Hi from Florida…again.
I booked a last-minute flight late Wednesday afternoon to spend the weekend with my family. I left Thursday morning and will return to Charlotte on Sunday.
The water has cleared so much since my last visit just two weeks ago and the moment I got here I had this irresistible urge to be in it. I fed Finn and after he went down for his afternoon nap, I threw on my suit and ran down to the beach for a quick swim. It was amazing.
I’ve received SO many requests through Instagram DM to share tips for airline travel with infants so I thought I’d do that now. I am by no means and expert but I think I’ve found a good groove after three flights solo with a very small baby.
Tips for Air Travel with an Infant
Get there early + plan accordingly.
I’m not usually one to arrive early at the airport but traveling with an infant demands it. Plan for a longer check-in process, a longer security process, a diaper change and general airport busyness. Trust me, you will need that extra time for your sanity.
Your ticket must indicate that you are traveling with a lap child but you do not need ID for the child.
TSA requires that your ticket indicate that you are traveling with an infant in lap. The airline agent told me that they will often send you back to the ticket counter if you do not have this information on your boarding pass.
I read something that said you had to have a birth certificate but I’ve never been asked and one TSA agent told me it wasn’t necessary. (Edited to add that some airlines might require it for proof that your child is under 2.)
The ticketing agents, gate agents and flight attendants are your friends.
I’m three for three on getting my own row when traveling with Finn. Ask the ticket agent if they can re-seat you so that there is no one next to you if the flight isn’t full. The gate agent can also help with this, especially if the ticket agent says there will be a charge to change it when you check-in. Worst case, the flight attendants can move you if they have extra space.
It’s amazing to have the seat next to you open. It gives you more room to spread out and more privacy to nurse if you need to.
Check your bags, carry your baby gear.
I always check my suitcase so that I can manage getting the baby gear (stroller, car seat, diaper bag) through the airport. Of course, this isn’t necessary if you have someone to help you with bags but if you’re traveling solo, I recommend it. And yes, I packed the Boppy Lounger because I love it! You can carry it onto the plane with you and it comes in handy if there is no one seated next to you.
Also, I recommend a backpack style diaper bag for travel.
Insight on the security protocol.
TSA will make you send everything through the scanner…car seat, stroller, diaper bags, etc. They will not allow you to bring the stroller or car seat through the metal detector. You can either carry or babywear the child through it. Also, they let you go through the old school one and you don’t have to do the one where you hold your arms up. If you babywear, be prepared for a pat down.
Security is a bit of a hot mess with all of that gear, especially if you also have to take off your shoes and get your large electronics out. Just know that you are going to be that girl with a ton of crap and let it go! 🙂
You can gate check your car seat and stroller at no cost.
You can also check your baby gear for free but I prefer to gate check because I feel that they’re a little more gentle with it (whether I’m accurate in saying that is another story). Also, you can use your stroller if you need through the airport.
Y’all know you can never trust an airline not to get your stuff banged up or filthy so you might want to invest in a bag for your car seat and stroller. I use one for my seat but nothing for the stroller. I purchased and oversized laundry bag at Target and it does the trick. You can also buy fancy car seat protection bags.
Once you check your seat and stroller, you’ll probably want to babywear.
I wear Finn in the Ergo a lot in the airport. Sometimes I leave him in the stroller but I mostly wear him to keep him close and for ease of doing things like getting your stuff through security, packing your car seat in the protector bag, etc.
Once you get to your seat and prepare for takeoff, you’ll be instructed that you cannot babywear for takeoff or landing.
They will make you take your babywearing device off and instruct you to hold your baby. This seems counterintuitive to me but whatever.
Nurse on takeoff and landing if baby’s ears seem to be bothering him/her.
It will encourage them to swallow and make their ears pop. It also helps calm many fussy babies.
I’ve found that Finn doesn’t mind flying and I actually think the loudness of the plane mimics our white noise machine so he loves it. All of this is subject to change when he gets a little older and more active. Haha.
People are nice, accept their help.
Many will go out of their way to help a mother with a small child. I’ve been on the receiving end of SO MUCH kindness while traveling with Finn. Restores my faith in the world a little bit. I’ve had people offer to buy me food/water, carry things and lend a helping hand.
Wait to get off the plane.
I usually let everyone else get off first before I try to gather all of my things and go. I think that people’s patience would wear thin if they were waiting for me to get my stuff together and the Ergo on.
I think that about wraps it up. Don’t be intimidated. It’s a lot but it can be done and can be done solo! Let me know if you have any questions. Happy to chime in!
My Favorite Travel Baby Gear
Backpack (I use a traditional backpack for travel because it’s so functional and I can fit so much in it)
Muslin blankets (great for MANY uses!)