Traveling with an infant can be somewhat of a gratifying experience. however, when it comes to air travel with your little travel companion, a few things should be taken into consideration before starting out.
What are those things you may ask? We’ll be covering them in detail in this post.
1- Have your baby’s passport ready to go.
When it comes to air travel with an infant, you definitely wanna make sure you’ve planned out the process of getting your baby’s passport.
Side note: Prepare some of your baby’s details.
Your chosen airline might request for further documents like birth certificates and such, be sure to look into your airline’s specific policies for infant travel.
Sometimes some countries will actually require passports to be valid for six months or more so.
Its important to note that the applications being processed will take time so you should avoid doing this stuff at the last minute, typically the passport should be made available within 4-8 weeks. You can also check entry requirements along with some further research before you go.
With the current state of the Corona virus. Although some airlines might claim safety traveling with them, its not advised to travel anywhere especially with a baby since they are especially more delicate with things like pathogens and viruses.
In other words, if you don’t have to risk it, then don’t but rather hang tight in your current location.
However if it’s of utmost importance to travel to a certain destination, there is still a considerable level of risk involved, here are some tips to keep in mind:
• Get very familiar with your airline’s boarding details which include but is not limited to boarding policies, seat selection and flight booking nuances.
• Strive to have up-to-date information on airport customs like screening, security procedures and the likes, since these things are ever so regularly updated.
• Anything that can be done virtual should be done virtual, get your airline’s mobile app, from there you can get pre-boarding passes etc.
• Pick a seat that can provide you and your baby the furthest distance from the rest of the people who boarded the flight too, this is very important.
• Pack as light as possible to reduce the level of luggage you have to deal with, also don’t forget to take your sanitary wipes.
• Eat and feed the baby at home before boarding the flight, improvise with light snacks to keep you till you reach your destination (unless it’s a long haul flight).
• Don’t forget to wipe down surfaces aboard the plane before making contact.
• One more thing, your nose mask. You should probably two even if mask usage may not be applicable to your baby, you’ll never know.
• As a rule of thumb, wherever and whenever in your endeavours outdoors, strive to be around as little people as possible with as much space as possible whilst spending not longer than a second after getting your task done, social distancing right now is quintessential.
Pro tip: Double check your passport.
While you’re in the process of getting a passport for your baby, don’t forget to review yours incase its close to its expiration date.
During the process, if both parents cannot appear in person, the absent parent will have to sign a notarized statement of consent. In the event that you have sole custody of the baby, you might be asked to provide credible proof like a death certificate or court order.
Perhaps your destination is somewhere you wish to get to much faster. You can simply contact the passport agency and opt for an expedited service, as opposed to regular service, you’ll have your baby’s passport ready between 2-3 weeks.
Another thing to keep in mind is that those facilities don’t accept payment by debit or credit cards, so expect to pay with a check or money order.
2- Decide how you want the travel experience.
For clarification purposes, any child under the age of 2 is considered an infant. You have the options of getting tickets for your baby either as an infant (in the case that you’ll be lapping the baby) or as a child where your baby will have his/her own seat.
Side note: Don’t sacrifice your comfort.
Its better to purchase a child ticket for your infant because although the rates for the infant ticket is lower, its somewhat suboptimal due to the fact that you’ll have to lap the baby over the course the flight.
However, an exception to this is if the destination is within a feasible range and the cost of the child ticket is something you feel isn’t necessarily needed.
Pro tip: Look into preboarding.
You may also request preboarding for your baby but only if your chosen airline’s policies allow such services.
Infant rates are somewhere between 10-30% of the accompanying adult fare, along with allocated taxes.
3- Consider your baby’s health.
You should take some time out to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician so they can check to make sure your baby is safe for air travel (this will be particularly helpful if the infant has any recurring health issues).
If the infant does have any health issues then it’s advised to talk to your pediatrician about how to cope with it over the course of the flight and also acquire some copies of your baby’s health records (digital or hardcopy) in the event that your airline request for such documents.
Side note: Be wary of well-child visits.
You may want to time your infant’s check up schedule with a well-child visit so you won’t have to make a special trip for that.
Well-child visits is usually when parents check up on their child’s health to make sure that the child is growing and developing normally. Well-child visits typically begin a few days after children are born.
Also keep in mind that doctors have strongly advised against air travel for a baby no longer than 6 weeks old as their body and immune system would still be quite delicate. Making them susceptible to bacteria and pathogens, Moreover majority of airlines require babies to be at least 14 days old before they can travel.
Pro tip: Get some coverage.
Be sure to get acquainted with the type of travel health insurance you have, incase you don’t have a travel health insurance, you may want to ask your travel agent to provide you with some names of carriers that can provide temporary coverage.
4- Be organised.
Now this one right here is very important in taking a flight with an infant, having a lot of things planned out will not only save you time, but it’ll also ensure that you’ll be drastically minimizing the chances of the whole process going haywire.
Some of the air travel essentials for an infant are:
• Car Seat
• Resealable Plastic Bags
You can find more information about these items here.
Side note: Jet lag can affect your baby.
Just like any adult, jet lag can affect infants just as well if not more, this is because their body systems aren’t as developed as yours and adjusting to a new timezone might be a little more difficult.
According to Laura Sutherland, a family travel writer for babycenter, a few ways to combat this are:
• A few days before you leave home, try to shift your child’s bedtime 20 minutes each night to get ready for the new time.
• Put your baby to sleep at the new location’s bedtime.
• Immediately change your meal schedule to adapt to the new time zone. If you’re traveling with an infant, though, feed him/her on demand.
• Plan outdoor activities for your first few days. Exposure to sunlight and daylight will help you and your baby adjust to the new environment.
Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid the temptation of dosing your baby a medication to aid sleep during the flight, this is somewhat counterproductive as the medication has a tendency to have the opposite effect.
Pro tip: Prepare for noise.
The noise that comes from an airplane cabin can be quite loud, you may want to consider getting something like a small earplug to limit your baby’s exposure to such noise.
Another thing to keep in mind that you can request for a bassinet when you book your flight so your baby can sleep more comfortably, the baby should also be able to fit comfortably into the bassinet.
Air travel for infants is quite suitable, as long as you plan out the journey accordingly. Make sure you arrive early to the airport so you have enough time to deal with things lest they take longer than expected, Keep calm and enjoy your travels.