Mighty Life List
Jan 23 2008

12 Travel Tips for Flying With a Baby

Twelve Tips for Flying with a Baby

In Hank’s first year, we’ve visited four different states and three different countries. We’re very tired. Still, we’ve learned a lot about flying with the little guy, and it’s all stuff you should know too.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be comfortable, entertained, and prepared for the duration of your flight. And if not? Well, at least you’ll be in Belize when it’s over.

1. Book wisely. If your baby is on a regular sleep schedule, take a moment to savor your good luck. Then book your flight during nap or sleep time. Booking tickets is your first chance to optimize seating, though fortunately not your last.

2. Ditch your diaper bag. This smallish Samsonite tote is Hank’s travel bag. (On sale for $20! The hell?) We use it as his carry-on instead of the diaper bag because it has more room, but still stows under the seat. The extra pockets and U-shaped top zipper also make things much more accessible.

3. Provide entertainment. Pack a few new toys if the baby is older, otherwise cup lids and pretzel packets will fascinate. Leave noise-making toys at home. Even soft jingle or squeak will irritate others after an hour or so.

4. Prep for security screening. Invest in a couple of sturdy clear bags that you can yank out of the tote when you get to the security gate. (By the way, food doesn’t count toward your quart-bag limit on toiletries.) We use a medium bag for all his food—usually two ready-to-use bottles of formula, one empty bottle filled with the right amount of powdered formula, and a baggie of powdered formula with the scoop in the bag. The little bag houses children’s Tylenol, hand cream, travel-sized butt paste, a nasal sprayer, eye drops, thermometer, etc.

5. Plan for mishaps. Tuck in two fresh onesies for the kiddo, and a clean T-shirt for you or your partner, in case there’s an incident. You’ll want a few quart-sized plastic zippie bags for wet clothes. I also throw in a large plastic yard bag because it packs so small and is useful if you have a little guy who decides to poop, pee, spit up, and repeat. Dress the baby for easy changes.

6. Prep for fussiness. If you know your baby is a screamer, pack a bag full of foam earplugs for your neighbors. We also find that chamomile or herbal teething drops help calm our baby when he’s grumpy.

7. Buy a couple bottles of water. You can’t get bottled water through security in The States, but you can bring it on the plane if you buy it at the airport. The water on planes has lots of bacteria, so I add bottled water to our powdered formula. We also use a little bottled water and bathroom soap as a last resort if we have to wash a bottle for re-use on board.

8. Strategize seating. A bulkhead seat or an extra empty seat will change your life for the next few hours. First ask for the bulkhead (if you’re traveling internationally with a baby who’s under 28″ or so, this is where they hook you up with bassinets). If they’re not available, and you’re traveling with a partner, ask them to seat one of you on the window and the other on the aisle. This often leaves you with an empty seat between, because no one wants to sit in the middle. If you still haven’t wrangled an empty seat when you get to the gate, bring your cute baby up to the counter and ask very nicely if they can help you find an empty seat should one open up. Then ask if you can get them some coffee.

9. Keep your stroller with you. They’ll give you luggage tags at the gate, and you just leave it outside the door of the plane. We travel with a Kolcraft car seat stroller so we can check the wheels and take the car seat aboard if there are empty seats.

10. Make friends. Be extra kind to every crewmember you encounter. When you board the plane, show the flight attendants your baby, introduce them, take your baby’s hand and help him wave. Flight attendants are awesome, and they’re your allies in keeping the little one quiet and happy. They’ll heat bottles, bring extra blankets, supply cup lids, you name it. But only if you’re pleasant.

11. Do a scrub down. Our doctor advised us to use a few baby wipes to clean our arm rests and table trays. We even clean the light buttons and air vents so everything we touch is a little more sanitary. When you use the changing table in the bathroom, you might also want to wipe off anything the baby can reach in there.

12. Ease ear pressure. The baby should suck on something during takeoff and landing. Nursing works, as does bottle feeding, pacifiers, or a lollipop.

That’s all there is to it. Easier than you thought, right? You’re welcome to leave more ideas in the comments. Tomorrow I’ll do a little roundup of the best way to get through airport security efficiently. You can hardly wait.

