Tips For Flying Alone With An Infant

8 tips for flying alone with an infant

Flying alone with an infant can be terrifying, especially the first time.  Okay, traveling with an infant anytime can be terrifying!  You never know what you are going to get and on top of it the GEAR! There is so much stuff you need to carry, drag, push, kick along… To make your flight a little easier these are my tips for flying alone with an infant.

#1  Buy your infant their own seat and bring an FAA approved car seat onboard

Just because you can have a child under two on your lap doesn’t mean that you should.  “Did you know that the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap? Your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.”  (FAA)

A carseat is also the most comfortable place for you and baby.  The carseat will be a familiar place for your infant and they are more likely to sleep through the flight if they are securely fastened in and nice and comfy in their carseat. Be sure to book two seats next to each other to insure you will not have any issues.  

Tips for flying alone with an infant

Managing your carseat

(Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post that I may receive a small commission from when you click through and make a purchase.  This commission comes at no cost to you.)

Most infants are in the bucket carseat that click onto a stroller.  If you have a carseat that clicks onto a stroller push the carseat clicked to the stroller all the way to the plane. At the end of the jet bridge take the carseat out and leave the stroller to be gate checked.  If your infant carseat does not click onto a stroller it will be helpful to have a way to get it through the airport.  I have put my carseat on a luggage cart and secured it with bungee cords.  There are also carts made specifically for carseats to be rolled but I found a basic luggage cart worked just as well and was much cheaper.  When you go through security request a hand check for your carseat so you do not have to disassemble your travel cart.  A carseat travel backpack is also a good way to carry a carseat through the airport.

You need a FAA approved carseat.  The flight crew will ask to see the FAA sticker.  Make sure you know where the sticker is on your carseat.  For instructions on installing your FAA approved carseat on an airplane check the carseat  manual.  For more information about flying with a CRS visit the FAA webpage on flying with children (https://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/).

#2  Recruit a family member or friend to assist you all the way to the gate

Airlines, at their discretion,  may issue gate passes for non-ticketed passengers.  Your best bet to insure you get a gate pass for your helper is to call the airline’s customer service ahead of time and request it.  If they won’t give you a gate pass ask if they provide any other type of special assistance for people traveling alone with an infant.  If your airline confirms they can provide you with a gate pass make sure your helper brings their ID to the airport. 

#3 Wear your baby

Even if you plan on pushing the stroller to the gate having a baby carrier can be a lifesaver.  TSA usually will let you leave baby in the carrier when going through security.  Also, a baby carrier is great for boarding and disembarking.  Having your infant secured to you in a baby carrier will be really helpful when you are trying to break down your stroller and then picking up the rest of your carry ons. 

#4 Nurse or bottle feed during takeoff and landing

Breast or bottle feed during takeoff and landing

Okay this advice sort of negates everything I said above about the importance of having your infant in a carseat.  However, nursing or bottle feeding during takeoff and landing will help keep your infants ears from popping.

#5  Bring extra clothes for you and baby

Like I said you never know what you are going to get when traveling with an infant.  They could have a blowout, throw up on you, or maybe the lady next to you spills her drink on you.  Instead of being uncomfortable in wet or stinky clothes be sure to bring a change of clothes for everyone in your party.

#6  Bring some entertainment

Bring small toys that your infant has never seen before.  If you forget the toys use what you have.   Your phone, keys, or other random items will all work to entertain your infant.  

#7  Take all the help you can get when flying alone with an infant

If you are traveling alone and a fellow passenger offers you help, TAKE IT! I used to be all it’s okay I got it.  But no, I did not have it, or at least it could have been easier with a little help.  Let that mom with an older kid carry a bag for you, let the nice old guy in front of you hold your infant for a second while you get your car seat jammed into the plane seat, and if you need to use the bathroom ring that call button and ask a flight attendant to keep an eye on your infant.

I have seldom been let down by the kindness of strangers while traveling.  The help of strangers has made all the difference between having a total meltdown and making my flight.  Most recently I was trying to clasp my ergo behind my back and I couldn’t reach. A lady who had walked past me ran back and said, “here you go,” and clasped it for me! 

#8  Relax

The biggest fear people have when traveling alone with an infant is how they will react.   Is your infant going to cry the whole way and annoy the other passengers? In my opinion if those other passengers didn’t bring earplugs or noise canceling headphones it isn’t my fault.  Of course I want my infant to be calm and happy on the plane but I can’t control that and neither can you.  The best thing you can do is relax, breathe, and roll with it.  Try not to stress and pretend like you have done this a thousand times.

Flying alone with an infant will test your patience in ways you couldn’t imagine.  But people do it everyday and so can you! Hopefully these tips will make flying alone with your infant a little less stressful.  

(Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post that I may receive a small commission from when you click through and make a purchase.  This commission comes at no cost to you.)

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