Are you planning on flying with an infant on lap? If so, you’ll want to read this guide first. It contains 22 workable tips to help you make the experience as smooth as possible for both you and your child.
The meaning of lap infant has changed over the years. In the early days of air travel, any child small enough to sit on an adult’s lap was considered a lap infant.
Today, the definition of lap infant is a child under 2 years old who flies without her or his own seat.
While the safest place for your baby to sit in an airplane is in their own seat with an FAA-approved car seat, this isn’t always possible or practical.
If you’re flying with an infant on lap, there are some things you can do to make the experience safer and more comfortable for both you and your child during a long flight.
Let’s read this guide further, in which we will tell you 22 tips for flying with an infant on your lap:
What Are 22 Workable Tips When Flying With An Infant On Lap
Many parents choose to fly with their infant on their lap instead of buying a separate ticket and bringing along a car seat.
If you’re considering flying with an infant on lap, here are 25 workable tips to help make the experience as smooth as possible.
1. Prepare everything in advance
Make a list of everything you’ll need for the flight and pack it in an accessible place. This includes items for your baby like formula, diapers, and wipes, as well as your own essentials like a change of clothes and your ID.
2. Before the flight, cook baby food.
As we all know baby food is not available on a plane, so it’s a good idea to cook and puree your own before the flight. This will save you from having to deal with a hungry, crying baby at 30,000 feet.
First, your baby will feel comfortable if they have their own favorite food.
Second, use pouches or containers that can be resealed so you don’t have to worry about making a mess.
Third one is, it is always better to make food in advance, if you child is fussy eater.
When I talk to many parents they say, their child loves homemade food, so its better to cook in advance.
3. Check with your airline about luggage allowances before you travel.
Most airlines have different rules when it comes to flying with an infant, so it’s important to check with your airline before you travel. You may be able to bring a stroller and car seat for free, or you may have to pay an extra fee.
What smart parents do is, they put their travel cots or booster seats inside their luggage and left 10 Kg of space for their own clothes and essentials.
It is better to check luggage restriction before flying, so that you do not have to face any problems later on.
4. Bring A Baby Bag According To Your Baby Needs
You don’t want to be rummaging through your suitcase for a diaper or a pacifier during the flight, so make sure you have everything you need in a baby bag that you can keep with you in the cabin.
And always remember to bring a few extra diapers, wipes, snacks, and medicine just in case.
5. The most essential things should be placed on top of everything else.
Being a parent, you know that there are some items that you will need during the flight more than others.
So, it’s a good idea to pack these items on top of everything else in your baby bag. This way, you can easily reach for them when you need them.
For example, you might want to keep a pacifier, a change of clothes, and a few diapers within easy reach. Put your passports, boarding passes, and tickets in an easily accessible place as well.
6. Arrive at the airport at least 2 hour before your scheduled time.
When you’re flying with an infant, it’s always a good idea to arrive at the airport early. This way, you can give yourself plenty of time to check in, go through security, and get to your gate.
If you’re traveling with a stroller or car seat, you may also want to check them in at the gate so you don’t have to lug them around the airport.
It is common practice for smart parents to arrive at airport 3 hours before the flight, so that they do not have to face any last minute problems.
Here’s some of the last minute problems that you can get rid of, if you reach airport early
- You would have ample time to fill the departure form
- No need to rush for check in, as you would have already done it
- You can double check the weight and size of your luggage
- If you are traveling with an infant, you can check in early and get a bassinet for your baby
- You can choose your seats in advance
7. Choose the Nighttime As It Is Best for long-haul flights
If you’re flying on a long-haul flight, it’s a good idea to book a nighttime flight. This way, your baby will be more likely to sleep for a good portion of the flight, and you’ll be able to get some rest as well.
Just make sure you bring a few extra blankets and pillows on board so you can make yourself comfortable.
8. Keep Your Baby occupied and calm.
During a long-haul flight, there will be times when your baby gets restless or cries. When this happens, it’s important to try to distract and reassure them.
You can try going for a walk up and down the aisle with them, or you can give them a toy to play with. If they’re still crying, you can try nursing or rocking them to sleep.
If your baby gets exhausted, you can play some soft music or kids cartoon to distract and calm them down.
9. Choose Special Seats with a travel bassinet attached
If you’re flying on a long-haul flight, you may want to consider reserving a seat with a bassinet attached. This way, your baby will have a place to sleep during the flight, and you’ll have a little more space to move around.
