Last year, my husband was able to accompany me and our 5 month old when we flew. This year, it'll just be me and my son (with my dad for the flight there). We'll be returning, just the two of us, a few days later.
He'll be a lap child, but we're bringing his car seat along with us. I've heard many stories and whatnot about car seats being checked and it being damaged, scuffed up, etc. As well as that if you do check it, it's then considered a "wrecked" car seat as if you were in a regular car accident. I really don't want to check it, but I'm almost certain the plane won't have any extra seats to place it in.
I was wondering if any of you have any tips for flying with an 18 month old. Thanks in advance!!
I hadn't heard about checking car seats meaning that they're not good any more. I'll have to look into that.
Over the winter we flew from Boston to Phoenix (and back) with my 4-year-old, and my then one-year-old. We checked a car seat for her and a booster for him. They both arrived in perfect shape on both ends. They handled them specially and had them waiting for us separate from the luggage belt both times. That was on Jet Blue. I'm not sure how other airlines are, though.
As for flying solo, your best bet is to check at the gate before boarding to see if there are any open seats or bulkhead seating available. There is a lot more room at the bulkhead, and obviously an open seat means he wouldn't have to sit on your lap the entire time. You'll probably want the extra room so that you don't have to be right on top of 2 complete strangers.
When we flew we brought special bags filled with new toys and books. As they got bored with one new toy they were allowed to trade it in for a new toy. Thankfully they both fell asleep for the majority of the flight, so it wasn't an issue.
Hi Jen! I chose the two seats on the flights to my destination that were next to my dad. However on the flights back, there were no bulkhead seats available. The only choices I had were middle and one window. When I went back to see if I could change them, all that's available on the return flights are middle and preferred, which you'd have to pay extra for. I know that the seats are not exactly guaranteed until we get there, so I am hoping there are some extra since it's an early flight.
Hi Flying Solo,
I just flew with a 13-month-old last month. Here are some of the things that really helped me. Just an FYI: I flew without my husband. I did have my 14-year-old brother with me, who could hold my son while I used the ladies' room, and I flew across the country (5 1/2 hour flight).
1) Arrive early (this was more for my sanity)
2) If you are nervous about security, watch the TSA videos about traveling with infants.
3)I flew Virgin America, and I could check my car seat and stroller for free. I bought an umbrella stroller for the airport. It was light and easy to use. I practiced opening and closing it b/c you will have to fold it up while going through security. I made sure I could do it with a baby in my arms. I did check my car seat with my luggage. It would have been too much to bring on the plane. I bought a gate check bag at Buy Buy Baby for 18.00. My car seat was fine, on time, and placed in a special area once we arrived at our destination. It was not placed with the other passengers' luggage.
5) When going through security, keep your food/milk to the side. I attached a lunch bag to my diaper bag so that all his food was in one spot. This was my "carry on."I used the front pocket of the lunch bag to hold all baby meds. When going through security, you should open up the lunch bag and declare the food. TSA will test your milk in the machine and return it to you. There are no regulations on the amount that you bring, so bring a little extra.
6) Wear easy shoes to slip on and off through security. You do not need to take off your baby's shoes.
7) Once through security, I took the extra time to feed my son and eat myself. I was the one holding my son the entire flight, so ordering coffee or food was not an option on the plane. The plane will board 30-35 minutes before you depart. You'll be able to board after first class. I changed my son in the ladies' room prior to this, so he was fed and clean before boarding.
8) Once on the plane, I put wipes, changing pad, a couple diapers, pacifiers, and cookies in the seat pocket (for easy access). If you can fit your diaper bag under the seat in front of you, even better.
9) I had books and toys with me. The books were great for keeping my son distracted while the plane was taking off and landing. I tried to feed him snacks and milk during that time (to help with his ears).
10) My life saver was my ipod. I downloaded a few shows and one movie that he loves. It was not enough to keep his attention the entire flight, but it helped when he was being restless. I would show him that and he would calm down.
11) He did sleep on the flight, so make sure you have a favorite blanket. etc.
12) The only time my son cried was after his nap. I didn't have his milk "ready." I had the milk in a separate container and had to pour it in a sippy cup. I should've had the sippy cups filled instead.
13) Bring extra clothes for hot and cold weather. The plane was hot boarding, cold in the air, and hot after landing. Also, I managed to put his clothes in a puddle of water near the sink in the bathroom. I was grateful that I had more clothes.
14) Bring your child's favorite foods.
15) Take a day flight if possible. There will be other babies, and you will not feel alone.
Good luck flying and have a safe trip!