Now comes the exciting part of traveling with baby to US on long flight. Before you read the below, you may read Traveling to US with Baby – How to Pack, Select Flights, Seats
How to Dress up when traveling with Infant to US on Long flight ?
Wear easy comfortable clothes in layers with shoes preferably without laces. If you are a feeding mother wear accordingly, you may not get a private place to feed, do prepare yourself accordingly. You can keep a feeding wrap or stole that can help you in keeping warm and in feeding. Dress your child with simple clothes that allow easy diaper changing. Try to avoid belts and heavy coats for you and your child. Please do not overload your child with gold jewelry hanging all around while travelling. These will add to your weight or cause discomfort at security check.
How to plan at Airport when you are traveling with Baby?
When you reach airport, do check for a porter/ sky cap for luggage. They will help you out till baggage drop. While travelling with infants and under 2 age child, you don’t get boarding passes at self-checkout counter so you may have to go to ticketing counter for that too, apart from luggage check-in. Do ask the staff at counter for up-gradation and vacant seat. Many to most airports have special queue for family with kids during security checks and boarding making travel bit easier and quick. But in case, you don’t find any and your little one is getting cranky, try to request someone in ground staff around, they may help you, yet not always. In general, do keep plenty of time with you for all processes, never assume that with kid you with get to the plane earlier. Few airports at busy hours don’t allow family lines and on request too, they don’t listen regardless of fact that you can miss flight. I have felt the burn when I missed my flight to Buffalo from Orlando with just 2 mins as they sold our tickets to someone in waiting list because of so called ‘standby policy’.
How does it work at Security Check with Small Child?
It is the most complicated part of travel for me, even now. Every airport has different way of doing things so let’s prepare for the worst. You need to take out your kid from safety belt or stroller and put those items on checking belt. Take out your coat, your shoes, belt, mobile phone, gold bangles (sometimes), electronic from bags, cosmetics and baby food. How smooth it goes depends on how efficiently you have packed your luggage, just be more organized. My tip is pack everything categorically in small Ziploc/clear bags and put everything in big Ziploc so you just have to take out one big clear bag. They may ask you few questions, take samples from liquid milk, water or will ask you to drink or will just throw any open water bottle. Just let them do whatever they do, you will get water later from vending machines or in plane. Now, for your personal checking, some may ask you to just walk through the scanner with your child or will pat you and your child. Once, done pack up everything taking care of little one but don’t leave your child unattended. If travelling with family, one can manage luggage while other can take care of child. After that, freshen up yourself and your mind for next flight and proceed to boarding.
How does Boarding work with Small Child ?
Travelling with a child under two, you will have privilege to board first. When you get to your gate to board, you will still have your stroller system. When you get to the end of the jet-way there will be a place to give the stroller. Again, fold the stroller, take your stuff and child. You may ask for help but better be self-sufficient.
How to take care of your Little one In-flight ?
Before my travel, many people advised and in-fact her top-rated pediatrician prescribed me ‘Phenergan’ to keep her sleepy during flights. Being a mother and that too worked for drug safety by profession, this is something I never wanted to do. In-fact, I googled for some reviews, one parent cited that his child was acting as a ‘Zombie’. Zombie!! No way, I could never do that to my such a sweet child and I didn’t, I had faith in me and my child. Luckily, she didn’t cry in any of my three flights to USA and was playing with her small rattle, waving to others and enjoyed her mother’s full presence for her. Though during India trip she was bit crankier (as routine was disturbed and she wanted her independence being a walking talking toddler), we tried keeping her busy with few games on my tablet and little surprises I got for her like a new stickers book, colors, light cardboard jig-jaw shaped puzzles (for tearing as she loved to tear off their rounded tabs) and activity kit she got on plane. But yes, the basic mantra is not to loose your patience when your kid is cranky or hyper.
How to engage little one during Take off, Landing for Ears pressure ?
During descent and takeoff, it’s important to keep child sucking or swallowing on something to relieve ear pressure. During my US travel, her pacifier was a great help for me else feeding mothers can feed or give a bottle. Now, when she is old enough, a juice or a water bottle helps. We even try to keep her distracted by talking, playing or singing her favorite rhyme. So far, her ears have bothered in none of flights but every kid is different.
