Flying with a baby during a pandemic: time for some valuable tips! After sharing last time general suggestions for flying internationally during a pandemic, this time, the sharing focused on flying with babies! Coronavirus times are challenging to fly for adults, with limited options and increased risk.
What to do when it is necessary to travel? How to ensure that flying with babies remains safe, or at least the risk is limited? What are some of the tested suggestions that could help to improve also travel’s comfort, physical and mental? Let’s explore this topic together. Contribute with your thoughts or drop a question if you would like to learn something more. I am here for you.
FLYING WITH a BABy DURING PANDEMIC
A few months ago, I shared with you how to “relax, fasten your seat belts, and smile” when the baby is on board. Yes, that’s flying with babies, and I still believe in it. Traveling with babies can be fun. It is fun! It is one of the most beautiful moments to discover the place and the world together. Never too early for it.
It is never too early to begin exploring the world.
Our Little One recently marked 14 flights, domestic and international, being 13.5 months old. We love to travel and share our passion with our two girls. Our Bigger Angel is an expert by now. She used to pack all on her own for long-distance travel already at the age of 7. She needed to know two things. How many days to pack for and if there is a TV screen during the flight!
BABY ONBOARD DURING PANDEMIC
My recent journey during the pandemic, a post that I shared with you last week, was together with Our Little One. These were her 13th and 14th flights. Our first journey all alone, as till date we traveled all together, 4 of us. As you can imagine, plenty of emotions related to this travel, from real happiness to another missing (Our Bigger Angel and My Better Half), with some concerns in the middle.
To clarify first: we did not travel as tourists. It was a journey from our home in India to our home in Poland. It isn’t about vacationing. I know that it might be considered unnecessary, and I understand if someone has some doubts about it. I had them too. Maybe that’s why it took me a bit, aside from all the formalities and logistics, to buy tickets. And I know that I needed ‘extra confidence’ from My Better Half to tell me to buy the tickets for next weekend. ‘Go, all will be fine’. He knows I am a ‘mama bear’. Or as they say in Israel, Polish mama, literally and figuratively.
tips: sharing is caring
So here I am, Polish mama’s sharing some tips with you, I hope valuable ones. These are actual suggestions based on our experience and learning. So if you are going to fly with a baby during the pandemic, scan these tips. They are valid for all air travel types, no matter if this is a family reunion, personal need, holiday trip, etc. Important: don’t be worried or overwhelmed with the situation and environment. Be practical and positive instead. And smile. It is time to fly again!
BABY YET TO FLY
NEED VS WANT
My first quick advice, or rather a question, would be: do you need to travel or you want to travel? If possible, limit the adventures to limit the risk. However, if you need to travel, don’t overthink and go for it. There might be people around you who will support you. And also those who might have concerns. It means they care for your and your baby, so don’t be upset.
STAY HEALTHY BEFORE TRAVEL
Double-take care of yourself and your baby before the travel. That’s the key aspect to be allowed to board the plane. And that’s the surprise you want to avoid. Even fever related to teething can disturb your travel plans, so be careful, plan dates well and take care of all travelers. If possible, self-isolate before flying for few days. And avoid any activities that could result in catching a cold.
Call airlines when booking the flight: check on the days when the flight occupancy is less. The airline support desk can help you with it. Once you buy the ticket and your flight is mid or long distance, consider a bassinet seat for the baby. Remember that the standard limits are: up to 11 kg and 71 cm in length. So if your baby is older, skip it, else give a call again to the airline. Ask them about the number of bassinets on the plane. If there are just two (like on our flight), I would advise skipping it if the flight occupancy is low. Chances of sitting directly next to someone will be very high, and your baby might enjoy sleeping on two seats with you, all alone. A safer option, in my view.
Packing smart when traveling with the baby is so important, don’t take ‘all house’ unless relocating. If traveling with other family members – that’s easier as more free hands to help. If traveling alone, make sure you will be comfortable with hand luggage and baby during all checks. For me, a backpack was a better solution. Additionally, when landing – I asked for support with the checked-in baggage, not to carry it when holding Our Little One. Just sanitize the handles before touching them later on.
BE READY FOR SURPRISES
We all love surprises, don’t we? Even My Better Half loves, no matter how much he says he isn’t into them (ask him about his last year’s birthday!). Traveling during the pandemic brings a lot of unknowns with it, so be ready for it. It might be a delayed flight, canceled connection, or maybe extended stay before your return. Be prepared for different options: one extra diaper or change, one additional baby snack can work miracles. And always have a phone charger with you in the handbag.
BABY AT THE AIRPORT
GO FOR CARRIER
Advice number one for the airport: forget stroller, if you can. Replace it with a baby carrier. Few reasons: a carrier will limit unnecessary exposure to others during security checks and storage before boarding. Holding a baby in the carrier ensures that the baby is closer to you, fronting your direction – helpful to avoid contact with others.
SHAWL OR BABY SCARF
Additionally, use a shawl or a baby scarf to cover the baby at the airport. Babies struggle with wearing a mask. A light and comfortable cloth can be used instead.
Validate during the check-in process if any better seat is available. It can be changed to allow you more privacy and social distancing.
One more question you can ask during check-in: upgrade options, paid or complimentary. Often airlines have special offers for the upgrades at the airport. Extra space could help a lot! So go ahead and check options, even if you can’t afford them. Once I got a free upgrade to business.
If the airport has more people or maybe coffee places/lounges are closed – remember you can benefit from the baby room. In some airports, they are very spacious. And as now fewer children are flying – they are also pretty free. You can relax there and enjoy a comfortable time with your little one.
BABY’S HEALTH AND SAFETY FIRST
Remember the safety rule on the plane? “Adult first – put on your oxygen mask first.” Yes, this rule stays valid. But for the entire flight and journey, I would suggest keeping the baby’s safety first. Adults’ advantages are face masks. Babies (0-4 years) are not required to wear them. They might remove them very fast. So double care for babies is needed.
The advantage of flying with babies is boarding first. So you this opportunity and enter the plane without any crowd around you. For exiting the plane, depending on the seats’ allocation, one can exit faster or wait till all the crowd leaves the plane. It helped us a lot. On the plane from India, we waited for the plane to get empty again, and on the plane from Germany, we were sitting in the front row, leaving as first passengers.
No matter if flying alone or with my family, I like to wait till the “boarding completed” alert to check for any better places to sit. I did it also this time. Important is, wait a moment with all the unpacking and setting yourself comfortably in your place. We got one extra seat, however, the back area of the plane was nearly completely empty so we managed to change our seats quickly: getting both free seats and also excellent social distancing during a nearly 10 hours flight. Just remember to notify the flight attendant about the seat change.
BABY FACE MASK
Consider some cover for your baby during the flight. It might be a shawl or scarf. I made a simpler version of the face mask, a comfortable one – and I made Our Little One wear it when she was sleeping, which means – most of the flight.
Online you can find some different options:
When traveling by plane, I like to pre-order a special meal. It is useful now during the pandemic, especially flying with babies. Special meals, ordered by a few only, are always served in advance, ahead of the standard meal. Currently, travelers can remove face mask during the flight just for eating and drinking. So this will help you not to remove the facemask “all together”. You can enjoy your meal with your baby first! And wear your mask when other people would be eating. And remember: it is free of charge.
The best education I have ever received was through TRAVEL.Lisa Ling
Stay safe and fly safe!
Moments that matter, no matter the tips.