Wednesday, February 10, 2016

10 Things to Remember when Flying Long-Haul with an Infant

Long-haul flights can be very difficult, especially if you are travelling with a baby. I thought it would be easy, but honestly, it wasn't. We went to the US for the holidays last 2015 and we had to go through 21-hours of travel time, 2 stop-overs, 3 aircrafts, and a lot of stress. The trip truly tested my patience. Let me share with you some of the things I learned and hopefully this will make traveling with your little one a bit easier.

1. Don't be too stingy when choosing your airline

Flight tickets cost a lot, but the good thing with infants is that you don't get to pay the full price for them. Flying a more reputable airline gives moms the peace of mind they need during their travel. Also you are assured that you will be provided with blankets, pillows, ear plugs, and other essential toiletries during your flight.

2. Select seats strategically

Airlines usually have online check-ins available, so when you do decide to check in, make sure you select seats that are strategic. I always like seats near the lavatories towards the end. It has a lot of space where my baby and I can walk around and stretch our legs in the middle of the flight. Also being near the lavatories makes it convenient in case the baby needs to change diapers or clothes. And finally, sitting at the back means you don't get to disturb everyone in case your baby throws a tantrum. Of course some people will be affected, but the damage will be minimal. =]

I also chose the window seat for the view in case she gets bored with her toys.

3. Reserve 1 check-in luggage for baby

With their tiny bodies, you would wonder why they would need an entire luggage! But really, babies have a ton of things to bring: from milk bottles, to steamers, to diapers, to medicines, and extra medicines in case of emergency, and a few toys (or their favorite toy, maybe). Babies also have the need to change clothes more often than adults because they just can't stop exploring and dirtying what they wear! Plus, you also need all that space when you go shopping for your baby.

4. Bring a stroller/Car Seat/Soft-Structured Baby Carrier

In some airlines, strollers and car seats are usually free of charge so take advantage of it! I prefer to bring an extra soft-structured baby carrier (my preference is a woven wrap which doubles as a breastfeeding cover and a blanket). Very helpful for those situations where you need to have all your stuff scanned and you need to remove all your gadgets, shoes, jackets from your bag and place them on the tray. Having an extra hand through babywearing makes things very convenient.

We brought her stroller along so she can be comfy while we go through Immigration, security checks, and baggage claim.

5. Bring water - at least for your baby

Airports do allow water to be carried as long as the amount does not exceed 100mL per container. Yes, you can bring multiple containers with water but each container should only have a maximum of 100mL. Although when we traveled, I did bring water and I'm pretty sure it was more than 100ML, and put it in my baby's sippy mug. Airport security in Japan simply opened the container and smelled the contents and did not pour the contents out.

6. Bring enough clothes, diapers, wipes, socks

When travelling long-haul, it's best to pack for an extra day in case there are delays or emergencies. More delays usually happen during the peak season. Prior to traveling, check if you're traveling during the peak season so you can prepare a little extra. Also it's best to check the weather in case you encounter a storm along the way and your flight might get postponed due to weather conditions.

7. Pack light when it comes to toys

I know how babies are so clingy when it comes to their toys, but believe me, these will not keep them busy during the trip. There are a lot of things to explore in the airports, inside the plane, and even just the seats! My daughter totally ignored her favorite rattle because she was so busy with the in-flight magazine, the monitor, and the window shades!

My little baby was so busy tinkering with the small monitor and the buttons that came along with it!

8. Board First or Board Last

Passengers with infants or children are usually given priority to board first. This is the perfect time for you to actually board so you can settle in before other passengers board. It also gives you a slight advantage on which carry-on bins to put your luggage on. However, in case you missed the announcement, it's better to board last rather than going with everyone else. You will most likely have to wait along the aisles anyway, so why not play with your baby for a bit more.

9. Be prepared for Landing and Take-off

In my experience, take-off and landing are the toughest for my little one. It must have something to do with the pressure changes that affect her ears. Our pediatrician advised us that the baby should be feeding (or any sucking motion) during ascent and descent to ease the discomfort.

10. Don't be embarrassed when your baby cries, but be courteous to other passengers

As a passenger, it's a bit annoying when you want to sleep during the flight and there's a baby crying like there's no tomorrow. However, when you're the mom with the baby, it can really get embarrassing. But I realized there's really nothing to be embarrassed about. As adults, we get anxious during the flight (during turbulence, or when we get stomach problems because of how cold the aircraft gets). Naturally, babies also feel the same way. It's just that they don't know how to express it yet except by crying. So don't feel that you're a bad parent when your baby throws a tantrum. Instead, find out the reason why and work from there. For me, breastfeeding usually calmed my little one.

In some cases, your baby might get so active because he or she is hungry to explore this new surrounding. She might kick the passenger in front of you, or throw things at the persons beside you. Simply apologize and smile. Be courteous to the people around you because you're going to be stuck with them for the rest of the flight.

Do you have some tips that you would like to share?

1 comment:

  1. Pats, nice post! Interesting topic. Another tip, salitan ng tulog with partner para palitan din sa pag-aalaga.hehe!:)