Pointers on Traveling WIth Baby

Old Aug 6, 15, 8:58 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 30
Pointers on Traveling WIth Baby

I am planning a trip with the extended family from EWR to SXM in December. My wife and I will have a 4 month old at the time and are wondering what it is like traveling with a child that young. We plan on getting seats in first which is a 737-7 at the moment. Is it preferred to be in a bulk head? We are thinking of keeping him on our laps since it is a 4 hour flight.

Any pointers? Greatly appreciated as this is a very new experience for us, we usually just have to worry about ourselves!

Thanks!
JustTravel is offline  
Old Aug 6, 15, 9:01 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: ORD/MDW
Programs: AA, HH, MR elite. Fly mostly AA/WN/B6.
Posts: 18,773
This is not really a United-specific question. We have a whole separate forum for this:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-children-221/

I would just add that it is never advisable to hold your baby on your lap for safety reasons, let alone for four hours.
BearX220 is offline  
Old Aug 6, 15, 9:15 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Houston
Programs: UA Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 10,988
I'd suggest 3 coach seats instead of 2 first seats.

Lap children are allowed to avoid adverse selection, but its not a good idea if you can afford the extra seat.
mduell is offline  
Old Aug 6, 15, 9:57 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: ORD
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott Titanium/LT Platinum, Hilton Gold, AA Platinum
Posts: 4,436
This is second-hand advice from my sister who took her 1-year old to Hawaii last month. On the way there they had 3 coach seats. On the way back, 2 first class seats.

Her impression was the F seats where better, because they had more room to maneuver, and the baby wanted to be held for over half the flight time anyway. They also had to lug the car seat through the airport on the way there. Keep in mind that they had 3 flights, so this may not apply on a single nonstop flight.

It would seem to me that safety is a separate issue to that of convenience/comfort, and I won't comment on that.
JBord is offline  
Old Aug 6, 15, 11:03 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 387
In my experience you NEVER want bulkhead when flying with a young child -- unless it's a wide body with a bassinet row -- as you can't keep the diaper bag and other accouterments that you'll have with you down at your feet prior to departure.

I'm in the camp that would buy three seats in E+ rather than two seats in F, and then bring an FAA approved infant carrier to strap in. Our Chicco Keyfit buckets were great for flying, as the lap belt went right across the top and held them in rear-facing. The kids could easily see us in the next seat, and it was easy to keep them engaged when facing them. Flying became harder when they out grew those and moved into forward facing seats -- we quickly went to a CARES harness as soon as they were heavy / tall enough.
hoopics is offline  
Old Aug 6, 15, 11:25 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Programs: UA *G 1MM LT United Club & Global Entry
Posts: 2,728
Originally Posted by JustTravel View Post
I am planning a trip with the extended family from EWR to SXM in December. My wife and I will have a 4 month old at the time and are wondering what it is like traveling with a child that young.
First off congratulations on the new addition to your family!!

A 4 month old is still a tiny baby. Certainly not walking or crawling or squirming too much, so I think between you and your wife you are ok lapping it if you choose to. Feed the baby during takeoff and landing, and they will likely sleep most of the way anyway.

You don't want bulkheads as under seat storage at your feet is important. And take it from the voice of experience - don't forget to bring PLENTY of diapers.


SunLover
SunLover is offline  
Old Aug 6, 15, 11:38 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 558
Originally Posted by SunLover View Post
First off congratulations on the new addition to your family!!

A 4 month old is still a tiny baby. Certainly not walking or crawling or squirming too much, so I think between you and your wife you are ok lapping it if you choose to. Feed the baby during takeoff and landing, and they will likely sleep most of the way anyway.

You don't want bulkheads as under seat storage at your feet is important. And take it from the voice of experience - don't forget to bring PLENTY of diapers.


SunLover

flown with a baby in UA econ and econ + at 3 months 5 months and 9 months. 3 months was the easiest and that was in UA regular econ with 2 seats between baby, wife and I.

We actually pulled our tray tables down put a pillow in the gap between and more pillows between seat and tray table and let the baby sleep like that for a while.

hardest thing was stopping baby pulling at our neighbours headphones and food etc.
EWRMAN is offline  
Old Aug 6, 15, 11:58 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: DFW
Programs: UA 1K, HH Diamond, AA Gold, DL Silver
Posts: 417
Originally Posted by SunLover View Post
First off congratulations on the new addition to your family!!

A 4 month old is still a tiny baby. Certainly not walking or crawling or squirming too much, so I think between you and your wife you are ok lapping it if you choose to. Feed the baby during takeoff and landing, and they will likely sleep most of the way anyway.

