Baby Travel


Thought I’d pick the many brains here on FA- especially those with kids. I’m setting off on a 4 leg trip from KSBP to KSLC then KRDU and back. This will be the first commercial flight for my 8 month old son. He has flown twice before in a Citation without incident, but that was several months ago.

Any suggestions for making the trip easier/ smoother (quieter) for the other passengers and ourselves? Our plan is to use our Kelty backpack and carrier for movement through the airports and as my carry on. I’m thinking of gate checking his car seat in the hope that we may get a last second open seat to put it in. Have any of you figured out special tricks or secret handshake arrangements with the flight crews to make life easier? All help would be appreciated.



Check out a blog entry on the Southwest Blog that covers this topic. It does concern a slightly older kid but the principles are there.

There’s also the Flying With Kids website.



Wow, James. I can actually say I was laughing out loud on that one. That is great.

We flew my son from TUL to BFL when he was 3 months old on Continental. The FAs were great with him. Granted he was still feeding off the boob, so that made him happy and kept him quiet. We went back out to BFL again this past March. We planned his flights around his nap times, which really helped. He was about 15 months for that one. He loved looking out the window, especially going over Vegas since (whoever does it now) had their firework show going when we were flying over and he watched the little flashes of light below us.

I know some are against it, but baby benadryl is a good emergency tool.


My seven month old just took her first flight on MEP from KOMA to KMKE and back on my wifes lap last week.

Before leaving, we consulted our doctor as to what we might expect, in terms of physical discomforts. He said there are two schools of thought on this: Drug them or keep them occupied. Not wanting to go the drugging route with benadryl, we chose the occupation route.

  1. My child hates being restrained for long periods of time whether that would be in my lap, her high chair, her stroller, etc. Since she was going to be on my wifes lap for the 1h 15m flight, we took her a sort-of-quiet part of the terminal about 45 minutes before board. We laid out a blanket with toys, and let her roll/crawl around to her hearts content. By the end of the 45 minutes, she was begging to be held by my wife or me.
  2. We checked her stroller on gate side, but learned the hard way that the airline is not liable for any damages to the stroller when you do this. Upon arriving in Milwaukee, we discovered the airline broke her stroller. Luckily, the part they broke off was a $5 piece that took a quick trip to a baby store and 30 seconds to re-install. Had the value of the broken item been more, I would have been upset.
  3. On the flight to and from KMKE, the flight attendant would ask if she had ever flown with an infant before and gave her special instructions as to what to do in the case of an emergency. Additionally, she gave tips on how to keep her calm throughout the flight.
  4. At the advice of our pediatrician, on the accent and decent, try to feed your child. This will help your child to pop their ears as the cabin is being pressurized/ depressurized. So, we packed a bottle of milk for her to have during these times and it worked like a charm. According to her pediatrician, most crying is the result of the childs inability to pop their ears.
  5. We brought along several of her smaller hand-held toys to play with during the flight. On the flight up, we didnt need them as she slept the whole way. My wife kept her up a little longer past her normal nap time that morning so that she may be a little more likely to sleep. On the flight back, we needed the toys as our flight was first thing in the morning and during her normal active time.

Im happy to report that Norahs first and second flights were a success and I think she enjoyed the experience more then her parents. Now, this was a one hour flight. Next month, were flying from Omaha to Regan National in DC, which is 2h 15m. Weve purchased a seat for her and I hope that flight will go smoothly as well.


Thank you for the info so far!!

I have checked the SWA and Flying with kids sites but wanted something more personal from the people i know…

I am strongly leaning toward James’ suggestion of the crate… Great Idea!!

The Benadryl idea I’m not against- He has never had it and some children have a paradoxical reaction - we dont need a hyper baby on a plane.

Keep 'em coming!


