son was save and sound beside me and I had my both hands free.
Usually staff on the plane is very friendly and if you need something just ask for help. They will be glad to help. Most importantly just be calm and relaxed then the flight will be fun for your family and you.
Stay happy and positive!