October 19, 2010,
M.G. asks from Chicago, IL on October 10, 2010
Buying a Plane Ticket for an Infant
We will be flying to Oregon for Christmas, about a four hour flight for us. Should we buy our 5 month old a plane ticket? My husband does not want to spend the $500 it will cost for her ticket. Airlines do not give discounts anymore for infants unless they fly on your lap, then they are free. I want to buy her a ticket for safety, comfort and a little extra privacy. She does not breastfeed well, so I pump breast milk and bottle feed it to her. I will have to pump during the flight at least once. Using the plane's bathroom to pump is not something I want to experience:) They are not so clean and I don't want to tie it up for half an hour while I am in there. I'd like to just pump right at my seat. Any thoughts about buying a plane ticket or not?
B.G. answers from Chicago on October 17, 2010
I'd save the money, good chance there will be a seat for her , just ask at the counter...get a hooter hider and pump away :). I've done it lots of times :) good luck!
M.M. answers from Chicago on October 14, 2010
Don't waste the money! Trust me, no one wants to sit next to a lady with a baby! :P The airline will work with you to put you somewhere where there is an open seat or switch people around to accomodate you. They don't want everyone po'd with you or them!
J.V. answers from Chicago on October 11, 2010
Buy the ticket. We flew to Ireland, with bulkhead seating, and bought the extra seat. It was so worth it. We brought the car seat along, and my daughter did great. You will be thankful for the extra space if the flight is full --and since airlines have cut down on flights, expect it to be full.
A.C. answers from Houston on October 10, 2010
My daughter started flying when she was 8 weeks old and I always bought my daughter a ticket...though I was always flying alone with her. Had I been travelling with an exta "lap", I probably wouldn't have done it for the first year. However, there was no way I'd have been able to nurse her if I had a stranger sitting next to me...modesty aside...there just isn't enough room.
I travel for work and breastfed my daughter for 18 months...I've pumped in an airplane bathroom plenty of times (and rental cars and conference rooms and other bathrooms too numerous to count...lol). You just need to let the flight attendant know how long you'll be in there...otherwise, they'll start knocking to ensure that you are okay...lol. If I needed to keep the milk, I would take chlorox wipes. Othwerwise, it would get dumped from time to time.
When my daughter was younger, she spent most of the time in the Moby Wrap. The extra seat always came in handy...not all planes have changing tables in the bathrooms!
I've gone back and forth on the car seat. I used it a few times after she was too big to comfortably be in the Moby Wrap, but then stopped when she got old enough to sit in the seat...just after she turned two. It is just one more thing to carry on, takes up a lot of room, and doesn't necessarily make things any more pleasant considering my daughter has hated riding in her car seat since birth. Also, when you get to a forward facing seat, the buckle of the belt often ends up right in the middle of their backs and can be painful for them.
All that said, I'd be inclined toward getting her a seat. In most airplanes, that will give your family a full row to yourself...maximum room and privacy. There is a CHANCE on some airplanes that there will be some empty seats, but I wouldn't count on it. I've been on 6 flights (4 different airlines) in the last two weeks and, excepting some exit row seating, there have been NO empty seats. Children can't sit in exit rows and now airlines are charging more for them so they don't just shift people around.
Also, I don't know of any airline these days that will allow a child to sit on the floor of the aisle. At your feet maybe, but not in the aisle.
