FlyPeach Review: International Travel with a Baby
International travel with a baby is no joke, so our inaugural trip with Naia was a quick 2 hour hop from Seoul, Korea to Osaka, Japan. Because the time in the air was so short, we decided to book the cheapest direct flight we could find.
And we found that on Flypeach or Peach Aviation – a Japanese budget airline.
In this guide
Booking on Peach Airline
The Peach airline booking process and experience in the air were pretty standard for a budget airline. There were extra fees levied for checked baggage, meals, or selecting seats. Leg space was essentially non-existent, but the seats were not too uncomfortable. For a short flight, it was totally manageable… even with a 5 month old.
However, the way we were dealt with on each end of the flight was so markedly different, that I think it’s worth writing about.
At Incheon Airport in Korea
Even though we were advised that check-in on Peach Aviation was only though automated machines, in Seoul, the airline had full counter staff available for check-in and seat assignments.
Normally, any seat near the front, or in emergency exit rows requires extra payment, but in Seoul, the counter staff automatically assigned us to the 2nd row of seats without additional fees or a request. On top of that, they offered a fast track pass that allowed us to skip the regular security and immigration line-ups, and enter at a separate area.
We were able to keep our own stroller until we reached the departure gate, and received it at the luggage carousel on the other end. We had to sign a waiver stating that we would accept any damages to our travel stroller at our own expense, but I think this is fairly standard.
Because of these special considerations, we breezed through the entire check-in process, and boarded the flight relaxed and stress-free. Naia slept the entire time and did not cry during take-off or landing.
At the dedicated FlyPeach Terminal in Kansai, Japan
In Japan, check-in was completed via automated kiosk. And while it was a fast, simple and smooth process, baggage check-in was not. I’m not sure if I’ve seen a more inefficient process. Essentially, everyone stood in 1 line to get their bags x-rayed and weighed and then were given back their bags, only to stand in another line to hand them off to an agent who checked in the bags and handled other details.
We also had to surrender our travel stroller at the check-in counter. We were given a “Peach stroller” to use in the meantime, but for our little 5 month old it wasn’t ideal because it didn’t recline enough and she kept sliding downwards.
In Japan, the machine auto-spit out seat assignments, and though we didn’t check in at the last minute, AND were traveling with an infant, we were assigned to the very last row of the plane. When I asked them to move us up a little closer to the front because of the baby, not to any special seat, but to any other auto-assigned seat, I was informed that we would have to pay for the seats.
Now obviously I don’t have much experience yet regarding international travel with a baby, but I’m pretty sure that sitting in the very last row is enough to make any child feel claustrophobic and crazy. It’s definitely not the only reason our little one had a difficult flight home, but it was certainly a contributing factor.
There was no dedicated security or immigration available, but it wasn’t really an issue because it was a terminal dedicated to Peach Aviation alone.
FlyPeach with a Baby
Lex from One Foot Out the Door, perhaps said it best, when she commented “if she’s an easy baby on land, she will be an easy baby in the air.”
Mostly, this was very true. On land, Naia has been an incredibly easy baby so far, hardly crying, eating easily, and sleeping pretty much anywhere we put her down. She continued this pattern on the flight to Osaka, on subways, trains, in restaurants and everywhere else, for most of the trip. So much so, that we were all a little bit in disbelief, and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The other shoe did eventually drop of course. On the way back to Seoul. But it was mostly the fault of her inexperienced parents. We pushed our little 5 month old pretty hard on her first international trip, visiting 3 cities in 4 days and traveling on subways, trains and buses…all of which she’d never been on before Japan.
She took it all in stride for the most part, but by the time we boarded our 8PM flight back to Seoul, she was completely exhausted, overstimulated and ready for home. She cried for about half of our 2 hour trip back. The only things that paused her unrest were chewing on her best friend, Sophian the giraffe (because in our house, Sophie is a chain-smoking French male giraffe), and Auntie Bora’s rendition of “I Like Big Butts.” :p
We all survived though, and even the never-before witnessed meltdown she had once we got home, was fairly easy to handle, and caused by simple over-tiredness. Like I said, she’s an easy baby, and the meltdown only lasted 10 minutes, before she, and her grateful parents, were off to lalaland for a full 9 hours.
