Passengers under two can fly free as a lap child, but many parents deplane wondering if the savings is really worth it. For families who want to take advantage of their baby's bargain traveler status, we have a few tips.
(Image by Flickr member davipt licensed for use under Creative Commons)
- Gate check your car seat. Yes, it's a hassle hauling a car seat through the airport, but in the event that there are empty seats, the crew may be willing to move people around so that your child can have a seat. You'll be kicking yourself if you miss out on that opportunity because you checked your seat at the counter.
- If you are traveling on a larger plane look into a bassinet option and consider booking over the phone. 747s and other big planes are equipped with bassinets at each bulkhead. By booking on the phone you can confirm bassinet availability and secure the corresponding seats, which tend to go very quickly. Just be sure that your child falls within the airline's weight and length limits.
- Make sure that feedings are easy. Even the most seasoned nursing moms will find that it's easiest to breastfeed on a plane in a nursing top or tank. For kids on formula and/or solids, pack a small bag with everything you may need and stash it under the seat for easy access.
- Bring a soft carrier. They don't take up a ton of space in your bag, and your child is much more likely to sleep if they are accustomed to being worn. I crossed the Atlantic wearing a 13 month old in an Ergo. The carrier made the character-building experience much more bearable and comfortable, and it was easier to doze with the confidence that my son was secured to my body.