Flying with Baby Made Easy: Tips for Stress-free Air Travel with Infants

Flying with an infant can be stressful, so be sure to plan ahead for a quieter trip?

Credit: Jason DeRusha

It’s safer to get a separate seat for your baby when flying, if you can afford it

You’re trapped 30,000 feet in the air with hundreds of strangers for hours — and just as you’re about to doze off, it happens. A baby starts screaming.

Or, maybe you’re the baby’s parent, and hundreds of other passengers are staring over their shoulders in your direction, willing your baby to go to sleep.

Either way, it can be a nightmare, but there are some steps you can take to ease the stress.

How to Make Flying with Baby Easier

To make the entire flying process smoother, some of the things you can do start at home before you even leave for the airport. If you’re a parent planning to bring a baby onboard for your next flight:

  • Be prepared. Pack everything into your carry-on bag that you generally need to keep your baby content, so that you have easy access to it. The bag should include toys, bottles and changes of clothing — yes, more than one — depending on the length of your flight.

  • If you suspect your baby will react to the changing cabin pressure, make sure you have something handy for him or her to suck on, like a bottle or pacifier, when the plane is taking off and making its descent. This can help ease the pressure.

  • If you can afford it, buy a separate seat for your infant instead of holding him or her in your lap. It’s safer and will provide you with more room to move about.

  • On a safety note, be sure to consult your doctor before using any over-the-counter children’s medications to help your baby’s ears or help them to sleep. In general, most medicines aren’t recommended for children under the age of two.

And If the Baby onboard Isn’t Yours…

Should you find yourself on the other end of the equation, stuck listening to a crying baby on your flight, there are fewer options, unfortunately, but trying to keep your cool is definitely key:

  • If a baby is screaming and the parents don’t appear to be reacting, ask a flight attendant to speak to them. They are more likely to listen to a request that comes from an airline employee rather than a passenger.

  • If you have the pleasure of sitting in front of a toddler who’s kicking your seat, ignore it the first time or two because there’s a chance they will stop. If he or she persists, speak to the parents in a calm manner and ask them to help out. There’s a chance they might not even realize what’s going on.

Most importantly perhaps, for anyone wishing to be guaranteed some peace and quiet on their next flight, consider investing in a good pair of earplugs — just in case.

Watch Where You Sit

Booking bulkhead seats at the front of the plane might seem like a good idea because you may get a bit of extra legroom. However, if you’re a parent travelling with a child, you have to keep in mind that there will be no pocketed seats in front of you and no seats you can stow a bag under. 

This makes it really difficult for parents to have toys and supplies handy, especially during take-off and landing when you can’t access the overhead bins.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.