57 Responses to “12 Travel Tips for Flying With a Baby”

  • Barbara Says:

    Excellent tips! We wrapped little gifts for our toddler kids in their carry-ons. Very exciting for new toys and presents! Also, saving money to make connections is tempting, but do not do it with toddlers prone to air sickness. Lesson learned the hard way in Amsterdam…and Copenhagen…

  • Yolanda Says:

    As someone who was afraid of the effort it took to bring my infant to the grocery store, I welcome, and am amazed by, these tips.

  • Pascha Says:

    Now that I have a baby, these travel tips are awesome. And I’m really looking forward to your tips on getting through security.

    But WHEN I was pregnant, it was a nightmare getting through security. The reason was because I had a PICC line and was hooked up to a zofran pump, and also TPN and lipids, and liquid benadryl in vials to use for motion sickness. I had called the airline ahead of time, and they said I would need a letter from my doctor stating that all the liquid medicine I had was necessary for me to have on the flight with me.

    Everytime I went through security, it took at least 45 minutes. None of the liquids could be x-rayed, so I always had to wait for a “supervisor” to come over and hand inspect everything. Then I was questioned about the syringes and needles I had. Um, duh, for getting my other meds out of the vial and then into my PICC line.

    But the best part was how my zofran pump tested positive for “bomb making materials.” Oh lordy, that was fun.

    The worst part was at the beginning of my trip when one of the security guards said I could only bring enough medication with me to get me through the plane ride (this wasn’t true, but I didn’t know, so I packed the rest in my suitcase.) $2,600 worth of Zofran went into my suitcase, and they lost my luggage. I had to wait two days to get it back, and by then it wasn’t usable, and I also had to get more while I was on my trip, which Delta STILL has not reimbursed me for because they’re claiming I was allowed to bring it with me. Stupid TSA agent.

    The only upside to all of it was I was allowed to bring my own bottled water with me through security and I didn’t have to buy it in the airport. :)

  • Aimee Greeblemonkey Says:

    All great tips.

  • Kristi Says:

    No, I did not really need a totebag, but how can you pass up something that is 90% off? Thanks for the link!

  • Carolyn Says:

    We do a lot of these things when we’ve flown with our child (at various ages). One thing we do differently is use a backpack with lots of pockets as a diaper bag/carry on so that we can have both hands free when we’re moving through the airport.

    And starting at age 2, our son really enjoyed having some toy planes along for the ride. We always read plane books to him before flying, and he likes piloting his own planes, both when we’re in the plane and when we’re watching planes from the terminal.

    We tried lugging his car seat through the airport once. That was a big hassle, so we’ve checked it ever since. We had been told that airlines have sturdy plastic bags to protect car seats, but we’ve had bad luck finding them–we’re usually told they’re all out when we check in. We’re still hanging on to a battered United bag from several flights ago. There’s more packing tape involved at this point than original plastic. I’d like to find some kind of strong clear plastic bag that’s big enough for a car seat that we could buy to ensure that the carseat stays dry while traveling.

  • Rhinestone Says:

    Ugh. Maybe it’s time to rename this site “Nobody Cares What Your Kid Spit Up For Lunch.” Longtime reader, very little left here for me now. Happens to all the best comedians too — one kid, and “the world is a different place,” kinder, gentler — meaning you have lost your edge, traded in your interestingness for the World’s Cutest Onesie. RIP Mightygirl. Hello Mightymom! Ugh.

  • Melissa Says:

    Jeesuzallmighty. I had no idea how much organizing you have to do for traveling with a baby. I am lucky if I pack enough chapstick for myself. Thanks for sharing – all good info.

    And maybe Rhinestone should get a grip and realize that this is YOUR site about YOUR life. Hello?

  • Steph Says:

    Changing tables? On airplanes? I must be flying the wrong carrier! I had them on my international flights, but never domestic. How I managed that poopy diaper en route to San Diego I’ll never know. I only know that I ordered two bloody marys afterward.

