My cousin asked me for tips about flying with a baby and as I typed it up, I realized that sharing what I have learned about flying with an infant & a toddler might help others who haven’t undertaken this adventure yet. Ezra flew from Germany to Maryland, Maryland to Oregon, Oregon to Maryland, & Maryland to Germany at 6 months and then again at 17 months. The trip at 6 months was undoubtedly easier, but it was still manageable. So, here are some things that I have learned. This list is not exhaustive & I would love to hear from others out there of things that worked for them since we are looking at some more flights this summer with a 2-year old! Yippee! (said with a tinge of sarcasm, in case you didn’t catch that!)
1.Bring lots & lots & lots of snacks, drinks, etc. and in lots of different varieties. I brought about 5 different kinds of snacks & partway through the flight Ezra decided he didn’t want any of those, he wanted something I didn’t have. I had to beg the flight attendant for something. Thankfully, she was very kind & even got into the flight attendants’ lunches to get me a banana.
2. Bring lots of things for baby to play with, read, etc. Maybe even hide his favorite toys a couple weeks in advance or get a couple new ones for the occasion.
3. Have your little one suck while you are taking off & landing, whether it be nursing, bottle, sippy cup, or pacifier.
4. If he enjoys movies, maybe see if you can borrow a personal DVD player from someone (or shell out for one of your own – just test it before you leave to make sure it works!).
5. There are usually changing tables in the bathrooms on the airplane. Most people don’t realize they are there, but usually over the toilet is a latch & a little table comes down. It takes up about 1/2 the bathroom & yet, somehow still isn’t quite big enough for a kid! I had to change Ezra kind of sideways on it, even at 6 months! As you can imagine it was even more challenging at 17 months!
6. You can get up & change your child if you really need to while the seatbelt sign is on IF there isn’t tons of turbulence. On one flight, the light had stayed on a LONG time & was pretty smooth. I asked the flight attendant if I could get up & change Ezra and she said, “I have to tell you that when the light is on you must stay in your seat”. She came back with a garbage bag a minute later & said, “…but here’s a bag if you decide to change him”.
7. An obvious one, but let him run/crawl/stretch as long as possible before boarding & during any stopovers you might have. Often easier said than done as it seems we rarely have tons of time before our flights.
8. Ezra loved looking out the window & playing with the window shade.
9. Boarding early is nice on a southwest flight where they don’t give you assigned seats, but if you are flying with another airline that gives assigned seats, it is just as nice to let the kid run as long as possible & board last.
10. Even if it ruins his schedule for the day, cater to his whims. I was too concerned about keeping Ezra’s schedule & getting him down for a nap on time, but he only slept for a short time & then napped a second time later. So just go with the flow while you are traveling.
11. Call the airline and double check what you are allowed to bring for Baby. Some airlines let us bring Ezra’s carseat, stroller, diaper bag, & a carry-on for him. With others it was a bit less.
12. Above all, make sure the favorite blankie, paci, animal (whatever his ‘lovey’ is) makes it into the bag. You might even consider getting a second one just to make sure you have it. We accidentally left the blankie in the crib the morning Micah’s mom & I flew to the states. Micah had to drive home & get it & bring it back. He made it just before we had to go through security! I got a second blankie, because I don’t need that stress every time we fly!
13. Just figure it won’t all go perfectly. Remember that most people around you have gone through it at one time or another and are just feeling compassion for you. A percentage of the others will go through it in the future & won’t be so smug then! 🙂
14. Your child may surprise you! Ezra is (for the most part) a great traveler.