While the prospect of living in another country is like a big, happy, bright spot in my near-future, the prospect of actually getting there on a plane with a baby is like this dark, hairy thing lurking in my happy spot. I'm seriously afraid of it. I wouldn't be so apprehensive if my child liked to sit in one spot for more than, oh, 36 seconds. But she's a mover and a shaker and I think being in our seats for the duration of our flights just may kill both of us off.
I've done a bit of preparation for our flight already that I hope will ease the pain of an international flight with a baby.
Plan flights around sleeping schedules
One thing that gets mentioned a lot is to plan flight times during naptimes/bedtimes. In our case, our total travel time is 22 hours (see why I'm scared?) so we will pretty much hit all of Ada's naptimes and bedtime and with any luck (heaven help us) we might just get her to sleep during them.
Reserve a Sky Cot
This was a revelation to me. A Sky Cot is basically a little bassinet that hooks on/folds down from the bulk head wall and babies (usually up to 8 months) can sleep in it. Not all planes have them, but from what I understand most large "air bus" type planes do. Reserve them early when you reserve your seats. This took a lot of calling and hold music, but I think it's going to be worth it (I'll have to write an update about this). Mostly I'm just trilled that I don't have to hold Ada (as much as I love holding her ) on my lap for 12 plus hours while we fly overseas.
Consider your layovers.
Our flight itinerary has two layovers. Some people are in the "get-there-as-expeditiously-as-you-can camp" and others are in "layovers-were-our-saving-grace camp." I think we may be in the latter. It will give Ada time to scootch around and us time to stretch our legs. (Plus when you fly out of Salt Lake, it's hard to find any sort of direct flight no matter what you pay).
Pay the lap tax in advance.
If we were more flush, I probably would have sprung for a separate ticket for Ada so she could have her own seat. Even though she can't sit, I think the extra room would be worth it. We didn't. This time. However, regardless of whether or not your baby has their own seat, you have to pay for them to get on the flight. The "lap tax" for infants is usually 10% of the cost of your ticket if you book it before hand. I read someone else's experience which involved several money transfers and pretty much giving up an arm and a leg to get their child on board at the gate. Bottom line, even though you many feel like the airlines should be paying you to keep a baby on your lap the whole time, save yourself the headache (and a wad of cash) and pay the lap tax in advance.
Do your research on baggage policies.
The nice thing about lap taxes is that by acknowledging that your child is a person and therefore needs to pay a fee to board a plane, they are counted like regular people in the baggage department. By paying the lap tax, we got two more free checked items, another carry on, and a personal item. Good thing too since we'll use one of her checked bags for her Pack'n'Play, her checked item is her stroller is her carry-on (by gate checking it) and her diaper bag is her personal item. Sheesh, kids come with a lot of extra stuff. Baggage policies were confusing to me. We're flying Iberia, but the first leg of our flight is "American Airlines operated by Iberia." Long story short, the international flight always trumps the domestic when it comes to baggage policies.
Don't forget to bring your consent form.
Like I mentioned in this post, Mikey and I had to get a little statement notarized giving our permission for our spouse to fly with Ada. It's weird since we're both her parents, but I heard a story from my Aunt about a woman who wasn't allowed to take her child with her because she didn't have this paper. (Needless to say she stayed in the airport and probably had a breakdown).
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