You don't want bulkheads as under seat storage at your feet is important. And take it from the voice of experience - don't forget to bring PLENTY of diapers.


SunLover
100% agree. Flew with our first child as a lap infant at two months and five months...the easiest trip was the first. Very tiny baby (had to travel though), she slept and ate and did nothing else. People behind us, as they were leaving, commented that they didn't even know we had a baby.

Definitely not a bulkhead. You'll want the diaper bag and all of the other accruements at close hand underneath the seat.
SMFlagg is offline  
Old Aug 6, 15, 12:29 pm
  #9  
nnn
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Francisco
Programs: All-Around Kettle
Posts: 2,952
If you can afford it, I'd go with three bulkhead F seats. Second choice being two bulkhead F seats. That's just based on my personal experience, but YMMV.
nnn is offline  
Old Aug 6, 15, 2:06 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: NYC
Posts: 7,634
Weather related delays are common at that time and business would offer greater protection. One tip - If the weather threatens cancellation of EWR bound flights, do not check out of the hotel if possible, but rebook on the phone asap.
erik123 is offline  
Old Aug 9, 15, 2:47 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Programs: DL, UA, AA, Hilton, Marriott, Priority Club
Posts: 1,191
One thing I haven't seen mentioned: outside of domestic travel, lap infants incur a fee, generally 10% of the adult fare, taxes, and I think also sometimes the fuel surcharges are added. (As I understand it, very airline specific.) I've never personally dealt with this, so others may be able to add more to conversation.
AsiaTraveler is offline  
Old Aug 9, 15, 2:52 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: LHR
Programs: Accor PLT,Thai Silver, HH Dia, SPG PLT (LT Gold), TK Gold, M&M S, BA Silver, Hyatt Dia
Posts: 4,358
One tip - Should your baby be awake please let him/her suck a bottle on take off and landing to relieve the pressurisation.
ExpatSomchai is offline  
Old Aug 10, 15, 10:30 am
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 30
Thank you all, this is very helpful and has given me a lot to think about!
JustTravel is offline  
Old Aug 10, 15, 12:14 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 524
Originally Posted by JBord View Post
This is second-hand advice from my sister who took her 1-year old to Hawaii last month. On the way there they had 3 coach seats. On the way back, 2 first class seats.

Her impression was the F seats where better, because they had more room to maneuver, and the baby wanted to be held for over half the flight time anyway. They also had to lug the car seat through the airport on the way there. Keep in mind that they had 3 flights, so this may not apply on a single nonstop flight.

It would seem to me that safety is a separate issue to that of convenience/comfort, and I won't comment on that.

We started taking our son on flights at 3 months old. Most were under 5 hours. We started off travelling in coach with 3 seats and than switched to first.

Based on my experience, I am split on the 3 in coach vs. 2 in first.

My thoughts -

3 across works well if you are taking a car seat. My son did very well in his seat for flights. I would take him out to feed him and do diaper changes but for the most part, he was happy to sleep most of the flight.

I wouldn't book the bulkhead because the storage room under the seat in front of me was valuable/convenient.

Looking back, two in first would have worked well for our family when our son was an infant because we would have been happy to hold him. Not everyone wants to hold an infant for that long. Depending on the aircraft, you might be able to make a cozy sleeping area on the floor in front of you. (yes the floor is gross but you can take a disposable floor covering to put under a blanket.)

I agree on the "protection" of business or first in case of delays. We sat at the gate for 2 hours once on the way to SJU and it wasn't a bad experience in Envoy(business) but would have been a nightmare in coach. The extra space around us was such a luxury.

The trips when our son was under a year old were easy. At 3 months and 4 months, it was super easy. Mobility changes things a little bit. Enjoy the upcoming trip.

Some things I did to ease the journey -

Take two changes of clothing for the baby. One change for the caretakers, a fresh shirt at the bare minimum. (carry-on)

Twice the diapers and wipes that you think you will need. (carry-on)

Book a private transfer from the SXM airport to your hotel, if staying in a hotel.
Lovethecabin is offline  
Old Aug 10, 15, 7:49 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: IAD
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Gold, Global Entry, TSA Pre✓
Posts: 706
Originally Posted by AsiaTraveler View Post
One thing I haven't seen mentioned: outside of domestic travel, lap infants incur a fee, generally 10% of the adult fare, taxes, and I think also sometimes the fuel surcharges are added. (As I understand it, very airline specific.) I've never personally dealt with this, so others may be able to add more to conversation.
The 10% of a first class fare for the lap infant is going to be expensive. For a four hour flight, I agree that buying three economy seats makes much more sense.
lost*in*cyberspace is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread