So- I did it! I managed my first trip away with the baby (that was lengthier than a ‘long weekend’… and further afield).
So, what did I wish I knew before hand?
- Take more time at the airport than you think you’ll need. Just getting everything out of the car and into the terminal can be a challenge. Have I mentioned yet how much stuff we seem to need? Also checking items into oversize can take a little while as well. My husband and I argued about how we would package our capsule and pram- he wanted a special travel bag, I was happy to just wing it, but you might be pleased to know that at the Oversize counter they offer large plastic bags, which fit our capsule in with ease.
- Make sure you have an ergobaby or something similar to carry your little one around in, if they’re under 6 months (unless you have one of those nifty reclining travel prams that get stowed as hand-luggage). If your baby is older, you can use one of the many basic and non-reclining prams they have available at the oversize counter to wheel about the airport. (We do have a non-reclining travel pram, so I can’t wait to use that in March!)
- If it’s in your budget, go to the Qantas Club lounge. My husband flies a lot for work, so it was a bit of a dream to find a space in there and plop our little one down on the ground for a play, while we chilled with some drinks and sandwiches. If not, I’d suggest on finding an open carpeted spot where you can spread out while you’re waiting for the flight.
- Ensure you get the seatbelt attachment from the flight attendant before your little one falls asleep (if you’re that lucky.) We were only flying domestic, so there was no bassinet and he was on my lap. On the way over we were fine, but it was frustrating to have to wake him up to get the seatbelt on him properly on the way home.
- Choose where you sit carefully- if that’s available to you. My husband always has a little trick where he books the window and isle seat, assuming no one will choose to sit in the middle. So far it’s worked for us every time. This means you get the middle seat to spread out a bit and put the big, clunky nappy bag under the middle seat. I’ve since realised airlines also do try and look after you when you have a baby, so more often than not, if the flight isn’t full, they will try and give you a seat in-between anyway.
- Speaking of big clunky bags… we didn’t need nearly as much as we took, in terms of the nappy bag. Just some nappies, wipes, a change of clothes, a bib and two bottles, would have sufficed. At that age (he is 4.5 months) there’s not a lot to play with, and we used it as a good time to interact with him ourselves, when he wasn’t sleeping. I really didn’t need to take 4 fully prepped bottles. If you’re breastfeeding, even better!
- Make sure your baby has something to suck for take-off and landing, e.g. a bottle, your boob or a dummy. It actually didn’t seem to bother our son, but, I had him sucking the whole time as well… I did watch his face closely to see if he noticed the cabin pressure change, but I didn’t notice anything.
- Check your luggage requirements. I’m glad we did. A baby is only allowed the same carry-on allowance as you- and no ‘luggage’ per se, however, they are allowed up to 3 items at 32kg each, to be checked in at oversize. I’m assuming this is fairly standard for most premier airlines. That could include a car seat, pram and cot, or any combination of goods. Technically we had two checked in items- the capsule, which was attached to the car brace (aka our car seat) and the pram itself.
Thankfully we were able to park in the airport carpark so didn’t need to take public transport. This would have been a massive effort with prams and luggage, etc. I’d love to know if anyone has tips on how to manage this! I’m also keen to see how I would go on my own in the airport with luggage and a pram… maybe I’ll have to plan a weekend away after my little man passes the 6 month mark 🙂