    Packing formula: I premeasure a bottle’s worth of formula in snack size zip baggies. Just add water to the bottle, rip off a corner of the baggie and shake it in. No scoop needed.

    Disregard ole disgrutled Rhinestone. I think motherhood has given you great dimension and (though I did not think it possible) much more “interestingness”! How I wish you posted about motherhood more often than you do!

  • Emily Says:

    Meow! I always think it’s amusing when people have to publicly announce that they’re no longer going to read a blog. Run along then, Rhinestone, you’ve gotten your attention. (Great post, Maggie!)

  • 12 TRAVEL TIPS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY · Airline Security Says:

    [...] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThat’s all there is to it. Easier than you thought, right? You’re welcome to leave more ideas in the comments. Tomorrow I’ll do a little roundup of the best way to get through airport security efficiently. You can hardly wait. [...]

  • C Says:

    Drink heavily when child becomes 18 months and doesn’t want to sit nicely in the car seat or your lap.

  • HeatherK Says:

    Bring a playsilk for peekaboo games and playing hide the toy or dress up daddy or what have you.

  • Baby Girl Says:

    Rhinestone will be missing out! Funny interesting single girls have a way of morphing into even funnier more interesting moms. Any diamond can always benefit from an additional fact and will shine even brighter. I enjoy your blog!

    Jan from http://www.unique-baby-gear-ideas.com/

  • Judith Roenke Says:

    Thanks for the tips. What do you carry with you when strolling on foreign streets? How do you keep his stuff from getting stolen? I always have so much crap with me I can barely manage it all. Do you wear him or use the stroller out in town? For cleaning changing tables I have a baggie of lysol wipes clearly marked DO NOT USE ON BABY (in case someone else wants to change him for me.) Also , I LOVE my HappyTushies wet bag for messy clothes. It is washable, so eco friendly. Looking forward to your other tips!

  • Lara Says:

    Excellent tips, Maggie. The best part of your tips is that it gets you used to traveling with your little person and it gets your little person used to the routine of travel. We took our 12-year old on a ski trip to New Mexico when she was 5 months old and haven’t stopped traveling since (we have a 10-year old now, too). The only problem that we ever had was that they had a tendency (when they were very small, but still walking age) to fall asleep upon landing, so that they had to be carried off the plane (or woken up after only a few moments sleep – grumpy!). They are veteran travelers now, though, and know how to behave themselves perfectly, whether they are zip-lining in the rainforest canopies of Costa Rica, looking at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, or eating seafood at Le Bernadin. Really – they even know to take off their jackets and shoes at the airport security and to take their laptops out of their backpacks. The only other thing that I have to recommend is that you should always have childrens’ Benadryl on hand. You probably won’t need it, but if they get REALLY cranky, you can always use it to KNOCK ‘EM OUT! Hank actually might be too young for that, I don’t remember, but it’s GREAT for 3-year olds….

    Oh, and Rhinestone: PISS OFF!

  • Victoria Says:

    Wow, these are awesome tips. They kinda make me want to have a baby just so I can try them!

    Hrm……

  • Meg Says:

    OK, look, I am seriously the most facinated by your endless organization. Pretty much on any subject: meal planning, goal planning, baby planning. I’m not going to say you are a more organized person then I am… you are a few years further along in the process, and I’m taking notes!
    Also, how do you make orginization so interesting?
    Anyway, more more more! Also, I renew my request for a discussion of your goal planning practices, which you have mentioned a bit. I don’t even need to know your goals, but I’m curious about how you approach it…

    Viva you (& family).

  • ellen Says:

    I’d only add a sling if that’s your baby’s thing. At 2, we still can’t imagine a trip without it, as it’s a surefire way of comforting her and getting her to sleep, both on and off the plane. I took a stroller once and never did again- the less, the better!

  • Melanie at Beanpaste Says:

    First, my tip: Dress your baby or toddler in shoes that are easy to quickly take on and off, since security will sometimes request that EVERYONE’S shoes come off. Slip-on is key. If they’re not walking, skip the shoes altogether and opt for socks.

