Sep 26 2011 / Travel Tips & Advice

Top ten tips to de-stress parents flying with babies

Flying with babies made easier with Monarch Airlines

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.

Bonus tip:
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.

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About the Author:

Catrionna is the social media & content manager for Monarch Airlines and an editor of the Monarch blog. A keen traveller, she loves exploring destinations on the Monarch scheduled network and especially loves Spain and Italy.

55 Comments + Add Comment

  • Hi Catrionna
    I have the same question as Richard Neal. We are travelling in 2 weeks time with a 2 year old and want to take a car seat and a buggy.
    Are both free of charge.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards
    Rebecca

    • Hello, We allow all customers travelling with a child or an infant on their booking to take a car seat and a pushchair free of charge on top of their baggage allowance. The pushchair can be used all the way until the gate and then loaded into the hold, and collected in baggage reclaim. The car seat must be checked into the hold with their baggage as it cannot be used on the aircraft for safety reasons.

  • Hi, I’m flying with my 11month old son and was wondering is he allowed his own hand luggage on aircraft.
    Please could you help?

    • Hi Karina, unfortunately, as infants don’t have a seat of their own, they’re not entitled to any hand luggage. However, infants receive a free allowance of 10 kilos of hold luggage. Your pushchair and car seat also fly free of charge in the hold and you can take the pushchair all the way to the plane with you.

      Hope this helps.

  • Hi,

    I am travelling with my 6 month old to Spain, and will be bringing a buggy and a car seat. I have been warned that they both might get damaged in the luggage hold, and to try to get to have them put on the plane at the boarding gate, rather than at check-in. Do you think this will be possible? WHat is your opinion on them get damaged in the luggage hold?

    (Very useful blog otherwise though!)
    Jemma

    • Hi Jemma, thanks for your post.

      You can take your pushchair with you all the way to plane and once you’re getting onto the aircraft it will then be placed in the hold. We have a separate section in the hold where the pushchairs and car seats are kept.

      The car seat will have to be checked in with your suitcases, if you’re worried about it getting damaged then my advice is to pack it in bubble wrap or some kind of packaging.

      We rarely hear of these items being damaged.

  • I’m travelling with a 2 year old and 8 year old and wondered if they are allowed a small hand luggage with there favourite toys in? Also does the 2 year old get the extra 10kg checked in luggage allowance?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Dawn, thanks for your comment. Infants flying with Monarch are classed as aged 2 and under. As your children are over the age of 2 they receive 10kg hand luggage each and if you’ve purchased them a suitcase they’ll also receive the 20kg hold luggage allowance. The two year old is not entitled to any free luggage in the hold as they are no longer classed as an infant. I hope this clarifies things for you?

  • Hi, we travel with you to majorca with you in two weeks time. I’ve been busy reading this blog and was wondering if you could confirm our pushchair will be carried free of charge – is there a certain weight and size for this? Also me and the hubby have 10kg each for hand luggage along with 20kg luggage allowence each for in the hold, is one of us entitled to an extra 10kg free of charge for our 20 month old son in our suitcase? I look forward to your reply, thanks. Michelle.

    • Hi Michelle, thanks for your comment. Yes that’s right pushchairs go free of charge into the hold. No weight limit or size for pushchairs. Your infant receives a free 10kg allowance in one of your bags or this can go in separate bag, completely up to you! Hope this helps.

  • HI,

    my husband and I will be flying with our 9 month old twins next week and I have just heard we are not allowed to sit together on plane?! Is this correct? I need him to sit next to me to help me with them.
    Thanks

    • Dear Fiona, apologies we have only just seen this post – it had accidentally been marked as spam. I hope you have been in touch with customer services in the meantime? For safety reasons we can only have one infant on each row of seats in the aircraft. There are extra oxygen masks for infants but only on certain seats, therefore if you have 2 infants you will be unable to be seated together. We would never separate a parent and a child though. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you during your flight, however we hope you understand this arrangement is made with the safety of your children in mind.

