Whatever the age of your little one, he/she can fly with you to any destination, provided that you have duly prepared all the papers and documents, and that you have ensured the necessary comfort for both of you. Safety is also a priority when you need to travel with a baby on a plane. Do different airlines have common requirements or do they differ? We have compiled a short guide for you.
There are plenty of reasons to travel with a baby on a plane. It really is the fastest transport to go from one country to another, but as far as restrictions, requirements and recommendations are concerned, it is the most overwhelming. Preparing your cabin luggage can be the least of problems with a few tips on how to store it. As for paperwork, which sometimes differs depending on the airline, it’s worth the effort to find out beforehand to avoid hassles with a baby in your hands.
Maybe you traveled pregnant a while ago… No prohibition! Nothing but precautions to take for your own health and risks to avoid for the future baby!
Today, with an infant or a small child of a year or so, it is a bit complicated. For this reason, prepare for the trip so that the takeoff, landing and everything else goes smoothly.
How old should a baby be to travel by plane with its parents?
If you will be flying soon after birth, find out if your airline has any age restrictions for newborns. Some do not allow infants under 1 week old, while others allow children as young as 2 days old. As an experienced passenger, you also wonder how to fit the bottle of milk or water, cream or baby powder in your hand luggage. You can’t avoid turbulence, but you can be as prepared as possible in the security line, at the gate, on board and arriving at your destination.
A well-known fact is that a baby is vulnerable and his immune system is not yet in a state to oppose infections. This is especially true for premature babies, those with chronic heart or lung problems, or those who already have a respiratory infection, as changes in cabin pressure could make it harder for them to breathe.
Even if the little one has passed this very delicate early period, it is imperative to speak with the pediatrician before planning a flight. Depending on when and where you are going, the doctor may recommend giving your baby an early or extra dose of a certain vaccine.
What do children need to fly and what documentation is required to fly with a baby?
You have the green light from the pediatrician to board the plane with your baby. Before you make the list of necessary items to take into the cabin, get the forms to fill out and settle the formalities.
First, find out if you need to buy a ticket for your baby. Most airlines don’t require one for infants under 2 for domestic flights, as long as they sit on your lap. However, taxes and fees may still apply.
It’s different for flights abroad! With or without a ticket, the airline must be aware that you are traveling with a baby on a plane. Can a baby fly without an identity card? No matter the destination, all passengers including babies must have an ID card or passport. In case a problem arises, the birth certificate can help you out. As often happens, many parents are unmarried. So, to prevent a kidnapping, the authorities will ask for a document proving that you are the mother or the father.
For a baby and even for a small child, a notarized travel consent letter granting parental authorization is required. It doesn’t matter if the child is traveling with one of the parents or alone.
How to protect a baby during the flight?
The “logistical” preparation for traveling with a baby on a plane should not be done at the last minute. Make a list to make shopping and packing easier. Apart from food and diapers for the baby, you can buy a seat that will provide comfort for your little one and more freedom for you. Don’t forget to find out if the child restraint system is approved for use on an airplane.
Two words for liquids and powders in jars, bottles or cans: the control authorities may ask you to open them and taste them. With this in mind, store them in a separate bag, easy to remove from your carry-on when you get to the seat belt.
How to protect the baby’s ears on the plane? Swallowing can relieve some of the pressure felt during takeoff and landing. So plan meals to coincide with these two moments.
Think about a distraction for your little one, for example, if he can focus his attention on a toy or a book. Bring a few favorites and a few new ones to keep him interested during the trip. Don’t forget to pack a few snacks (or a full meal, depending on when and how long your flight is) and plenty of drinks – air travel is dehydrating.
A flight attendant will not refuse to help you if you need to warm up a cold bottle. Beware of burning the baby! The heat test is essential everywhere, even on a plane!