Tips for Surviving a Flight with an Infant

Let’s face it, flying can be stressful.  There are so many variables that are beyond your control.  Will there be traffic on the way to the airport?  How long will it take me to get through security?  What if my flight gets delayed, or worse, cancelled?  On top of that let’s throw in an unpredictable, completely dependent infant for good fun.  Excited for your next flight yet?

At just sixteen months old my son has already been on four round trip flights.  Here are some tips I’ve gathered that have helped us survive and will hopefully help you survive your next flight with an infant, too.

  1. Have proper documentation

Airlines allow infants under the age of 2 to fly in your lap for free on domestic flights.  You will often hear this referred to as a “lap baby” or an “infant in arms”.  Some airlines allow you to add your child online after you purchase your tickets.  However, other airlines do not allow you to add your infant until you arrive at the airport, which means waiting in your airline’s ticketing line to add your child.  These airlines will require proof that your child is under the age of 2 in order to add your child to your ticket.  This proof can come in the form of your child’s birth certificate or a passport.  Be sure to keep those in an easily accessible area.  Even if you were able to add your infant to your ticket prior to arriving at the airport be sure to have the proof with you just in case!

  1. Don’t be afraid to take your stroller

We typically always fly with our son’s stroller.  It makes navigating through the airport so much easier, provides some storage so we aren’t carrying all of our bags, and is free to gate check!  This is also convenient in case you get to your gate with a lot of extra time and want to take your little one for a walk around the airport to keep them entertained.  Keep in mind though that you do need to fold up your stroller to go on the belt through security.  If you prefer to wear your child though, security will not ask you to take your child out of their harness, wrap, etc. to go through the metal detectors.

  1. Wait to board your flight

Most airlines will offer some type of family boarding to allow families traveling with small children extra time to board the flight and get situated before takeoff.  In a lot of situations though this just means that you now have more time to keep your squirming infant closed off in a confined space.  If your seat was already assigned, no one is going to take it, so why rush to get on the plane and just sit there with your child?  Use this time instead to allow them some extra time to get some energy out or do a quick diaper change.  There have been times when my husband has gotten on the plane with our boarding group to go ahead and get our overhead luggage taken care of while I’ve waited a few extra minutes before boarding.  If your flight has open seating, I highly recommend boarding during family time.  That way you can guarantee seats with whoever you are traveling with.  Additional tip: if you are on a flight with open seating, and you know the flight isn’t full, go ahead and plop your little one in the seat beside you.  Just be sure to place your infant in your lap during takeoff and landing.

  1. Bring snacks and entertainment

What makes you feel better?  Snacks.  What makes your infant feel better and help ward off some boredom?  Snacks.  Bring them and keep them in a handy place during the flight.  Also, grab some milk, juice, or water before you board the flight for your infant.  Drinking during takeoff and landing can help their ears adjust to the change in pressure, which can be really irritating for them.  There are TSA guidelines for what you can bring with you in your carryon through security.  Here is a link to the TSA site’s section on Traveling with Children: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children

Another great idea is to bring along a portable DVD player or tablet to help entertain your child during the flight.  Recently we purchased a portable DVD player with a battery life.  This worked great on our flight and helped our son (and us) pass the time more easily.  We also purchased some headphones that are much more comfortable for our son to wear (and look super cute too).  Bonus: some airlines offer free inflight entertainment on domestic flights when applicable now!

  1. Relax

This is probably the hardest one.  No one particularly wants to travel with a child that is irritable, fussy, crying, or just simply restless.  If your child does start doing any of these things during the flight it is easy to become flustered over the situation.  The good news is once the plane takes off it is loud, which will help drown out the sound for others if your child does become fussy.  Even if it doesn’t, most everyone travels with headphones while on a flight.  You will have plenty of empathy from other parents because we have all been there at one point in time.  Plus, you are on vacation, so don’t let these moments start or end your trip with a bad taste in your mouth while you are trying to soothe your child.  Just remember that any noise your child makes is magnified ten-fold in your eyes.  So just relax, grab some snacks, and remember they are only little once.

Rachel

What happens when you move near the House of the Mouse?

Let’s face it.  We’ve all had the thoughts when we are on our WDW vacations how blissful and great life would be if we lived near Disney World?  Who would not want to live close to the most magical place on earth, right?  Some of us are fortunate to have the opportunity and some will wait it out for careers, kids to finish school, etc.  We were fortunate this past summer to make the move to Orlando as all the pieces fell into place.  We didn’t move here just to be close to Disney but it was certainly an added benefit.

Many of the popular WDW forums have entire sections on what it is like to live here.  It is a popular topic and many people have asked me since we have moved what it’s like.   What can you expect if you ultimately make the move?  Bottom line- get ready for a very different Disney experience.  There are some great advantages and disadvantages so let’s explore some of them…

Advantage- You can go whenever you want as long as you have an Annual Pass and it isn’t blacked out.  This is assuming you have an Annual Pass.  There are great options to obtain them and since you are a Florida resident you can do monthly payments.   But you need to watch crowd levels and wait times as it can impact a nice stroll through the parks.  We went one night recently when crowds were supposed to be low and it was very crowded.  We only got to do three attractions before heading out but that was OK because we knew we would be back and not have to wait long to return.

Disadvantage- Money!!!   But we live here so we save money on no WDW vacations, right?  Yes, but the costs can rack up if you go and eat dinner in the parks or get a souvenir or a snack each time you go.  We have taken to eating dinner at home and bringing water bottles from home.  Sometimes we plan to eat in the parks or Disney Springs but we always plan it out to limit purchases.  On vacation you budget your spending but if you live here there are many temptations.   Our girls have learned to save some allowance money for a treat in the park if they know we are going a particular night.  If you aren’t careful you could spend on food and snacks in one month what you could spend on an entire vacation.

Advantage- You can grab last minute Fastpasses (even for popular attractions) and off you go!  Recently I got FP+ for Flight of Passage and the time period started  a half hour after I got off work and the girls were out of school. Could we get to Animal Kingdom and make it to the line?  I could not waste this FP+ as the girls hadn’t ridden yet.  It is a strange feeling sitting in traffic trying to get from work to AK and using the cry- “please get out of my way! I have a FP expiring in 30 minutes!”   But it makes for an interesting life living so close.  And we made it to the FOP with 5 minutes to spare.   It is called living on the edge…

Disadvantage-  Life is life here too in Central Florida and there are jobs, school, errands, appointments, and more.  Life does not cease even when you can hear Magic Kingdom fireworks from your house.  You still have to get up and go to work and the kids have school. So all the times you think you will be going to the park – cut them in half.  You have to work and will be tired most days and not wanting to fight crowds ,the parking lots and trams.  And speaking of parking lots, sometimes I miss the resort buses.  The parking trams and in and out of the parks depending on time of day is not fun and can get hectic.  There are so many times I plan to meet a friend or fellow Storybook team member and I just can’t make it.  Life gets in the way!

Advantage-  And this goes with having an Annual Pass and being a Florida resident- you can get great resort rates.  They don’t come up often and they may not match when you want to have a “staycation” but it is great to pack an overnight bag and head off.  You haven’t driven far and you know where you are going. You check-in and go about your mini-Disney vacation.  And you get the resort TV stations that you miss when you live here.  After a day in Epcot it is great to go home to your own bed but we do miss going back to a resort and watching Stacy and the Must-Do’s!

I could go on and on with this list and as we live here longer the list will grow.  We can’t wait to take it all in and continue to explore.  Every once in a while I tell the family we need to explore the other places of Central Florida and we do.  But that pixie dust somehow points us in the direction of the most magical place on earth!     What an adventure…

Cameron

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