at what age would you take your baby in an airplane accross the country? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a situation in which I have an option to take a trip basically from one end of the country to another. It is not something that I have to do, but there is someone I want to see out there quite a lot. Thus, I can put it off for as long as I want to. DS is 11 months. Flying with him is the only reason I am putting off this trip. I don't want ot put him through it! We have done many train rides with him to see family, but he was able to sleep on 2 seats on the train. the plane is so much more confined, a much longer trip, and he would either be confined to his own seat or our laps? Would I bring a car seat for him? HOw would he sleep? what do I do if he cries on the plane? So many concerns! So can anyone advise me? Is there a time where it would be easier, or would it be easier now in terms of age? Do we get him his own seat? Do we bring a car seat? Any other ideas? or do I just skip it all together?

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#2 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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added- also my dh will be with me- and also my mom
( and maybe my dad too) will be with us to help out

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#3 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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actually--- the more I think about it the more it seems like more trouble than it is worth! I may just put the whole thing off a few yrs till he is old enough to understand what is going on and actually enjoy it--

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#4 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 04:45 PM
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I haven't flown with DD yet since we haven't had anywhere to go. But in 2 weeks we will be flying. She is 6 months. I would have flown as early as possible if need be. But I don't tend to worry about that stuff. We drove 18 hours pretty much straight threw when she was 3 weeks and did a 4 day haul when she was 4 months. She was much easier to travel with at 3weeks in the car then she was when she was


We have a red eye flight so I am hoping she will sleep. I pray she does because from teh looks of it, its a full flight. She will be in my lap. If she gets fussy and as long as the seat belt sign is off I will walk the aisle with her if need be. I took a back aisle seat so I can stand and rock her to if need be and not be a bother. 


I hear its easier when they are younger to fly then older. So who knows. Hopefully others have some input for you.


I'm not bringing a carseat as my parents have one. I believe you can gate check a seat if you needed. 

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#5 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 04:50 PM
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We flew when E was six months. It went so well! She loved it, made friends, slept, ate, played with toys...  it was really no big deal.  

I would think, especially with so many people to help out, that you'd be fine. I think the hardest age is when they're just starting to walk and want to get down and move around. I think you're still at an age where you'd be ok.

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#6 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 05:09 PM
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If you treat the whole experience like a trip to Disney World, your kiddo will most likely have a fabulous time.  Brand-new toys and finger plays and yummy foods and lots of nursing... that's kid heaven.  (Seriously, if you're BFing, let him go on a nursing binge.)

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#7 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 05:16 PM
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We will be flying when our LO is four months, west to east coast. She will be in our laps.

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#8 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
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so where would the baby sit?would we buy a seat for him? And when I ask about the car seat I mean do we bring a car seat for him to sit in ON the plane? How does that all work?

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#9 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 05:39 PM
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Forum crashing here, but I flew with both of our children when they were quite young (ds was 4 months the first time, dd was 7 mos), and we regularly fly 1500 miles with them. We've flown back to the midwest 1-2x a year since they were born. I flew from the West Coast to Toronto when ds was about 15 months.


Where do they sit?

If you can afford it, you can pay for a seat for your child -- it used to be the airlines would sell seats to children under 2 traveling with a parent for 1/2 price. Since my kids are way past 2, I don't know if that's still the case. If you pay for a seat for your child, you can bring your carseat on the plane IF it is FAA approved (there should be a label).  It will have to be in the seat closest to the window, since they don't want you blocking exits for anyone (including yourself). You can install it RF on the plane.


If you can't afford a seat for your child, then he can be a lap baby. With so many adults going, it'd be pretty easy to pass him back and forth.


Bring lots of snacks, small toys, etc. to entertain him. If you can, schedule the flight during a time when it's his normal nap time, and he may well sleep a good chunk of the way.


Be prepared to walk up and down the aisles a bit when it's allowed.


Really, it's not that difficult. I've traveled alone with my infants, alone with a toddler and a preschooler and alone with a preschooler and a school aged kid. It's doable. If you have another adult to help, it's TOTALLY doable. If you have 2 other adults in addition, why not? Just remember, you'd be doing it for you, not for him.