    Secondly, a comment on Rhinestone’s comment: I’ve followed this site a mighty long time and have to say that, if anything, Maggie’s tone and humor have stayed consistent even as her life has evolved. Given the mix of travel writing, projects, anecdotes, photography, etc. posted here, I would hardly characterize MightyGirl as a mommy blog. And if it is a mommy blog? It’s one of the best written ones around.

    I’m resisting the urge to type “suck it” now.

  • Meegan Says:

    Carolyn, we bought an extra large, cheap, lightweight duffel bag that works really well when checking a car seat. It’s thin so it smushes down easily, but it’s HUGE. Highly recommend.

  • Marlespo Says:

    My nearly 4 year old has taken more than 20 international flights since my husband & I are a US/UK couple, and I’g agree with all of that except the first one. It just depends on the temperament of the kid. My new son, a year old this weekend (also names Henry) sleeps on planes during what would be his normal bedtimes. My older one? OMG. Nearly died from the screams because he didn’t WANT to sleep on the planes, ever, even as an infant, it was too damned exciting for him and so every. single. flight he’d end up so exhausted that he was a total nightmare. The best flights for HIM were awake time flights, we’d leave super early in the morning, get there at night. He’s easier only now that he’s older and can be entertained by coloring books, etch-a-sketches, stickers, and movies on the ipod.

    So in other words, book your flights depending on what kind of personality your kid has. Easy going, happy to sleep kid VS. crazy amounts of energy high-maintenance kid.

    I’ve got one of each, so we’re totally screwed each time we fly! :)

    Also: I second the notion of packing an extra tshirt for you. I didn’t do that on 1 flight. I picked my son (then around 9 months old I think), raised him over my head and said “welcome back to america baby boy” and he barfed half-digested yogurt ON MY FACE. ON THE PLANE.

    Some babies are good flyers. Others, not so much. Organizing helps but sometimes it is just gonna suck and theres nothing you can do about it.

  • misstraceynolan Says:

    Hey! You’re up for an award! I just voted for you : )

  • Lisa's Chaos Says:

    WOW! I don’t ever see myself needing to fly with a baby but who knows, I am a grandma now. Those look like some great tips! And it’s great that you’re sharing them with everyone. If I’m ever on a plane with a baby who isn’t with me and it doesn’t have a squeaky toy I’ll know that person reads your blog. :)

    Oh I know the perfect people to share these tips with! Some of our friends are here from France (have been for about a year) and they’ll be flying to France in April with a 5 month old and 2 year old. Perfect tips for them. Thanx!

  • catherine Says:

    I don’t even have a baby and I found this interesting. :) Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Jan Says:

    Tip of the Weary Traveler Hat to you, Maggie, for your suggestion of a big bag of earplugs for others if your child starts screaming. You may have said it tongue-in-cheek, but I prefer to thank you for the acknowledgment that sometimes babies are all about the decibels, and in a no-way-out shared space, earplugs from the parents would not only be appreciated, but would probably crack a smile from some of the other grown-ups. Great idea!

  • Filipino Girl Says:

    Nice blog you have friend, very interesting contents… i also have blog similar to this category. Would you mind if I ask you for a link exchange? Regards…

  • Stacey Says:

    Another half of a US/UK couple here. I’d agree with most of these things (though I have to say I’m a little less germ-phobic…not that I let my son play in poop or anything, I just am not too worried about wiping down every single surface he might touch.) We were helped enormously on one flight with a very disgruntled fellow passenger (I didnt ask to sit next to your baby etc) by a lovely flight attendent that my son totally charmed. Anyway, my point was going to be that the airlines don’t always let you take your stroller right up the door of the plane. One time they insisted on checking it (and eventually I gave up trying to change their minds for the sake of my own sanity) which was kind of a pain, because then I had to carry my son through the huge lines at immigration (and this was long past his sling days). My main tip is if your kid can move around, even if he’d under two, buy a seat for him. Yes, it’s more expensive, but especially if you are flying with your partner (which means you’ll have the whole row of three if you’re at the side of the plane) it works wonders for your sanity. (Not too many empty seats in coach on international flights from London to LAX in my experience, so no way would I chance it.) But you have to be careful about which kid of car seat you can use so check, double check and triple check before you take it.