We’ve done a few legs with the kids, personally I think they’re a little easier at that age. Easier to entertain, etc. We did a CAK to MCO which is pushing two hours. Airtran FA’s never gave our 2yo a second look. We bought her a seperate seat and just kept her busy. The only real problem we encountered was when the guy in front reclined his seat, it was an open invitation to kick it. I’ve not figured out how to make a 2yo stop kicking a seat, if anyone comes up with something short of duct tape let me know. Frankly, I don’t really blame her because I would love to do the same to people. I don’t think seats should recline when the chairs are jammed into FAA minimums. But I digress…

I’d test the benadryl before trying that. It seems to hype ours up.


Good one, James. You almost had me waking the sleeping wife up with laughter.

IR1SH, you’re right on the money with the eating suggestion. Both of our kids flew when they were little and eating on climb and descent worked like a charm. The only trick is to make sure they are hungry.

The only other thing I would suggest is to find a nice DC-9 from NWA or MD-80 and park yourselves in the back with the loud engines as a little insurance against any unexpected outbursts. It doesn’t help totally, but the engines do help somewhat to drown out any crying.


You could bring ear plugs for all the other passengers…

I have a similar question. I’m taking my 7 month pregnant wife to Ireland in a couple weeks, flying coach… Any tips?


Bags are packed… Here we go!

First flight is a RJ so, seating will be tight but the flight is at least short.
Leg 2 is a 737 for four hours… gulp… Hope he saves his nap for that flight!

Thank you again to all who posted.

Magnetoz- I hear apple jolly ranchers help, but she should be past the nausea stage. I cant remember the specifics on restrictions for travel. 35 weeks or less for overseas, 36 for continental?? Get a doctors note to prevent hassle.


Make sure you have ID’d hostpitals and docs in the areas you are traveling (taking insurance coverage into account)- Most OBs STRONGLY discorage being more the 100miles from home (or planned hospital of delivery) in third trimester.

I would try for an aisle seat- would expect the usual advice to stretch legs every two hours would be double important in pregnacy (plus expect more than the normal trips to the lav).

If you can swing it, upgrade to first class- your life is about to significally change in a few months (even if you already have young ones) and treat your wife to some extra space and comfort.


Thanks guys, good luck 2point.

We have the doc’s permission. My wife’s a pretty experienced traveler so I hope that helps, and this is our first so she’s still pretty happy about being pregnant. First class is probably out the question unless we magically get bumped up, but that would be awesome. I haven’t booked our seats yet, but I’d like a window, so hopefully there will only be two seats in a row so she can still have an isle. I guess I need to look up seat guru or something to the plane’s configuration. I think I will check about local hospitals. I think we’ll be on an A330, is there much room to walk around on these?


Not for a woman who’s 7 months pregnant!! :smiley:

I’m surprised the doc gave you clearance to fly that far in the last trimester, especially with your first child. I’m sure the doctor & you know her better than “conventional wisdom” does. I think you’ll be about as well-off on an A330 as you’d be on any other twin-aisle (at least until the Dreamliner flies). :wink:


And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a pilot who’s been flying charter or frax too damn long!


As mentioned long ago in another thread I took my wife to Bermuda when she was in the third trimester of her pregnancy with cfijames, doesn’t appear to have affected either of them negatively.


This comment leaves room for devious minds to understand things their own way!!!.. :laughing:


How old was CFIJames when he could “kennel up” on the first command?

As far as travelling with babies I think it depends on the parents and how often the baby is out in public and crowded places. Some people never take their babies out and about. Babies are also pretty sensitive to their parents. If Mom gets worked up for the big airline trip or first day of school, so will the children.


So, we did it… We survived!!

I have to give a gigantic thanks to the Kelty backpack/carrier that was a huge help. Baby was incredibly good too! He rode in laps for the RJ leg and we got a free seat for him and the carseat for the long legs! We even managed a last minute gate change without trouble.

Thank you all again for the help!


As soon as he was crawling, about 8 months or so.

I think he thought of it as a sanctuary to get away from his two older sisters/standby mothers.