Our First Flight

Updated on July 24, 2009
H.G. asks from Wellington, FL
21 answers

Hi All,
Tomorrow my 5 month old son and I will be taking our first flight. We'll be meeting my husband in Denver for a little escape from the everyday. I know its last minute, but does anyone out there have advice on what to take to make our trip easier? Anything I “must have” with me on the plane, will Delta allow me to check my car seat at the gate, anything I just can’t do without? I've been told this is a great age to travel and hope that is true. This is kind of our "dry run" before our big trip to Israel in August to visit my family.

I haven't gotten much specifically for this trip. So far the only purchases have been an inflatable tub and disposable bibs. I nurse, and other then his rice cereal at night I figure food should be the easiest part.

Thanks in advance for any advice/suggestions. I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all the wonderful advice. I was blown away by the amount of responces and the proved to be very helpful as what was supposed to be a short flight turned into a 12hour ordeal. About ten minutes after take off the piolet anounced we were having problems with our landing gear and were being diverted from palm beach to Ft Lauderdale. We ended up waiting in line for four hours while 2 people helped a plane load get rebooked. Finally got on the plane sat for 2 more hours on the run way. When we hit 33,000ft my son had a complete "poop explosion"!!! I breastfeed and am one of the lucky (or in this case not so lucky) moms whose babies only go every 7 days. Thanks for advising me to bring a change for him as well as me, we needed it!! Through all of this my son was wonderful! He took his naps, ate like a champ and didn't even complain during the "squished in an airport bathroom" diaper change. I had two things confirmed during this ordeal 1)murphy's law is true & 2) I have a mellow and happy baby. Thanks again for the advice. It saved us!!

More Answers

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K.Z.

answers from Gainesville on

I have flown with my daughter twice, once when she was 4 months and then when she was 10 months (it was just the 2 of us at 10 months). The pressure changes didn't seem to bother her at all. When she was 4 months old I nursed her during take off and she slept the rest of the way. I didn't nurse my 10 month old on the plane, but she played and slept nicely.

You can check the carseat either when you check-in or at the gate (same for the stroller). A front carrier was the perfect thing to get around the airport - even better than the stroller.

My advice is to check everything you can as early as you can and carry just what you need for the flight. Since your little one is still mostly nursing, he really shouldn't need a lot of stuff. A pacifier, blanket, a few small toys, and his diaper stuff. I put my purse in the diaper bag so I would have fewer things to carry. I wore jeans so I could put my driver's license, cash, and a credit card in my pocket. That's all you need for security and it makes it easier to buy some water or a cup of coffee along the way.

I was stressed too, but it was easy and fun both times. Good luck!

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M.S.

answers from Miami on

Just one little tip. Pack a change of clothes for YOU! I traveled with my sister in law once with our 3 small children. My little niece threw up all over her and I was able to lend her a change of clothes for my niece, but my poor sister in law had to wear that stinky clothes the rest of the plane ride! I had another friend that her baby had one of those "explosive" breast milk BMs and she was stuck with that all over her pants until they arrived at their destination. Hope you have no need to use it, but better safe than sorry.

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K.D.

answers from Jacksonville on

We recently traveled from Florida to Spain and back. My daughter was just shy of one year old. I agree with a previous response that you might want to check about getting the bulkhead seats with the bassinet. On our flight over, we did get the bulkhead seats. The airline (Delta) had a bassinet that attached to the wall. It was so nice to be able to put my daughter there when she fell asleep. It gave me a nice break. On our return flight, we were not able to get the bulkhead, so I definitely recommend that you call the airline ahead of time.

I would check the carseat with my luggage instead of checking it at the gate. It will save you from lugging it through the airport. I also recommend buying a carseat bag. You can find them at babies r us for around $20. It protects your carseat from the germs and dirt under the plane. Plus it is roomy enough that you can put extra diapers, blankets, etc. in there. It can save you from having to pay for another piece of checked luggage. I also bought a bag for my stroller. It is bright red and says Gate Check. It was about $15.

You are definitely traveling at a good age since you don't have to worry about packing food or finding baby food at your destination. That was tricky for us. I also breastfeed my daughter, so I was glad I didn't have to lug around bottles and formula.

