My husband and I have been avid travelers for many years before we started having kids. Our travels haven’t slowed down since we had our first-born. In fact, we started taking our firstborn on flights at the age of two months. And in that first year, we took her on four separate trips, ranging from a week to a whole month, both domestically and internationally. The idea of traveling with a baby can be daunting enough, let alone going through the whole airport process. What if I told you that flying with a baby is completely doable?
Things to know when flying with a baby:
For the first two years of their life, they can fly within the USA for free! That’s right. When you book your airline tickets online, include your lap infant under two in your itinerary for free. Booking their ticket as a lap infant, means that your infant doesn’t get their own seat, but rather they are seated on your lap.
We took full advantage of that rule and flew with our daughter back to California three times in her first year of life.
If you’re taking your lap infant under two internationally, you only pay 10% of your ticket’s value for them. Check with your airline as this might vary. Also, make sure they have their own passport too! Who doesn’t want to see their cute little face in an official document anyways?
We took a month long vacation to Europe to celebrate her first birthday, visiting 5 different countries by plane and rail. Train transportation was free for her and her plane tickets cost next to nothing.
International Baby Bassinet
On most long haul international flights, some aircraft provide baby bassinets. Call your airline to ask if they have them, and reserve one right away if they do. In most cases, they might have a maximum of two and they go quick. I was lucky to get one on her first International trip and it was so nice. Not only do they sleep better, but you get extra leg room being seated in the designated bulkhead row. It’s a win-win! Make sure your baby fits the airline’s bassinet weight/height limit.
Wearing your Baby at the Airport
The best way to go through the whole airport procedure with a baby in tow is by wearing them in a baby carrier. It gives your arms the freedom to carry other things while your baby is securely snuggled right on you.
Gate Check Baby’s Accessories
Most airlines allow you to gate check at least two baby equipment items. Meaning you can gate check a car seat and a stroller at no extra cost, as long as your baby is traveling with you. You also can bring their diaper bag on board, in addition to your own personal small item (purse/backpack). Always check with your airline for all the baby allowances.
You get the option to either drop off at check-in or gate check it at the gate before you get in the plane. Tip: Ask for a “Fragile” sticker at check-in to be put on them.
Some airports provide moms nursing rooms or lactation pods after security checkpoints. Check your departing and arriving airports if they have such rooms. The rooms are nice to get you and your baby situated before or after a flight, for nursing/feeding/pumping or changing your baby’s diaper. You’ll appreciate the peace and quiet they provide!
I will be sharing more tips and what to bring when flying with a baby that has worked great for me later. Stay tuned for my next posts!