Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flying with child in lap



Harper is 15 months old and has flown 6 times! Oh my goodness, that's insane. What is really insane is that I've flown 7 times in the past 15 months (once without her, obviously). So, Harper and I are old pros at flying with "child in lap" ("in lap" now makes me laugh). I have a bunch of things to share about our recent trip, but those will be coming at you when I find my camera adaptor here among the boxes. Yep, we've moved and I'm currently unpacking all of the fun.

So, here are my tips for flying with a child under two.

1. You don't have to purchase a ticket for the child until he/she is two years old. Get a window seat, and preferably one at the front or back of the plane.
2. Preparations-Pack one big bag with the following:
  • Your wallet and a small makeup bag with your own items (gum, lipstick, brush, phone). Your purse is really not necessary, so stick it in your suitcase for now.
  • Medicines-ibuprofen (in case of ear troubles). Benadryl (in case of emergency allergic reaction) Remember the medicine dropper for these.
  • Diapers-pack 4 or 5-changing pad, and wipes. You never know how long you may be on the plane.
  • Jacket with hood-for a cold plane and to block overhead lamp from neighbor.
  • Dry finger foods.
  • (Emergency) jarred food and spoon.
  • Antibac wipes, like Wet Ones. Use these to wipe down the seat before you get in it.
  • A new toy that you tested once. Keep the baby engaged with a new toy that you know he/she will love.
  • Drinks. Yes, they'll let you bring any liquid through security. They have to just give it a vapor test that takes a couple of minutes at the most. So, you could bring a sippy cup with water, milk or juice if you want.
  • Bottles. Bring two bottles on the plane with you-one for takeoff and one for landing. Stop by Starbucks on your way to the gate and fill your bottle (or thermos) with hot water. The water is steaming hot, but by the time you're on the plane it cools off enough for takeoff. SOME PLANES DO NOT HAVE HOT WATER. I learned this the hard way.
  • Security item. Being on a plane full of people can be scary, so a security item may be nice.
3. Keep your normal routine the day of the flight.
4. Arrive early and ask for a seat with an empty space next to it. Show them your cute baby for leverage.
5. A car seat and base ride free. You can send your car seat and base through baggage with no fee. This goes for a stroller too, but I prefer to take the stroller through the airport. The baby bjorn is nice, but what if you have a delay? The stroller provides a safe place for the baby.
6. Check your stroller at the plane.
7. Board the plane early. I used to wait until the last minute, thinking that Harper needed as much time off of the plane as possible. But, then I tried the reverse and love it. We get on the plane, get situated, and it isn't so overwhelming because the plane fills slowly for her. Plus, and this is a BIG one, you can talk to the flight attendant while she's not busy and ask if there's a free seat for your baby anywhere.
8. Give the baby something to eat or drink during takeoff and landing. You can also use these little ear plugs for kids. They actually worked for Harper.
9. Harper loves SkyMall-give it a shot.
10. Keep a positive attitude. I've just had to let go and pretend like "it's an adventure." This really made a difference last time and Harper had a lot of fun. We sang songs, read books, looked out the window, and really had fun.

4 out of 6 times have gone so smoothly for Harper. The two bad times were when she had ear infections and no ibuprofen (learned that lesson). Every other time, we had everyone oohing and ahhing over how good she was. I wish I could brag on Harper, but it really is just about being prepared and happy. She is a WILD little girl, but really did great on our trips.

I'll be back later to upload photos from our trip-some like this iphone shot

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