What to consider before booking a flight with kids
Where you sit on the airplane will make or break your trip. The best seat on the airplane is the First Class bulkhead, but most of us aren’t rich, so the second best is the coach bulkhead seat. If you can’t get either of these, try for the back row, aisle seat if you are alone. If you and another adult will be traveling with the kids then I suggest one of you booking the window seat, one book the aisle seat and hope no one takes the middle. The good news is if someone does take the middle seat, they will definitely be willing to switch seats with you so you guys can sit together. If you have multiple children traveling with you, the same concept applies, except that you will be purchasing a seat for the additional children.
Time of departure/arrival
When booking tickets for our trip, I think a lot about what time we leave and what time we will be arriving. If I can, I try to book departure for a time after our normal waking time and an arrival that gives us plenty of time before the normal bedtime. However, this is not always possible and if you are traveling internationally, you need to see our other post about dealing with jetlag and kids.
Infant in Arms
When you book a ticket for yourself and a baby, you do not have to get them their own seat. Children under 2 are allowed to fly as an “infant in arms” at no additional cost. (You do have to pay taxes on them for international flights) Airlines always recommend your child to have their own seat and that they be in a car seat or child restraint. Once you book your ticket, you can go in and add the “infant in arms” note on the airline website. If you can’t figure out, give them a call and they can add it for you. It must be on your ticket or your baby may not be able to get through TSA or board.
Don’t kid yourself.
I have booked so many plane tickets and logged hundreds of hours searching for the best deal. There is a time a place to save $20. Taking a 35-minute layover versus a 2 hour layover is not the time for that. You are not traveling alone, you do not have control over delays or distance between gates, and chances are, you are not an Olympic runner. (If you are…you still need to reconsider) I have fallen victim to this. I have sprinted from one end of the Minneapolis airport to the other and still missed a flight. Don’t be me. Spend the $20, get a reasonable layover, keep your sanity.
The baby bassinet (international flight)
Everyone with a small infant wants this on their International flight. For us, we had to call Delta to get the bulkhead seats, then we had to go to the gate agents early and remind them we wanted the bassinet. Once we got on the plane, we made sure we asked again. We ended up with the bassinet on both long legs and it was helpful to be able to lay her down when she slept. It gave us a good break. Every airline does this differently and the bassinet can be elusive, so be sure to take care of yourself and call the airline. A few days before your big flight, call them again and just be sure it’s all still good to go.
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