You’ve been on that hell ride before. A long flight with crying babies and stare-downs with parents who appear to have no ability to calm their child. I once remember being hungover on a flight home from Las Vegas with a child that screamed the whole way. I blasted my ipod until the guy next to me told me to turn it down. When you decide to fly with your baby you cannot help but have that fear that YOU are going to be the one with the screaming child. As luck would have it, our son has flown to California twice to visit our family and hasn’t cried for more than 5 seconds.
There are advantages to flying with a baby.
- You get priority boarding
- “Lap Children” fly for free
- The younger, the more likely they don’t know or care that they’re even on an airplane thus making it easier to travel
- They don’t have school yet so you can fly on off-peak or off-season dates, and days of the week when flights are cheaper
Here are some helpful tips
Breastfeed while ascending. For the same reason we chew gum to keep our ears from popping, get that baby on it so they don’t have those ear popping!
If you can, fly when the baby typically sleeps. Landon sleeps until about 9 or 10am. We flew at 6am, so he slept for the first 3 hours.
Load every electronic device with material that entertains your child. Also, if your flight has DirectTV, order it. I’m not a big TV fan, but at times like this, it will keep your child happy and from not screaming.
Pack a bag with some snacks diapers, wipes, blankies, and toys for your child.
A brilliant idea by my wife: Check in to your flight early, and reserve the window seat, and the aisle seat leaving the middle seat open, because unless the flight completely sells out, it’s unlikely that someone will check in and assign themselves in the middle of two strangers. We got lucky, it worked and we had the seat in between us open. Landon got to sit and play there when not sleeping or nursing on our laps. We also had more room for all of our crap. It made it easier when we had to get up, and we had an extra tray for food etc, too.
Gate check your stroller. We brought our City Mini.
Ask to get a photo in the cockpit after the flight! The pilots were delighted to meet Landon and let him sit in the Captain’s seat!
As for transportation, I dropped off Elizabeth and Landon with all of the luggage, including our baby car seat, and let her check luggage while I parked the car. At United in Newark, they have attendants and check your luggage right at the curb. We got to bring our car seat and used it in the rental car when we arrived in CA. On our return, while Elizabeth waited for the checked luggage, I went and got the car and picked them up. This is convenient and a time saver. We got a good deal on a rental car so we didn’t need our sister to provide us with rides to and from the airport, it was not much more than what the taxi would cost, and we could go wherever we wanted while we were there.