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!