Even if you aren’t a big traveler, there may come a time when you need to fly with a baby! Here is the second of three posts filled with tips on how to prepare for flying with a baby!
Welcome to part 2 of our Flying with a Baby series! In this series, I am sharing with you everything you need to know to fly with a baby, especially what to expect and how to prepare. The first post in this series focused on the pre-airport experience. If you missed that post, click below!
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
In this blog post, we are going to be talking about the airport experience. That includes everything from the moment you get to the airport to the moment that you get onto the airplane. That is quite a long time in baby time. Especially when we are told to get to the airport 2 hours ahead of time. Don’t worry though! This blog post walks you through everything you need to know to prepare for the airport experience when you fly with a baby and how to prepare.
The Airport Experience
You booked your flight, you packed, and now it’s time to fly! Let’s talk about the airport experience. I know none of you want to feel super weighed down and overwhelmed trying to maneuver what feels like a million bags through the airport. I get it. in the first blog post of the series, we talked about bags and my recommendations to consolidate everything into as few bags as possible while still having everything easily accessible. Doing that will help make the airport experience so much smoother right off the bat. But there is still so much more to maneuvering the airport when you fly with a baby. So let’s do this!
Check-in and Bag Drop-Off
Let’s talk check-in. Most of our lives are now on our phones, and that extends to our check-in for flights. On most flights, if you are not checking in any bags, you can just check in on your phone and get your boarding pass right there. This makes it so you have one last line to stand in. However, with babies, You are most likely going to have something to check-in. I know we always end up having something!
When you fly with a baby, you are able to check in a Pack ‘n Play, a stroller, and a car seat for free. You don’t have to pay for these and they don’t come out of your baggage allowance. It’s amazing! Especially when you didn’t buy them a seat. Of these three times, you can check two of these items at the gate. That means that if you wanted to keep your baby in a car seat and it attaches to the stroller, you could keep them in there all the way until you get to the airplane. Minus security. This makes maneuvering the airport a little less stressful.
Lines for checked-in and backdrop can get a little long, depending on the time of day and of the year. If you aren’t a fan of lines, especially with a baby, you can always do curbside check-in. Check with your airline, but a lot of them do offer it and it makes it so much easier. You do is drop your luggage off and get everything checked in right on the curb of the airport. Ha.
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
FLYING WITH A BABY PART 3 // HOW TO ENJOY THE FLIGHT (Coming August 9)
How to Go Through Security With a Baby
Security time! This is by far one of the most stressful events of any human’s life. There is so much going on all at the same time that it can get really overwhelming. Adding a baby to that is just the cherry on top. However, as long as you know what to expect, maybe it’ll go better?! I hope so! I know for me, knowing what to expect has helped a ton in my new ring security. So let’s get started.
When you go through security, they will still ask each parent to take off their shoes and anything in their pockets. you also don’t want to forget to take out all of your electronics. If you’ve got your baby in a car seat or a stroller, they will ask you to hold the baby and take you through a separate security machine. They will then push the stroller through, and have it waiting for you on the other side.
If you have breast milk in your diaper bag or formula, it may get flagged. However, just let the security people know what it is and it will be fine. If you have any pumping machinery, that will also probably get flagged. Security agents are totally cool though and they will get you through quickly and won’t make a huge fuss!
I have yet to come across a bathroom in a major airport that doesn’t have a changing table. Some of them are definitely more convenient than others, but they’ve all got them! Just remember to change your baby before you board your flight! If it’s a short flight, you may not have to change your baby on the airplane! There are changing tables in the airplane bathrooms though so don’t worry if they need a change later or if you aren’t able to make it to a bathroom before your flight.
I do recommend having your changing pad easily accessible when changing them in an airport bathroom though. As clean as they try to keep them, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
How to Gate Check Baby Items
You guys, I did not even know this was a thing until I had my son. It has changed my life! Gate. Check. So basically, you can gate check 2 of the 3 items – a stroller, a car seat, or a pack ‘n play. For. Free. This makes it so much easier to carry your baby throughout the airport in comfort.
I know some people prefer to carry their babies in a carrier through the airport and that is totally fine! However, know that you have the option to keep your sweet baby in their car seat and stroller them all over the airport. Or, if you just have them in their stroller, they can just stay in there right until you get to the gate. Of course, mine security.
Something to know about gate checking your items though is that you do have to get a tag for them. After you get through security, and you get to your gate, you will want to go see the gate attendant. They will give you a gate-check tag for each of the items that need to be gate checked. Once you’ve got those tags on your stroller and/or car seat and/or pack ‘n play, you are set to go!
There is one thing I would recommend having for your gate-checked stroller and car seat and that is a cover. I know, it sounds unnecessary, but it can make a huge difference in keeping your items clean and dry! Hear me out, if it’s raining at your destination, your items will get wet as they come out. Not a big deal, right? What if you are wanting to put your baby back in the car seat or stroller? They will get wet!
Some strollers and car seats have covers that are made for them. There are universal covers though! Here are some of our favorites because of how sturdy they are and how easy they make carrying each item.
Boarding the Airplane with a Baby
It’s time to finally board the plane! You guys, I didn’t think we would make it this far. Kidding! You are a Super Mom (or Super Dad!) and getting to this point is probably going to be a walk in the park. With your baby.
Family boarding is amazing. There, I said it. I used to not be a fan because I liked being able to board as fast as possible. However, having a baby with you does make you a little bit slower sometimes. Especially if you’re traveling alone with your baby. Family boarding groups all of the families that are juggling extra humans and allows them to all board at the same time. This makes it just a little bit slower but also gives YOU the buffer to be a little bit slower. It’s so great!
If you fly with a baby on flights that don’t have assigned seats (like Southwest), and you have someone in your party that has an A Boarding group, I would recommend splitting up! Have them board with their boarding group and not with family boarding with you and the baby. The reason for that is that family boarding comes between A and B boarding groups. if you got someone that can get on the plane faster and can take some of your carry-on bags or personal items, they can get themselves settled in and then help you when you come on with the baby. Plus, they are able to get more desirable seats if they board earlier.
The only time I wouldn’t recommend splitting up is if you have to fold up the stroller or put it in a case at the gate by yourself. I’ve tried doing this by myself with a baby and it is not very enjoyable. If your stroller is super easy to fold up and you can do it while carrying your baby, then go for it! Or if you have another person to help you either hold the baby or dismantle the stroller.
If you have an item to check at the gate, you will take it with you all the way until the end of the tunnel right before you get onto the airplane. There is going to be a drop section there where you can leave your stroller or car seat before you get on the plane. When you get off the plane, it will be waiting for you! Usually. If you get off really fast, sometimes you beat the gate attendants and may have to wait a minute or two.
That’s a wrap for what to expect at the airport when you fly with a baby! Not too crazy, huh? Next up, is part three of our Flying with a Baby series. That’s right, we’re talking about the airplane!
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES: