Flying With A Baby – Here's What You Should Know
One of the joys of being a new parent is that you get to show the world your children for the first time.
But part of that is navigating the perils of traveling with a baby, through customs, security, flying and more. With news like United removing a woman because of her baby, any new parent might approach the topic with caution.
We here at SimpleFlying.com have put together some tips and tricks for when you next travel with your little one!
How old can a baby be to travel on an airplane?
A very valid question is how old a baby should be before you start to travel on a plane, with different requirements for a short-haul domestic flight and a longer international flight.
First, it’s important to check with your doctor as your case may vary compared to the average. Otherwise, it depends on the rules of an airline, from 2 days minimum to two weeks minimum for short haul flights. If the mother required any surgery during birth, then airlines prefer over six weeks between an operation and flight (See our guide to flying with an injury).
For long-haul flights, doctors recommend over 3 months before flying on the dehydrating flight. It’s also good to ensure that the baby has a more developed independent immune system.
Bonus tip: The real sweet spot of traveling with a baby is between 3-9 months, as they will be light to carry and will not be crawling around.
Does a baby need a passport? And what other documents does a baby need?
Just like you, a baby also needs a passport!
You will need to take a passport photo (This is best done with the baby on its back with a white background, such as a large piece of paper) and apply through the normal channels in your country. You also may need a note from your doctor allowing for safe travel.
Bonus tip: If you are traveling alone (As a single parent, or just without your partner) it can be important to have a written note from the other parent to ensure that you have the right to take the child out of the country.
How do you travel on a plane with a baby?
If you have a single baby with you, under the age of two years old, you will be allowed to have it sit on your lap. Airliners will give you a special belt attachment that will let you secure your baby to your own belt.
But if you are traveling with more than one child (by yourself) then airlines may ask you to book an additional adult seat. Plus, you might be not allowed to board if you don’t have another adult willing to help you (For two or more babies). Needless to say, we can’t imagine traveling with 3 or more babies by yourself, but just in case you now know!
Bonus tip: Let the airlines know you are traveling with a baby. Many airlines actually have baby seats on the plane (No, not a special class that removes children away from their parents like on this Indian plane!) at the front that allow plenty of room to store items and reach the bathrooms if needed.
What seats to book for traveling with a baby? Which seats are best?
This question really does depend on the airline, but if two parents are traveling long haul, try to get three seats in a row.
- Window seat: Parent 1
- Middle seat: Baby on a special seat.
- Aisle seat: Parent 2
This will allow you to feed the baby, manage caring duty between the two parents and give you a degree of privacy.
Bonus tip: On some airlines, a baby care kit is allowed in addition to other onboard carry items. Be sure to check before boarding to ensure that your airline has this policy.
How do you care for your baby in flight?
The first tip, make sure that your baby is hydrated! We all know how dehydrated we can get on a flight, and a baby is far more susceptible to the damaging effects of no water than older children and adults are. Ensure that they drink throughout the flight.
Many airlines will not provide baby food and will assume that parents have milk and other items already. Fortunately, many airlines do not place a restriction on the amount that you can bring onboard. It must not be frozen, however.
For older babies, bring a variety of toys and entertainment (Such as an iPad if they are nearly a toddler or older) to keep them entertained even when you are taxing.
Bonus tip: Don’t feed the baby spaghetti or lasagna on board, as they might tip it over themselves and will be covered head to foot by the end of the flight (Personal experience!).
What do I do if your baby is screaming in flight?
One of the most common questions on a parents mind is what happens if your baby starts to cry mid-flight? After all, its only natural for a new being to not understand flying in a tube going 1000 km/hr at 40,000 feet. But what can you do as a caring parent?
We found this excellent guide online that will answer all of your questions.
Do you have any tips or tricks for when you fly with a baby? Let us know in the comments!