How To: Fly With Baby

By on August 26, 2013

Traveling by airplane with your baby is a great experience for the both of you! It can be kind of daunting at first thinking about the possibility of a screaming baby on the airplane and the passengers glaring at you like you’re a terrible mother. Well it doesn’t have to be this way. Traveling with your baby can be a great time if you are prepared.

Doctor’s Advise on Flying With Baby:

My son will have flown on 4 flights in his 1 year of life. The first flight was when he was 8 moths old. I was unbelievably nervous! First, we made sure our doctor was ok with him traveling on an airplane. Of course he said that was fine. He then went on to say that it is very important to feed your baby on the ascent and decent of our trip. This is important for babies because they do not know how to “pop” their ears by themselves and need to be swallowing in order to clear their ears. If the babies ears do not pop it can be extremely painful for them and cause a very uncomfortable flight for you and for the other passengers.

Age Requirements:

Babies typically must be at least 7 days old to fly. (Some airlines allow younger infants with a doctor’s written permission; others extend the minimum age up to 14 days or have additional restrictions.) Lap babies (under age 2) fly free on domestic flights, usually one per paying adult; you may need to present proof of age. Children ages 2 and up must have a ticket for their own seat.*

Luggage (carseat, stroller, pack n’ play, etc…):

We have flown Delta every time we’ve taken our son and they have allowed us to bring 2 additional pieces of luggage on the plane for our baby. Once was the stroller and the other was the carseat. We used the stroller in the airport and then checked it at the gate. To save from dragging the carseat with us through the airport, we elected to have it checked with our other luggage and then pick it up on the other end. Call your airline and ask specifics about carry-on and checked luggage for baby.

Food:

As far as food goes, the TSA is very accommodating for babies and children. Plain and simple, they need to eat! At 8 months my son was still taking breastmilk and a few solids. I packed 2 bottles of breastmilk and a few other jars of food. I didn’t want the breastmilk going through the x-ray machine so when I approached the first TSA officer I informed him of this and he had me take the milk out and step aside. They have a special machine that tests the milk for any threats. All they do is take a small stick and wave it over the milk. They then take that stick and put it in the machine to test it. So the milk doesn’t go in any device that may compromise the nutrition. They also did this with the water and juice that I brought for my son. For the solid food they require it go through the x-ray machine. And it must be labeled. I wanted to bring some homemade baby food along, but after I called the airlines, they said that I wouldn’t be allowed.

Due to the fact that I had breastmilk that I didn’t want going through the x-ray machine, I had to have a pat down as well as have all my carry-on bags checked over extensively. This is kind of a nuisance, but I understand they have to do it. Make sure you allow enough time to go through the security process.

Questions To Ask Airline:

Here are some important questions to ask the airline prior to flying. It’s not a bad idea to call the airline beforehand if you have any questions.*

  • Is there a seat discount for a child under age 2? (This question applies if you’d like to pay for a seat for your child rather than holding him in your lap during the flight.)
  • Do you offer seat discounts for children 2 and older? If so, for what ages?
  • Will you require proof of my child’s age and identity? If so, what proof is required, and when do I present it?
  • Can we get seats in a bulkhead row? (Bulkhead seats have more room to stand and maneuver, but less room for stowing carry-ons.)
  • Are bassinets available on the flight? When should I reserve one? (Bassinets are only available for lap babies, and can only be used in bulkhead rows.)
  • Do all of your rows have extra oxygen masks? If not, can you seat us in a row that does? (This is important to ask if you’re traveling with a child who doesn’t have his own seat.)
  • Do you allow preboarding for families with small children? If so, will there be a preboarding announcement or do we have to ask at the gate?
  • Do lap babies get a baggage allowance?
  • Does a car seat count as a carry-on? If I have to check it at the gate, does it count against my baggage allowance?
  • Can we bring our stroller on board? Will it count as a carry-on? (This question applies if you want to wheel your child down the cabin aisle rather than checking your stroller when you board.)
  • Do you have diaper-changing facilities on the aircraft? (Most large airplanes have one restroom with a changing table.)
  • Do you offer children’s meals? What’s included? How far in advance should I order one?
  • Can you warm my baby’s bottle during the flight?
  • Are diapers, formula, baby food, or other amenities available on board?
  • Is in-flight audio or video entertainment for children available?

Click here to go to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website. There you’ll find more information about traveling with your baby.

Safe and happy travels with baby! 🙂

*http://www.babycenter.com/0_flying-with-small-children-checklist-of-questions-to-ask-you_1460940.bc?showAll=true

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