The ups and downs of flying with kids

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Mar 31, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    Who says you can’t travel on airplanes after you have children? My two, 7 and 4, have lived on four continents and been to about a dozen countries, collecting enough frequent flier points to go to the moon and back. Traveling is part and parcel of our diplomatic life, and the following is my hard-earned advice on flying with little ones.


    Decide the lap baby issue
    If your child is under 2 and you are traveling domestically or to Canada or Mexico, you can score a free lap seat flight. A lap seat fare for international travel is generally about 10 percent of the adult fare. The downside? Lap babies generally do not have a baggage allowance. Your child may be happier (and safer) onboard if you pay for a seat and settle her into a familiar car seat. If you are on a long-haul flight, call the airline to request a baby bassinet. Some companies, like American Airlines, do not allow you to reserve bassinets in advance, so get to the airport early to request one.

    Preorder children’s meals
    Many airlines, including United, Lufthansa, and Virgin Atlantic, offer kids’ meals but they must be ordered in advance. Some airlines also offer bottle warming, diapers, and kids’ fun packs.

    Babies traveling internationally need a passport. Check the US State Department website to see what documents are needed.

    Airline regulations
    Many airlines request a proof of age (a birth certificate or passport works) for children, especially for those traveling on a discounted ticket. Most airlines will gate-check your stroller and bring it up to you between flights, but some check them until your final destination if they exceed size limitations for carry-on items. Others, including American, won’t gate-check strollers over 20 pounds, which includes most jogging strollers. Most airlines still permit early boarding for families, but United recently stopped this practice.

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