Thanksgiving is a little over a week away which means holiday travel season is almost upon us! The day before Thanksgiving is always one of the busiest flying days of the year so it’s safe to assume if you fly, there will be at least a couple babies or small children on your flight. And if you are anything like me, you will be one of those parents with a baby on a plane with a packed flight. My in-laws live in Florida, so we have been traveling with my children since they were babies and no matter how many times we do it, I still stress out and run worst-case scenarios in my head. So below is a list of tips that we put together and while it won’t guarantee a perfect flight for you and baby, it will hopefully help it to be as smooth as possible.
Get Organized: Make a game plan for the flight and plan everything for before, during and after. Make a checklist of everything. Know exactly what you are checking and where you are checking it. If you are gate checking, you will need to get a tag for example. Breaking it all down will help you feel less stressed because you won’t be standing in the airport guessing your next move or trying to make decisions under stress.
Anticipate ANY needs: With this checklist, be sure to include a list of anything you might need. Food, entertainment, extra clothes, diapers, etc. Are you going to be nursing or bottle feeding? What soothes your child when they are upset? The worst thing is being on a flight and realizing you are missing a critical item so anticipating anything you might need will help prepare you better.
Do your research: Make sure to know the liquid allowances for carry on and find out any special privileges you might have because you are traveling with baby. Knowing these kinds of things beforehand will help quell extra stressors.
Ask for help: Hopefully you are traveling with a spouse or partner so be sure you tag team everything. Assign each other tasks beforehand so there is no open window for arguments. If you are traveling alone, don’t be afraid to ask for a hand in the event of a crisis. I can’t tell you how many times I have made silly faces at a baby on an airplane and would have been happy to do more. It takes a village, right?
Relax: The truth is that no matter how much you prepare, research and organize, things are still going to stress you out. Don’t forget baby can feed off that stress so trying to remain calm is good for everyone. I always start to stress the minute a whimper comes out, but it’s best to remember that the worst thing that happens is people get annoyed. Try to be polite while ignoring any dirty looks that come your way. It’s only temporary and you’ll most likely never see the other passengers again so just power through and do your best. I promise, everyone will survive!
I polled a few moms about the best tips they had and below are a few I really liked:
- “Wear a baby sling while going through security. This frees up both hands to do all the things that need done”
- “Try and plan flights during nap/bedtime. A sleeping baby is easier on a flight then an awake baby”
- “Be prepared for popping ears! Have something ready before you even take off and have it ready before descending”
- “If the seats are assigned and you are traveling with your spouse, send your spouse on first with all your stuff. Then you and baby wait and come on at the last possible minute. That way everything is set up and baby spends as little time cooped up as possible”
- “Bribery doesn’t hurt. If it’s an especially long flight, make goody bags with ear plugs and candy to give to anyone sitting close by. They will appreciate the kind gesture and hopefully keep the annoyed looks to a minimum.”
- “If you can afford it, buy baby an airplane seat. Two and under can usually fly for free and sit on your lap, but the extra seat is great for the car seat and general extra space for baby.”
What are your best tips for flying with a baby? Let us know in the comments below!