Caleb and I have done 8 flights in 5 and a half months and 7 of those flights we were travelling alone. The first time we flew, he was 2 months old and it was a lot easier the smaller he was but now I have mastered the art of flying with a baby and here are my tips for you:
1. Call ahead
When flying with a baby on a long haul flight, you definitely want to call the airline’s customer service beforehand and reserve a cot. Not only do you have somewhere to put your baby, you also get extra leg room and they’re prepared for your arrival on board so they will ensure you have infant floatation devices and seat belts.
Some airlines allow 23kg for an infant even if they don’t have their own ticket, others only allow 5kg. It’s always best to call the airline and check because baby’s belongings take up so much more room in the suitcase than adults.
3. Ask people for help
I always ask the person who is taking me to the airport to park up and help me with my bags. That means you won’t be pushing a pushchair and simultaneously dragging a trolley full of suitcases. They can leave as soon as you get to the check in desk. Once you’ve dropped your bags things get a lot easier.
4. Use a collapsible pram/sling
My pram/pushchair comes in 3 parts. I have the wheels, the car seat and the pram top. I check the pram top with my suitcases (I wrap it in bin bags to keep it clean). This is usually free but it’s always best to call ahead and check.
I keep car seat and wheels with me because you’ll need a car seat during your trip and you can take them right to the plane door (as long as they come apart and the wheels collapse).
Before I get to security, I put my son in the sling so I can collapse the car/seat wheels with both hands. If you don’t have a sling, the people at security are more than happy to hold your baby whilst you organise yourself.
I always find that my wheels are too wide to go through the X-ray, try it once and if they are too wide remember to tell the people at security so they can do their checks while you go through the X-ray machine. It saves a lot of time.
4. Keep calm and allow extra time at security
I find getting through security the hardest part because there’s a queue behind me and so much to do. Just keep calm. You HAVE to get through security, you HAVE to take your coat/belt/shoes off and you HAVE to get your babies things ready. Everyone behind you can either offer to help, stand and complain or go around you/to another line. Don’t let them fluster you, you’ll take longer. Saying that, allow an extra ten minutes to get you through.
5. Find your gate and then go shopping
Once I know where my gate is, how close it is to the shops and how much time I have I find I can relax a bit more while I’m browsing the duty free Mac counter. You can’t rush choosing a lipstick, am I right ladies??
6. Change your baby before your flight
It’s easier to change them in an airport bathroom than on an airplane. I’m not sure if other airlines do, but Virgin Atlantic has changing tables in their airplane bathrooms which are a God send!
7. Put the sling on at the gate
It’s easier to get your tickets and passport out and collapse your pram at the plane door with two free hands.
8. Smile at everyone near you
They’ll be a bit kinder if your baby cries.
9. Feed them when taking off/landing
It helps with their popping ears.
10. Accept help from anyone who offers
It’s pretty self explanatory but people always offer to help and it really does make life easier.
11. Take lots of toys, clothes and disinfectant wipes
Disinfect the crib, changing areas and everywhere your baby will touch and then let them have their toys. Also clothes because accidents can and will happen.
You’re going on holiday, you have your cute baby and a couple of hours to just sit and play and cuddle and relax. If someone wants to be moody because a baby is crying, holding them up and so on then they’re not very nice people and you’re never going to see them again anyway.