Family Travel Tips for Flying With Baby
Flying with a baby is something that many parents fear: But don't call off the trip to Cabo. With these tips (and some heartfelt apologies at the ready), baby will be earning SkyMall miles before you know it.
Fly when your baby's tired: If feasible, schedule your flights at naptime or at night, with the caveat that a tired baby may also be extra cranky due to unfamiliar surroundings or airport noise.
Baby carrier/umbrella stroller: If the baby is small, carry her in a front infant carrier to keep your hands free while going through the airport. Otherwise, use a lightweight umbrella stroller.
Change the baby just before boarding: This will, hopefully, help delay your first trip to the plane bathroom for a diaper change.
Keep diapers and wipes handy: As soon as you board, put wipes and a few diapers in a seat pocket. It'll be easier to have those items accessible when you need them.
Take along the car seat: The FAA recommends putting kids in car seats when flying. The catch: The baby will need to have his own seat. Check on discount on fares for kids under 2. You also may want to invest in a car seat backpack which allows you to transport the seat through the airport more easily.
Request the bulkhead for more room: When booking your tickets, ask to be seated in the bulkhead row. Alternatively, if you suspect your baby will be noisy (which is probably a safe bet), book seats in the back of the aircraft, where engine noise will help muffle screams.
Pre-board: Most airlines let families traveling with small children board first. Do it! It's easier to stash your bags and get settled, and you won't get stuck standing in the aisle holding mountains of baby paraphernalia (not to mention your baby). Getting off the plane last is also a good idea.
Pack snacks: Changing air pressure can hurt a baby's ears. Pack snacks you know your baby likes and feed him generously during takeoff and landing. Also, prevent hunger crankiness (yours and his) by ensuring you have enough snacks for the entire trip.
Plastic zipper bags: Great for wet, messy baby clothes—and wet, messy grown-up clothes.
Carry on an extra outfit for yourself: You never know just how messed up your clothes will get. Also, try to dress in layers so you can peel off tops as they get soiled.
Bring plenty of toys, books and games: Whatever will keep your baby distracted and happy—but don't go nuts and pack too many things either.
Ask a flight attendant for an infant life vest.
Offer to buy a drink for the people sitting immediately around you: It's a great way to buy some goodwill. You could also bring a few sets of earplugs and pass them out before takeoff. Apology cards are great for the end of a bad trip, too.
Leave extra time for everything: Getting to the airport, checking in, making connections ...