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#10 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 05:40 PM
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I flew numerous times with DD when she was a baby - probably more than a dozen ... and I've flown twice with this DS (8 mo) already.


It's not hard! I just flew at xmas with both kids solo.


You don't need to pay for his seat - and I never have paid for a baby. Baby has always been on my lap. (FYI: Some people disagree with this and feel firmly that baby should be in a car seat during the flight for safety reasons - unexpected turbulence. If you want to do this, that's fine too. The flight attendants will help you get your LO into the car seat and the airplane seat.)


If baby flies on your lap -bring your car seat and gate check it - or check it at the front desk. If you check it the regular way - put it in a large plastic bag to protect it a little. I like my baby on my lap b/c then I can nurse for most of the flight. I did this with DD until she weaned at almost 2!


Both kids slept on my laps when they were babies on the plane - it's not terribly comfortable for YOU but they slept just fine. I brought an extra pillow and blanket for them so I didn't have to use the skeevvy airplane ones. If your LO cries on the plane - just do what you normally do - nurse, pacifier, you can walk the aisles or stand in the flight attendant areas and bop them around.


Is you LO walking? Let him get all his ya-yas out before you get on the plane -walk him around, let him crawl, climb on things, whatever - that way he'll be more content to be in one place on the plane. For that same reason I never boarded early with just one kid - now that I have both I do need a little extra time - but when DD was small I'd let her run and run (or crawl and crawl) until the last minute we had to board.


Bring a new toy and some favorite ones. Bring double the amount of diapers you think you'll need. Hand sanitizer, and sanitzing wipes too. Oh, and a few plastic grocery bags to put urpy clothing in if you need it.


When I flew solo at xmas I wound up coming down with stomach flu - after a 10 hour delay (long story) - I basically asked strangers to hold my DS while I barfed in the airplane bathroom. You'd be surprised at how helpful people are!


Go - have fun!

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#11 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 09:02 PM
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DD is 10 months and has flown 3 round trip flights so far and will do two more this year. Our first flew 3 times in her first year as well. You can buy you LO a seat and for such a long flight I recommend it highly (we just flew about two weeks ago and DD2 was a lap baby and it was really, really, hard to keep her on our laps for the flight. If she'd had a carseat to sit in the flight would have been more pleasant for all involved. You just carry the carseat on the plane and install it using the seatbelt. If the baby cries, they cry. You try and soothe them. Same as anywhere.

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#12 of 23 Old 03-03-2011, 09:08 PM
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We flew when DS was 11 months old, and he did great.  I don't think that is too young to fly.  He had his own seat, but spent most of the time in our laps anyway.  He did really great and everyone loved him.  Good luck!!

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#13 of 23 Old 03-04-2011, 12:49 AM
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Max is 9 months and he's been on seven flights so far! The first when he was four months, the most recent at seven months. He is a HN baby, usually pretty fussy....but on the flights he was so so easy! He loved looking at all the faces and flirting with everyone. Even once he could crawl he was fine being passed between DH and me.

On the other hand, I've heard it gets harder once they're toddlers. Can your baby walk yet?

I would do it. Especially since you'll have a team of people to help out, why not?!

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#14 of 23 Old 03-04-2011, 04:09 AM
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I flew (for my very first time) alone with DS when he was 10 months old. He did great, no problems at all. He couldn't walk yet though.  In two months, however, I will be taking my HN,very active 16 month old on a 15 hour flight from Maryland to Korea (possibly alone if the military sends DH ahead of us) and I want desperately to believe that it will be ok.  However, I know that its going to be a nightmare. With you, having so many adults between you, it will be a breeze.  Enjoy this and just relax, I bet you won't regret going.  :)

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#15 of 23 Old 03-04-2011, 06:48 AM
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We flew from Kentucky to LA when DD was 3 months old. It was fine. It was a like a huge moving object with white noise and boobs. She was in heaven because we paid attention to her and her only. I wore her in the moby.


Now, at almost a year, I would take a carseat, snacks, and keep her awake for as long as possible before we got on the plane. Honestly, I think being on the plane (I cannot unbold, sorry) would be less stressful than being at the airport.

