Flying with an Infant: Travel Tips for Your Baby’s First Flight

Are you nervous about your baby’s first flight? Flying with an infant or toddler can be very demanding, indeed. That is why we are here to share a few essential tips for a smooth, safe, and stress-free trip with your baby on board. These guidelines will ensure both your peace of mind and your baby’s comfort.

young mom flying with an infant

Flying with an Infant: The Ultimate Pre-Departure Checklist

Pack Smart

Handling the baggage your child requires is crucial. We have touched on this matter in our post about packing for overseas travel with children. To put it briefly, here are our ultimate pre-departure checklist ideas.

  • Food Supplies, Water & Plastic Feeding Set: along with baby food and breast milk bottles, don’t forget about other necessary utensils.
  • Extra Diapers & Diaper Bag: consider taking a diaper for each hour on the road, plus extras if there will be delays.
  • Rash Cream & Wipes
  • Pacifiers: keep a pacifier handy as it helps reducing ear pressure.
  • Extra Clothes: pack around two outfits per day, just in case. Consider extra shirts for you too.
  • Your Baby’s Fav Toys
  • Blankets: you also need a few blankets – one to lay your infant on, one to cover him or her during the flight, and one for you if you are nursing.
  • Small Bottles containing baby wash, hand gel, and anything else you generally use and consider will be of help.
  • Sling or Carrier: this will prove most useful as it keeps your hands free.
  • Pain Reliever & Medical Supplies: use small plastic bags
  • Energy Snacks for the Mom: yes, you need to take care of yourself too.
  • Portable Crib & Collapsible Stroller: these will be checked at the gate. You will be required to leave them at the end of the jet-way, and pick them up at landing.
  • Car Seat for a safer flight.
  • Digital Camera: think ahead of all the memories you want to capture.
  • Books and clip-on reading light: if it’s a long flight ahead you may get a few moments of peace and enjoy doing something for yourself while your baby is sleeping.

Flying with an infant essentials checklist

Useful Tips for Flying with a Baby

1. Book the Best Seat

Prior to booking your seat, consider what the best option is both for you and your baby. Will you be flying with your infant on your lap or buy a ticket for your little one too?  Well, for newborns and even for infants aged 3 – 6 months, it is easier to travel with them as lap-carried kids. However, during turbulences your baby can fall out your arms.

That is why, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Federal Aviation Administration recommend using an FAA-approved car seat, or a child restraint device.

About the location of your seat, consider reserving an aisle seat as close to the front of the aircraft as possible. This will allow you quicker access both when boarding and deplaning, as well as enhanced mobility during the flight.

2. Choose the Right Time of Departure

The time of departure is also important. Try to arrange a flight during nap time, or even during the night, so your baby will get some sleep.

3. Consider Required Documentation

Once you get to the airport, there are three essential documents the entitled personnel will ask for:

  • A valid passport: note that applying f for a first-time passport requires extra documentation, time, and patience.
  • A proof of age for all infants under age two: that would be the birth certificate.
  • A medical release for infants younger than 14 days.

4. Keep Calm & Positive

We know that minimizing the risks of injuries or infections is your main concern, but there are other aspects to consider as well. Here, we refer to the comfort of both your baby and other passengers.

Early infancy is a challenging time of transition both for you and your newborn. Now you establish feeding and sleep routines, and traveling may have an adverse impact on these two. As long as you make sure you will be able to feed your baby, and he or she gets a lot of rest, it should be safe and easy to travel.

Also, one of the most stressful things when flying with an infant is to maintain a pleasant experience for everybody around you. Most people will understand if your baby cries and expresses his or her discomfort while traveling by plane, but it is important for you to maintain calm and be as polite as possible.

5. Don’t Forget to Entertain Your Little One

Take your baby’s favorite toys and blanket to keep him quietly busy and entertained. Maybe he or she likes an interactive book or a bright colored plaything. Anything that works well at home to stimulate your kid and keep him or she quiet at the same time has excellent chances to work well while on the plane as well.

Now that packing is done, and the required documentation arranged, there are just a few more things to clear up.

6. Check Airline Guidelines & Policies

Southwest Airlines, for instance, provide their customers with useful information about flying with children under two years of age. By checking their customer service page, you will learn more about how to enhance your baby’s safety on aircraft.

Here are just a few of the important guidelines that will ease your efforts prior to getting on board:

Flying with an infant on your lap:

A baby under two years of age can be carried free of charge. This means you do not need to get a boarding pass for your little one.

However, you will need to get a Boarding Verification Document.

Flying with an infant in a car seat:

You can also reserve a seat for your baby and use a FAA- approved car seat. In such case, a boarding pass is required, but airline companies offer affordable infant fares. It is best to check their official page and applied rules.

As regards the check-in, the age of the baby has to be verified.

Flying with an infant on international flights:

When traveling with your baby on an international flight, the same rules apply if he or she does not occupy a seat. You will be required, though, to pay the taxes and fees for the international portion of your baby’s itinerary. Please note that you have to pay these prior to your travel.

For more information on fees and required documentation, we recommend you to check the official website of the airlines of your choice. Specific details will be provided to you.

7. Check Airport Facilities

Most airports will provide certain baby facilities. Before booking the flight, you can take a look at what the airport of your choice has to offer. These facilities may include:

  • Baby Changing Areas.
  • Baby Rest Areas.
  • Complimentary Strollers.

Flying with an infant is such an unpredictable experience. There are so many things that can get out of your hands from leaky diapers to endless crying sessions. But keep your enthusiasm high! Your baby’s first flight is an important event that will contribute to your parenting experience and will help you build your self-confidence. Safe flying!

Photo Credits: Seatmaestro.com7stonesboracay.com.