Just keep in mind that these seats are often in high demand, so you’ll need to book early.
10. Be prepared for turbulence
Turbulence is a common occurrence on flights, and it can be especially scary when you’re flying with an infant.
To prepare for turbulence, make sure you have a firm grip on your baby and your belongings. You may also want to put on your seatbelt and put away any loose items.
If the turbulence is severe, you can try to nurse or bottle-feed your baby to help them calm down.
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11. Let him rest as soon as the lights are off for taking off
This is one of the most important flying with a baby tips. As soon as the airplane’s seatbelt sign goes off and the cabin lights are dimmed for takeoff, let your baby know it’s time to sleep.
You can do this by turning off any electronic devices, closing the window shade, and speaking in a soft voice.
If your baby is tired, he will be more likely to fall asleep during takeoff and have a better chance of sleeping through the entire flight.
12. Short vs long haul flights
There is no one definitive answer to the question of whether it’s better to fly on a short or long haul flight with a baby.
Let’s discuss some differences between the short vs long haul flights and how they effect your baby on a plane:
On a short haul flight, the lights are usually turned on for takeoff and landing. This can be disruptive for napping babies.
On a long haul flight, the cabin lights are usually dimmed for takeoff and landing, which can help your baby sleep.
On a short haul flight, the in-flight entertainment system may be turned on during takeoff and landing. This can be disruptive for napping babies.
On a long haul flight, the in-flight entertainment system is usually turned off during takeoff and landing.
- Free Water and Coffee:
On a long haul flight, you will get enough water and coffee for the entire flight. This will help you because you can stay hydrated and avoid getting jet lag.
- Movies Availability:
On a long haul flight there are more movie options available to watch. This can help pass the time on a long flight.
13. Let him feel comfortable
Your baby needs to feel comfortable on the flight, so make sure you bring along any favorite blankets or toys. You should also pack extra clothes in case your baby has a blowout or spits up.
If you’re flying with a lap baby, you may want to bring along a nursing cover or scarf to help you feel more comfortable nursing in public.
You may let him to walk around the cabin, if he is old enough to do this and if the flight attendants allow it.
14. Stay calm
Flying with a baby can be stressful, but it’s important to stay calm for your baby’s sake. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remind yourself that everything will be okay.
Flying with baby happens occasionally so it is not your baby routine. Try to see it as an adventure and enjoy the experience. It will be over before you know it.
15. Consider a seat for your baby
Safety experts agree that the safest place for your baby on a plane is in a government-approved car seat or a separate seat with special harnesses.
FAA rules say that infants under the age of 2 must be in a car seat or other FAA-approved restraint. Its all up to the parents to decide what is best for their baby.
If you’re flying with a lap baby, you may be able to get a discounted fare.
However, keep in mind that you’ll need to hold your baby during takeoff, landing, and turbulence.
If you’re not comfortable holding your baby during these times, you may want to consider paying for a seat for your baby.
16. Consider electronics
According to AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), there is no evidence that using electronic devices on an airplane is harmful to babies.
However, the AAP says that parents should use caution when using electronic devices around babies.
If you’re using an electronic device, make sure the volume is turned down so your baby isn’t disturbed.
Some airlines offer in-flight entertainment systems with movies, tv shows, and games that can help keep your baby entertained during the flight.
But some mothers do not prefer to use them to entertain their babies because babies get used to it very quickly.
17. Consider a carrier
If you’re flying with a lap baby, you may want to consider using a carrier. This will help keep your baby close to you and make it easier to breastfeed or bottle-feed during the flight.
If you’re not comfortable using a carrier, you can try wearing your baby in a wrap or slings. This can also help keep your baby close to you and make it easier to breastfeed or bottle-feed during the flight.
18. Bring Identification
Make sure you have your baby’s birth certificate or other form of identification with you when you travel. This can be helpful if there’s ever any confusion about your baby’s age or identity.
Or might be this can help you in purchasing a separate seat for your baby. Most airlines do not ask for identification when flying with a lap baby, but it’s always good to have just in case.
It’s also a good idea to bring along a recent photo of your baby in case you get separated. Sometimes the proof of age of your baby is required for certain reasons, so bringing documents has always been a good idea.
19. Change Diapers Before Takeoff
Make sure you change your baby’s diaper before takeoff. This will help reduce the risk of a blowout during the flight. This will reduce your physical work during the flight and you can relax more.
