I feel like it was just yesterday that I was packing my 2 month old for his first flight, and he isnow almost 2 years old! We just took his first international flight for our big move from Texas to London!While I was searching for tips and tricks for the 40+ flights he has taken, it kept ending in a dead end google search, with very little helpful information.
How I prepped a baby, then a crawler, a recent walker, and now a toddler for an airplane trip greatly differed, so I would love to share with you some of my tips and tricks for surviving airplane trips with little ones in each age group.
0-6 Month Tips Through the Airport
- Have a picture of your baby’s birth certificate on your phone or a copy of it for proof of age. (yes we got asked for this when my son was 6 weeks old!)
- Gate check the car seat and the stroller if you are bringing the stroller (We didn’t always bring the stroller at this age, it just depended where we were going. Also we rented a car seat once when our bags were lost, and while it worked out okay, I wouldn’t personally plan for it).
- Wearing the baby in an Ergo360 or similar, makes it so easy! You have to undo the
- Ergo and carry the baby through security separately, however, it is still easiest way to get through the airport. On one or two flights I was told I had to unstrap him during take off. I just let the ergo hang and then reset it once we were up in the air.
- Did you know that mamas with little ones are allowed to bring a bottle of water through security?! YEP! Take advantage of it!
- Don’t feed baby as soon as you get on the airplane. I made this mistake once, he was super grouchy during take off! Instead, wait until you take off begins so it helps with the pressure change and possible ears popping.
- Have one carry-on size luggage packed with baby essentials to last 24 hours as well as necessities for mommy and daddy! We had a few instances of lost luggage, and we did not pack necessities (It was also Halloween, so no Halloween costume made for an unhappy mommy!)
- We opted for a window and middle seat at this age. I would sit by the window so I had privacy while breastfeeding, and my husband sat in the middle seat.
6-12 Month Tips Through the Airport
- Either wear the baby as described above or begin using a stroller for baby. We opted for the BabyZen YoYo, which is fantastic! It is seriously AMAZING how small this stroller folds up to be. We pushed him to security, took him out and carried him through the metal detectors, and placed the stroller on the security scanner. Then we would put him back into the stroller until we boarded the airplane. We would even take him down the jet bridge in the stroller, then we would fold it up and put it with us on the airplane! A carry on stroller was a huge help for us!
- If the flight was 4+ hours, consider purchasing a separate seat for baby and bring their infant car seat on the airplane for them to sit in. If we did this option, we brought our City Select stroller, snapped him in, and gate checked the stroller.( Always be sure you give yourself enough time to visit the counter at your gate in order to get a gate check ticket.)
- Pack snacks for baby! You can either pack your own juice or ask the flight attendant for some juice. We had to do this a time or two on fussy flights! We would put it in a sippy cup for him and add some water. This bought us a few minutes of happy time!
- Wipe down the seat and tray table with Wet Ones before the flight takes off. Little ones are becoming much more active at this age and getting into everything now!
- Opt for a middle and an aisle seat at this age as baby is much more mobile and wanting to be on the go. This gave you easy access to walk to the bathroom or to the back of the plane to let him down for a few minutes!
- Download a Baby First show or other favorites onto an iPad or iPhone in case of emergencies!
12-18 Month Tips Through the Airport
- Push the baby through security in a stroller and carry it on the plane with you or gate check it.
- At this age, if we bought him a seat on the airplane, we would let him sit in the car seat and carry him through the airport using the GoGoBabyZ. This was awesome, it’s basically a cart that you attach your car seat to and wheel it through the airport like luggage! Then we would just wheel him right on the airplane! FYI-The car seat must go by the window on the airplane
- After getting through security, find somewhere that you can let the baby get some energy out. Whether it’s running the halls, climbing stairs, or making a jungle gym out of the seats, let them! Get that energy out as much as possible!
- Wipe down the seat and tray table with Wet Ones because they are becoming much more active and getting into everything now!
- We still opted for a middle and aisle seat at this age most of the time. If we could find a plane with just 2 seats on one side, it was even better!
- Have an iPad or iPhone prepped with some baby shows just in case of a crisis! I always saved these for last resorts! We also couldn’t get Eli to wear headphones consistently at this age, so I just played it out loud enough for him to hear. I assumed people would rather listen to that then a baby screaming his head off!
- In addition, check out some of the Baby First baby apps!
18 Months-2 Years Tips Through the Airport
- Push the baby through security in a stroller and carry it on the plane with you or gate check it.After getting through security, find somewhere that you can let the baby get some energy out. Whether it’s running the halls, climbing stairs, or making a jungle gym out of the seats, let them! Get that energy out as much as possible!
- We always buy him a seat now that he is this age because he is too active to sit in our laps or have strangers sitting next to us. We put the Kids Fly Safe 5 point airplane harness on the middle seat and let him sit in between us! This keeps him sitting, without the need to always bring a car seat! Recently with our international move, we did not need the car seat, so he sat in this!
- Have an iPad or iPhone prepped with some baby shows just in case of a crisis! I always saved these for last resorts! We brought headphones and he usually wears them at this age, but when he does not, I just play it out loud on a lower volume.
The best traveling advice I can give is to prepare for the worst case scenario and pray they sleep the whole flight!