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#16 of 23 Old 03-04-2011, 07:58 AM
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We moved cross country when DD was 5 weeks old. That flight was a breeze, she slept in the Moby wrap on me for most of the flight.


Since then she's been on 5 cross country flights. One each month from 5-9 months. 3 of those flights I was alone with her and 2 of them I had DH to help. We don't buy a seat for her, she wouldn't be happy in it as she loves to look around and make friends with everyone sitting around us. Our most recent trip was the most challenging--she wants to stand and cruise all the time now and I was by myself--but it really wan't bad. She was easily distracted with Cheerios and my cell phone. She never has trouble with her ears but I nurse her as much as she will let me during take off and landing. Almost without exception the passengers and flight crew are sympathetic and helpful. The hardest part for me is enduring conversations about parenting from well-meaning fellow passengers who are far from AP.


I check the car seat at the desk (it is free) so I don't have to carry it through the airport and I wore DD for all but our most recent flight. She has gotten too heavy for me to manage her in the Moby now along with my backpack so I took a small umbrella stroller this time which worked very well. The stroller was gate checked as I boarded the plane and I was able to hook the small rolling suitcase that I carry onto the plane onto the handle of the stroller as I pushed DD through the airport.


I say do it. Pack some new toys, have plenty of finger food, diapers and a change of clothes. With all the help you'll have it will probably be a lot of fun for him.



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#17 of 23 Old 03-04-2011, 08:33 AM
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For a flight longer then 3 hours I would get baby their own seat and use their car seat.  That being said I would take baby starting at 8 weeks or so on a cross country flight.  DD first flew at 4 weeks and DS was 8 weeks for his first flight.  They were shorter 2 hour flights though.  I think DS has done 20 round trip flights now at almost 4, and DD has done about 14 at 2.  So we do tend to fly a lot.  I really don't find flights any more difficult then driving or even just staying home, but that is probably because we fly every 2 to 3 months and have since they were tiny.

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#18 of 23 Old 03-05-2011, 04:31 PM
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We've done probably 10 cross country trips with our 2 YO, starting when he was 6 weeks.  It's not so bad.


I would skip the seat and have people take turns holding the baby.  Bring everything you can think of to keep the kid entertained.  New toys, new things.  

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#19 of 23 Old 03-06-2011, 02:09 PM
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I flew with our then 6 week old from DC to Portland, OR via Dallas.  Two 3.5 hours flights each way.  It was a breeze.  The biggest hassle was having to take her out of the moby to go through security.  She didn't like her carseat at the time so didn't bother getting another seat.  Ears were fine.  Was pleasantly surprised how easy it was!  Will probably get harder once she's more mobile...

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#20 of 23 Old 03-06-2011, 06:46 PM
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I've fly from NY to Dublin, Ireland every 3-4 months since dd (now 4 1/2 was 7 weeks).  DS is 4 months and we first went with him when he was 8 weeks and will go again in a month.  Its about 6 hours.  Not the most fun in the world, but they generally sleep.

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#21 of 23 Old 03-07-2011, 08:33 PM
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Ugh... I have a 14 hr flight coming up in June. DS will be almost 1-year old and I'll be all by myself! SCARY! I'm so terrified that it will be hell for all involved. I didn't book a seat for him- on our direct flight it would have been another 2 thousand bucks. I think they do guarantee him one of those bassinet things, but he's probably too old/big for that no?

Anyway, closer to our flight date I'll be back on here scrounging around for ideas on how to keep DS happy and me sane for FOURTEEN hours. Yikes.

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#22 of 23 Old 03-07-2011, 08:37 PM
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We flew with DS at 8 weeks (across the country), 8 months, 10 months, 17 mo, and 19mo. Before a year of age was the easiest. All but one were one or two flights totalling 4+ hours.


Why do you think it would be such a bother to him? There is a lot to look at and he's with his mama. I think you are over analyzing it.  Babies are pretty flexible and travel easily.

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#23 of 23 Old 03-08-2011, 09:17 AM
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We went from Texas to Michigan when he was exactly 2 months old.  Didn't have a choice because we were moving and I couldn't sit in a truck for 24 hours.

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