H.J. asks from Austin, TX on March 23, 2008
Travel System Stroller or Other Smaller?- Suggestions for Air Travel with Baby
I have 3 trips planned while my daughter is between the ages of 5-6 months. I will be travelling on my own and am very nervous about travelling with an infant.
She does not have her own seat.
- Should I still try and bring her car seat onboard and gate check it? How does it work if there is an extra seat availble? Who do you ask about this?
- What is the best size stoller to bring? Is a large travel system stoller alright in the airport and to be gate checked or is it too big to go through security? Has anyone evry used the large Travel system stollers in the airport before?
- What is the best way to travel through the airport with a stoller, car seat and baby, plus diaper bag?
- Is it safe to check your car seat from the beginning? I am worried about damage to the car seat.
- Is a Window or ailse seat better?
K.O. answers from Austin on March 24, 2008
Hi! I've traveled a ton with my baby and you check your carseat in normally bacause they are not going to give you a seat to put it on. We like to put a huge garbage bag around it so it doesn't get dirty. Then you want a small stroller you can fold up with one hand at the gate--I love my jeep fold up because it has better wheels than the really cheap ones but it's really light and easy to use. Another option is a baby carrier like the Baby Björn which I've also used because then your hands are free if you've got luggage to pull. Have tons of new and interesting toys she's never seen, random stuff from the dollar store works well for us! Good luck! Oh, you totally want an aisle seat as you'll want the option to walk the aisles.
T.L. answers from Austin on March 31, 2008
My just now 2 year old and i have have over twenty trips, just teh two of us since she was 6 weeks old. she's a frequest flyer for sure!
a few tips;
at this age - no stroller in teh airport. too clumsy to put thru security. i always put her in a snuggly of baby bjorn and loved it. kept her close to me and kept my hands free, which is most important.
always check the car seat with luggage. get a car seat cover at babies R Us for $10. you can even store extra diapers or blankets in teh carseat cover bag - put inside another bag for cleanliness just in case.
if you can combine her diaper bag with your carry on that would be ideal. backpack works great.
again, the less you ahve to carry/handle while traveling teh better.
window preferred so she can rest undisturbed when she falls asleep - hopefully.
bring plenty of bottles/liquids.
make sure she has on for take off but watch for long taxis. don't let her finish the bottle before you actually take off. the sucking will pop her ears adn keep her from getting distressed.
bring extra water/joice/milk bottles. you need more than you think! same with food -
most important- you being calm is the best thing for her. make it a positive exciting adventure and she will do teh same.
good luck abnd enjoy!
M.B. answers from Austin on March 24, 2008
We live in Costa Rica, so we are travelling often with our baby. Definitely gate check the car seat and stroller--if you check it from the beginning it's much more likely to get damaged by rough handling. We took our travel system stroller & car seat this last time and had no trouble gate checking it, or if you have a "Snap 'n Go" frame for your car seat, it's smaller and easier to fold up. You can ask the gate agent if there are extra seats when you get to the gate. If there are, then you can take your car seat on the plane. Otherwise, you will gate check it when you get to the end of the jetway. I prefer an aisle seat in case I need to walk the baby around if he gets fussy. Best of luck to you!!!
T.S. answers from Austin on March 23, 2008
I have traveled with my kiddos when they were babies - I sucked it up and bought them seats - that way I could put them in their carseat. They were in a familiar chair, and safe (And I didnt have their little wiggly bottoms on me for the entire flight).
Have fun on your trips!
D.K. answers from Austin on March 25, 2008
Hi H. --
I'm a mom of 5-year-old twins & a 5 month old. When the twins were about your daughter's age, we took them to New York (and then to Paris when they were 9 months old). Depending on your destination, you may not need an infant car seat. We decided that since we weren't going to be in a car very much, we'd leave them at home. Instead, we just bought small, umbrella strollers. The best one I ever bought is a MacLaren that folds small & has a shoulder strap for carrying when it's collapsed. It's expensive, but SO WORTH IT! If you do need your infant car seat, check it with your luggage. Ask for a plastic bag to put it in so it doesn't get dirty (not all airlines have them, so you may want to bring your own).
Remember that since you're travelling alone, you'll want to limit what you have to carry. Combine your diaper bag, purse & carry on into one bag. I use a back pack so my arms are free.
Definitely aisle seat...makes for an easy get away when you need to go on a stroll or change a diaper.
A few more tips I learned along the way:
- Don't forget the Benadryl! Ask your pediatrician for the appropriate amount.
- Have a bottle on hand for take offs & landings. The swallowing helps the baby's ears "pop".
- Bring a change of clothes for your baby AND yourself. Never fails that a baby will throw up on your when you don't have extra clothes handy.
- Bring a pacifier, favorite toy, or whatever your baby uses to soothe herself.
- Bring an oversized diaper changing pad. I've been on one plane that had a changing station in the lavatory. The rest of the time I end up on the floor in the galley changing diapers.
- Bring warm water in a small thermos (I have the 16-oz kid that commuters use for coffee) to mix formula. You'd think it wouldn't be so hard to heat up a bottle on a plane, but trust me it is.
Good luck with your trip! And remember to ask for help along the way...you'll always find someone who is willing to hold a baby while you open/close the stroller, etc.
D.L. answers from Austin on March 24, 2008
I did a lot of traveling with my daughter when she was little. I would recommend you take the full-size stroller and the car seat with you through security and check them at the gate. That way you don't have to carry your little one and you can tote all you need with you. If there is an empty seat on the plane, at least you'll have your carseat with you to take advantage.
It's a bit of a juggle getting through security, but not impossible. Just go slow and stay calm.
The large strollers go through the x-ray machine just fine. Be sure to put it wheels up. Then, take baby out of carseat, put it face down on belt, and walk through the machine with her. FYI -- If you put shoes on your daughter, they'll make you take them off too (can you believe that?!?!)
My best advice, however, would be to smile at everyone and not to let any dirty looks make you nervous. You should expect things to take a little longer and everyone else should give you a break. These days, though, there are lots of grumpy people in airports. Ignore them all.
C.E. answers from Austin on March 24, 2008
My husband and I traveled with our twins when they were 5 months, and I traveled solo with them when they were 17 months. The big stroller definitely helped with getting around. If you gate check it, they have it waiting for you at the gate when you land. When they were tiny, we just held them. But last time I bought tickets and it was great---they napped the whole time.
The flight attendants were very helpful and most people were understanding.
One thing---Southwest no longer lets families board first. You have to have an A boarding pass and board with the other passengers.
S.T. answers from Austin on March 24, 2008
I travelled with my son a few times around the same age as well and was a little nervous at first, but it turned out to not be a big deal. I wore him in a sling or the Ergo Baby Carrier and that made it very simple, and would suggest it (but you have to take it off on the plane)
. We checked his carseat with Southwest and ExpressJet and had no problems with damage. They have large plastic bags to put them in, which is nice. I never travelled with a stroller, so I'm not sure about checking them. You might consider getting an inexpensive umbrella stroller that will fold up small.
I think an aisle seat might be better just because you'll have more elbow room and can get out of your seat easily. If the baby starts to cry, it can get claustrophobic pretty quick!
Most airlines preboard you if you have an infant, and they flight attendants have always been accomadating. If there were extra seats, we had free reign.