Enjoy your trips.

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J.R.

answers from Boca Raton on

We flew with our son to Germany when he was almost 6 months old. The change of clothing for you advice is very good - odds are some sort of spit-up or diaper leak will occur. The other advice I would offer for your trip to Israel is to request a seat with a bassinet. There is no extra charge for those seats and a bassinet attaches to the bulkhead in front of your seat. Not all planes have that option, but several do - so definitely ask about it. It gives you a place for the baby to sleep and/or play rather than be in your arms the entire time. Have fun.

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L.L.

answers from Tampa on

I did not travel with my son until he was 6.5 months. It was much easier back then and he was a fussy baby. I was suprised he did well on the plane. I think you have everything. When my son was 6 months he was constantly throwing his toys down and thought it was funny. I didn't want to deal with germs and picking up his toys in a small space. Get links and attach his toy. I am sure your baby will probably sleep most of the time. I was shocked mine slept the entire way. He never even slept through naps longer than 30mins back then.

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M.S.

answers from Sarasota on

My only advise is to start nursing or give him a pacifier right as you are taking off(still on the runway). This way his ears will pop and not become too uncomfortable. If he is not doing some type of sucking motion doing the climb out and descent he will be in a lot of pain. SO nurse him during take off, climb, and descent. Hold on tight for landing :)! And the airlines should let you check the car seat at the ticket counter or the counter for no charge. I would say check the car seat at the ticket counter and use the stoller for the rest of the trip through the airport to the gate. They will allow you to check the stoller right before you enter the plane and it will be waiting for you right when you get off. ALso, in my experience, try to be one of the last people on the plane, that way the baby doesn't get restless.

Good Luck and have fun!!!!

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T.O.

answers from Jacksonville on

Sometimes the babies ear will hurt, so have a pacificer ready or be prepare to nurse on take off adn landing.

I took my daughter 6months across country and she was pretty good. I had a few toys on ribbon so i could throw it on adn go when getting on and off the planes. Bring plenty of wipes and diapers. I like those pampers clean adn go. adn would wipe down the tray tables.

If your son has a cring fit, relax it wont last long adn everyone understands.

Don't forget your snacks too and a change of clothes for spit up accidents too.

The carseat shouldn't be a problem to check at the gate. They do it for strollers. Put your carseat in a bag for carseats or at least a garbage bag to protect it. Handlers and in flight the seat could get roughed up a bit. I had snow stuck in my stroller where it connects to pop up and it fell with my daughter in it. She was fine but it scared us both.

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S.D.

answers from Tampa on

My son had his first flight at 3 1/2 mo. I tried to nurse him when the plane(s) climbed, but he did pretty good anyway. He fell asleep. Lucky for me I had my husband to help. The only thing of his we checked at the gate was his stroller. We will be flying again in October and he is 2yr. Can't wait to see how that one goes........
Good luck with your flight!

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C.S.

answers from Lakeland on

Hi there,

You should have a wonderful trip with your son. We took our daughter from Canada to FL at 7 months old and she did great.

The fact that you are nursing will make things really eas (just one of the many, many perks). Just nurse him as the plane goes up and as it lands (unless he is sleeping). If he's cranky, you can just nurse him to sleep!

We went and bought some new toys for the trip just to give her something interesting to do. If you purchased a seat for him, you can bring your carseat on the plane. If not, you should be able to check it or even gate check it. You can bring strollers up to the gate and gate check them. Airlines also give you one extra baby-related item for free when you purchase an infant ticket (stroller or carseat, I believe). Watch out how much you pack because most airlines are charging $15 per checked baggage and as much as $100 for bags over 50 lbs.

I would pack minimal diapers and purchase when you get there. You may want to invest in a cheap umbrella stroller ($10 at Target). They are a lifesaver when travelling! Or use a sling:

http://infantstoddlers.suite101.com/article.cfm/guide_to_...

Have fun and I'm sure you'll have a great trip!

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C.S.

answers from Miami on

Hello,
If you haven't left yet, car seat advice that hasn't been given! An infant car seat will fit in the overhead compartment of virtually all airplanes if you turn it upside down. If you take it with you on the plane and you have an extra seat then you have that convenience, helpful if your son likes to sleep in his carseat! Also, even if there isn't an extra seat then it won't be so dirty and handled terribly in the cargo hold.

