On our recent trip to Miami we experienced for the first time having the two of us, Jayne on our lap, next to an unwitting member of the general public! All previous flights we’ve either been on a quiet flight, or had another family member alongside us. So we really wanted to document this journey, so here are some tips we've gathered for flying with babies!
Setting off at 6am was a bold move; based purely on that if we got lucky our little girl would wake up in Miami having missed the journey. Whoops! She was up and chatting away at 3am when my husband started getting everything ready. Miraculously not a tear was shed as she remained in some form of blissful dream like daze for the subsequent 3 hours, just chatting away, with the occasional song thrown in. Bag drop and check in were seamless (another advantage of getting to the airport before any sane person has thought of getting out of bed)!
The United jet had just come in from Puerto Rico, a little late, but the team on the ground did a great job getting it ready for our flight, so much so we were able to depart on time. The little one fell asleep on take off, guess on her 7th flight, she decided that she was no longer interested one of the greatest human accomplishment of all time. It still boggles my mind that we can travel continents and time zones in those metal cylinders.
Halfway through the flight the calm was interrupted by a hungry, slightly confused baby. This is when we discovered one of the best entertainment devices for a baby on a plane. Now it may seem obvious but a window looking out on the ocean and Florida coastline is an amazing sight for anyone, especially a baby. It is hard to imagine the wonder running through her mind staring out over the world 35,000ft below.
Now the flipside. The return journey! Late afternoon/Evening flights with babies are maybe on the riskier side of the spectrum than the early morning flight. Then when you enter some pretty rough turbulence (thank you 40mph winds), you have a recipe for an intense couple of hours. Those dressed in business attire in the seats around us were probably wishing they’d chosen different seats, although I don’t think anyone was too annoyed, at least they didn’t show it (I honestly felt so bad for the business man sitting directly in front of us since Jayne loved kicking the chair and hanging on the magazine holder !! I tried my best to contain her, but lets be real containing a 1 year old isn't very easy). The truth is that sometimes babies have bad days, and honestly with the turbulence I am sure there would’ve been a few adults wailing if it was at all socially acceptable( I know I'm would be as I HATE turbulence!!). The best distraction we had was the window (again!!) and food. Beyond that you just hold your baby tight and make sure they know they are loved and safe.
On a final note, given the recent bad press received by United, we have to say that their service was exemplary. From the quick turnaround of aircraft, to the wonderful gentleman checking us in, in Miami (very accommodating, accepted 3 baby related checked items without fee, and helped us with seat selection), to the cabin crew who were a delight and in the few spare moments they had always made an effort to make our daughters day better.
Overall, after 8 flights with our little one we know what makes her happy and how to make her the most comfortable in the air. Traveling with littles ones can be daunting, but it shouldn't be because its totally attainable! Taking earlier flights we found were the best with our little one or overnight red eye flights. Bringing a few small toys (extra clothes-- Jayne was sick on two flights and having extra outfits is def a must) and having food for them to snack on is a must! Just remember that all babies cry and you can only do your best, most likely if not all passengers will have headphones on so don't panic if you baby is crying uncontrollably !!! Good luck + happy flying with littles :)
* United Arilines DID NOT sponsor this post ALL opinions are of my own!