3 Unexpected Perks of Flying with an Infant
I wouldn’t be surprised if you read the title of this blog post and scoffed just the slightest bit.
And I wouldn’t blame you. Because if flying with an infant isn’t the stuff of nightmares, I’m not sure what is.
I mean what could be worse than dealing with a screaming baby, while flying through the air encased in a metal tube, surrounded by other people who are probably already hating the fact that they’re on a plane at all. Cuz let’s face it. Most people don’t love your little bundle of joy the same way you do, and the last thing they signed up for when booking their place ticket was THIS.
We won some kind of lottery with a little traveler born with a wanderlust gene fully developed. She flies incredibly, unbelievably well, often falling asleep as soon as the plane starts taxi-ing down the runway. But despite this, and the fact that we’ve successfully navigated 8 long haul flights so far, I still dread the days we have to fly.
Because no matter how well your baby travels, there are inevitable melt-downs, epic diapers that have to be changed in incredibly tight quarters, and the disapproving looks of fellow passengers (which might be the worst of all).
But there are some surprising perks of flying with an infant, that make those 11 hour long-hauls across half the world almost acceptable. Almost…
1. Priority Treatment
Did you know that having a baby on your arm is equivalent to having an unlimited number of frequent flyer miles? Ok, so not quite, since I’m still flying economy pretty much everywhere (sad face), but in terms of priority treatment, there’s nothing better.
We haven’t stood in a line in pretty much ANY airport since we started flying with our infant. From specialized fast track areas in Rome’s Fiumicino and Seoul’s Incheon, to basically being pulled out of any line we were standing in and ushered to the front (Amsterdam’s Schipol), it’s a perk that I hope will last a long, long time to come.
2. Seats with Space
When you’re flying with an infant, most airlines usually assign you to the bulkhead row behind the galley. You know the row where there’s tons of space to spread your legs and move around. This comes as no big surprise, since that’s where the bassinet is located. Duh.
What’s surprising though, at least in our experience, is that we’ve always been assigned the bassinet row, even when we haven’t requested a bassinet in advance. Even better? Whenever possible, some airlines have blocked out the ENTIRE row, or at least a seat, for us. (Ok, maybe it’s only Korean Air that does that, which is why I’ll always be a Korean Air convert, but anyways…)
When it’s not possible, the people that happen to be lucky enough to be seated with us, move to another seat just as fast as they can. Extra leg room be damned. Haha.
3. Extra snacks and treats
Different airlines give out different snacks. And you know how the flight attendants wander down the aisles, and you take just 1 or maaaaybe 2 if you’re really hungry and don’t care about looking greedy. Well, with a baby you don’t have to worry about looking anything, because the snacks literally rain down on you, without you having to ask.
On KLM, it was stroopwafels. On Qatar Air, it was Lays chips and Twix chocolate bars. And every time, any flight attendant would walk by us, we were bestowed with another bag of chips or chocolate.
For the baby, of course. 😉
BONUS PERK: The Jetlag after the Flight
Jetlag is bad, right? Well, I’m here to tell you that when you travel long distance with a wee one, it’s basically the BEST THING EVER.
Because the week after a global transit, our little traveler is so exhausted that she sleeps in till noon, which means that mommy gets to sleep in till noon too. ‘Nuff said… 😀
Have you ever experienced any unexpected perks when flying with your children? What was the best of them? Share your experiences in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Good for you for finding positives in your travels, especially with an infant. Can’t say I get the same service while traveling with my pooch, but the airplane staff seems to be very responsive to both quiet babies and quiet doggies aboard their flights. I bet surrounding passengers love you and your baby for being so awesome and chill!
Haha, I guess you wouldn’t get to fast track with your puppy. But yeah, every time Naia has started crying on flights, someone has come to try to help out. Some airlines better than others for sure. Korean Air flight attendants were armed with songs and toys, and Qatar was really amazing too.
The Soul of Seoul
We got the bassinet seat once, but only because after that we specifically chose NOT to have it. We didn’t like those seats at all since all of the bags have to be up and away and much preferred them down and near me at ALL times, just in case. Like you said.. you just never know what the next flight will bring. Ava has been superb really, but I still don’t look forward to being crammed inside anywhere with other people anytime.
Every airline I’ve flown has allowed us to have our stuff down, except on take-off and landing…and some airlines are even lax about that! No, the thing I hate most is that damn baby seatbelt. It has got to be the most inefficient safety measure EVER and Naia absolutely despises it and has a fit every time she has to wear it. Ugh. But yeah, being crammed inside with no escape is terrible, no matter how amazing our little ones are at flying.
Your daughter is too cute! I don’t have any kids but can imagine how stressful it can be flying with small children, i’ve seen passengers be so rude in the past. It’s nice to know there are some bonuses!! Endless snacks sounds like a winner to me!
I must admit than in the past before I had my own kid, it was me that was a rude passenger. Shame. It’s really true that you just have no idea until you have one of your own just how difficult it can be to contain your little person. The extra chips and chocolate definitely help you make it through a flight though! 🙂
I don’t have a kid, but it’s nice to see that there are perks when flying, and also that you recognize and can savour them. I think fast track through the queues must feel super convenient, although the extra sleep sounds like an awesome bonus too!^^ Nice write-up.
Honestly, the fast track for kids is almost a necessity for EVERYONE’S sanity. They get super antsy and fussy if they have to stay in one place for too long, though I have to say the extra sleep is probably my favourite perk of them all. 🙂
It must be tough traveling with an infant, but it seems like you’re taking it in stride! The legroom and snacks sound good, but I’d be all about the jetlag perks! I definitely need some sleep after traveling. Kudos to you for seeing the silver lining (and getting a post out of it :D).
I’ve never been able to sleep on planes much anyways – usually just zone out with movies (yeah, THAT doesn’t happen anymore), so the fact that Naia sleeps 16 hours a day for a week after traveling is probably the best thing of all. The best part is that she doesn’t wake in the night (like you usually do with jet lag), but just sleeps all the way through. 😀
You did hit the jackpot on traveling babies! She is growing up so much, and she is still so adorable. Keep up the fun trips; I love reading about the journeys as well as the destinations!
She is growing up so fast. She’s such a little girl now, demanding to “GO,” every morning. This one loves being on the move that’s for sure. We are headed back to Kyoto with her grandparents in a few weeks time – revisiting Naia’s first international destination. 🙂
We now travel with an almost-three-yr old and a 6 month old. Yikes – a whole new kind of juggling act, but we’ve been able to fly successfully so far. Perks for flying with an infant – skipping the long immigration lines on arrival and departure, and being ushered to the VIP area! Such a welcomed surprise!
Hey Kristine! 🙂 OMG, I can’t imagine traveling with 2. I feel like we’ve got it nailed down now with the little one, even down to what to pack, probably just in time for when we’ll have to start paying for a seat for her. 🙁 Skipping the lines is the best, eh!?
That is so many perks of traveling with the little one! It does sound like a lot of snacks always passed yo you on the plane…and I take that you or Agri eat them instead of Naia ? Who can resist extra chocolate or chips, lol. Maybe baby feels traveling or the plane is her playground. Doesn’t seem like she’s afraid of heights ?
She definitely thinks that airports are a giant playground and why not right? All those escalators and people and moving sidewalks. It’s quite a work-out for her parents though, chasing her around. My favourite perk is getting pull out of all the line-ups…not so much cuz I mind standing in line, but because she starts going crazy if she has to stay in one place for too long! 😉