3 Essentials Airplane Rules When Flying With a Newborn
Air travel with a baby - especially a newborn - requires a lot of careful planning, from booking your seats to every necessary inflight detail. Some airlines provide special equipment for passengers with newborns, such as baby bassinets and car seats. These privileges should be arranged early on since some of the these are not typically carried on board.
If you're planning on flying with a newborn, here are some things you definitely should consider:
1. NEWBORN FLIGHT SAFETY
Some airlines admit newborns as early as 2 weeks old while others allow only 2 month old babies. Traveling with your newborn usually requires a medical release form before airlines accept you onto the flight. Unless completely necessary, pediatricians do not advise parents to travel with a newborn 1 month old and under.
The most important reason being that the mother needs postpartum rest and the baby needs a stable environment right after birth. In-flight conditions such as noise, cabin temperature changes and pressure maybe very uncomfortable to the newborn. Also, the baby's immune system is still fragile and could be affected by the germs carried onto the plane. Air Canada and United Airlines do make cut-offs at 7 days old while Southwest Airlines requires medical releases for infant under 2 weeks old.
It's always a good idea to bring a birth certificate to verify your baby's age. Verify with your airlines for their specific rules.
2. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT VERSUS DOMESTIC?
There is no "blanket fare rule" for flying with a newborn. Most airlines allow newborn babies to fly for free (on a domestic flight) as long as they are seated on the lap of the mommy or daddy (or the paying passenger). As a general rule, only one infant should remain in the lap of an adult. While it is free for domestic flights, be prepared to pay 10-25% of a full adult fare when flying internationally, depending on taxes and other conditions.
Air Canada, for example, flies lap-seated infants for free when traveling within Canada or between United States and Canada, but requires a 10% of adult fare payment when flying with your newborn internationally. United Airlines charges regular fare for infants regardless of seating for international flights. Others like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Emirates charge 10% of adult fare even when flying with your newborn for a domestic flight.
Although some airlines do not allow children below 2 years old to occupy their own seat, others would ask you to buy an additional seat for safety. Turbulence might cause serious injury to a lap-seated newborn without a fastened safety belt. When buying additional seats for your baby, most airlines like Air Canada would charge depending on the route and length of travel. Other airlines automatically charge 50% -75% of an adult fare.
You may also request for baby bassinets or sky cots that provide a miniature bed for infants 8 months and under. Make sure to confirm availability of a baby bassinet prior to your scheduled flight because not all airlines carry this inflight. Should you decide to bring your baby’s own car seat, always check with your airline beforehand if your car seat is allowed inside the plane. Only FAA approved car seats or restraining seats are allowed inside a plane.
If an airline requires you to purchase a ticket for your infant, make sure to:
Reserve two seats together, ideally near the aisle so changing diapers and using the restroom are easily accessible. As general tip, first row seats and emergency exit row are not suitable for passengers with infants.
3. TSA 3.4 OUNCE RULE EXEMPTION
For breastfeeding mothers, remember that the regulation on liquids that limits you to 3.4 ounces does not apply to breast milk. Formula, breast milk, and juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. Ice packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula are also allowed in your carry-on. If these accessories are partially frozen or slushy, they may be subject to additional screening. You may also bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food in carry-on baggage.
Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings.
IMPORTANT: You do not need to travel with your newborn to bring breast milk.
As soon as you get on board, place your baby bag under the seat in front of you for easy access to things you might need during the flight such as diapers, extra clothes and tissues and wet wipes. We love these baby bags - so many pockets!
Make your life easier by organizing your essential baby items neatly inside a travel packing cube so you can easily grab them during the flight. Use a small cube for items such as tissues, wet wipes and extra diapers. Use a medium size cube for a change of clothes, diaper kit and feeding bottles. If you happen to bring along a sling-type baby carrier, make sure you place it in a specific place to avoid clutter in the baby bag, making it easy to grab once the plane lands.
Flying with your newborn baby might happen earlier than expected, because well, life happens, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle for you. Just be certain to stay updated with the specific rules of the airline you are flying with to ensure a smooth travel experience.
Always keep in mind these 3 important items:
1. Newborn flight safety
2. Booking the Best Seat / Baby bassinet / FAA Approved Car Seat
3. TSA 3.4 Ounce Rule Exception
Plus, staying calm and organized for your little one is important for your sanity!
You want to create a safe and happy environment when you're flying with a newborn!