Flying With An Infant
Flying with an infant can be stressful! Here are a few tips to hopefully make the process easier.
- When booking a flight, you may want to fly during nap time or even at night to help ensure the baby will sleep during the flight
- Lap Babies (under the age of two) fly free on domestic flights, usually one per adult. You may need to show proof of the child’s age. Call the airline ahead of time and ask if a birth certificate is necessary. Most airlines require babies to be seven days old to fly; some extend it to fourteen days.
- Some airlines, especially for international flights, have bassinets for small babies. Inquire when booking your flight.
- Children over the age of two must have their own seat and government approved car seat. Some airlines will give discounts for such seats; inquire while purchasing.
- If you will need a car and car seat at your final destination, it is recommended that you bring your own car seat, as rental car seats can be quite unreliable. Please see information on our website for individual state's rules about car seats (see: Staying Healthy > Car Seat Laws By State)
- You can check your infant car seat free of charge. You can do this at the ticket counter, or you may want to wait and check it at the gate (as long as you don’t mind lugging it through the airport). If the flight is not full, you may be allowed to bring your car seat on board.
- To make transporting the car seat easier, you can buy a padded car seat bag (such as the JL Childress Ultimate Carseat Travel Bag). Both infant and convertible car seats can fit in the bag (as well as extra stuff like jackets and diapers). The padding helps protect the car seat if it is checked, and it can be comfortably worn on your back.
- Alternatively, you can put the car seat in a sixty gallon trash bag, which is cheaper but not as protective and not as easy to carry.
- Another option for transporting the car seat is a travelmate system (Such as the GoGo Baby TravelMate Deluxe Cruizer). You can snap the carseat into the frame and wheel it through the airport.
- You can check your collapsable stroller at the gate. Most airlines require bigger strollers, such as jogging strollers, to be checked at the ticket counter. This does not count against your baggage allotment
- Your baby gets a “carry-on” bag. Most families use this extra bag for the diaper bag. Be sure to bring extra of everything (clothes, diapers, wipes, food, pacifiers, toys, blankets), even a change of clothes for you.
- Baby food, pumped breastmilk, and baby formula does not need to follow the three ounce rule. But be sure to alert security at the beginning of the security checkpoint process if you are carrying those items on.
- Most airlines do not provide baby food or formula. Make sure to bring your own. Call the airline ahead of time to see if they have a way to warm bottles.
- Carry-on any of your child’s favorite toys or books. Bring extras for long flights.
- If you let your child watch screen-time, load your tablet or phone with favorite videos, shows, or movies.
- During takeoff and landing, let your infant nurse, drink, or suck on a pacifier to reduce pressure in his ears.
- Most airplane bathrooms have a changing table that folds down over the toilet. Bring a plastic bag or changing pad to put over the table.
- Consider bringing a baby carrier (such as the Ergo), and wearing your baby during the flight. The baby can’t be in the carrier for take-off or landing, but the comfort of being close to you may help your baby sleep better. Plus, it will make holding a sleeping baby much easier during long flights.
- Finally, relax. The sound of the engine will help muffle the sounds of a crying baby to all but the closest of passengers. Most flight attendants and other passengers have been there before and are sympathetic to parents traveling with children.
- Also see more info on our website in the section labeled "Staying Healthy" > "Travel"