  • Sara Says:

    I don’t have a baby (nor am I anticipating traveling with one anytime soon), but these tips are so great. I hope lots of parents Google “how to travel with a baby,” find your list, and take notes.

  • Bookratt Says:

    When Boodle was little, we used the Sit n Stroll car seat, stroller and booster seat in one, as it is FAA approved for take off, landing and the duration of flite, and is NHTSA approved as a car seat, too. That thing was awesome.

  • Matthew Says:

    Great advice. But did you know if you’re traveling with twins you can’t sit in the same aisle as your partner? Not enough oxygen masks.

  • Liz Says:

    You are saving yourself an email from a stranger with this post: our babe will be taking his first plane ride this year, and I have been wanting to ask you for advice. You appear to have sold Amazon out of that tote – I am bummed!

  • Lily Says:

    Great tips! I travel alot with my child and have one more thing to add – the Downtime Sleepy Hat. Check it out at http://www.downtimebaby.com. It helps block out the unfamiliar surroundings and light so that baby can sleep.

  • steph Says:

    Somebody mentioned checking the car seat, but we tried that once (ONCE!) and ended up with an 18-month-old who thought she was in a big room with a bunch of chairs and didn’t understand this was transportation, and she needed to be buckled in. The car seat helped to get it through her little mind that she was in a vehicle of some sort. And of course, she fell asleep (still does, at 6) when she’s in a moving vehicle. Once that idea was firmly planted in her head (after several trips) we could ditch the car seat, and she knew to stay put and/or sleep on the plane.

    It sure was a bitch carrying it through the airport, though. I would have loved that set of wheels there. Though we would have needed this instead, for the toddler seat (maybe your next step up, Maggie!): http://tinyurl.com/2pcl7g

    Also, totally agree about the backpack. OH! And, when you have a layover and a toddler, RUN that kid through the airport and wear him/her out. Must use up that baby energy before you get on the plane (better than benadryl, because it’s not going to mess up the sleep schedule, and why would you drug your kid unless absolutely necessary?)! The DTW Northwest terminal is great for this – a long stretch dotted with moving sidewalks and they even have little play houses about every 100 yards. Excellent (though a complete indoor playground would be really super!). We have run through there many times.

  • Heidi Says:

    Best discovery ever for keeping a toddler entertained on a flight…band-aids. We bought several boxes of character band-aids for a cross-country flight and barely heard a peep out of him. All we had to do was hold a small bag so he could put the discarded wrappers in it. He had a ball sticking them all over himself…and on us too.

  • Ms. Karen Says:

    These tips are fabulous, but what I really need to know is how to travel to Germany with 12 teenagers. Besides drinking myself into a coma on the plane.

    I love the bandaid idea, Heidi, and I have to wonder if the folks at the gate thought there’d been a bit of turbulance when you got off the plane.

  • Margo Says:

    Thanks for the tips! I wish this post had been up two years ago!

    My son is now 27 months old. Last year around this time, after tireless internet searches, I found this (FAA approved) harness/carseat alternative. It worked well and we’re bringing it on our trip this year, too. If you can rent a car with a car seat when you get to your destination, why lug a cumbersome car seat with you on the plane?

    Check out the site (the site has printable in-flight documents as proof of its FAA approval if crew members question you about it, as well): http://www.kidsflysafe.com/index.php

  • Valerie Says:

    Thank you for this. I will be flying with my 18 month old for the first time in Feb. I have been told to drink. We’ll see if any of your tips ease the pain. :)

  • Kim Says:

    These are great tips! We have a 10-month-old who has taken three trips (totaling 10 legs) so far and here are my two cents:

    1.) We always end up feeding our daughter at least twice the amount of formula that she would normally drink. Pack a lot of powder or concentrate with you. Offer the baby a bottle every hour and a half–it is amazing how quickly they get dehydrated and even more amazing how keeping them hydrated keeps them calm.

