Dr. Spock doesn’t say anything about flying with a 5-month-old to Kauai. Can you help?

Discussion in 'SeatExpert' started by @SeatExpert, Jan 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. @SeatExpert

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    First things first – congratulations on the new addition to your family. What a wonderful celebratory trip this promises to be.
    Now to your questions.
    Per United’s rules, any child under two years of age can travel in a caregiver’s lap on flights within the U.S. (and that includes Hawaii). Generally speaking, this means the infant must travel in the caregiver’s lap, not in a baby seat sitting on the floor in front of the caregiver. If you were to ask a United representative whether you could place the child in a baby seat on the floor in front of you, the answer would almost certainly be a resounding “No.” Reason being, of course, this is a potential liability issue for the airline. But it isn’t solely a liability issue, it is also a matter of practicality. Heaven forbid the airline encounters turbulence and your child is thrown upward and about the cabin like so much luggage.
    United does offer bassinets in the bulkhead seats on some of its aircraft, but unfortunately for you the Boeing 757-200 isn’t one of them.
    As to fitting a baby seat into the overhead bin, that would depend on the dimensions of the baby seat. Because your child is traveling in your lap, and will not be a ticketed passenger, the baby seat will be considered as one of your carryon items and will need to fit within the approved carryon dimensions – 9 x 14 x 22 inches on United flights. Also, be aware that if you bring a stroller United will require you to check it at the gate.
    Here are links to the relevant pages on the United.com Web site:
    So, to answer your question about the best arrangement for flying with your newborn infant, we’re going to have to go with; snuggled tightly in your arms the whole way, in such a way so that you can smell her baby scent and feel her tiny heart beating next to yours.


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  2. My 6 month old has done 14 international flights including 4 transpacs.
    I'd HIGHLY recommend you get your 5 month old a seat if you can't get a bassinet guaranteed.

    Not only will you be miserable for 6hrs, but so will everyone around you.

    Additionally, turbulence upset happens A LOT. Where I work, we have about 10 incidents a year that require medical care. Sure thats based on 1000's of flights, but never the less its a real threat. When it happens 200lb adults not strapped in hit the ceiling. Your baby will most like not survive the injury. Buy a seat.
     
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  3. work2fly
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    work2fly Silver Member

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    Agree 100% with the above post.

    Either a confirmed bassinet or get baby his/her own seat.

    Enjoy traveling with your baby - it's a piece of cake until they learn to walk [​IMG]
     
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  4. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    For a trip like this, with beaches to walk, etc., and considering the relatively light weight of a babe that age, I would highly recommend that you purchase, and that both parents become comfortable wearing, a baby sling of some sort (my favorite was always http://www.askdrsears.com/faq/az4.asp) and don't even try to carry a stroller. If a carseat is a must on the airline, then bring one -- otherwise rent it along with your rental car and avoid carrying it. The sling is so great in crowds -- you just put your arm around her protectively and feel much better than you would with a stroller. Also, when you decide on a romantic walk on the beach you don't have to abandon your stroller or drag it along. You'll all feel like far more of a "unit," rather than a caravan, going through crowds, into small shops full of breakables, etc.
     
  5. work2fly
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    work2fly Silver Member

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    Slings are great for walks- as a Dad, I loved the feeling of closeness and being able to give Mom a break!

    However, just like in a car, they are totally inappropriate for the airplane. Baby needs to be secured whenever possible - either in a bassinet or in a car seat.
     
  6. Kaanapali
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    Kaanapali Gold Member

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    When we adopted our daughter (slightly older than the age of the baby in the title), we had a confirmed bassinet for our international flight back. All well and good you would say. Well.....it turns out she HATED it. The only place for her then was on me....for the next 14 hours! [​IMG]

    Since it is important for a caregiver to be able to rest at some point on a long flight, I would totally recommend getting her/him an individual seat. The baby will spend half her time on your lap, chest or head resting on your shoulder/neck for half the flight anyways ;) But when she sleeps or wishes to, you can also get some rest (or stretch)!.

    We have done the east coast-Lihue trip as well (though not on UA) and for this (our child was 1.5 years by then) we each had our own seat. It definitely is the way to go!
     
  7. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    Of course not on the plane -- though it's nice to have on the plane for getting them to sleep. I agree with another poster that I find the bassinet to be less than ideal. IIRC, if the baby can sit up, you will spend time worrying she will find a way to fall out. Do they now have safety straps? At the time I flew LAX-NRT-SIN using one, they didn't, as they were truly only for very small fry, and mine was borderline, so I lost a bit of sleep when he's try to pull himself up.
     
  8. Bowdoin
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    Bowdoin Active Member

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    I have done this trip a number of times with small children--and much longer ones as well. I highly recommend buying a seat for your child. In severe turbulence you are simply not strong enough to restrain your child and the risk of injury is just too great. It is not worth your child's safety to save the airfare Substantially less important is the comfort factor. Sitting with an infant on your lap for 5 1/2 - 6 hours is tough. Everyone will be more comfortable if your child is in his or her own seat--you will be able to eat, drink, read etc. much more comfortably. I agree that the bassinet is not the way to do. We tried it with our youngest 18 mos. ago on the 10 hour flight from SFO-LHR and our son hated it--he was uncomfortable to the point where we had to take him out of the bassinet and hold him the balance of the trip. We have traveled on a number of trips to Hawaii and to Europe with our small children and found a car seat that was just perfect. It is a convertible car seat that is part car seat and part stroller. It is FAA approved and you can use it on all U.S. airlines--we had some issues with British Airways since it was not certified by their authority--but they eventually let it on the plane. The seat is called the Sit 'n; Stroller 5-in-1 Combination Car Seat/Stroller. You can find it on line. The seat is well made, safe and comfortable. Ours has probably flown 30,000 miles and survived the cobblestone streets of Eastern Europe, the taxis of New York, and the beaches of Kauai and Maui. It is great to be able to wheel your child around and then just collapse the seat and hop into a taxi. I highly recommend this seat and it will make travels with your child much easier and much more comfortable. Do make sure to get a seat where the armrests go up as it will make it much easier to get the seat into the seat. A couple of other suggestions...to the extent possible, schedule your flights during his or her normal nap times, bring a bottle so the baby can suck on it during take-off and landing, and bring plenty of things to distract him or her during the flight. Finally, since you are flying on UA, try to get Economy Plus seats....every extra inch of room when traveling with small children is a huge help. Hope this helps and good luck!
     

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