So I discovered a few things about flying with a baby and thought I’d share them with you!
I flew from Norfolk International Airport, connected at Philadelphia to London Heathrow on American Airlines and returned connecting at JFK New York on British Airways; so my experiences are somewhat limited to these airports and airlines! I also travelled on my own when I flew back from the UK, so I experienced solo travel with a 3 month old (Yikes). Please do share any of your tips and experiences below too 🙂
Reserve the right seat. Not paying for a child seat and carrying an infant on your lap? Try and book a bulk head seat or phone up the airline and ask for one because you have an infant on your lap and want to use the bassinet. This only applies to larger aircraft, so if you are traveling on a smaller plane you will have to have baby on your lap. Ughh.
Generally infants flying on your lap are free if you are traveling within the US or if you are traveling internationally it depends on the airline, but it will cost about 10-20% of your ticket price. And you don’t get any extra baggage allowance so you have to fit all your baby’s stuff in your bag! Luckily they are tiny!
Packing Carry On Bags. Pack a diaper bag as your personal item and pack a BACK PACK/RUCKSACK (or vice versa if your diaper bag is a back pack already). I was going to take my small roll on and thought it would be easy to carry….but actually pushing a buggy and rolling a bag is not a good idea. If you have paid for a seat then you can take a diaper bag and two carry ons – one for you and one for baby.
Pack diapers/nappies, wipes and change mat in a smaller bag within the diaper bag. Why? Because you will be going to the toilet lots when on the plane and it is easier to carry that down the aisle than the whole diaper bag and knocking people’s heads as you juggle baby and bag on a bumpy plane!
If you are traveling for more than a few hours, don’t think you will only need one change of clothes. Believe you me it will typically be the only time you get TWO blow outs. Yup, speaking from experience here! Just pack sleepwear to save space.
Pack a comfort toy and one other non noisy toy. I didn’t want to be the person with an all singing dancing toy…baby is loud enough as she is!
If you are breastfeeding then you are lucky you don’t need to pack lots of formula and bottles! Sorry I don’t have tips for you formula feeding parents. But I did pack an empty bottle and two portions of formula powder just in case for any reason something happened. I think I was over thinking things and really didn’t need this.
Baby carrier/sling/wrap. BEST THING EVER. This gave me so much flexibility and I needed it when my buggy didn’t arrive at the gate and I had to walk about a mile from the gate to passport control/baggage claim in London Heathrow. Hands free baby carrying for the win. I use the baby hawk Mei Tai which rolls up nice and small into the diaper bag.
Checking in buggies and car seats. I spent aaaages researching this. I bought gate check bags to put my buggy and car seat in when I get to the gate. These little bags fold up nice and small, so I could put them under the buggy. If there are two of you traveling, definitely buy these two items so the carseat/buggy don’t get scratched or wet. Remove cup holders and any other items hanging off the buggy, they will get broken because honestly, the baggage handlers really do throw these things around. But if you are on your own? Don’t bother…honestly just leave them at the gate without a bag, it is way too difficult to carrying baby and trying to put these into the big bags. Just make sure any infant inserts are secured tightly into the car seat. Yeh lesson learned there!