How about infant Food on the Flights ? Inform Airline ?
For infants, you can ask for lukewarm water for preparing feed (powdered milk or cereals). I kept 4-5 small pre-sterilized bottles with me to avoid cleaning during travel. Also, consider buying milk powder dispenser for travel to ease making feed. Many flights, do have baby food like fruit or vegetable purees for infants above 6 months but you need to inform earlier. During our India trip, I packed different snacks of her choice in small quantities in small Ziploc sandwich bags, a bowl of cooked rice with yogurt, few fruit purees pouches and cereal. We also kept few mini sized chocolates to help us during her tantrums.
Activities for you Child on the Plane to keep them busy
Try to keep some new toy or an engaging activity for your little one as we all know how much a kid prefer a new toy. You can even pack them up with cute wrapping paper for adding fun and eating up more time. But please don’t bring noisy electronics for your child as this may be disturbing for others.
How to ask for Help/assistance inside Flight:
If you need to use lavatory to freshen up yourself while travelling alone, don’t hesitate to ask for help from flight attendants. They would be always ready to help but in general don’t leave your cranky child to them, it’s better to go when he/she is asleep or in happy mood.
How to plan for Diaper changing during Long Flight ?
Long distance flights do have changing table but many smaller or short distance flights may not have. Consider changing diaper at airport if it’s likely to change in coming 1-2 hours. Changing tables at both airport and airplane may not be hygienic so keep a changing pad or waterproof sheet, hand sanitizing wipes or hand sanitizer with you. Changing diaper can take some time, try to be quick and if you think someone was waiting for long for his/her turn in lavatory, be apologetic with smile.
How to prepare for Baby Sleep in Flight ?
We also carried a lightweight pillow to make her sleep on our lap. This way not only she got a cushion underneath but our arms were also protected as her weight was distributed. You can carry an inflatable pillow with you as it will a bit easier to carry.
How do Layovers work with little Kids – Seeking Help ?
Try to avoid layovers but yes, I know they are unavoidable especially if you are coming from so far! Don’t pick a layover that 2 hours or less because in my opinion that is not enough time! Firstly, you have to wait for them to bring you your stroller and then once you have that you still have to walk to the next gate. But in-between, you may need to hop on air train and undergo security check, if the airport is big. If it’s your first port of entry to USA, add an additional hour for immigration and customs check as well. If you are just alone with kid and custom check require baggage pickup and drop, look for skycap. When I came through Chicago, many of them were present near baggage section. You can check with airline or airport for their availability but please tip them generously. If you have a medical problem, you can request airline for assistance in advance. They may give you wheel chair assistance but at few places (like in New York), they will deny for safety reasons for you lap child as per their policy.
Our overall experience with our Baby on Long Flights to America
At the time of her first roller coaster flight, she was like an angel but my baggage was a big pain for me (she was on my front and a backpack on my back), my shoulders were so stressed. I can’t even remember how many times I opened my bag to throw something out of it but everything was just so important. I had my eyes on coat I was wearing and big fat file I had for immigration check though immigration guy checked our passport only!! L. But I did shift few of things (used bottles, spoiled clothes, my coat etc.) from my bag into checked in baggage after custom check and prior to baggage drop at layover. During rest of our flights luggage was not a problem as my husband as with me 😉 but then she had entered toddler stage. So yes, there were few ups and down in our roller coaster rides, some were good and few were sometimes scary. But like at the end of ride, roller coasters are adventurous; our rides were too, it’s up to us either to scream or enjoy the ride.
So ladies and gentlemen, if you are planning your roller coaster ride with you little creatures, welcome aboard and if you have any concerns, feel free to ask, I will be happy to assist you. Have a safe journey!!
How was your flight journey with Infant ? Any ideas or suggestions ?
Image credit : https://pixabay.com/en/baby-passenger-infant-flight-69770/, http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1186/750366473_4267ffc9f6.jpg ,