• Does Our Baby Need an Airplane Ticket?

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    Please remain seated when the seat belt sign is on.

    Please remain seated when the seat belt sign is on.

    image: sbamueller 

    In a few weeks, Her, the little one, and I will be traveling to see relatives over the Thanksgiving holiday. Of course that means getting on an airplane with a baby. Back in the days of DINK I remember giving dirty looks and being annoyed at the parents of a screaming child. Now I’m on the receiving end of the collective passengers’ ire. Fun.

    One of the decisions we had to make when booking this flight is whether we would purchase a plane ticket for our baby. According to the FAA, infants (less than 2 years old) do not need a plane ticket and may ride in an adult’s lap for the duration of the flight. So is it worth is to save a few hundred bucks and have our child sit in our lap?

    For us, NO WAY. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the safest way for an infant to travel is to be strapped in to a rear-facing, FAA-approved car seat for the flight. There are some inconveniences to purchasing a ticket and placing your baby in a car seat during a flight: price of the ticket, lugging around a 20 pound car seat around the airport, getting the seat to and from the airport, setting up the seat in the plane, etc. But for us, we think that the peace of mind of having our kid traveling in the safest way possible outweighs any downside. It sure beats having to hold a squirmy kid for a few hours; the seat also helps the baby sleep throughout the flight, much to the appreciation of our fellow passengers. I’ve heard some anecdotes of kids who are thrown about the cabin due to some rough turbulence, and also of children who survived plane crashes because they were in a car seat. I’d rather be prepared.

    Have you had to fly with an infant? Did you purchase a plane ticket for your baby or not? How was your experience?


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