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M.F. answers from Chicago on October 13, 2010
I would totally recommend buying the seat. You wouldn't think twice about strapping your baby into her car seat in the car, but in a jet traveling at 500 miles per hour with unexpected turbulence? I once saw a special on TV about a plane that had to make an emergency landing and there were lap children in the cabin. I remember the interview with the flight attendant who said she was telling passengers to sit in the 'brace' position, and to place the lap children on the floor! Those children did not survive the landing. The flight attendant will never forget that terrible incident, and wished there was something else she could have done. I honestly believe you cannot put a price tag on your child's safety. Here's a link to a flight attendant's take on the whole "lap child" thing... http://thevacationgals.com/airplane-lap-child-safety/
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V.D. answers from Miami on October 10, 2010
I have always bought an additional seat so that we could bring the car seat into the plane but I understand that $500 is a lot! If you decide not to, try to book yours and your husband's seat as far back in the plane as possible and get a window and an aisle. I have found that people don't usually want a middle seat and when they have to take one they would rather be towards the front. This way when you check in, you can see if the seat between you is still empty and when you go to board the plane, you can ask the gate agent if that seat is still free. If it is then great! Bring the car seat and you have a seat for your baby, if not, gate check the car seat with the stroller. I'm sure if there is a person seated between you and your husband that person would be more than willing to move over to the aisle and then you can sit at the window with the baby and have your husband as a buffer between the other person and help you with the baby while you pump under a blanket.
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K.E. answers from Chicago on October 10, 2010
I have flown several times with a nursing infant by myself and never bought him a ticket until I had to at age two. My advice is not to buy the ticket if he is there to help you because chances are the baby will be being held by one of you most of the flight anyway to entertain/keep her from fussing. The extra comfort and space is nice, but that is a lot of money to spend if she never sits in the seat. Can he hold her while you pump? I flew to LA from Chicago with him in my lap by myself when he was 9 months and we did just fine. Maybe you'll luck out and get a non-full flight. We always fly Southwest where you can pick your seating and have gotten lucky a lot that way with not having anybody by us so we got to use the seat for free. Good luck!
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A.L. answers from Chicago on October 11, 2010
I always buy tickets when my children were babies. There's no guarantee there'd be an open seat that you could take up. 4 1/2 hours is a long flight, and that's if there are no delays. Traveling with children is challenging and tricky enough. By the seat for the babys safety and your sanity.
M.B. answers from Chicago on October 11, 2010
My daughter has flown 8 times with us and we have never bought a plane ticket (while she was under 2). I would suggest getting a nursing cover to hide your pumping, be proud that you are providing for your daughter and sit near the window. You can wash your items when you get to your destination (just bring an extra ziplock). If you are worried about the sound, it really is not as loud on a plane as it is in your home!
Your husband should sit in the middle and often times...airlines are accomodating, if they see that the plane is not full, they will give you the extra seat. My husband was great about sitting up and blocking while I nursed or pumped. I don't know what it will be like around Christmas, but I know they do try. Between your husband and you, your baby will likely sleep due to the noise and the air pressure.
All the best.
L.J. answers from Milwaukee on October 18, 2010
We traveled from California to Michigan when my daughter was 5 months old. We did not buy a ticket. She slept for a bit (1 hour) after nursing on take off, and my husband and I took turns holding her. A year later, when she was 17 months, we made the trip again and bought a seat, thinking she was older and mobile. She still ended up on one of us the whole time, although it was nice at that point to have more room since she was bigger.
And just a note: last year when we flew the couple in front of us had brought their car seat (and bought a seat) for their daughter who was a little younger than ours. The girl refused to sit in it, demanded to be held, and cried every time they put her in the seat. They would take her out so as not to bother everyone. So, they spent money on a seat they never used since no one else could sit where they had installed the car seat. Point being: know your child. If she won't freak out in new surroundings, I might consider the seat/car seat option a little more (although I still think it's a waste of money for one so small). If chances are that she might freak out and demand to be held anyway, don't even consider it.
R.S. answers from Chicago on October 19, 2010
We have never been in a financial position to be able to buy our infant a seat. However, each time we've flown, I've called the airline in advance to arrange seating and have requested a row with an empty seat. We have flown a TON and so far, we've always had luck with the airline working with us...my husband and I have always had a row of 3 to ourselves. I think the one or two times we did not, we waited until we were actually on the plane and people were more than happy to move around for us. Having said that, we've never flown during peak travel times so since you're going for Christmas, it's likely the flight will be full....in which case buying your little one a ticket would be wise. Good luck!