Flying With A Newborn Baby Tips
Firstly, rest assured, flying with a newborn is so much easier than when they are crawling or walking! But if this is your first baby, then just driving the car with a newborn baby inside can be daunting (at least it was for me), let alone flying in a plane.
Here are some flying with a newborn tips and information to help you on your travel adventure. (If you are looking for tips to fly with a 3 month old, please see here.)
How Early Can A Baby Fly?
If you need to travel urgently or perhaps you have a holiday or vacation booked before baby arrived, then you need to know the rules on how soon can you travel with a newborn. As a very general rule, most airlines specify a baby must be over 14 days old.
However, flying with a newborn baby rules can vary from airline to airline. Many airlines state a baby can fly from 48 hours old – but there maybe certain conditions met such as the birth had no complications or that a doctor’s letter is needed. If the mother is travelling she may have to wait a few days if it was a Caesarean section.
Do Children Need ID to fly?
If you are flying internationally, then a passport is always needed. If you are flying domestically in the USA or Canada you do not need ID, but I always recommend taking a copy of their birth certificate.
Various other countries require all different sorts of ID and paperwork. With some airlines, lap babies may not be issued a boarding card but may need a boarding verification document. There is more information on travel documents here.
Below you will find a selection of airline policies on travelling with a newborn on a plane. Please do check with your airline before you book in case these have been updated since 2018:
American Airlines state: “We accept infants as young as 2 days old. However, if you’re traveling with an infant less than 7 days old, your physician will be required to fill out a passenger medical form before your flight. (A special assistance coordinator will send the form directly to your physician.)”
British Airways state, “Newborn babies must be at least 48 hours old and have been born without any complications before they can travel with.If you have had a Caesarean section or if other surgery was needed during or after the birth, then you can travel after 10 days, with medical clearance from our Health Services. We would advise that your treating doctor approve your travel first.”
Easyjet say babies must be at least 15 days old.
Jet Blue – Babies must be over 3 days old.
Singapore Airlines state: “Unfortunately, we are unable to accept infant passengers within the first 48 hours of their birth. Air travel is also not recommended for infants seven days of age or under.”
SouthWest – state babies must be over 14 days old.
When is it Safe to Travel with a Newborn?
- It’s always best to ask your medical professional for advice on this as there so many variables. Eg consider where you are travelling to, whether any additional vaccinations are needed, general health etc. We opted to fly international with our newborn after she had her first two rounds of injections and then we flew to South Africa.
- Travelling with a newborn on the plane means they will possibly be exposed to more germs than at home. Tray-tables, TV handsets, air vent etc can all be breeding grounds for germs. Although, it is unlikely your newborn will touch them as they won’t be as mobile as an older baby, other people, including you will. Therefore adding anti-bacterial wipes to your carry on is probably a good idea.
Do newborns fly for free?
- Traveling with an infant on a plane gives you the option for them to fly as a lap baby, or if you purchase a seat, to fly in their car seat. If they fly as lap baby, typically they either fly for free, or at a reduced fare of approximately 10% of the adult fare plus any applicable taxes. This obviously depends on the airline, the destination and whether it’s a domestic or international flight. If you purchase a seat to use your carseat for your infant, then it will be at the applicable child fare plus taxes.
Can I use a car seat on a plane?
- If your little one flies as lap baby, on a non USA/Canadian airline, then you will be given a lap belt to secure to them to your seatbelt. Otherwise you have the option to use a car seat on most but not all airlines. USA and Canadian based airlines allow airline approved car seats at any age. Find out more about child restraint devices and car seats regulations here. The FAA car seat rules are here for US readers and for UK readers the CAA are here.
How to Travel with a Newborn on a Plane
- Request an airline bassinet if it is available on your airline/flight. If you are flying with a newborn baby as a lap baby, then good news – your little one will definitely fit in an airline bassinet, meaning hopefully they will sleep in the sky cot, allowing you to get some rest too! Check here to find out which airlines provide a baby bassinet on board.
- Check with your airline if you are allowed to bring an additional diaper/nappy bag with you as well as your cabin bag allowance.
- Use this free downloadable packing checklist for travelling with a baby. which lists everything you may need. Consider if you need any of this travel gear? Alternatively, this baby travel essentials list has some great suggestions too.
- If you are breastfeeding, consider what will make YOU more comfortable. Here are some breastfeeding tips whilst travelling.
- If you are bottle feeding and need to sterilise bottles whilst on the go – look into the various ways you can sterilise baby bottles whilst travelling.
- Bring a baby carrier with you, even if you have brought your own car seat. This makes it so easy to walk around the plane or settle baby inflight. Although you cannot use them for taxi, take-off phases of the flight.
- Be prepared for your baby to cry during take off, so landing. This is due to the change in air pressure: crying, feeding or sucking on a dummy/pacifier can all help.
- Wear layers which are easy to remove one handed and dress baby in layers too.
- Try and relax! You’ve got this!
One of the Most Frequently Asked Questions
How much baby formula can I take on a plane?
You can bring as much breastmilk, formula or water as you need for your baby for the flight. This can be over 100ml or over the 3-1-1 rule.
Further information on flying with a baby.
- Have you remembered any items you need to help your baby or toddler sleep on the plane?
- Would you like a free printable (no sign up) packing checklist? If so see here.
- Find out which airlines/airports provide courtesy airport strollers here.
- For more detailed tips on flying with a baby see here.
- For information on what to expect when flying with a baby see here.
- For tips on flying alone with a baby see here.