A couple of days ago, my friend Rhiannon showed up on my doorstep, fresh off 2 flights with her 4yo, 2yo and 6 month old in tow. She was killing time in Singapore before setting off on a 13 hour flight to London. As I was coo’ing over her gorgeous baby, she said she couldn’t understand why so many people thought she was crazy for doing all these flights. In fact we were both in agreement that this is the time to do it! Fast forward a year, when baby Percy is a no longer in a bassinet and on the move requires even more energy, patience and possibly alcohol. She also shared an interesting tip; she delayed transitioning Percy from bassinet to cot so that he would still be comfortable in a bassinet on the plane. So if you are about to embark on your first flight with a baby, I hope you find these flying tips useful….
When can I fly with my newborn baby?
My youngest daughter flew longhaul at 6 weeks. As far as I’m aware, there is no medical reason why young babies shouldn’t fly longhaul. However, sensible timing dictates waiting until they’ve had their immunisations at four weeks old. Plus you also need time to get them their first passport!
How do I book an infant ticket?
Even if your baby is perching on your lap, most airlines will require you purchase an infant ticket. Rather than do this online, I think it’s easier to phone the airline directly or have your travel agent book your tickets. This is especially true if booking for an unborn child. For this, you can actually book the ticket, despite not knowing the name, gender and date of birth. After the baby is born, call the airline and update the information.
How do I reserve an airline bassinet?
Here are some tips on securing that airline bassinet. Rules vary from airline as does bassinet comfort/quality. Many airlines offer a basic bassinet which is essentially a box with a mattress. Check on Seatguru where the bassinet seats are allocated on your flight. Others like Virgin and British Airways, offer a ‘car seat’ style bassinet for slightly older babies (see photo below).
What do I need to pack in my hand luggage?
I’ve made this one easy for you. Simply print off my hand luggage packing checklist and work through it methodically. Make sure you travel with more nappies and bottles than you think you’ll need in case you are delayed. Plus change of clothes for you all!
What type of bag should I use as hand luggage?
I know you’ve spent hours researching a glamorous nappy bag. But when it comes to flying, my vote always goes for the backpack (comfortable and hands free). Go for one with pockets and compartments. I love my Pacapod Picos, which I still use despite Jetlag & Mayhem being 8 and 6.
What type of buggy / stroller should I take on holiday?
There is no correct answer for this. It all depends on what you already own and how much you’ll be using it on your vacation. Here are some suggestions and links to reviews.
Did you know there is a lightweight stroller that you an actually take onboard as hand luggage? The Babyzen YOYO could be a worthwhile purchase if you intend to travel frequently. Here’s a post detailing 4 strollers that will fit in overhead luggage.
I’m so confused! What do I do with my buggy and / or car seat at the airport?
No problem, all your questions answered here from when to check it in to where you collect it.
How do I entertain my baby onboard?
A wee baba will require very little entertainment aside from eating and sleeping. Slightly older babies will enjoy activities from teething toys to sucking on snacks. Some more ideas for you here.
How do I sterilize my milk bottles on a plane?
There’s a lot of kit out there that can help make your journey easier. Check out this earlier post on how to sterilize your bottles onboard a plane.
How do I get my baby to sleep on a plane?
The million dollar question! Every baby and every flight is different. Mine always required some element of rocking to sleep. This is where bringing a baby carrier e.g. Ergo as hand luggage is indispensable! I would either strap my baby to me and wander up and down the aisles jiggling to sleep. Or place my baby in the bassinet and stand there wiggling it back and forth until they slept. A scarf/pashmina is always handy to drape over the bassinet (leaving a space for ventilation) which can help block out the light and other distractions.