    2.) If you use formula, pack your carry-on as though you’re going to get stranded at the airport or at your connecting city. We got stuck in Phoenix for a day while our packed luggage continued on without us to Mexico (along with a jumbo tub of formula). We had enough formula on us to cover a flight delay, but not enough for that and ended up having to take a taxi to a drug store to buy more. I would recommend bringing as much as you can in travel containers–it’s pretty scary to be stuck somewhere and know that you can’t get your hands on formula if you really need it.

  • Emily Says:

    This is a great post to prepare families for their first flight. A couple things to add: When my daughter was younger, I took a small photo album and put pictures of various things she liked – babies, dogs, cats, ducks, trees, etc., then added different textures, colors and pictures of other images. It kept her occupied for a while. One, because it was new and two, because it was full of everything she liked.

    Airport security does restrict some homemade foods that are more paste-like, such as guacamole or hummus, if it’s in too-large of a container. One way to get around this is to clean out a babyfood jar, if you happen to have one, and put it in there. It’s under the size limit.

    One final thing – we were required to have a $12 paper ticket for our daughter when flying to Mexico over the holidays (even though she was a lap child). It seemed ridiculous, but when we arrived at SFO, and the line for e-tickets stretched to San Jose, we were one happy family. We were able to check in at the paper tickets line where there was no one in line. Straight through to security.

  • Katie Says:

    Well I throughly enjoyed this post (even though I’m not a mom), your knack for organization is astounding, thanks for sharing your life and family.

  • Sarah Says:

    Really have to disagree with the bulkhead suggestion. We flew to France w/ our 1yo and were switched to bulkhead. Cons: 1) all-night movie playing on wall 1 ft. away too distracting for baby to sleep (even though we followed step 1 & flew during bedtime) 2) no back-of-seat pockets (no seats in front) for all of baby’s stuff meant we couldn’t have easy access to his things 3) when we made a little nest for baby on the floor (since we had the extra space) mean flight attendant made us wake him up because “if the plane drops he’ll hit the ceiling) and 4) in bulkhead trays come out of the armrests (again no seats in front) meant once baby was woken up by mean flight attendant, we couldn’t lay him out on our laps.

  • andrew Says:

    Belize!?! But we were going to Hawaii!

    *ducks and covers*

    Very timely!

  • Kate Says:

    I would add that we bought an Eddie Bauer brand car seat cover at Target — it is big and ballistic with lots of handles. Great for checking the seat… One thing, though — wrap the seat in a big plastic garbage bag INSIDE of the cover — just in case it rains and the seat sits outside getting poured on. The cover keeps it maneuverable; the plastic bag keeps it dry.

  • sarah Says:

    Excellent advice. I don’t even have a kid yet & thought it was helpful. It’s saved in my “things to remember when I become a mom” file. :)

  • Caroline Says:

    Maggie, thank you! My husband and I are traveling from Australia to Europe in April with our daughter who will then be 7 months old. Advice like this – and the same for the security check info – is appreciated.

  • katie Says:

    Hey we are off on a trip soon with our three month old and three year old. If they don’t have an extra seat available will they check the carseat (not just the wheel thingy) at the gate? We bought one for our new baby and I think it will be awesome at the airport, but just a little concerned about the whole check at gate/carryon thing.

  • Maggeh Says:

    Katie, you get two tags at the gate and affix one to the wheel thingie and one to the car seat. Then you fold up the wheels and leave both pieces on the gang plank right outside the airplane. Might want to carry a cover for the car seat if you don’t want it to get dirty, but it’s not essential.

  • KC Says:

    Nice, if somewhat compulsive, collection of tips! Here’s one for when they’re toddlers: always have a set of books or games (size depending on duration of flight)that they’ve NEVER SEEN BEFORE (you know what they say about familiarity breeding contempt). When the Wiggling Fussies hit, judicioulsy administer said distractions; hopefully you make it to your destination alive. We had a special hiding place just for our “travel toys” (a closet, actually). Of course, like matches or late to work excuses, they usually work only once.

