First Time Traveling in Flight with Infant

Updated on March 02, 2008
R.T. asks from Hackensack, NJ
7 answers

hi moms,
i am visiting my sister in chicago in the first week of march with my 8 months old daughter.this is my first air travel with my baby.i jus want to know the dos and donts while traveling and also i have following questions.1)can i take stroller (i have graco)with me as cabin baggage.2)can i take car seat with me as cabin baggage or should i checkin .3)which seat will be comfortable(window/middle/aisle).4)what r the documents i have to take for my daughter.please help me with your experience.
thanx in advance for all ur valuble advice.

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answers from New York on

Traveling with your baby really isn't all that bad. We started flying with our son when he was just 2 months old and now at 10 mos, he is a flying pro! This is what we did:
1) You don't have to purchase a seperate ticket for your child until he is 2 years old. You can hold her in your lap and all you have to do is to pay a small tax. They will still issue your daughter an infant ticket to board. When you check in, ask the agent if the flight is full and if it isn't ask them to put you in an aisle that is empty. Many airlines will try and accomodate you, if you are traveling with a baby. You will not be able to sit in an emergency row exit with a baby.
2) Best seats are by the window for privacy, especially you are breast feeding.
3) I have a Graco infant car seat and the stroller frame that the car seat attaches into. I bring both and check them both at the gate. They will have you leave them right at the entrance of the plane. When the plane arrives, you pick them up at the same location. Both are too bulky to bring on the plane, so they will ask you to check them at the gate
4) Try not to board the plane until you absolutely have to. I know it seems nice that they let familes get settled on board first, but babies get antsy, and you can't move around once you are sitting down. Before I board, I change my son's diaper and then I go to a coffee store and ask for a cup of hot water and make my son's formula bottle before we board. My son takes his formula on the lukewarm side, so I make sure the bottle is fairly warm before I board so I can give it to him when we take off.
5) If you are breastfeeding, try to hold off until the plane is about to take off, so that the sucking can lessen the pressure on their ears. If your baby is really fussy, offer your breast or bottle right away.
6) If you don't want to breastfeed, but have pumped milk with you, ask the flight attendant for some hot water before you take off, or get a cup of hot water before you board and place the water in the "barf" bag and place your bottle inside. Close up the bag and your bottle will warm up nicely. Because the bag has a plastic liner, it won't leak.
6) Bring snacks and portable toys to keep baby occupied. Bring your usual diaper bag items in case you need to change her during the flight.
7) I'm not sure what documents your daughter will need for a domestic flight. We were always traveling internationally, so my son has his own passport, which we always present. I would call the airline you are going to travel with and ask them if you need any documents for your infant. I think if you are traveling alone, without your spouse or sig other, you may need a letter from your mate advising his acceptance of you flying with the child alone.
Good Luck! Send me a note if you have any other questions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on


The Chicago flight is a quick one and a great first time attempt at air travel with your baby. You can gate check your stroller which means you walk up to the door of the plane with it, collapse it there and staff will take it away. It will reappear there when you step off of the plane. The tricky thing (if you are travelling alone) is holding baby and collapsing stroller at the same time.

As for your car seat, if you are buying an airplane seat for your daughter, you just bring it on with you and strap it into the seat. If you are not buying a seat but there is an empty one next to you, you can do the same thing. Otherwise you will need to check it (bring a large garbage bag with you to cover it if it needs to be checked.

Aisle seat is best, especially bulkhead - get to airport a bit early to see if you can get the bulkhead. And no one wants to sit next to a baby so you may very well have an empty next to you!!

No documents necessary when traveling within the US.

Make sure you have a bottle ready for her (or plan to b'feed), not so much for take off but for landing. I have found with my own very well traveled kids that this is when they experience the worst ear pressure.

Also, (having done the newark/chicago flight countless times)I can tell you that the planes are small and may or may not have changing tables in the bathrooms. Ask the flight attendant when you get on the plane which of the bathrooms have them. I cannot tell you what a pain it is to do a diaper change on a squirmy 8 month old in your lap on an airplane seat! Bring small ziplock bags to stow the dirty diapers in, just in case, and an extra set of clothes for baby too.

One final thing, no open cups of any liquid (this includes you) because of the high risk of spillage! Space is tight and I have watched (and felt) the results of those quick little baby hands.

Have fun - flight will be totally fine!

R., mother of 3 and former Hong Kong & London resident



answers from New York on

Hi and good luck on the flight.
Do: bring a carry on with enough diapers and formula for the flight plus xtra if you are delayed.
Do: bring an extra outfit in case of spit up... exploding diaper etc. and and xtra shirt for you too.
Do: bring tons of toys, books to keep her occupied during the flight.
just for a note.... if their is an empty seat or even your seat it is easier to use this then the changing table in the little bathroom. Just make sure it is ok with your seatmates.
In my experience they check your stroller at the gate, right before you board the plan. Just check in with the flight ppl when you get to the gate. They should have it waiting for you when you land.
Not sure about the car seat. I always purchase a seat and have them in it on the plane.
I think the aisle is best if you need to get up and walk with her, however if she is sleeping you dont want to have to move for the ppl in the window, middle seats.
I dont remember needing documents for my kids but check with your airline as things may have changed.
most of all HAVE FUN! you only get your first vacation once!



answers from New York on

I would call your airline and ask them all of these questions. That is what I did and they were very helpful. But I would encourage you to buy a seat for your child and use the car seat. If there is turbulance, you could drop your child. It is MUCH safer to have your daughter strapped in the car seat.



answers from New York on

You can take your stoller and car seat however you most likely need to check it. It will not be allowed to go in the cabin. At that age, children don't require a seat (Check with airline). She can sit on your lap. I would go with the aisle seat so you can get up if need be at any time without interupting the other people in your row. Surprisingly when i traveled for the first time with my daughter last year (13 months) there were no documents needed due to the fact they they don't require a seat. However to give me peace of mind I took her birth certificate. It depends what airline you are flying we flew JetBlue and when checking the stroller you are able to wheel the child right up to the plane and they take the stroller from you there. And when you get off the plane they are right there by the door waiting for you which is a plus. Good Luck! PS Make sure you give her a pacifier or bottle when taking off and landing so it does not affect her ears.



answers from New York on

You can bring your stroller but will have to "gate check" it, meaning you can pring it right up to the door opf the plane and they will put it with the baggage- when the flights over they bring it back up. If you got your daughter a seat, you can bring the carseat onboard, if not, you have to check it. If she has her own seat it must be a window according to airline regulations. If she's on your lap, you might want a window (a little more privacy if you are breastfeeding)Also, breastfeeding (oreven a bottle or pacifier) during takeoff and landing helps prevent ear pressure/pain in your little one.
Bring along a birth certificate for your daughter (although this is not always necessary).



answers from New York on

I would suggest calling the airlines. As I have a home based travel business I find that the rules are changing daily. I'm always getting an email about what they are and are not allowing on the planes. In addition some airlines have decided to charge for 2nd piece of baggage due to the fuel costs.
I woud suggest taking an aisle seat to have a little more room. If you are lucky then the middle seat will be empty. Either way it would allow you to get up and move about more easier if need be.
Definitely call your airline or check their website.

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