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Old Jul 17, 17, 4:36 pm   #1
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Single parent with an infant -how do I get everything on the plane?

I'll be traveling with my 5 month old next week. We're flying Southwest and I purchased a seat for him. I plan to wear the baby and put everything else (half-height rollaboard, diaper bag and car seat) on a collapsible luggage cart to haul it through the airport.

I can break it down quickly for security, but I'm not sure what to do for the airplane. Roll the stack down the aisle? I don't think the car seat will fit. I could backpack the car seat with the diaper bag inside, but that seems like a recipe for smacking people in the head. Someone suggested I ask the flight attendants to help me with the car seat, but that doesn't seem like their job. There's no good way to take two trips, or I'd do that.

I feel like I'm missing something obvious here. What's worked for other parents?
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Old Jul 17, 17, 4:38 pm   #2
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Check in the car seat.
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Old Jul 17, 17, 5:47 pm   #3
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OP needs the car seat (actually needs FAA approved car seat) for the aircraft if the infant is going in her own seat.

While it isn't the FA's job, it is the FA's job to facilitate the boarding process and if they don't help, just take your time and, trust me, a FA will help quickly enough.

If you want to be certain about all of this, comandeer a wheelchair pusher for a nice tip. They have SIDA badges which get them down the jetway.
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Old Jul 17, 17, 6:56 pm   #4
  
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I can't speak for anyone else but Id give you a hand! Ok..I work in an environment where the loaded down single parent is a very common sight so perhaps I am more "acclimatised" to helping out.... but Id think it quite awful if no one offered!!!

If a Good Samaritan is unlikely then Often1 has probably got the best idea....
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Old Jul 17, 17, 7:05 pm   #5
  
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How heavy is the 5mo old and car seat? I'd consider putting him in the car seat when before boarding starts. Then diaper bag on top of the rollaboard. Hold car seat out in front or at your side in one hand and wheel the diaper bag/rollaboard behind.

Supposedly this is the way to carry your car seat:
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Old Jul 17, 17, 11:35 pm   #6
  
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5 mo old is prob in a basket seat that should hook up to stroller. Check your bag, keep diaper bag with essentials, go to gate with stroller and gate check it.

You can wear your kid and strap basket carseat to carryon handle with a bungee perharps but thy this at home first.. going through security will be a royal pain with all that stuff though...

personally i would check everything unless the flight is long enough and you expect your kid to sleep in car seat..

Last edited by azepine00; Jul 17, 17 at 11:46 pm
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Old Jul 18, 17, 1:50 am   #7
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I've travelled a lot on my own with my first daughter between the ages of 4 months and 2 years old and people have always helped me at the airport and on board, be it fellow flyers or staff, even had a pilot once reach out and get the pram from the cargo hold.

So the advise: just have everything organized, packed in easy to handle packages, and take your time. People are generally helpful and understanding
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Old Jul 18, 17, 10:45 am   #8
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
5 mo old is prob in a basket seat that should hook up to stroller. Check your bag, keep diaper bag with essentials, go to gate with stroller and gate check it.

You can wear your kid and strap basket carseat to carryon handle with a bungee perhaps but thy this at home first.. going through security will be a royal pain with all that stuff though...

personally i would check everything unless the flight is long enough and you expect your kid to sleep in car seat..
Agree with this. I have traveled with my son alone a few times starting when he was 2 months old. If you do have the car seat that goes in the stroller as mentioned by azepine00, just bring that and gate check the stroller, checking the rollerboard ahead of time. That leaves you with carrying the car seat on one arm and the diaper bag on the other when boarding. If you go this route, I would recommend breaking down the stroller/car seat combo right outside of the door on the plane. Assuming you pre-board, you will have plenty of time to do this and still get on before the masses.

I have done the carseat on the rollerboard, but found that did have to be broken down before going down an aisle, and required some extra effort and coordinating can be a bit trickier. I have also worn my baby when alone, which I found to be tough since I have found it hard to set up the car seat with the baby still strapped to me, but then again I never wore it a whole lot, so maybe others are better able to multi-task with a baby bjorn on.

Also, not sure what car seat you will be using, but if you still want to go the bungee route, you may want to consider getting a lighter car seat such as the Cosco Scenara. I saw it mentioned several times on this forum, so once my son was big enough, I got it for our travels. You can get it at Walmart for less than $40 and it is super light (I think it is around 7 or 8 pounds), which may make it easier to carry your baby in front, hold the car seat in front of the baby, and then roll the rollerboard with diaper bag attached down the aisle. Just a thought.

You will find that people are extremely helpful when you are by yourself with a baby, but you never know, so I think it best to be prepared.

Good luck!
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Old Yesterday, 9:28 am   #9
  
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Check the rollaboard.

Get a Snap-n-Go stroller. https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Trend-Un...ords=snap-n-go

Get a tri-fold diaper changing pouch like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Skip-Hop-Port...p+changing+pad

Take a backpack instead of a diaper bag. It should have a big main compartment, where you store the diaper changing pouch. It's nice if the backpack has a side pocket for a water bottle. It needs a front pocket for your travel documents and wallet.

Put different categories of items in zip-locks in the main pocket of the backpack:
- Change of clothes
- Small blanket
- feeding needs
- snack for you
- Incidental meds/thermometer

Don't take a purse.

Take the baby carrier if you want. Be sure you can put the backpack on with the baby carrier also on. It should work.

Gate-check the snap-n-go.

To get the infant car seat down the plane aisle, carry it high above the seats. It will get caught on each row of seats if you try and carry it low.

The infant car seat will be placed rear-facing, of course, and this will prevent the passenger in front of it from reclining. We would offer this passenger a Starbucks gift card for the inconvenience as soon as they made it to their seat, before departure.

The luggage cart sounds like a big pain in the butt, as you'll have to strap and unstrap the infant car seat to it, versus a very easy plop down at waist level into the snap-n-go stroller. The cart is one extra piece of gear to have to maneuver down the aisle. Skip it.

Also, you can wear your baby through security. And your infant car seat may not fit through the x-ray , so be prepared for an extra screening. Pre-check is a godsend for families, if you have it.
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Old Yesterday, 9:39 am   #10
  
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May be too late already, but my approach we be...

Skip the collapsible luggage cart and replace with stroller. Don't check a stroller at the ticket counter (assuming this was your plan, since you didn't mention a stroller otherwise). Rather, put the carseat and diaper bag on the stroller (assuming it's a carseat-stroller system; if not, the snap'n'go is a good affordable option, as mentioned). Wear the backpack and roll the stroller and suitcase. If you check anything at all, I would suggest checking the suitcase and not your stroller.
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