• Babies on a Plane Part 1: Prepping for International Travel With an Infant

    Posted on June 2, 2013 by Stephens Family Daycare in Crib Notes, Traveling.

    April's Passport Photo

    Pumped for the flight!

    April got her passport at 8 weeks old and this passport is supposed to last her until she is 5 years old. It’s been about 3 months since we applied for her passport and she already looks nothing like the frightened pile of mush from her passport photo. I wonder if border patrol will let her through when we go on vacation. I wouldn’t, she looks like a mule, what’s she hiding in that diaper?

    Getting ready to take a baby abroad was an interesting process, starting with getting her a passport. First things first, both parents must be in attendance during the application process for a minor, so John had to take a day off for April’s passport application at our local post office.

    Second, your baby must have her eyes open and be upright, and your arms or any other props to hold the baby upright cannot be in the picture frame. It’s hard to keep your baby’s eyes open when you are tossing her in the air for each picture attempt and getting the proper passport photo will take many, many attempts. I only learned this after I posted April’s original closed-eyes photo on Facebook and got quite a few comments telling me I needed to go back to the post office and have her picture taken again.

    Once I completed the passport application process, I stupidly ended up purchasing a separate plane ticket for April. I didn’t realize “Infant in Seat” meant an infant in her own seat and not mine which, now that I look back on it, should have been pretty clear. Luckily for me the airline refunded my ticket when I called in a few seconds after submitting my order. The moral of the story here is that you cannot buy a ticket for international travel with a lap infant online. You must call the airline and pay international travel taxes for your baby’s ticket, which is 10% of the adult fare.

    Now that we have April’s passport and ticket in hand, we are ready for take off. I think? Maybe. I guess we shall see…

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7 Responses so far.

  1. Nicole says:

    We have done a LOT of travel with baby — international and domestic. Pick my brain, if you like!

  2. Jaime says:

    Hi! Another suggestion I have is to look into getting an ‘extra leg room’ seat if you’re sitting in coach and the airline offers such seats. When traveling with our daughter, we have paid a nominal fee for the upgrade to these seats and it gave us more room to move around and maneuver. When our daughter was a bit older it even gave her a place to stand and stretch her legs without being in the way in the aisle of the plane.

    • Darcy says:

      Oh I hadn’t thought of that! I reserved the bulkhead seats when we took our sons over to London so we could have the flight attendants set up a bassinet for us. Not all airplanes have this option though, so the extra leg room seat is a great idea.

  3. Janice says:

    Thanks for your reply! I have another question. We are planning to travel with our carseat/stroller system but are not sure whether there may be an empty seat on the plane for our daughter. Do you recommend gate checking these items? If so, do you have any carseat bags you recommend? I have the Orbit Baby G2 system. Also, I did not purchase a bag for the stroller base yet. Do you think that is necessary? Thanks again for your help!

    • Noa says:

      I love the Orbit stroller system!! Just to be safe, you may want to call the airline but I would recommend gate checking the stroller and carseat so you can them throughout the airport and save a little money on a travel bag (Orbit’s is $200 and doesn’t fit the base with the carseat). If you are really lucky, you will have an empty seat next to you and then you can strap your baby into the seat in her car seat. Safe travels!

  4. Janice says:

    Hi Noa. We will be flying cross-country with our 13 week old daughter in a few weeks. We did the infant in lap thing as well but are hopeful to get an empty seat next to us. Do you have any advice on best ways to hold her when she is sleeping if we don’t get an empty seat? We are taking the redeye

    • Noa says:

      Hi Janice! We took a redeye with April and traded off holding the baby while she slept, always helps to have an extra set of hands. She would sleep laying flat on John’s chest and on me, across my lap on a pillow after nursing. Nursing/feeding your baby to sleep is KEY. I did see an infant plane seat that hooks onto the chair in front of you on Amazon.com today but not sure if it works.

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