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Air Travel with a Baby

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 29 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
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Flights are not often fun in this day and age and for parents travelling with an infant they can be even more frustrating. Modern air travel often means long waits and cramped conditions and when you're trying to keep an infant happy and safe these conditions can seem exacerbated.

If you are planning on flying with an infant, check the conditions of your desired airfare before you book, make certain that you mention that the airline ticket is for an infant, travel prepared for airport security checks and bring a variety of activities designed to entertain an infant in-flight.

Checking the Conditions of Airfare

The conditions of airfare are usually the fine print that you will see before booking a ticket. Often these are referred to as "terms and conditions", and you should make sure that you read through them thoroughly and understand all of them before purchasing anything.

All passengers, including babies, need passports to travel internationally. Very often these conditions also stipulate what will happen in the event that you would like to change your travel plans, in the event that your flight is cancelled or delayed, and how much baggage you can bring with you. Items for infants such as special seats and prams are usually addressed in this section. If you do not understand what these terms and conditions mean, do not hesitate to speak with an airline representative personally.

Airline Tickets for Infants

Some airlines allow parents to carry children under the age of two as "lap babies" so that they do not need to book a separate seat and pay for ticket specifically for their babies. However, other airlines and aviation authorities feel that children are not as safe as possible in this arrangement and require parents to purchase a separate seat for children and use an approved safety seat as well.

If you are travelling with an infant for the first time it would probably be best to contact your desired airline and discuss your options. If you do decide to purchase a seat for your child most airlines will offer a discount for a children's fare. If you’d like to learn more about reserving bassinets or other baby equipment that the airline offers be sure to discuss this before your travel date.

Passing Airport Security with an Infant

Preparing for airport security will help your family get through it with minimal disruption. At no point should you be separated from you child. Remove your infant from any sort of carrier so that it can be screened separately, and remember that all bags will need to go through screening. Remove jackets from all family members for screening and remove items in baskets attached to any child carrier. You will be able to walk your infant through the metal detector, but if an alarm does sound then you should be aware that you and your child will be inspected by security agents.

Declare all formula, breast milk, juice and baby food that you are carrying. If you need help collecting your items again after screening feel free to ask an agent for assistance. Do not, however, ask an agent to hold your infant at any time.

Entertaining an Infant In-Flight

For most passengers flights, especially long-haul flights, can require a great amount of distraction. Infants may not be aware of where they are, but they too will need to be occupied during flights. Packing bottles for feedings, favourite blankets, pyjamas and snugly toys will all help infants stick to some semblance of a routine and may help them settle down to sleep as normal. Other items like books and music may also be help distract infants throughout flights.

Parents taking infants on holidays will no doubt feel successful just by getting their families to their hotels. Getting through flights can be exhausting, but with a little planning air travel with an infant can be a success.

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