The idea of travelling with an infant can be overwhelming. Just imagine going through airport queues and security checks with your baby, baggage and baby gear in tow. Well, you don’t have to sweat because flying with a baby is manageable if you are well-prepared for your trip. Here are some tips to help you have a comfortable air travel experience with your precious one:
Arriving at the airport
The earlier you arrive at the airport, the better. Having spare time on your hands allows you to go through the airport at your own pace. You can use the extra time for emergency diaper changes or feeding sessions.
Check the flight board for your flight status as soon as you get inside the airport. This saves you plenty of trouble in case there are changes to your flight. Make use of the airport trolleys for easy transportation of your belongings. Don’t be reluctant to ask for help from airport staff or other friendly passengers when necessary.
Check-in counters at the airport are busy with lines and lines of passengers. A baby may immediately get bored at the slow to non-movement of check-in queues. To avoid the lines, try to check-in early at the comfort of your home. Most airlines allow online check-ins – when you print your own boarding pass at home so you can go straight to baggage check-in once your arrive at the airport.
If online checking-in is not an option, make sure you arrive early at the airport to be among the first in line as the counter opens. Another advantage of checking-in early is having the opportunity to get good seats. Ask the check-in officer if the seat next to you can be left open to avoid the possibility of inconveniencing other passengers. Many flights don’t get full anyway, so you have a good chance of flying with plenty of elbow room.
There are at least two security checks in every airport. Bags, shoes, jackets and other objects are subjected to an x-ray scanner when crossing these points. To make your passage easier, avoid wearing boots or lace-up shoes since these require more effort to remove and put back on.
Keep your cellphone, wallet, keys and everything else in the diaper bag so you only have that and your shoes to take off. Instead of using a standard diaper bag, use a backpack-style diaper bag for convenience. Baby Sherpa makes wonderful diaper backpacks in different colors.
There is no limit on carry-on liquids as far as baby formula, medication, baby food and breastmilk are concerned. These only need to be declared at the checkpoint. Other carry-on liquids and gels need to follow the “3-1-1” rule.
After the security check, you may proceed to your boarding gate. Be wary of signs and PA announcements to avoid getting lost, especially in big airports. As a courtesy to passengers travelling with babies, strollers can be checked-in at the gate. Ask the ground crew for assistance in getting the stroller folded and tagged. You may claim the stroller at the airplane gate when you arrive at your destination.
Many airlines allow parents travelling with children to board early. This option allows you and your baby to settle comfortable before the bulk of the passengers squeeze inside the plane. Stow the diaper bag within easy reach in case you need to grab something from it quickly.
Cabin pressure changes as the the airplane gains altitude. Some babies may experience ear pressure discomfort because of this. Feeding your child during takeoff will help relieve the pain. The pressure change may also cause the baby bottle to squirt some of its contents as you remove its cap. It is best to hold it upright as you open it to let some air in.
Bring a snack or toy to keep your baby busy once you are up in the air. If the baby gets bored, especially on long-haul flights, you may try walking up and down the aisles for a change of surroundings. Most babies are lulled to sleep when the airplane is cruising. Have a travel pillow or rolled-up blanket ready so you can rest your arms when he does.
Many airplanes have a changing table in the lavatories, so you don’t have to worry about diaper changes. To be sure, ask the flight crew ahead of time so you can come up with a ‘plan B’ in case the aircraft you’re on doesn’t have one.
Relax and enjoy the plane ride. Babies are built to be carried around, and it should not be limited to land travel. Always keep your composure to be able to effectively handle unpleasant situations that might come up.