Travelling with babies isn’t easy for anyone. Carrying loads of bulky baby gear, trying to be brave in the face of tears and grizzles (and that’s just Dad!)… it can be a real challenge. So how do you keep calm and carry on with an infant under one arm and several kilos of spare nappies and toys under the other? We’ve compiled a list of top tips from mums and dads in the Monarch team which we hope will help. Feel free to add your tips to the comments at the end of the article.
1. We know babies never travel light, so Monarch offers infants a 10kg baggage allowance, subject to the payment of checked-in baggage charges (or on top of your included luggage if you’re on a charter flight). The extra 10kg can be carried in one or two bags without additional charge. We’ll also carry travel cots in the hold, however these are weighed as part of the 10kg infant bag allowance so please consider this when you’re packing your infant bag or bags.
2. Pushchairs, prams and car seats can be checked in at no additional cost and will come through with all other luggage on the baggage belt inside the terminal. Click here to learn more about our baggage allowance for babies. If you can, keep your buggy with you right up to the aircraft steps and retrieve it again as soon as you can after landing. Apart from somewhere for your infant to sit it is also somewhere to carry your duty free!
3. If you need to carry liquid baby food or formula, you can take what you need for the journey in your hand luggage, including sterilised water. We would recommend bringing a little more than you think you need, just in case. The adult accompanying the child will need to verify the safety of the baby food/formula/milk by tasting these for security staff. For more information about security allowances, please visit our information page for scheduled flights and information page for chartered flights – scroll down a bit for security tips.
4. Many parents try to time their flights around baby’s nap or feeding time. If you have the chance it can be a good idea feed your baby onboard, just before or just after takeoff or landing to help soothe their ears. Unfortunately we don’t have heating facilities on the aircraft; however our crew can provide hot water to help with baby feeding bottles after takeoff. If you need to breast feed during the flight, you may like to pack a lightweight pashmina-style scarf in your hand luggage which you can drape to protect your privacy.
5. If you can have time to change your baby’s nappy before boarding, this may help to keep them calm during takeoff. However, if you aren’t able to, don’t worry, all Monarch aircraft have nappy changing facilities on-board in at least one WC per aircraft. Click here to learn more about our onboard facilities.
6. Baby will eventually get bored of sucking on the in-flight magazine and the safety card – at this point you might like to whip a brand new toy out of your hand luggage as a nice surprise. You can also keep them occupied by going for a walk up and down the aisle – your child will enjoy having lots of new faces smiling at them.
7. Try all the traditional soothing techniques first –tight swaddling in a blanket, shushing, slow rhythmic swinging and a close, warm cuddle. (If this doesn’t work on your neighbour, try it on the baby instead!) Make sure you bring a familiar, warm snugly blanket from home as the cabin can be sometimes become chilly with air conditioning. Don’t worry, we also sell comfort kits onboard in case you forget or need something extra.
8. Be confident and try not to worry about your infant upsetting others. But if that’s easier said than done and you’re getting tired and stressed, why not enlist help from any available allies? If someone offers to soothe or entertain the baby, and you feel comfortable with this, you might like to take them up on it for a minute or two – this is very much a personal decision. You’ll be surprised at how many passengers will enjoy playing peek-a-boo from the seats behind though and that little bit of distraction could be all you need.
9. We recommend that you check in early to avoid queuing so you can beat the crowds and relax in the lounge or at the gate with plenty of time to pass through security. If you’re flying with an infant (a child under age of 2 years at the time of travel) you will need to go to the check-in desk at the airport. This is because our check-in team needs to double check we have the correct seat allocated for the comfort and safety of you and your baby.
10. If you will be sitting with an having an infant on your lap for a few hours then consider an extra legroom seat, it will be much more comfortable for you both. The front row especially gives your infant enough room to sit on the floor and play. Click here to learn about upgrading to extra legroom on scheduled flights and click here to learn about upgrading on chartered flights.
It is much easier to travel with a baby if there are two of you. Apart from looking after your infant you need to eat and drink as well and having a partner gives you both the chance to take turns having a break. That said, one of our cheeky staff’s top tip for Dads ….. send your infant with Mum and catch a later flight!
Are you a parent who regularly flies with babies under 2? What do you think of our tips? What’s worked for you? We’d love to know. Please share your own ideas and comments below.