Flying With an Infant: 7 Tips For a Low-Stress Experience  

infant sleeping on plane


Whether you're planning a family vacation or are moving across the country, there are times in life where it may be necessary to fly with an infant. While maybe not the most ideal situation, there are plenty of seasoned travelers who fly with their babies on a regular basis. By keeping some tried-and-true tips in mind as you plan your flight, you can cut down on stress not just for you and your baby—but for everybody aboard your plane!

1. Save Money With a Lap Infant Fare

Many airlines allow infants under a certain age to travel as "lap infants," meaning they do not require their own seat nor their own fare. Typically, the cutoff for a lap infant fare is two years of age.

Taking advantage of lap infant fares can save you a lot of money on your trip, but it's important to understand that this means you will not have a dedicated seat for your child on the plane; your infant will need to sit on your lap or be strapped to your person via an infant carrier. The good news? Most infants flying for the first time will prefer to be held, anyway.

2. Check as Much Luggage/Gear as Possible

If you've ever traveled with an infant before, then you know just how much stuff you need to pack. Take some time to review your airline's policies on checking baby gear and other luggage before you fly. Often times, essential gear like strollers and car seats can be checked at no additional charge, saving you the hassle of bringing them aboard the plane or paying extra for them.

The more gear you can check, the less you'll have to lug around the airport and onto the plane. You can also cut down on the amount of stuff you need to bring for your baby by using a rental service for things like high chairs, portable cribs, and car seats!

3. Schedule Your Flight Wisely

If you have a little flexibility when it comes to when you can schedule your flight, try to plan around your infant's nap/bedtimes. In a perfect world, your baby will sleep through the majority (or all) of the flight—and the best way to make this happen is to stick with the routine he or she is familiar with. If there's a flight that's scheduled to depart right around your child's usual naptime or bedtime, go for it!

4. Take Advantage of Early Boarding

Many airlines allow priority boarding for those traveling with lap infants and other small children. Check with your airline ahead of time to find out whether this will be the case for your flight. If so, take advantage of this offering by showing up at the gate early. This will give you the ample time you need to get settled into your seats on the plane and stow away any strollers and other baby gear. Most airlines also have gate employees who will be happy to help you get all your gear onto the plane, so don't hesitate to ask if you need assistance.

5. Get Ahead of Earaches

One of the most common problems people run into when traveling with infants is that their ears (like any adults') will pop with changes in altitude and cabin pressure. Unfortunately, babies don't quite understand how to cope with (or avoid) that unpleasant sensation. As a result, they may get irritable and cry—especially during take-off and landing.

Parents and guardians traveling with infants can get ahead of this ear pain and the tantrums associated with it by planning ahead. Specifically, giving baby a pacifier or bottle during departure and landing can help infants reduce pressure build-up that can cause discomfort.

6. Minimize In-Flight Diaper Changes

Trying to change a diaper in an airplane restroom is generally not the most pleasant experience. With this in mind, it's a good idea to plan for a last-minute diaper change right before you and your baby board the plane. This can be done in the much more spacious airport restroom. For a shorter flight, you may even be able to get away with zero in-flight diaper changes, though this will be largely up to your baby!

7. Pack Novel Toys and Favorite Snacks

To cut down on boredom and irritability, it's a good idea to pack some toys and favorite snacks for your baby in your carry-on bag. Consider packing a few new toys that your infant has never seen or played with before, as these will be more likely to capture (and keep) his or her attention. If you have a tablet or other device with the ability to download video, you might also consider loading up a few episodes of your infant's favorite cartoon. There's really no better excuse for screen time than on a flight with an infant, after all!

The Bottom Line on Flying With an Infant

While these tips will not guarantee a 100% stress-free flight with your baby, they should help to significantly cut down on your hassle. And of course, choosing a family-friendly airport can really make all the difference in your experience.

At PIE, we take a lot of pride in offering kid-friendly flights to and from the St. Pete and Clearwater areas of Florida. Ready to book your next trip? Contact us today to get started! 

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