20. Feed During Takeoff and Landing
Breastfeeding or giving your baby a bottle during takeoff and landing can help reduce the risk of ear pain. Babies tend to swallow less during these times, which can lead to pain.
21. Pack First Aid Kit For Baby Emergencies
You can never be too prepared when travelling with a baby. Be sure to pack a first-aid kit with everything you might need, including diapers, wipes, rash cream, a thermometer, and medication.
You should also pack extra clothes for your baby in case of spills or accidents. And don’t forget to pack snacks and drinks for yourself in case of delays.
22. Dress Baby in layers
Dressing your baby in layers can help them stay comfortable during the flight. The cabin temperature can fluctuate, so it’s important to be prepared.
You may also want to consider bringing a blanket for your baby. This can be helpful if the cabin temperature is too cold or if your baby needs to sleep during the flight.
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What Are Lap infant rules
Lap infants are babies who are under 2 years old and travel on an adult’s lap.
The rules for flying with a lap infant vary by airline, here are some general guidelines to follow:
Your Child Must Be Under 2 Years Of Age
You child must be under 2 to qualify as lap infant. On the day of travel, if your child turns 2, they will be required to have their own seat and ticket.
In a similar way, face mask restriction also follow the same age bracket. Means, kids under 2 years are not allowed to wear a face mask.
Lap Infants & Unoccupied Seats
Are you concerned whether your lap infant might find an unoccupied seat? The answer is “Yes” but with a few conditions.
The first is that the aircraft must not be full, and even then, the airline will likely only make the announcement to allow lap infants to occupy empty seats during the final boarding call.
The second condition is that you must have explicit permission from a flight attendant.
So, if you’re flying with an infant under 2 years old, it’s a good idea to be at the gate when boarding starts, and keep an eye out for any announcements about empty seats being available for lap infants.
Baggage Allowance for Lap Infants
When flying with a lap infant, you are generally entitled to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item per person in your party.
This means that if you’re flying with a lap infant, you can add an extra diaper bag to your regular carry-on and personal item.
You can check car seats and strollers that requires additional fee at the time of boarding, but it’s always a good idea to check with your airline before you travel, as their policies may vary.
Traveling with 2 Lap Infants
It’s a general rule that if you are travelling with 2 kids under the age of 2, you need to purchase a ticket for one of them.
So, if you have twins or two very young children, you’ll likely need to buy a seat for at least one of them.
If you’re traveling with more than one lap infant, you may be able to occupy two seats if the flight is not full and you have permission from a flight attendant.
Flight attendant might give you instruction not to sit next to each other as some flights have rule to have one lap infant in one row.
Similarly, Lap infants are not allowed to sit next to exit doors like front door, behind door, and emergency door.
So, it’s always a good idea to check with your airline before you travel to see if they have any specific policies regarding lap infants.
Pay For Lap infant on international flights
When flying internationally with a lap infant, you will typically have to pay a percentage of the adult fare.
The percentage varies by airline, but it is generally between 10-25%.
So, if you’re flying from the US to Europe with a lap infant, you can expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $350 in addition to the adult fare.
Read Also: Car Seat Expiration: How Long Are Car Seats Good For?
Where Lap Infants Are Not Allowed To Sit
Besides emergency or front and behind doors, there are also some seats where your lap infant is not allowed to sit.
These seats are usually the ones where the car seat are installed, or the ones with extra legroom.
So, if you’re flying with a lap infant, be sure to ask the flight attendant where your child can and cannot sit.
You will find these seats on some first class or business class locations or first row of economy seats.
Read Also: When Can A Baby’s Car Seat Face Forward
Flying With An Infant On Lap: FAQs
Is it safe to fly with a baby on your lap?
No, it’s not safe to fly with a baby on your lap. The safest place for your baby to sit during takeoff, landing, and turbulence is in their own seat with an FAA-approved car seat.
Where should I sit on a plane with a baby?
The best place to sit on a plane with a baby is in a window seat with the baby on your lap. However, it is recommended that you purchase a seat for your child and bring an FAA-approved car seat.
Do babies need to wear masks on airplanes?
No, it’s not required that babies wear face masks on airplanes, but it’s recommended if they are over the age of 2.
The Bottom Line:
Flying with an infant on lap can be a daunting task, but with some preparation, you will be able to do it.
By following the 22 tips in this guide, you can make the experience safer and more comfortable for both you and your child.
Remember to purchase a seat for your child and bring an FAA-approved car seat if at all possible.
And if you have any questions, be sure to ask the airline staff for help.