Flying Alone with a Baby? Solo Parent Air Travel Tips
Wednesday September 04 , 2019
Flying with a baby or a small child can be a stressful task for even the most organised parent. There are a lot of logistics involved and factors to consider before, during and after the flight.
How are you going to get baby, stroller, car seat, suitcase and yourself past the check-in desk and through security without a meltdown from either of you?
There are a million and one things to consider before flying solo with a baby, so we’ve tried to make it a little easier for you.
Here are some top tips that might help your trip start and end as seamlessly as possible.
Before the flight
The more you plan, the easier the entire trip will be. We recommend making a complete packing list the week before and cross everything off as and when you put them into your case.
Evaluate your luggage options before you pack too. Can you carry, push or pull everything you will be bringing yourself? If not, then leave it behind. You should consider shipping baby items (nappies, wipes, formula) to the destination beforehand, or check if there are stores nearby that you can buy these essentials when you land. Some items which will be easy to travel with include:
- An umbrella stroller
- A suitable suitcase with four wheels, making it easy to push around the airport
- A comfortable backpack which will serve as both a diaper bag and carry-on luggage
Don’t forget to call the airline or check your reservation online to make sure you still have the original seat you were assigned when you booked. If you’re flying internationally and you need a bassinet, make sure you confirm your request with the airline the week before.
At the airport
First things first, you need to get to the airport. If possible, it might be an idea to ask someone to drop you off right outside the airport doors to avoid the long walk/shuttle bus ride from the car park. If this isn’t an option and you have to drive yourself, consider paying more to park as close to the airport as possible.
The check-in queue can be a boring place for a small baby and a very frustrating situation for a parent travelling alone. You should check in at home before arriving at the airport and skip the long queues. If you’ve checked-in online successfully, keep an eye for the ‘bag drop’ kiosk or a line that is typically shorter and easier to get through.
Getting through security can be a bit of a struggle, again due to long queues and the boredom for the baby. There are a few things you can do to make this go smoothly. Look for a dedicated family lane; some airports now offer such a service. Remember that all liquids need to be in separate zip-lock bags and placed into the tray. Try to have this all organised at home before you leave, it can save a lot of time.
If your little one is content to sit in the stroller, keep them seated until the very last minute, and then put the stroller through the x-ray conveyor belt last. The security staff will guide you on how to pass through the security scanners. Its also a great idea to place your baby back into the stroller before you start to collect your belongings. Remember, don’t panic about those around you, take your time and ensure you’ve everything with you before moving onto the departure lounge.
Next on the to do list is to find your gate and get there with as little disruption as possible. It’s always a good idea to get there sooner rather than later as it could be a bit of a walk from security.
Once you’ve found your gate, look for the nearest bathroom and use this time to freshen up. You might need to do a nappy change or organise formula. Always have an extra bottle of water on hand just in case.
If you’ve opted to have baby travelling on your lap, ask the gate agents to block off an extra seat next to you if there is an empty space on the flight.
Flying high happily
Always remember to smile and be nice to the friendly flight attendant when boarding the flight. You might need their help (or sympathy) later.
If you’re using a car seat, strap your baby in right away so you can free up your hands to stow the overhead luggage. Ensure that any items you might need (nappies, wipes, snacks, toys, etc.) are easy to get to, or consider storing them under the seat in front of you.
As the flight is taking off, use this time for feeding or let him/her use a pacifier. This will help with the ear pressure changes (don’t forget to do this when landing as well). However, if by magic your little one is already sleeping at this stage do not wake them. Their ears will adjust naturally.
Make sure you have packed enough toys, books and snacks onboard for entertainment. You can walk the aisles to distract them too. Hopefully, they will nap for some of the flight so remember to bring a warm blanket or a familiar teddy.
It’s probably best to let everyone else disembark the plane first. This will allow you to take your time and miss the rush. Put the baby back in the stroller as soon as you get off the plane and make your way to the baggage reclaim.
You should have already organised your travel arrangements from the airport. Like before, it’s better if someone picks you up outside, whether it’s a family member, friend or taxi, as it means you won’t have to navigate public transport on your own.
Time to enjoy the holiday
You have arrived safely, and now you can enjoy your trip. The best way to prepare for flying solo is to read trusted reviews beforehand. These will help you, and other parents like you to make the most informed decisions when travelling alone with a baby.
Make sure to leave informative reviews of your latest trip on Q Review and help other parents just like you.