Having just got back from a week long trip abroad with a 10 year old and a 5 month old, I thought I’d put together a few tips to get you through flying with a baby. It seemed to do the trick for us and I was left with a baby that slept for both take off and landing and was happy in the airport, which is a bit of a result as I’d been absolutely dreading the flight.
- Make sure you have everything you need for baby in one bag to avoid confusion at both security (when you may have to taste the baby’s milk) and when in the airport and on the plane.
- Try to book flights that fit in around your baby’s nap times. I didn’t intentionally do this but it really worked and I was left with a baby who was asleep for 80% of the plane journey.
- Change baby on arrival at the airport to keep him/her comfortable and also just before you get on the plane. Airplane toilets are tiny and made even smaller with changing tables so if you can avoid changing baby while on board – do! Of course if h or she decides to do a huge poo while onboard the plane there’s little you can do to avoid it.
- On arrival at the airport make sure baby is fed, to keep him/her happy for the duration of your time in the airport. This may reduce time to stock up on duty frees but it will be worth it when you arrive on the plane with a happy rather than screaming and hungry baby.
- Remember you can take as much milk/juice/water/food to the airport and for the duration of the flight through security in your hand luggage. Keep it together as you will be asked to remove it from your bag and place it in a tray along with your other belongings.
- Look out for a family assistance lane at the airport, like they have at Gatwick. You bypass the normal queues for security and get through in minutes rather than half an hour or more. If you aren’t sure what you can take through or what you have to take out of your bag, there is someone on hand to offer advice and in my case remove my boots when they had to be scanned as I couldn’t bend down with the carrier on. (bless that poor woman having to touch my boots!)
- You can take your buggy right up to the plane, it will then be checked and stowed at the last minute and brought up to the plane for you as you disembark. I chose not to do this and wore a carrier instead and this worked well for us as baby boy was reassured by being close to me yet able to look all around and get a great view of what was happening in the airport.
- To avoid pain in baby’s ears at take off I had a bottle in his mouth as we were going up the run way, taking off and climbing and he was asleep before we’d even finished ascending. Likewise for landing, as soon as I felt my ears starting to pop I gave him a bottle and by the time we landed he was asleep again. No tears, no fuss and above all no pain for baby boy.
- Keeping him occupied was relatively easy where he was asleep for so long during the flight, but we packed a few of his favourite toys which he played with quite happily. He loved poking his head above the seat and looking all round at the other passengers and even being held in the aisle so he could get a better view of everyone, not to mention fluttering his eyelashes at the air hostesses.
- Make sure you check baby’s hand and hold baggage allowance. On the flight out he wasn’t allowed to take anything unless it was paid for, on the flight back he was allowed 10kg for free to go in either our luggage or his own separate bag. We were also allowed to take two items out of a list of several including a car seat and pushchair.
We were incredibly lucky with both our flights in that baby boy had no problems with pain in his ears and was easily occupied. I hope that if you follow the above tips you can have as stress free a flight as we did!