Babies on a Plane (with New Dads)

If you are a new dad, the odds are good that you and/or your partner live far away from at least one of your parents, siblings, or close friends.

All things being equal, it’s easier for the distant (adult) relative to travel to your town to meet the baby--since they don;t have to travel with a stroller, car seat, or a poopy infant.

However, all things are not equal; one of your parents may be too unwell to travel; your brother may have three small kids of his own, and can’t afford the time, money, and hassle to bring them; or a loved one is getting married ten days after the baby arrives.

Therefore, in the first few weeks or months of your child’s life, you may face the challenge of taking an infant on an airplane. This is usually stressful, especially the first time. However, there are simple and good ways to prepare, including:

  • Use social media to “borrow in advance” a car seat, stroller, crib, or other gear from someone who lives in/near where you’re going. This saves you having to haul as much on your journey.
  • Ask the people you’ll visit to lay in a supply of diapers, bottles, formula, pacifiers, and baby toys.
  • Contact your airline ahead of time to ask how they can accommodate you for the flight.
  • If at all possible, fly nonstop. It’s best to only get on and off the plane once.
  • Have a friend or relative take you to the airport and help you check the luggage.
  • Make sure the driver who picks you up at the destination airport has the right kind and size of car seat already installed.
  • Look for family-friendly resources in the airport itself, such as family bathrooms and dedicated security lines for families. If there’s not a special line, ask a TSA agent to let you skip ahead in line.
  • Avoid wearing a belt, shoes with shoelaces, a heavy jacket, or anything else you have to take off to pass through security (and put back on later). Same goes for the baby (sometimes, TSA really does make you remove an infant’s shoes).
  • Spread out in the waiting area. New parentage gives you social permission to use more than one chair, lay the baby on the floor, and the like.

Bonus point: The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) allows parents to carry on more than 3.4 ounces (100ml) of “medically necessary” liquids and gels for a baby. This includes medications, baby formula, baby food, and breast milk. In addition, these items are not required to be in a zip-top bag.

Adapted from Idiot's Guides: Pregnancy for Dads by Joe Kelly, copyright 2014 Alpha Books and used by permission.

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