Flying alone with a baby…take a deep breathe.
YOU CAN DO THIS.
Loads of diapers.
How will I eat?
These are all of the things that started to go through my head when I thought about our upcoming flights back in November. I was SO nervous. I remember thinking I can’t do this by myself. Zane and I had flown before when we moved from Chicago to Seattle, but we had my dad with us. I thought it was hard then and I had help. So what was I going to do? I had 6 different flights in the next three weeks and I was going to do them ALL BY MYSELF. Our stops were Chicago, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Chicago again, and then finally back home to Seattle.
Well it’s December now…and I am still alive! I learned a lot while flying and traveling that I thought I would share some helpful tips on flying with a baby.
1.) Make sure you know what your airline requires BEFORE getting to the airport. Each airline requires different things before traveling with an infant. I have only flown Southwest, United, and Alaska airlines BUT each airline had different requirements. Here is a brief summary of what each airline expects if you are wanting to travel with an infant on your lap:
- SOUTHWEST: They do not require you to say anything about your infant when you are purchasing your ticket. They do require that your bring a birth certificate with you to the airport when you arrive. Once you arrive you go to the check in desk, give them the birth certificate, and they will print off both of your boarding passes.
- UNITED: When purchasing a ticket from United you need to say that both you AND your infant will be traveling. They will ask if your infant will be on your lap (free) or in their own seat (normal ticket price). You then will fill in the travel information for both of you. I found that the taxes are higher on the overall price when you add the infant (almost by $30).
- ALASKA: When flying with Alaska you do not need to say anything about your infant when you are purchasing your ticket. They request that if you are traveling with an infant that you call 1-800-252-7522 and have your confirmation number ready. They will then add your infant to your ticket.
2.) Make sure you bring a baby carrier with you to the airport. Whether you have the ERGO (my favorite), Baby Bjorn, or Moby -BRING IT! When I was going through security and getting onto the airplane it was a total life saver. It allowed me to have my hands free to carry everything else.
3.) Make sure to request to go to the front of the security line. According to all of the airport guidelines people with infants are supposed to be able to go to the front of the line. Some of the airports didn’t allow me, while others let me through.
4.) Wear slip on shoes! Yes they will still make you take your shoes off! They also make you take all of your liquids out. If you are bringing breastmilk or formula they may or may not open it.
5.) PLEASE bring a stroller. I can tell you that it is very difficult to carry everything without a stroller. I did two flights with a stroller and it was so much easier. I carried Zane in the baby carrier and piled everything else up on the stroller. When I didn’t have the stroller I surprisingly packed everything onto my roll on carry on and had the entire airport looking at me as I walked across the airport.
6.) Bring a boppy if you have one. If you are breastfeeding this is extremely helpful to have while on the airplane.
7.) Feed your baby on take off’s and landings. This will help their ears to pop. If you can’t get them to feed then try to give them a pacifier or something to suck on. Zane had no problem with his ears on anything of the flights.
8. MAKE FRIENDS! I made a friend on each flight that helped me to get my bags in the overhead compartments as well as helped me fold up my stroller. One friend even helped me carry everything to my car after landing. People were the biggest help to me flying…(not the employees).
9.) Expect that your child WILL poop on the plane. Zane waited until were on each flight to go to the bathroom…typical boy 🙂 Each plane has one bathroom that has a changing table and they will give you a special bag to dispose of your diaper.
10.) CALM DOWN: In the end remember that you will make it! Make sure that you have help getting to the airport and help waiting for you when you arrive. Don’t panic too much because it will just make you more anxious in the end and NOT CHANGE ANYTHING.
Anyways, safe travels!! You can do this. Make sure to arrive at the airport in plenty of time and bring some snacks in your bag for yourself. Oh and my recommendation is to fly SOUTHWEST airlines! On empty flights they let Zane have his own seat (it was AMAZING). They also let you have 2 free checked bags and allow you to bring everything you need for you baby on the plane with you.
Lots of love from this flying mama,