Preparing to fly a baby transatlantic 

It’s time to fly! Aviana has received both her passports now -US and British- and she has conditional approval for global entry (just need to get her to an enrollment centrefir an ‘interview’, photo and fingerprints-ha, really???!!!). She is ready to travel the world!!!

But am I ready to travel the world with her? Ummmm not really! I consider myself an experienced frequent flier, but traveling with a 3 month old baby, I find myself a little nervous! Especially as my return flight to the US I will be alone.

Here are some things I’ve considered but don’t know much about and hoping it all works out…

Infants can fly on your lap. Infants under two years old can fly on your lap, this means you can save on buying a seat. BUT depending on the airline and where you are traveling there still may be a price to pay. I booked my ticket before Aviana was born using my air miles, so Last week I had to call American Airlines to add her to my reservation. Because I’m flying internationally I have to pay 20% fee. Which is not so simple because I paid for my ticket with air miles. It ended up being about $250. It gets a bit complicated in terms of baggage and hand luggage allowances. But for this flight I get a one bag allowance for Aviana, but not extra hand baggage. But I can take a diaper bag. Hmmmm. Confusing! I guess it simply means I can’t take two small air cabin sized suitcases. But that’s fine because I wouldn’t be able to carry that all by myself anyway. 

Get an infant friendly seat with bassinet. When I booked my ticket I chose the seat which allows me to use the airline’s bassinet (only available on long distance certain flights). I was able to do that though because I have platinum status. BUT if you don’t have status you do not need to pay extra to select this seat. When you add an infant to your reservation they will put you in the infant friendly seat….but only if it is available. So my advice is book early to avoid disappointment! OR prepare to negotiate with the people sat in those seats when you board the plane. Which they will probably be reluctant to do if they had to pay extra for that specific seat. I’ve seen that happen before. Bassinets can only be used in the air and if there is turbulence you have to take the baby out and put them on your lap. So must be prepared to have baby on me for long periods of time!

Traveling alone as a single parent? Get a notarized letter from your partner saying they give you permission to take your baby out of country and permission to give medical treatment as necessary. This might not be necessary and border staff may not ask for it, but in case they do I have it ready.  

Traveling with a car seat and stroller. This is my biggest worry. I have bought ‘gate check bags’ to put the stroller and car seat in when I get to the gate. These are non padded bags – you can get padded ones but they are bulky and I will be using the car seat to click into the stroller. I’m nervous about them getting damaged, especially the car seat. I’m also nervous about handling a baby and all these bags by myself. I will have a baby carrier with me so I can be hands free…but what if she is screaming blue murder? I hate it when people look at me as if I am torturing my baby!!!! And the faces of horror when they see a screaming baby get on the plane. I don’t care that much about what people think, it’s just that moment in time I would probably feel flustered and stressed.

Packing to prepare for delays. What if my flight is delayed or I miss my connection? will I have to have enough supplies to last me 24 hours? I usually do that for myself, but I now have to consider baby!! I’m glad I don’t have to worry about food because I’m breastfeeding. Although I will take some formula with me just in case something happens like my boobs dry up for some reason! 

How to carry everything through security, customs and to the gate. How the hell am I going to carry/push stroller, car seat, diaper bag, carry on hand luggage and when I come back to the US, pick up my checked bags and recheck after going through customs? I’ve figured my carry on bag should probably be a rucksack. Ideally my suitcase would be on four wheels, but I don’t have one of those, just a two wheeler. This means I can’t push it in any direction, only bi-directionally. Which is fine, it just could be easier! I’m hoping there might be a nice friendly person who might be able to help me out when I collect my bags. 

Arriving at the airport, tired, jet lagged and getting to my final destination by car. This will involve fitting the car seat base into a car I don’t know with a tired mummy and perhaps a grumpy baby in tow. And it will probably be cold knowing the UK weather!!!

Packing enough stuff for baby. Blankets, muslins, burp cloths, bibs, sleep suits, swaddles, hats, socks, clothes, coats, toys, pacifiers, sound machine, baby carrier wrap….what else have I forgotten? Diapers, wipes, baby toiletries, nappy rash cream, baby towel, bath sling…anything else??? If I have forgotten anything else I can always buy it when I get there or if I don’t have enough of something I can always wash it. Sometimes when I travel I can barely organize enough stuff for me let alone a baby!!!! Or I have the opposite problem – I take too much stuff!

OK so what else have I forgotten in my preparations? Do you have any travel tips flying with a 3 month old baby??