  • Hello

    We are travelling with our 5 month old. Can you please confirm:-

    Can we check in a buggy and a car seat free of charge or is it only one of these items

    Are we able to use a travel bag to put the buggy in at the gate.

    Thanks for your advice

    • Hi Debbie, thanks for your comment. You’re right, both pushchairs and car seats can fly free of charge. The pushchair can be taken with you all the way up to the plane and when you’re getting on it will be placed in the hold. You can also take the travel bag through with you to package the buggy – this is no problem. I hope this helps.

  • Hi. My husband and I are travelling to Portugal in September with our 2 year old and 11 month old. We have purchased the essentials pack (upgrade) and are aware of th 10kg allowance for our infant. However we also need to take a pushchair and two car seats. Will these three items be allowed and free of charge? These are essential items for our holiday as car rental companies will not guarantee the renting of car seats upon arrival so we have to take our own. Please advise.

    • Hi Deborah, thanks for your comment. We carry pushchairs and car seats free of charge for children. You can take the pushchair with you all the way to the plane and when you’re getting on will be placed into the hold. I hope this helps?

  • Point 10 says that booking an extra legroom seat in the front row will provide enough room for an infant to sit on the floor and play – can you tell me how much room there would be? We will be flying from Manchester to Alicante and I believe the A321-200 is used for this route. I booked front row seats after reading this and during the booking process the online seat planner showed an exit door in front of the seats with lots of room, but I looked at the diagram on your aircraft information page after booking and it shows a bulkhead immediately in front of the seats (separating them from the exit door) and it looks as though space will be very limited. I would be grateful if you could clarify this for me. Also, I am concerned about checking in my car seat incase it gets damaged – if a car seat suffers any kind of impact it is no longer considered safe to use, even if there is no apparent damage. So if it was dropped by the baggage handlers or was knocked around in the hold and I did not know about this, I could potentially be putting my child into an unsafe seat. Are there special procedures in place to prevent this or are car seats just treated like normal baggage?

    • Hi Hayley, the pitch in front of our extra legroom seats in 32 inches instead of the standard 28 inches. Car seats and pushchairs are placed into a separate part of the hold to prevent damage. You could if you wish package your equipment in bubble wrap etc. It is very rare that we receive complaints of any car seats/pushchairs being damaged. I hope this helps and puts your mind at rest.

  • hi i am travelling with my 8 week old. I normally do online check in,am i still able to do this or do i check in at the airport now with his pushchair?? As i am only taking hand luggage??

    • Hi Kerri, we will need for you to check in at the airport so the staff can check baby’s passport and make arrangement to stow your buggy. I’d also like to remind you that your baby receives a free 10 kgs of baggage allowance to put into the hold. The buggy/pushchair and car seat can be brought in addition to your 10kgs (it’s not included in the allowance) and these will be carried free of charge. You are more than welcome to take enough baby food and drink in your cabin bag to see you through to resort. Security may ask you to taste it, but that just a security measure. If you have any queries please feel free to contact us http://www.monarch.co.uk/faq/flights/contact-us.

  • Hi

    We are travelling with our 7 month baby to Malaga. Your website says that cabin staff can provide hot water for help with baby feeds. Is this boiled water that can be used to make the feed or just hot water to dip a bottle into and help heat it? Also do we need to notify in advance if we want to take a car seat?

    Many thanks in advance

    Simon Malcolm

    • Hi Simon, the water isn’t boiling for health and safety reasons to avoid scalding in the case of turbulence. The water is hot enough to heat your baby bottle or food. Your child’s car seat and pushchair will be carried in the hold free of charge. Did you know that baby also receives a 10kg baggage allowance to go into the hold? If you have any questions nearer your flight we are also available at http://www.Facebook.com/monarch and on Twitter as @Monarch and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

  • Hi
    We’re travelling with monarch to alicante with our 3 mth old baby in may, will a pram and car seat be free of charge to carry in the hold?
    Thanks

    • Hi Vicky, baby’s car seat and pram will be carried in the hold. Just a quick reminder that you can take enough baby food and drink through security to see you through to your resort. It’s advisable not to take an excessive amount, as you may be asked to taste it at the security check point. Did you know that baby also received a 10kg baggage allowance to be checked in? If you’d like a quicker response to your questions in future, we’re also at http://www.facebook.com/monarch and on Twitter @monarch.