I agree with considering purchasing a seat for Israel. I took my son back and forth to the UK quite a bit the first two years of his life. I learned that most airlines do have infant fares and since on an international flight you have to pay all the taxes and fees anyway (not totally free like domestic) then the cost of the ticket might be super minor. If you have questions, feel free to email. My son has been to 4 continents and he is 3.

C.

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M.C.

answers from Tampa on

It is true that this is the perfect age to fly. My son just turned 18 mos. He went on three flights so far..the first at 5 months, the second at 9 months and the third at 17 months. The first was the least stressful. The first time that we flew, I checked the carrier/car seat base with my luggage. He was in the carrier in the stroller while we went through the airport and I was able to check the carrier/stroller at the plane entrance. You just need to get a tag from the flight attendant at your gate. I carried on a bag that included some small toys, books etc to entertain him with but did not need them because he fell asleep within 5 minutes of take off and slept until landing. The hum of the jet engines seems to lull them to sleep. There were about 4 other children under 1 all around us and they all slept. I had a few receiving blankets and a few large ziplock bags. I may be overly cautious but after changing him at the airport on one of his receiving blankets, I did not want the airport "germs" touching any of my other stuff for him so I put the blanket in the bag until washing it later:-) Also, they send parents of small children through a different security line. You are able to take more for a baby than you may take for yourself. For example, although my baby is breastfed, I have never breastfed him in public and always took expressed breast milk with me in bottles when we went anywhere. I was able to take a small cooler with frozen breast milk and a full bottle of fresh breastmilk as well. An adult would not be allowed to go through with liquid. I recommend nursing him or giving him a paci if you use one for take off and landing. They need to make the sucking motion to prevent their ears from popping. If you do this, I expect you will have a sleeping-peaceful little guy on your hands in no time. You will just be a little uncomforatable with your baby asleep on you the entire flight and not able to really move or adjust because lets face it, airplane seats are not exactly roomy and designed for comfort. Have fun in Denver.

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M.A.

answers from Tampa on

Definately take your stroller and car seat. Car seats are not consider a luggage, so you can check it in with your luggage at no extra charge (it will be much easier to travel around the airport without the carseat). You can check in the stroller at the gate check-in.

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R.A.

answers from Boca Raton on

when my daughter was a baby I'd nurse a lot on the flights, she was great. I'd also bring a little toy for her to play with but really she mostly would nurse and sleep.

Airlines are usually great with moms traveling alone, very helpful and accommodating just ask for help and they'll usually give it to you. Ring Delta and tell them what car seat you have and see if it's allowed on the plane.

Good luck

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F.R.

answers from Pensacola on

The main things you need to have is something for him to suck on during take-off and landing, his personal blanket, a change of clothes, diapers and baby wipes. You can pack a teether, soft books, a couple toys, etc. But babies his age really do travel well on planes usually. I carried mine in the soft carrier strapped to my body so that I was able to hold the diaper bag easier. Keep the basics in the diaper bag like baby tylenol, teething tablets, purell, diaper rash cream, etc. Don't worry about it though, you'll both have a great time!

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N.R.

answers from Lakeland on

Plan his meals around landing and take off - the sucking action is great for relieving his ears of the pressure. I travelled with my nephew once when he was a baby - and that is what I did - just enough bottles for take offs and landings - and it worked like a charm. Not a peep! Good luck!

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E.C.

answers from Tallahassee on

Hi. We took our little girl up to MA from FL for this July 4th. She had just turned 8 months. She did great on the plane. (Passengers said they did even know she was on board) Her ears did not seem to bother her in the least, but we did have the pacifier ready. We did not get a ticket for her - she was infant in arms. We checked her carseat. We brought along some toys to entertain her and a front carrier (but the flight attendents will NOT allow a baby to be confined/strapped in during take off and landing due to potential injuries). We also brought her big stroller - which they will check for you when you board. Our flight was a connecting flight with a layover so it was good for her to get a break and stretch out. The staff at the airport and on the plane were excellent! Even when we had to go through security. I had already stopped nursing- but even if you are nursing you can bring UNLIMITED prepared bottles. Either water or mom's milk-doesn't matter. The security staff will ask YOU to open each bottle, one at a time and they will HOLD UP a testing strip over the open bottle(they DO NOT put it inside the bottle for sanitary reasons) to test them. They will do the same to large liquid items like sunscreen or baby shampoo if you forget to check it with the other baggage.

