Some people think the days of traveling and vacationing to far away places is gone when the babies come along. There are inconveniences when flying with a baby- like lugging a suitcase, a diaper bag, a stroller, a car seat and the endless amount of other baby related stuff.
However, with preparation and experience you will definitely find the best way to travel and fly with a baby in your arms.
Here are Travelmath’s 7 tips to flying with a baby:
One: Bulkhead seats and a bassinet
Bulkhead seats and a complimentary bassinet are the best ways to fly with a baby, especially if the flight is over six hours. Bassinets are usually not available on shorter flights.
Here is an example of a long haul international flight from Chicago to London, United Kingdom. It takes eight hours 25 minutes to fly from Chicago to London.
You can fly non-stop with British Airways, American Airlines and over five other airlines from Chicago. To get bulkhead seats let’s take a look at the seats layout on British Airways flight BA1543 from Chicago (ORD) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR). This flight is actually operated by American Airlines and code sharing with British Airways.
We recommend using Seat Guru to find the seats. From Seat Guru we found bulkhead seats on Row 20 (except the window seats) and Row 30. But for bassinets to fit you will need to request for Row 20. See screenshot below taken from Seat Guru.
You can’t request a bassinet online. You can only do so by calling the airline or trying contacting them through Twitter. For example, Delta’s Twitter helpline is @DeltaAssist. Do that immediately after you make your reservation.
Remember not all flights provide bassinets. Bassinets are usually available on long haul flights (international flights). There are restrictions and every airline does have their own rules on bassinet usage. British Airways allows a baby up to 12.5 kgs (27.5 lbs.) on their carrycot (bassinet). And you can’t use bassinets during turbulence, during taxi, take-off and landing.
You can read about British Airways bassinet restrictions and availability here: British Airways
Two: Direct flights
Direct flights will cut the hours of waiting and going through security not once but twice especially on international flights. From our example, Chicago to London Heathrow route, travelers have many different flight options including flights with one stopover.
Most of the time direct flights are more expensive compared to flights with one or two stopovers. If you live in a city where you can’t avoid connecting flights, you might want to look into upgrading to Premium Seats. Airlines do offer affordable prices to upgrade from economy main cabin.
If you choose a flight from Chicago to London with a stopover in New York, for example, flight BA2480 (operated by American Airlines). You get premium seats at the Main Cabin Extra section with more legroom and bigger seats. See screenshot below taken from Seat Guru.
Three: Baby’s seat
A child under the age of two can sit on an adult’s lap and fly free for domestic flights only. But some families may prefer to purchase an extra seat for the baby to have more room and possibly putting a car seat on the purchased seat.
Or you may want to try what we did for short haul flights only (less than five hours). We find that most people wouldn’t like to sit in the middle seat. Almost always (but no guarantee) when the flight is not full we have an empty middle seat if we reserve an aisle seat and a window seat. You can always monitor the seats and change your seats online.
Four: Get to the airport early
Getting to the airport early may reduce the stress of waiting behind a crowd of travelers in front of you at the check in line and security line. It will also give you ample time to feed and change the baby. Carve time for you to take a deep breath and get a cup of coffee.
Five: You don’t have to bring everything
We find that half of the things we brought for the baby were not necessary or can be purchased at the destination. Stick with the essentials like extra clothes (but not extravagant), favorite toys, favorite blanket or pillow, diapers, wipes, baby food, baby snacks and a favorite book or device.
In London, you can rent a lightweight baby stroller for 14 pounds (about $22) per week or a Graco Travel System stroller with three incline positions for 35 pounds (about $55) per week. In Orlando, Orlando Stroller Rentals offers a range of strollers for rent for as little as $64.20 including tax for three nights.
Six: First aid kit
A first aid kit that includes a digital thermometer, fever or pain reducer, antiseptic cream, bandages, antihistamine and insect repellent is essential when traveling with kids or without kids.
Flying with a baby is not going to be the same like your pre-baby days. Enjoy this season and take advantage of the time together building memories and paying less. Babies do not pay for entrance fees to Disney World and all theme parks or the museums throughout the world.