Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Baby On Board: Tips For Air Travel With A Baby

We took our first flight with our 14 month old daughter a few weeks ago. Truth be told we had a very well-rounded flying experience which included TSA liquid inspections, an on-plane 1 hour delay, a near miss layover flight and through it all, a happy cooperative baby. Thank you sweet Jesus.

Leading up to our trip I became anxious thinking about all the things that I would have to pack and keep up with and all the random google searches this huge event would provoke. Flying with a baby for the first time is a HUGE deal. I definitely didn't want to be a mommy fail.

So I took to the internet to seek out any information that I could find to make the trip less stressful. The best resources I found was this TSA link and a Delta airlines article for traveling with babies. From these ever so clever links I learned that:
  • Children up to 2 years of age can fly for free (already knew this but confirmation is always nice)
  • Breastmilk, baby formula, or any type of baby food (whole milk in a bottle in our case) are exempt from the 3.4 ounce carry-on rule in reasonable quantities.
  • Strollers and carseats fly for free and are not counted as a carry-on item
  • I was surprised and thrilled when I discovered how much airlines catered to their littlest travelers.

    First things first. I had to make a packing list for Georgia Grace's main luggage items and carry-on luggage. There were several things that I knew I wanted at my finger tips just in case  but at the same time keeping in mind that carry-on real estate was a hot commodity.
Her carry-on backpack contained:
spoons (read: favorite toy)
changing pad
container of puff snacks and cheerios
a book
cheese & crackers
diaper bag dispenser
extra footed jammies
(not pictured-Children's Motrin)

I think we used every item on this list at least once during our air travels. Important stuff!

Also it should be noted that this bag counted as her diaper bag so I was still able to have my own carry-on bag.
I was also allowed to bring on a cooler of her "food" which included three milk bottles, slices of cheese (her favorite food), and bags of apple slices (I stocked up on the McDonald's bags). I put a small bed of ice in the bottom and everything stayed nice and cool.

TSA Inspections
I was probably the most anxious about this part. Thankfully we all passed through security without any problems. However, we were required to do special security testing of the milk bottles. 

The Nashville airport procedure involved taking each of our milk bottles and putting them in the big black box seen in the left of the picture. The bottle stayed in for about 15 seconds until we heard a beep. The bottle was removed and put back into the cooler until all three bottles had been scanned successfully with no signs of hazardous substances.

The procedure was completely different in Jackson Hole. I had to remove the caps from the bottles and the TSA officer waved a small strip of paper that he had put a drop of clear liquid on over the milk. Curious me asked him what he was actually testing for and his reply was "anything that could blow the plane up". Well okay then.

We passed in both airports and were able to keep all of our carry-on goodies. Hallelujah!

Another perk of traveling with a baby (if you're coach passengers like ourselves) is you are allowed to preboard. That was especially nice considering all the paraphernalia we had in tow.

Our mini passenger on her first ever plane ride. She knocked it out of the park on our way to Wyoming. She is such the traveler. And yes, she traveled in style in her cupcake footed pajamas. Comfort AND fashion. :) 

She didn't pay attention to the takeoff and landing, made friends with the passengers all around us, and had fun jumping from lap to lap. Since there were three of us adults we took up one whole side of the plane which made it easier to corale her and give her a new person to play with periodically.

Here's a tip on how to keep your baby busy on a long flight. It's called the #tapetrick (Thanks IG!). All you do is cut painters tape into strips and attach them to the tray in front of you-instant game of ripping the tape off over and over again. Georgia Grace was probably starting to age out of this trick but it still provided 5-10 minutes of entertainment at a time. I think 6-12 months would be the perfect age. So easy and low maintenance!

Our first flying experience with a baby was a success. I'm glad I didn't let fear rob me of a wonderful trip and a multitude of memories we will never forget.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! We are going to Oregon in July so this has helped me immensely! I love the tape trick. Kennedy loves to load things in something (balls in her popper or plastic food in buggy) and then take it out and do it all over again. I think the tape trick will keep her occupied awhile!

    1. You're welcome Carol! Glad I could be of help! Let me know how the tape trick goes!