Enjoy your trip. I hope this helps. We brought way too much for the trip in general (weather difference) but I'm super glad will all the stuff we did bring for her. Also if you are concerned about his ears, people recommended cotton balls with a little olive oil. I didn't have the time to do that and bring them, but it could help with the ears.

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C.C.

answers from Tampa on

I took my son to visit my mother back in April and I had a back pack with a change of clothes for both of us, plenty of diapers and wipes, snacks for me, baby food... Really just normal diaper bag stuff and normal things I would bring carry on. Checked the car seat at the gate... It went MUCH more easily than I thought it was going to. The flight attendants were super nice and my son was so entertained looking around at the other passengers that he didn't even get a chance to play with the toy I brought him. I also planned our flight for around nap time so he slept for a decent amount of time on the flight.
I'm hoping everything goes as smoothly when we go back up there this Sunday.

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M.C.

answers from Miami on

I traveled the first time with my 14 months when she was 6 months. I recommend you not to stress now and during the process. Remember when you have a child things change and he is the first thing in your mind. If he cries in the flight DO NOT WORRY ABOUT PEOPLE AROUND, you will have enough stress with the baby to be worry about people around. Bring a bag with what he eats, which mostly is milk I assumed. Keep the baby with the pacifier or a bottle in the departure and in the arrival, this will help with the pressure off the ears. Take some toys and have then handy in the pocket. Take some plastic bags in case you have to change him in the seat. Talk to the representative and ask her to block the next seat. Log in Delta and find out what you can bring. AA allows all moms to bring a stroller and a car seat at no additional cost. Acknowledge that you need help and if someone wants to help you, accept help.

Enjoy your trip.

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S.W.

answers from Miami on

Just make sure he has something, breast or pacifier for take off and landing. It bothers us all; but a baby will scream. You can always get supplies once in town, rather than pack and travel with diapers, cereal, etc. Though you want to pack enough in the diaper bag for changes. Check everything else. If they have room, they may allow you to board with the car seat; but typically that means buying another ticket. Otherwise, check it at the counter with your other luggage, the stroller can be brough on board or checked at the gate if too bulky.
Have fun...

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M.F.

answers from Boca Raton on

Have fun! This is the perfect time to fly. You will learn so much from this so Isreal will be much easier. We have flown several times (first at 7 mos) with my daughter and here are some things that I learned:

1)Ear pressure is worst on decent not on take off so plan ahead and nurse or pacifier before landing.

2)new toys - finger pupets rule. the rings that attach to eachother are great too. many little things you can throw in zip locs. if you are lucky the hum of the flight just might put your baby to sleep.

3) get a sling - it was a blessing through the airport (we checked our stroller with the luggage in the reg gate bag) so i basically had my diaper backpack and baby in the sling with two free hands.

4) lots of ziploc bags. everythign that touches a surface put it in a ziploc - the germs espeically with this swine flu are a whole different thing than in everyday life.

5)lots of paci's and a good sturdy paci cord

6)as soon as you get on the plane ask the flight attendant which is the best bathroom to change a diaper if you need too. there are some bathrooms that they add a changing table over the potty on Delta flights - not all planes have them but it is good to know in advance where to go. We took Delta to Paris and the crew was simply amazing.

7) two changes of clothes for baby and one for you (i.e. wringle resistant knit dress). ziplocs to store soiled items...you never know.

8) for Isreal flight - buy a seat for the baby. it is the safest and will be worth every penny for comfort for everyone.

9) sit and stroll - it is a car seat that coverts right into a stroller. this was worth every cent!! one less piece of equipment.

finally - no matter what happens....you will never see those people on the flight again! Enjoy your well deserved vacation!!!!

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M.F.

answers from Tampa on

Be sure to take a bottle and pacifier and let the baby suck. The cabin pressure will make his ears uncomfortable - even hurt. The sucking will help with the ear pressure.

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