I have it.
The number 1 tip for traveling on an airplane with an infant.
Our son turns 1-year old in two days, and thus far we’ve flown with him 10 times.
The first flight was an anxiety ridden hot mess, but I have to say we’ve gotten a bit better with each experience.
When you fly with an infant for the first time everyone and their grandmother, literally, will have a tip or two for you.
But I have to say, none of the tips or things we thought about for our first nine flights top what I’m going to share with you. And it’s so obvious. So. Stinking. Obvious!
Airlines Want You to Suffer
I swear this must be true.
Airlines put on a pretty face and allow you to board a flight before a lot of people, and that’s swell and all, but that’s about all they do for you.
If airlines really wanted to knock your socks off, they’d completely rethink how they handle parents traveling with infants or small children.
Airlines Don’t Think About Parents
Seriously. They don’t. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
If airlines really cared about parents they’d determine what seats small children would be in, especially infants, and make sure the overhead space was blocked of so that the parents didn’t have to feel the need to board the plane early.
Think about it.
By boarding early you might be sitting on the plane 45+ minutes before you back away from the gate. That’s enough time for an infant to be chill, eat, poop, have a nightmarish crying streak, fall asleep and wake back up again. And you’re still on the ground!
The entire process of parents with small children boarding first is insane. And that brings me to this game changing tip.
The #1 Tip for Traveling on an Airplane with an Infant
I suggested this on flight number eight, but my wife, for one reason or another, wasn’t totally on board.
For flight 10 though, as we were sitting in our makeshift baby play area I, in a friendly “this is what we’re going to do and I really have no say kind of way,” told her that I wanted to try the idea we discussed on flight nine.
What in the heck is it?
When two parents are traveling with an infant, parent number one (doesn’t matter who), gets on the plane when it’s time for early boarding, to secure overhead space and to deal with your stroller/car seat (if applicable).
Parent number two hangs back with the baby in the boarding area and doesn’t even dream of getting on the flight until just before the door shut. As a precaution, make sure the gate agent knows you are hanging back intentionally.
We did this last weekend and it’s a freaking game changer. I went on first with the stroller and our luggage and my wife stayed back with our son.
Directly in front of our seats was another couple that had a baby that was virtually the same age. As I patiently waited for my wife, the little guy in front of me was going bonkers.
He was crying. He was jumping around. He was being a perfectly normal baby. And you could see that the parents were getting stressed.
After around 25 minutes I saw my wife get on the plane. Our son was happy as a southern guy eating a fried turkey. She sat down, he remained calm, and it was the easiest flight we’ve had yet.
Even if you are traveling solo, I’d still highly recommend boarding last and letting the crew put your luggage underneath if they run out of space. There’s just zero reason for you to get on plane and sit for 45+ minutes.
If you practice this tip the next time you fly with an infant or small child, you’re going to find that the entire process is much less stressful and you’ll never want to “board early” again.