In the eight months that my son has been alive, he has been on six plane rides. Because of my husband’s hectic schedule, I have flown alone with my son on all six of these flights. The first time I took my son on an airplane, I was SO nervous. Many of my worries were expressed in the following questions: What if my son cries the entire time? What if people give me dirty looks on the plane? What if my baby’s ears hurt when flying? What do I take on the airplane? What do I check in at the airport? How do I fly with an infant? I tried doing a little bit of research online and found plenty of toddler traveling tips, but very few tips regarding flying with an infant. Now, I’m not saying I’m a “pro” when it comes to flying with an infant, but I feel that my experience may be beneficial to others who undergo a plane ride with their baby.
10 Tips For Infant Plane Rides
1. Check in as many bags as you can. I find it extremely helpful to check in all of my bags at curbside. This not only frees up my hands, but gives me one less thing to worry about. A lot of airline companies allow you to check in 1-2 bags for free.
2. Check in for your flight the night before. Checking in online the night before gives me peace of mind; I love checking things off my “to do” list regarding traveling day!
3. Check in stroller and car seat at the gate. Most airlines allow you to check in your stroller and car seat at the gate free of charge. I have a stroller/car seat combo that I push around the airport until I board the plane.
4. Only take one carry-on bag. The less I have to haul around the airport/plane, the more relaxed I feel. I like to bring a single carry-on back that fits easily under my seat. This allows for easy access during the flight. I prefer using backpacks/bags that go over my shoulder to help free up my hands.
5. Only pack what you need in your carry-on bag. I make sure to make my carry-on bag as uncluttered as possible. I usually take a pacifier (and back up pacifier), 2 changes of baby clothes, enough diapers/wipes for my flight, a light blanket, a few toys, a gallon size plastic bag (in case a mess occurs), and baby food. Having these few items in my bag allows me to find certain items in a hurry.
6. Make sure your baby is sucking on a pacifier or bottle during take off and landing. Sucking on a pacifier/bottle during take off and landing helps neutralize the air pressure in your baby’s ears; This helps avoid potential ear aches.
7. Sit on the isle seat. I feel like I have a lot more room when I sit on an isle seat with my baby. Not only does the flight feel more roomy, but if I need to get up, I don’t have to disturb the people sitting in my row.
8. Bring a light blanket aboard the plane. Plane rides can get quite chilly. Using a light blanket will help your infant feel more warm and secure.
9. Purchase a seat for your baby. A lot of airlines will allow you to take a car seat on the plane if there are extra seats. I always ask before the flight leaves if there are extra seats. On my last flight, there were open seats so the airline let me take my car seat aboard the plane; this flight was the best flight yet! Not only did I enjoy having the extra space, but my son felt more secure buckled into his car seat (as opposed to flying on my lap). He didn’t make a peep the entire flight. I am seriously considering buying an extra plane ticket for future flights.
10. Relax. On my first flight, my son cried for a half hour straight. I felt SO embarrassed, but there was nothing I could do. I was SUPER apologetic towards my fellow passengers. However, I was amazed that not one person gave me a dirty look or said something mean to me. Many people would reply with “that’s okay, you can’t help it” or share similar stories about their experiences flying with their own children. The short of it is, if your baby cries, it’s okay; You can’t help it. Plus, you’ll never see the people on your flight again!
The opinions expressed above are my own. I did not receive compensation for this post.