  • Dan Says:

    Hey Maggie,
    You rock.
    Know what’s better than a stroller?
    http://www.amazon.com/Universal-175-lb-Capacity-Luggage-Platform/dp/B000GLSYHO/ref=pd_sbs_a_title_5
    Once the kiddo is forward facing in a car seat (Hank has a ways to go, but soon). Strap the car seat to the luggage rack. Kiddo rides around the airport in the car seat in the luggage rack.
    Break it down as you get on the plane. Rack goes in the overhead bin. Car seat goes in the kiddos seat. (Most airlines offer half off kids seats if you call and ask. And the extra seat is well worth the money regardless). Once on the plane, the car seat is just like being in the car. They “can’t” get out until the plane is on the ground except to go to the potty.
    No waiting for the stroller to be brought up. Get off the plane with everyone else.
    Kiddo likes watching the people. And after she started walking the stroller was pretty much useless anyway.
    It makes hauling the car seat that much easier.
    Use the bungy straps included across the front. Run one short bungy through the normal seat belt holes and connect to the luggage rack. My 3 year old still rides in it without any scariness that it’s going to fall off. Plus it is easy to run through security (pop off the 2 bungies and everything goes through the normal security screen.
    I travel with her by myself several times a year.
    Another tip I picked up from MetroDad. Always have cash. Always buy a round of drinks for anyone that looks remotely grumpy about the kiddo. We got stuck in the very last row of a flight from monteray with a real asshole. But $10 worth of booze later he sacked out. (Our kiddo was great).

  • AB Says:

    A fun tip – ask a flight attendant if your little one can have a pair of wings. We just did this with our infant daughter’s first plane ride. Makes for some cute pictures and a small keepsake to show her one day.

  • Flubberwinkle Says:

    I found the handing out foam earplugs an exceptional tip! Those with a sense of humor will be more sympathetic. Those without a sense of humor will appreciate how much you respect your co-passengers.

  • kay Says:

    Great tips Maggie. We have found that our daughter sleeps better on the plane if she is in a car seat. However, as people have noted, what a pain to drag through the airport. Until I found this, http://www.gogobabyz.com/products/gogo_kids.html
    greatest thing ever. You can make the car seat a stroller. You have a car seat for the plane, the rental car and for the cab, which then can be used as a stroller. Granted not the most convenient stroller, but a stroller. Has made traveling much easier with a toddler.

  • Shalini Says:

    I SO wish I had thought to bring extra clothes for myself when my 15 month old son barfed all over himself and me halfway through a 5 hour flight. Luckily, I was wearing a short sleeved T over a long sleeved one, so I was able to take the most barfilicious one off and keep the other on.

    Another thing to remember? When you are removing the offending shirt in the airplane bathroom, sitting there in just your bra while your youngster stands in just his diaper and pulls all the toilet paper off the roll, make sure you remembered to LOCK THE DOOR TO THE BATHROOM. That was a fun moment.

  • Isabel Kallman Says:

    These are fabulous.

    I would add the following:

    1) bring your own baby blankets. The airplane ones are super gross.
    2) always have extra food/ snacks on hand because of common delays.
    3) you may want to ditch the car seat and use the newly-invented child restraint system: CARES http://www.kidsflysafe.com/ No need to lug around a car seat any longer.

  • Bookratt Says:

    CARES is great, but is FAA approved for airplane use for kids who weigh 22-44 pounds only, so it does not work for the littlest ones/babies.

    I guess you could use the Sit n Stroll carseat, airplane seat and stroller all in one, prior to 20 pounds. Or for 0-40 pounds.

    Then use CARES for the plane and one of the following: the Eddie Bauer Portable Car Seat/Harness, the GO SEAT or a RIDESAFER Travel Vest for the car/taxi.

    The CARES and these others are foldable, lightweight and not too expensive, especially if used for more than one child/passed down in a family.

    But to be honest, I am worried about actual safety with the car seat strap systems vs a real car seat.

    I think they need to make a portable harness for kids that is both NHTSA and FAA approved, so you have one harness for both planes and cars, for travel use.

    Who out there wants to go in on creating an all- in- one kiddie harness with me? We’d make millions!

    Maggie, are you in this?