Top 5 Tips for Flying with an Infant

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


My first taste of flying with Miss P was an emotional one - a one way ticket from Los Angeles to Michigan, with one connection. I was leaving our home - the little house we brought our newborn to, and heading to my parents' in the Midwest until our shipping container arrived overseas with our household inside. Needless to say, it was a tough morning - in addition to being saddened by moving away, I was nervous about flying with a newborn! She was just over 6 weeks old - the youngest at which our pediatrician recommended flying with a little one, based upon the development of their immune system. I was plagued with worry - what if she cried? What if everyone hated me for being the lady with the crying baby? What if I run out of diapers? Formula? Will her ears hurt? On and on the list went. Needless to say, the morning of our flight, I was feeling very emotional. I even talked my mom into flying to California just to fly home with us, so Miss P and I wouldn't be alone. 

To my surprise, the experience was to date, one of the easiest flights Miss P and I have had! 

Before you embark on a flight with an infant, there are a few things you need to know:

1. Infants under 2 years old are able to fly for free domestically within the United States until their 2nd birthday, however, you do need to notify the airline that you're flying with your infant. This is because you'll be required to sit in a location on the plane with an extra oxygen mask in the event of an emergency. Not to worry, the airlines will take care of the seating, but do let them know you'll be flying with an infant. If your child turns two during a trip - they will need to buy a ticket for the return. If they are close to two, airline employees may ask for proof of age

2. Most airlines will allow you to check baby items for free - this means you can check a stroller and/or car seat without additional cost. If you want to use your stroller in the airport, you can also opt to gate check it for free. Check with your carrier for their specific rules before taking off to the airport. With most airlines, the infant is not allowed to check a suitcase of belongings, so you'll have to pack their things in your own bag, but check with your airline with this as well.

3. Infants are required to have a passport - You may fly internationally with infants however, they must have a valid passport and/or visa depending on your destination and length of your stay. When flying overseas, you will also need to pay flight taxes for your infant. Having dual citizenship, my little world traveller has two passports!

4. You must purchase a seat for children aged 2 and over - Children over the age of 2 are required to have their own seat. If they're 2 or on the petite side, you can bring their car seat or booster seat on the plane to make things a bit more comfortable for you and for them. 

5. When possible, travel around baby's schedule - When booking flights, if it's at all possible cost and availability wise, it's great to book flights around your child's sleep schedules - i.e. When Miss P was 6 weeks old, I had an early morning flight. I knew she'd be up, fed and dressed before we headed to the airport so that when we boarded our flight she was ready for another feeding and her next nap. That isn't always possible because you won't always find flights that are available or that are affordable around your child's schedule, and that's ok - you'll make do! However, if is possible, it can certainly be helpful.

6. Relax!! I've found that my daughter can sense when I'm uptight - so the more relaxed you are the more relaxed your child will be. 

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