Travelling with children by plane (part 2)

As I already mentioned in part 1, flying with infants or small children is different from traveling in a group of adults, so you should be prepared for it. Today I will answer a few other frequent questions about traveling with young children.

Are infants entitled to travel for free or should I buy a regular ticket?

Infants must generally travel on an accompanying adult’s lap. Some regular airlines do not charge for an infant (less than 2 years-old) that travels with a parent, if the two of them only occupy one seat. But this is not the case with low cost airlines. Many low cost airlines charge a fixed fee for infants traveling with their parents, regardless of the fact that regular tickets may cost less at the time of the booking. Below you can find a list of the fixed amounts major low cost airlines charge for infants:

Ryanair – 20-24E per infant, depending on the route
EasyJet – 24E per infant
Flybe – 10-20£ per infant, depending on the route
airBerlin – 3-20£ per infant, depending on the route
JetBlue – free

Are babies affected by jet lag?

Babies are affected by jet lag just like adults are. A change in the time zone affects their sleeping and eating schedule. In order to help your baby adapt to a change in the time zone it is advisable that you start preparing in advance. A good thing to do, for example is to start shifting the baby’s sleeping and eating schedule by 15-30 minutes per day during the week before your departure. This way, he will be prepared for the new time zone.

Once you reach your destination, try to feed the baby and to put him to sleep according to the new time zone. If you are traveling with a young infant, you can feed him on demand, especially if you’re breastfeeding. However, keep in mind that in order to help your baby adapt to the new time zone you need to take advantage of the daylight. Exposure to the sunlight will facilitate the adaptation process both for the infant and for you.

How can I prepare my baby for a trip?

Young children feel comfortable when they are surrounded by the things that they know and like. It can be their favorite blanket, a toy, or anything else they particularly enjoy and feel safe with. You can get your baby involved when you do the packing by making him choose 2 or 3 of his favorite toys to take on the trip. Take a little piece of your home with you, but not all of it! Don’t forget that a child feels safe with his parents, so try to spend more time with him, especially during meals and before putting him to sleep.

If you have a toddler, share your vacation plans with him before the trip. Show him pictures of your destination and of the persons you will be visiting. This will help him understand what to expect and be prepared for it. Also, explain to him what flying will be like, maybe using a toy airplane. Don’t worry about the “fear of flying”! This develops at a later age!

What you would advise someone to do in case they need to bottle-feed the baby on the plane (as passengers are not allowed to carry liquids past the security checks)? 

According to the airport security rules, passengers are not allowed to carry with them on the plane liquids in containers larger than 100 ml. An exception to this rule is made for the products purchased after the security checks (in the Duty Free area) and obviously, for the products purchased on the plane.

So if you need to feed your baby on the plane you have the following options:
1. Given that carrying empty containers (like feeding bottles) that are bigger than 100ml is not prohibited, you can carry the powder milk necessary and 3 or 4 100 ml bottles with hot water that you can use to prepare the baby’s meal.
2. You can carry an empty feeding bottle and the powder milk necessary through the security checks. After you pass the security control you can purchase water in the security area or you can ask for hot water on the plane (in the latter case, don’t forget to inquire beforehand so as to be sure that provide it).

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