  • This is a really useful blog! Am about to book flights from East Midlands to Faro and wil be travelling with a 3 year old and a 1 year old. Was thinking about going for the extra legroom seats. Is this allowed when travelling with children? I read somewhere that you can’t have an infant when in certain extra legroom seats.

    • Hi Asha, you certainly can book you and your children in extra legroom seats. As long as you don’t choose an emergency exit seat then this will be fine. The seating map on the website will show these seats to you when you make the booking. Thanks for your message and I hope you have a great flight.

  • I f you have a free seat would our 1year be able to sit in this. or possibly in a car sea
    thankst

    • Hi Paul, generally speaking we are only able to give you a seat for a child if you pay for it and it is allocated to you. Occasionally we are able to make exceptions but there is no way to guarantee availability for you and this is at the discretion of cabin crew on the day. If you would like to pre book a seat for your 1 year-old, we would suggest you make a new booking and this will allow you to then use the car seat. Cabin crew will check to make sure your car seat fits the seat correctly but if it doesn’t fit we will place it in the hold free of charge.

  • Hi Catrionna,
    I am travelling with my husband and 6 month old son to Alicante and will be taking a pram and car seat. If we take the pram to the gate, will it come through on the conveyor belt at the other side or will we be able to collect it as we get off the plane? Will it be wrapped if coming through on the belt?
    If we check in our car seat, do we need to wrap this ourselves or will this be done once checked in?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Steph, the pram will come through on the baggage belt in the terminal building. You can request for it to be given to you at the aircraft but this will be at the discretion of the baggage handlers. You can wrap items at the airport but it doesn’t have to be wrapped, this is personal preference. I hope you have a lovely flight!

  • Hi we are travelling with a 3 year old and a 5 month old and will have two pushchairs and a car seat. One of the pushchairs is in a bag , and the car seat is also in a travel bag, we wish to check these in rather than take them to the plane. Is this ok ? And will both pushchairs and the car seat be carried free of charge ?

    This is a great service

    • Hi Claire thanks for your comment. Pushchairs and car seats are carried free of charge whether you wish to check them in or carry them with you to the plane. Hope that helps, thanks.

  • Hi we are travelling with our 4 year old daughter and our 1 year old twins who will be sat on our laps. A friend mentioned that we (me and my other half) won’t be able to sit together for health and safety reasons. Would we be placed behind each other or other side of the aisle? Just wondered as we don’t really want to have to take 2 of everything in our hand luggage in case we are at other ends of the aircraft.
    Thanks
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle, that’s right, for health and safety reasons we can’t have more than 1 infant in each row. Depending on which aircraft you’re on you can sit one in front of the other. Please call our contact centre for more information on 0871 940 5040 (10p per min + network extras). Thanks.

  • Hi, I am travelling with two children, not infants. Will a pushchair still be free of charge?
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Lucy, yes, this can be put in the hold free of charge. There will be no problems at check-in. I hope you have a lovely flight.

  • Hi i have the same query regarding a travel bag that my pram folds and fits inside. . also i would like to know if we would be best to check it in with our suitcases or can we take it through to the departure lounge.

    • Hi Phil, it’s completely up to you. You can either check it in with your suitcases or you can take the pushchair through departures with you then, when you’re getting on the plane hand it over. Whatever you decide, thanks.

  • Hi, thanks for the tips. They’re very useful. We’re flying from Barcelona to Manchester with a 11 months child, and i’d like to know if we’ve to preselect our seats before the check in or we’ll be allocated correctly when we do the check in at thr airport. Thanks

    • Hi Joan, to seat a big party together it’s normally best you pre-book, although no child under 16 will be separated from an adult. Hope that helps, thanks.

