Traveling as a family can be a traumatic experience, that’s why we have gathered together some of the best and most useful tips for flying with an infant.
While traveling with little ones does add a little bit more complexity to the situation, it certainly shouldn’t stop you from doing so. Babies and toddlers are surprisingly great travelers, as long as a few key points are abided by.
1. Always Be Polite
There is nothing worse than seeing parents who pretend like their young child, who is whinging or messing about with the headrest in front of them, isn’t affecting the other passengers who are closest. Infants are unable to apologize for their actions, so it’s up to us as parents to do so. This simple act of courtesy can surprisingly allow the other passengers to feel sympathetic towards you, and you might find that they’re happy to play peek-a-boo for a few minutes to distract your child, while you sort yourself out.
However, not all people can be as understanding, but as good manners are free, there’s no reason not to. If you don’t listen to any of the other tips for flying with an infant, at least try and abide by this one.
2. Make Decent Seating Preparations
It’s imperative that you let your travel agent know that you are planning to travel with an infant, who will likely need to have a child safety restraint in place. There are a few restrictions so to where this can go, so they must be informed. These seats are usually window seats, to make sure it isn’t blocking another passenger’s seat, and best chosen towards the front of the plane.
If your infant is a little bit older and more active, selecting seats from any of the bulkhead rows might be a good idea. For those who don’t know, a bulkhead is a partition that divides a plane. These can be used for separating economy seating with first class, or on larger planes, just used to so there are more placed to install amenities. By choosing a bulkhead seat, it will mean that you won’t have anybody sat in front of you. The downside to this is that you won’t be able to place any luggage underneath the seats in front, as there won’t be any.
So with the two options available, you have to decide whether it’s worth going for slightly more secluded seats behind the bulkhead with less space or opt for regular seats, with the additional risk of annoying the person sat directly in front of you.
3. Baggage and Supplies
Only when you unload your vehicle at the airport, do you realize just how much baggage is required for a traveling infant. You’ll soon find that your newborn’s stroller becomes super handy as a tool to move some of their baggage, especially as it’s likely your child won’t want to be sat down all the time if it’s not too young.
Most airlines allow you to check your stroller in at the gate to obtain a tag so that you can use it in the airport. You then drop it off just before you proceed onto the plane.
You may feel like these tips for flying with an infant aren’t needed as you’re always well prepared when it comes to having the correct supplies for your child, but are you equipped enough for events that happen outside of your control? Although not common, if planes are delayed or have to make additional landings before its final destination, it can add a considerable amount of time onto the journey. Therefore, you must always pack for the worse case scenario, regardless of your intended flight time. Nothing could be worse than running out of diapers and wipes, with no way of obtaining more. A parental nightmare at its best!
4. Be Mindful
It may seem completely harmless, and often a lot easier to change your little one’s diaper in the cabin, but a lot of people can and will be offended. It’s only really advisable to do so if you have the whole seat row to yourself and it’s a shorter flight. On longer trips, it’s better to practice to take a trip to the amenities. Although plane lavatories are notoriously compact, taking a little walk down the cabin with your child can help break up the boredom of sitting in an airplane seat.
Another thing to consider is your infant’s ears. Sucking on something during takeoff and landing, such as a pacifier or bottle, can help relieve the pressure caused by the ascent and descent of the flight.
5. Should I Buy My Infant a Ticket?
One of the most debating tips for flying with an infant is whether you should purchase a ticket for them. Most airlines allow any child under 2 to travel for free. However, this does not guarantee a seat. While you will be saving money, would you want to have your infant on your lap for a whole plane journey? Even if it was a short trip, if you child decides to “act up,” there’s nothing you can do, except to hold on tight.
Buying a seat will confirm that you’ll be able to take on a child safety restraint. It’s possible that airlines will not allow you to take one on, without proof of the child having its ticket. Not only that but if the plane was to hit some pretty heavy turbulence, you’re putting your kid at significant risk by just having it on your lap.
Enjoy Your Trip
Some airlines go out of their way to list themselves as being child-friendly. Choosing one of these will help to nullify any potential problems concerning seating arrangements, and other such issues.
Although these tips for flying with an infant make it sound like it isn’t worth the hassle, it doesn’t mean you’ll experience any of it. Traveling with your child is a great experience, and although they may not remember it when they’re older, as an infant they are always taking in their surroundings and absorbing the information around them.