Travel tips & gear

Tips for short-haul flying with a baby

Things were a bit quieter in the Tin Box household last week as the baby and I went on an adventure.

We visited friends in Scotland and rather than driving the 450 miles I decided it would be easier to fly. I’m sure a lot of parents would avoid flying with little people at all costs or at least reserve it for the annual family holiday. However, I really didn’t fancy having to stop every three hours for feeds and bottom changes.
So last Monday we were dropped off at Southampton Airport by the Tin Box grandparents ready for TBB’s first flight, my first flight with a baby and my first solo parenting flight experience (Mr Tin Box and I have previously flown together with Tin Box Tot).
Flybe planes at airport
Seasoned plane spotters will notice this is our plane at Glasgow rather than Southampton!

 

Excuse me for having a bit of a smug face when I say it went amazingly well. The people around me who had been wincing when they saw an infant board the plane hardly knew she was there. I think it’s only fair to point out here that we were in the air for just an hour and 10 minutes each way and TBB is generally a very chilled out baby. I had it easy!
However, there were a few things that I did beforehand to try to ensure our journey went smoothly. Here’s my tips for short-haul flying with a baby:

Don’t wear anything too fancy

If you’re feeding a baby on the go without a high chair or a dish cloth close to hand then you are going to get covered. Even though our flight was short we still fitted in three baby meals times either at the airport or in the air. I had two muslins, a large bib and a nice new shirt (!) to catch the spillage.

Baby wear

Tin Box Traveller wearing baby in a sling
Bathroom baby wearing selfie – the norm when bloggers travel!

I changed my mind about taking the pushchair to the departure gate about five times in the 24 hours before our outgoing flight. On the morning it was raining and I decided it would be horrible trying to pack the chair away in the drizzle by myself if we had a walk to the plane. So I went for the wrap. It totally worked. We hung out in Costa for brunch and the pushchair would have just gotten in the way. I did exactly the same on our return flight. It made the airport a breeze.

Wait to board

Let everyone else board first. You won’t get caught up in the scrum for locker space and if there are any spare seats you can bag some extra room before you get settled. We managed to get two seats both ways thanks to this tactic.

Feed at take off and landing

This is the scariest part of flying for any parent. No one likes to hear a baby in pain while their ears pop. Tin Box Baby saw her bottle just before we started to taxi, latched on and was quite happy until we levelled out. She then had a little play with a toy and fell asleep – perfect! Just don’t hand over the bottle or boob too early, make sure you account for taxiing. On the way down TBB was happy to suck on her dummy.

Tin Box Baby sleeping on the plane

Take some distractions

No matter how young your baby is or how short your flight, take a couple of their favourite toys to distract them when you see the bottom lip begin to wobble. TBB has a few teething toys that came in a lot during our journey.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

TBB prefers her bottle slightly warm but on our return trip I didn’t have time to find somewhere to warm it at the airport. The lovely Flyby cabin crew helpfully offered to pop it in a cup of warm water before landing so I could give TBB her 4pm feed just how she likes it.

If you’re planning on flying longer distances with a baby I can recommend reading Life with Baby Kicks and Mini Travellers. They are pros!

What are your tips for flying with a baby? If you’d like more experts tips of flying with kids I can recommend reading Life with Baby Kicks, Mini Travellers and Flying with a Baby family travel blog. Carrie at Flying with a Baby is a former flight attendant and has two very well travelled girls. When it comes to boarding planes with children, she knows her stuff!

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