I’ve flown twice with Declan across the country and back. Our first adventure was in January when he was just 7 weeks. My husband bought me a round trip ticket to visit family for Christmas. He figured I was on leave and could go visit, so he spent his Christmas money on that. I am one lucky woman. We made our annual summer time trip back to PA my stomping grounds just 2 weeks ago, and Declan is now 8 months.
- Bring extra Diapers
My flight to go from Arizona to Pennsylvania is just over 4 hours direct. I brought 10 diapers. Yes this sounds like a lot I know. My thought was that I needed at least 1 for after security before we board at least 2 for the airplane ride and 1 after the plane lands before the drive up to my folks. My fear was if our flight was delayed, the baby having a blowout or two during our travels or my ride home being delayed and needing extras. They don’t weigh a lot so I packed plenty.
2. Bring Extra Formula or Breast milk
This is similar to the diaper reasons. You just never know about delays and the last thing anyone on earth needs is a hungry baby on the plane or in the airport without access to food. When Declan was 7 weeks I had enough milk pumped to get us through the flight and the minute we got to my folks I pumped again. The second flight was formula fed, I stopped breast feeding at 12 weeks when I went back to work. I had enough formula to make him bottles for 12 hours of eating. No way possible was I not going to be prepared. Please bring extra. I also brought 2 unopened bottles of water on the plane. When you go through security they will pull your bag to scan it, and they will allow you through with the water since it is used to make bottles for baby.
3. Bring extra outfits for Everyone
I brought 2 extra onesies for Declan. One to change into once we were off the plane and one just in case he had a blowout or spit up a lot. I also brought socks for him. You just never know the temperature on the plane. Sometimes it’s like a freaking ice box. Both trips we lucked out without any blowouts, but did need the socks on the first trip in January. My bag also had an extra shirt for myself and husband.
4. Do Bring Baby Blankets
During our flights I brought 2 blankets for Declan. One is his heavier fleece baby blanket I snuggle with him in at home and another was a swaddle blanket that is large enough for him to be covered with now at 8 months. Both flights these were essential. The first because uh it was January. The second because we flew a red eye and he slept so I laid the one down on the seat between us for him to lay down on for a bit. (we lucked out with a flight that was not 100% full and got a whole row for us) YAY.
5. Do Use a Backpack for a carry on
You will seriously thank me later. I used a backpack for the first flight and was 100% sure I would for the 2nd. I am so forever grateful I did this. First of all, the backpack fits under the seat in front of you so easy access to everything. Second, you have multiple compartments for all your babies stuff. Third, you are hands free when carrying a backpack. You’re going to need your hands with baby.
Now for the Don’t List
1. Don’t fly on an Airline that is not Baby Friendly
Flight # 1 was with Southwest, and they are incredible with families. When I flew they had an extra seat and I was able to bring his car seat along to sit next to me even though he was a lap child. You won’t always luck out with this, but I did. Flight #2 with Delta was also awesome. They were great. The flight was not full and they asked the gal sitting next to us to move to another seeat on an aisle so we had more space, again this was luck. Flight #3 was with American and I regret this choice. We were seated in the last row int he back of the plane in “Baby land”. This meant getting off the plane took forever which was not so great with an antsy 8 month old. Also the flight attendants as a whole were not very pleasant. I decided before the plane even took off we’d never fly American again. Delta or Southwest it is forever.
2. Don’t bring every single toy known to man with you
Chances are you won’t use them all. My suggestion is to buy a new toy or two and bring those. The newness will excite your little one a bit longer than the toys they play with all the time. I brought way too many toys with me and he only cared about the brand new one. Go figure.
3. Don’t Book Basic Economy
Unless you like guessing if you’re going to get to sit next to your partner, or, if you want to be stuck with a middle seat. If you’re fine guessing on both fronts go ahead save a couple bucks. Also the basic economy ticket does not allow for any refunds on the ticket or changing the flight at all, ever. Now I know I live frugally, but I also live smartly. Basic economy would be fine if I was flying alone or with my husband, but with a baby I prefer to KNOW I get to sit next to my support partner, not some stranger from Iowa.
4. Don’t Bring your Giant stroller
For our first trip I brought mine thinking I was going to use it. Want to guess where it sat for 10 days while I was there? On the front porch where I put it when I arrived. The 2nd trip I brought an umbrella stroller which was perfect.
5. Don’t Stress Too Much
There is very little you can do if your baby has a rough flight. Try not to stress out too much. There isn’t much you can do really. Hope that the folks around you aren’t jerks. Hope they have kids of their own, or grand children and they show you some compassion. I hoped for this both flights. Luckily Declan was very good for both and really was not an issue. Most people are decent, pray they are on your flight.
Happy flying frugal followers.