Flying With Children: Most Frequently Asked Questions
Traveling with children can be very overwhelming for parents, especially parents with children under 5. I often get questions in regards to flying with children, so I wanted to use this blog post to touch on the most frequently asked questions.
Q. Do I need to pay for my baby's airplane ticket?
A. A child under the age of two does not need a separate airplane ticket if they are sitting on an adult's lap. When you book your airplane ticket you just have to list the child as a lap child and provide his/her information. Make sure to bring proof of age, especially true after the age of 1 because you will be asked for it to prove the child's age.
Q. Can I bring car seats and strollers and what is the check in process like?
A. Car seats and strollers can either be checked in with luggage or at the gate right before entering the plane. I personally prefer to check it in at the gate so that I am not having to carry the baby through out the airport. I also use it to help carry our carry-on and bags. As for paid child's seats, you can choose if you want the child to use the car seat on the plane or check it in with luggage. There is typically no added costs for car seats and strollers but I would suggest you call your individual airline prior to your trip.
Q. Are there any special accommodation's for families traveling with small children?
A. Most airlines (and all that we ever traveled with) will call families with small children to board the plane first. This allows them time to get the small children settled in before the crowd boards the plane.
Q. What are some suggestions for keeping children in their seats for hours during a plane ride?
A. As for babies, I am going to be very honest, there really isn't a trick, you just have to hope that the baby does well as they are very unpredictable and have a short attention span. I do give the baby some Tylenol right before I board the plane and have him drink his bottle or sippy cup during take off so that his ears don't bother him as much. I also try to hold off on naps so that he is tired and sleeps during the plane ride and when he is awake, my husband and I take turns playing with him and try to keep him entertained.
For older children, I make them a "special" back pack filled with snacks, small toys, electronics, gum, small blanket, coloring book and crayons. It is like a special treat for them to have all these special things for themselves and they can use it as they please.
Q. Can I bring personal items for the baby such as formula, water, diapers, etc?
A. If the baby has a paid seat, he or she is typically allowed a carry on and a personal item such as a baby bag. If the baby is on a lap, the baby is still allowed a personal item such as a baby bag. Check with your individual airline to confirm, but this has been true with all airlines I have ever flown with. As for food, formula, etc, this answer is a little long so I am attaching the answer to this question right from the Department of Homeland Security Website, see more here.
"For the purposes of our screening procedures, an infant is defined as a child who must be physically carried by an adult throughout the screening process. A toddler is defined as a child who receives assistance in walking by an adult throughout the screening process.
Notify the TSA Officer
Formula, breast milk and juice for infants or toddlers are permitted in reasonable quantities through the security checkpoint. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings.
Inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that you carry formula, breast milk and juice in excess of 3.4 ounces in your carry-on bag. These liquids are typically screened by X-ray.
Screening Formula, Breast Milk and Juice
TSA officers may need to test liquids for explosives or concealed prohibited items. Officers may ask you to open the container and/or have you transfer a small quantity of the liquid to a separate empty container or dispose of a small quantity, if feasible.
Inform the TSA officer if you do not want the formula, breast milk and/or juice to be X-rayed or opened. Additional steps will be taken to clear the liquid and you or the traveling guardian will undergo additional screening procedures, to include a pat-down and screening of other carry-on property.
The Food and Drug Administration states that there are no known adverse effects from eating food, drinking beverages and using medicine screened by X-ray.
3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption
Formula, breast milk, juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk.
Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in carry-on. If these accessories are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening as described above. You may also bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food in carry-on baggage. These items may be subject to additional screening."