  • Hi

    We are travelling with a 7 mth baby in september – on our confirmation email it says baby has no luggage allowance but I see from above they get 10kg? what is the checked in baggage charge? can this go in a parents bag or do they have a separate bag of there own. Just wanted to check that we won’t be charged for an additional bag when we travel.

    Thanks

    • Hi Mandy, the infant gets a free 10kg allowance for the checked in luggage, but no hand luggage. This can either be spread between the adults’ bags or put into a separate bag. Hope that clarifies! Thanks

  • hi we are taking our 2 year old on holiday and just seeing if our pram and car seat will both be free or is 1 free and will have to pay for the other as they are 2 seperate iteams.

    • Hi Richard, I’ve just passed your question on to our customer services team and I’ll get back to you ASAP with a reply. Thanks for your post.

  • Hi, great blog. Do you know if we could take a “two part” buggy all the way to the gate (rather than checking it in), and then have it stowed? It is an iCandy Cherry, and the frame folds, and the cot/seat part is taken off before the frame folds. Would appreciate any advice you have on this. Many thanks.

    • Hi John & Kirsten, you can use this up to the aircraft and it will then be placed in the hold. When you land you can request for it to be taken off so you can use it from the aircraft or it can be taken to baggage reclaim in the airport. I hope this helps?

  • Hi Catrionna,

    I applaud the effort of Monarch to provide such a personalised service. My enquiry is on the same grounds as for the other passengers. My wife and 5 month old daughter are travelling to Cyprus on the 19th of June from Manchester. We bought an allowance for 2 hold bags but my question is regarding the free allowance of Monarch for prams and car seats.

    We have a STOKKE pram and it comes with a travel bag/protective cover so that the pram folds in when in transit (approved bag from airlines and travel insurers). We have already used it with other airlines without a problem but I wanted to check the size and weight allowance for it. The max dimensions of this bag are approximately 100x50x60 and the weight approximately 15 kg. You can appreciate that we wouldn’t want any surprises when we reach the airport. I have already.

    I would appreciate your advise on this issue.

    • Hi Panikos, I’ve asked customer services for a reply and I’ll come back to you shortly with details.

  • I am travelling with my husband and 1 year old son, we both receive 10kg allowance each and not paying for any additional luggage, however I intend to carry a handbag/small cabin bag to carry my sons milk powder,nappies and other food an clothes he may require during the journey, this is all on top of our free baggage allowance. Would that be ok or will we be required to pay for the handbag I wish to carry!?!??
    Please help ASAP-I am flying out in two days!!!

    • Hi Parul, thanks for your comment. As infants are not allocated a seat on the aircraft they’re not actually entitled to any hand luggage of their own. You are permitted to carry one item of cabin baggage per passenger (who has their own seat) through security. Your infant’s in-flight necessities will have to go into one of the cabin bags you and your husband are carrying onboard. There are size and weight restrictions to cabin baggage which you should take into account. However, if you purchase a 20kg hold bag (which is checked-in and carried in the back of the plane) you will be able to bring an additional 10kg of goods in this bag free of charge, taking it to a total of 30kg. I hope this all makes sense? You can find additional information in the FAQs on our website.

  • Hi Catrionna

    The blog is really useful.

    I just was curious to ask a question. We are flying with an infant (8months) and have opted to pay for a seat for her. Due to this will we still need to officially check in at the check in desk rather than online?

    Also it has been authorised as we have paid a full price seat for her that she will receive her full 20kg and i have this in writing from monarch. i am concerned when i check in that they may refuse me my free allowance of her pushchair and car seat.

    Can you please help

  • Great blog post. Thanks for sharing this. I was not aware of your weblog, however will return again much more often now. Adding you to my personal favorites.

  • Thanks for the share!
    Nancy.R

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