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As difficult as half of that 2 hour flight back was, it still brings me the most laughs looking back. We really felt like we had been through a war by the end of it. Turning our desperation into hysterical laughter… will never forget it!
Seriously! I look back on that trip with a lot of happy memories surprisingly. I think we were all a little delirious by the end. I will never EVER forget Big Butts. Hahahaha.
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a very interesting review. sounds like you have a good baby for travelling!
Thank goodness…cuz she’s gonna be traveling, whether she likes it or not. ;p
Sounds like Incheon is a dream airport! Z has now been around the world 2 times and has taken over 45 flights and is a champ. She has only had one time that she cried and that was due to a night terror. Since then, no issues, so maybe you got your one time over with while your baby was still very young. 🙂
Kida are flexible and despite us thinking that things may be horrible for them (like the last row seats) fall right off their backs but not ours. We remember, luckily they will not until they are older. 🙂
Incheon is pretty amazing! But they are pretty amazing to babies in general in Korea. Wowwww!! 45 flights already. Z is a lucky girl. 🙂 I hope we got our 1 time over with already, that would be amazing. And you’re right, the difficult flight was definitely more from over tiredness than anything else, but I do think babies pick up on the energy around them, and a little more space is always helpful. Funny thing is WE hardly noticed the flight at all this time around because we were so involved with her. Lol…2 hours went by super fast, and really slowly all at the same time if you know what I mean…
It is so true, as soon as you give birth, times speeds up exponentially!
It’s crazy how much so…I can’t believe Naia’s already 5.5 months old!!
That has gone really quickly!
Good to know it went (mostly) really well! Fun to see my name and blog link here, too – a nice surprise! Naia is so adorable, and I think your relaxed parenting must be a big reason for her chill demeanor. I look forward to lots more trip news with your charming little family!
Well, you really did say it best. 😀 Haha, I must admit that we were not too chilled on the flight home, but we all survived, and in hindsight, it was nothing compared to what most parents go through. She’s really the most relaxed baby on earth. Completely grateful for that, and looking forward to see more of the world with her! <3
Naia looks like such a happy baby. 🙂
She really is…and had at least, 2 or 3 full on laughing attacks while we were in Japan. We visited a Kobe beef restaurant and she was laughing so much, that she had the whole restaurant laughing along with her. 😀 I wish I could post a video!!
Naia sounds going to be a traveller who can easily encounter travel mishaps! They should consider more comfortable seats for a mother with baby..
Honestly, I was pretty surprised when I found out we were in the last row on the flight back. I think usually airlines are more considerate of travellers with infants…not just for the parents, but for the other people on the plane. It’s in the best interests of everyone involved to give parents a bit of extra consideration I think… anyway, we all survived, and our next flight is on Korean Air, which is supposed to be amazing for flying with children.
So far we had luck when flying with Nathan. Only once we got good seats with more space in front when flying to xi’an last year. However each time we were flying we got some little bonuses such as being inthe priority line when boarding the plane (I remember an older lady telling us that we do not belong into the business line…).
That’s great that Nathan is a good flyer. It definitely makes it less stressful to think about traveling. My brother says he still has PTSD from a flight with his daughter last year. Haha. I didn’t realize there were these nice advantages when traveling with a baby…but then again, I guess they want the parents to be sane and happy before they get on the flight. Lol. 🙂
I think it always depends on the country where the airline originates from. We usually fly with finnair and in Finland they do tons of stuff for children and mothers. For example mothers Can use public transportations for free with their child/ren for several years after giving birth 🙂
Wow! That is amazing! They are pretty good for babies here in Korea too…lots of resources available, but I think part of that is to encourage more children. One of the lowest birthrates in the world here…
Same, Finland also got very low birth rates but this also applies here now in Germany