Making it easier to fly with baby this Summer
Some of the best advice for parents taking holidays with very young babies is ‘don’t fly by the seat of your pants’. Planning is everything. With a bit of inside information and a firm plan of action, you’ll be fine – and so will your little one. Rather than leave it all to chance, there are six simple things you can do to make flying more pleasurable for everyone involved.
Call the airline carrier to book your flight well in advance. Yes, you may pay a few pounds extra this way instead of doing it online. But you’ll be able to talk about family-friendly seating and ask questions like, ‘What happens to my pushchair?’ ‘Can I take a baby-bag on board as well as my handbag?’ ‘Should we allow longer for check-in and security?’ (Yes, always.)
At security, ask staff what they’d like you to do. Some airports insist on checking inside baby-carriers; if baby is asleep, you may be asked if it’s okay to ‘wand’ your little ones – passing a baton-scanner over and under them several times. It’s perfectly harmless, don’t worry.
If you’re taking feeds on board in liquid form, put them into a see-through plastic bag for ease before you get to the airport. Check with the airline (another good reason to phone ahead), to see how much liquid you can take through security on your flight.
Whether you’re using a travel agent or booking everything yourself, flights that leave at a time to suit your routine are ideal. But if you have to push a nap time or a feed forwards or backwards by an hour, it’s not the end of the world. And if you’re going long-haul? It’s usually harder travelling from west to east than going the other way: you’re travelling against the natural sunrise. Don’t rush things. Relax and let baby’s routine be your guide for the first few days.
Once you are on board though, relax and try to enjoy yourself. If you’re having a good time, little ones can pick up on those good vibes and may be more likely to enjoy their own flight.
And if you’d like to breastfeed during the flight, that’s fine too. You may feel more comfortable feeding little one in a window seat, away from strangers who are sitting next to you. This is something else to think about when you’re booking your seats. Very few airlines have space for nursing mothers – but all of them will make sure you can have something to drink, while you’re feeding, and most of them will hold on to a hot snack for you if meal times collide.
Who knows, the flight may be much better than you think. And in all honesty, people do understand that flying with babies can be a little nerve-wracking. If things aren’t going quite to plan? Most passengers will actually be feeling sorry for you – just try to relax.
For the most part, little ones get upset on flights because they’re unable to cope as easily with changes in cabin pressure. If baby doesn’t settle easily, ask the crew if they mind him or her being wrapped snugly on your lap while the safety-belt sign is off. Being closer should calm things down.
And don’t forget, airline staff are there to help make the flight enjoyable for everyone, which includes you too. Especially if your little one is a beautiful baby (and which baby isn’t beautiful?), you may find that you have more helping hands than you expected!