If there is one thing I can't believe sometimes, it's that I flew over 72 times with Luna internationally by the time she was 2 years old (we celebrated her bday at the Newark Airport, with friends we happened to have ran into). The back aches I get typing this, but I would do it all over again. HOW HOW HOW do you do it???? Don't panic. If you panic, baby panics.
Here are my tips to help you make a smooth journey with the little one.
Children under 2 yrs old-fly for free (they actually pay 10% of your ticket price for taxes only)! That is if they are a lap child. Don't panic its not as bad as you think- I always had a free seat next to me 90% of the time (keep reading)
If you do book a seat: know that on international flights, you may get 100 dollars cheaper than an adult ticket, but when children take a seat, they pay for a seat just like you do. SAVE THE MONEY!
You will need a birth certificate if traveling domestic, state ID's can be issued, and a passport if you are traveling internationally (child passports are valid for 5 years).
BORING- but if traveling alone with your child-especially out of the country- you need a letter from the other parent with a photo copy of their ID with their written permission. (They almost wouldn't let into Canada twice, grrrrr)
Call 48 hours in advance to ask for a bassinet row! Thats your best bet, even if you book the bulkhead online it can change, just call- you can not have an emergency seat, you have to be atleast 15 yrs old.
Give yourself plenty of time at the airport, the best way to travel is stress free, your babies reflect what you are feeling, so time is your friend.
At check in, ask if you can have an empty seat next you (if you couldn't get the bassinet row), so you have more space (another good reason to get to the airport early)
If you do book a seat for your child, they will probably still spend 99% of their time in your lap and dear lord please don't bother to bring the carseat on the plane- those parents make me cry-the stress!
Carseat and strollers are free to checkin- Check in your stroller at the gate, they will tuck it under the plane and it will be there when you get off of the plane.
BRING A BABY CARRIER! Once my stroller came out broken during an international checkin. Not only did I have too many bags, Luna was 5 weeks old- and well, it was drama. I always had a carrier with me ever since and its a must. (for infants, I would take her from the stroller to the baby carrier to go to my seat)
Pack (we need a whole post for this) extra change of clothes and plenty of diapers and milk- you can not buy that in the airport.
Pee & change that diaper before you get on the plane, its hard to juggle babies in the toilet, not to mention not the most sanitary place in the world.
Traveling with a baby, you might as well have a red carpet rolled out & be flying first class....You cut all lines, never wait, flight attendants are your best friends, board the plane first, you get away with everything NORMALLY (overweight, extra luggage, better seats)
Babies aren't at risk at getting any sicker than you would...just don't let people touch their hands or faces..why does everyone touch babies faces?
Its hard on their ears. either breast feed, have them drinking something, paci, they need to swallow during take off and landing. There is movement and noise-and generally its calming.
Take lots of water with you, flying is so dehydrating, and snacks for your baby.
Bottle feeding- this is tough. Flight attendents can give you a cup of hot water to mix with the formula but its always scolding. I carry a thermos with hot water with me on the plane, and buy a water bottle in the airport, and then just mix the two to the good tempurature.
Breast feeding- also tough. I became so dehydrated on an international flight I had no more milk. So drink lots of water, and I suggest having a bottle just in case.
Toys- well unless you want to keep asking the guy 13B to keep handing you the ball or legos that fell-let them rip the pages in the airline magazine, bang cups, keys, keep it simple.
Don't worry about other passengers what they are going to think or say!!!!! If your baby cries. DON'T STRESS, this will only add stress, which your child can pick up on, and it could make her cry longer and harder. Relax, and handle the situation like you would if you were at home. Most times the other passengers are very understanding anyways and some will even try to help you.
If people offer help, take it. Now Luna is bigger, I always offer my hand to mother's with babies (for instance if they need a bathroom break, I am happy to care for their baby :-))
Travel light- use a rolling bag- and please just travel smart. Don't carry 3 seperate bags and don't get carried away because you have a two hour flight. This only adds stress.
Last tip, go visit an old friend, see some family, or just have an adventure with your sweet baby!
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