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Flying with a baby is daunting for many parents, for good reasons. Unless they’re sleeping, it’s tough to keep a baby or toddler busy for that many hours in a confined space. That’s why in this post, we’ll be sharing our top tips on flying with a baby in comfort and how to get that extra legroom on the plane.

Before we dive in, let’s go through the positives of travelling with a baby first. You do get some airline perks flying with a baby, such as priority boarding, extra care and attention, advanced seating selections and friendly smiles from strangers.

That is to say you have a happy baby of course. Some blogs out there share tips like how to ignore glares from other passengers and stop caring about what others think. But I personally don’t think it’s very nice to ruin everyone else’s flying experience, especially if it’s a long haul flight during nighttime.

Then, there are other blogs out there that suggest choosing direct flights and only travel short distances. I agree with the ‘direct flights’ part, but I don’t like the limiting belief of ‘having a baby can only travel close to home’ idea.

Tips on flying with a baby or toddler on the plane featured

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So, after a dozen flights a year, we figured that naps are the keys to flying with a happy baby on a long haul flight. However, it isn’t always possible to have enough room for both the mother and the baby unless you upgrade to first class or pay for a separate seat… or is it?

In this post, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions on flying with a baby or toddler. We’ll also shed some lights on the perks of flying with a baby and our top 4 hot tips on flying with a baby by getting extra legroom on the plane for FREE! These tips are gathered from our own travel experiences that you won’t find anywhere else on the internet!

How to ease baby ear pressure from flying?


Breastfeeding your baby is one of the most effective ways to ease your baby’s ear pressure from flying. If your baby is bottle-fed, make sure they’re sitting upright and buckled up. Alternatively, bring a dummy something for them to suck on.

Can I bring water for baby formula on the plane?

The short answer is YES. You can bring a reasonable amount of water or ready-made formula milk for your baby. You may be asked to show at the security screening, but water and snacks for baby are allowed in most countries.

What to pack when flying with a baby?

Pack light. Infants also require passports when travelling internationally, your nappy bag, a set of spare clothes and a couple of small toys.

In this post, we talked about why and how to pack light with kids. So here’s a minimalist packing list to bring on the airplane when flying with a baby:

  • Passport
  • Formula if you’re bottle-feeding
  • Spare nappies
  • A bib
  • A dummy/pacifier
  • Snacks
  • Change of clothes
  • Toys

Interactive Packing List for Every Vacation

If you need a packing list for things like travel essentials, baby bag, beach vacations, camping, clothing and toiletries, be sure to use The Ultimate Interactive Packing List we’ve compiled for families just like yours.

This packing list is interactive, meaning you can tick them off after you pack to make sure nothing is left behind!


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About our flight

At the time of writing this post, we were flying with our 15-month-old baby from Vietnam back to New Zealand. We tried quite a few strategies on getting an empty seat next to us, but our flight was completely full.

In the end, we managed to have a bassinet set up in front of my bulkhead seat. Even though my baby had just gone over the weight limit, she slept for most of the flight with her feet hanging in the air despite the bassinet being a teeny weeny too small. As a result, we both had an easy flight and a good night rest!

Flying back to Auckland with 1-year-old Kyra Vlog

Tip 1: How to get the ideal seating arrangement

It helps a lot to have extra legroom next to you on the plane, and no, it doesn’t mean you have to purchase a ticket to reserve that seat!

Most non-budget airlines will try their best to help customers and are very flexible with the seating arrangement, especially during off-peak season.

If you’re booking your flight through an agent, book early and bring up the request for a bassinet at the time of booking if you’re travelling with a baby. Bassinets are usually set up across bulkhead seats, which are the seats with the most legroom on an airplane.

If you’re booking your flights online through a site like Trip or Booking, you might not get a chance to request anything without paying extra at the time of booking. Or perhaps if you’ve left it too late and all the ideal seats are taken. In those cases, try one of the strategies below.

Request for a bassinet or bulkhead seats at the time of booking

© Photos by Kida

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Tip 2: How to get that bassinet!

Let’s say you aren’t able to request anything before checking in, you can still try at the check-in counter before they issue your boarding passes. If your baby is under 8kg, most airlines are happy to arrange a bassinet, if they’re still available, meaning you’ll also have bulkhead seats with more legroom as well.

In case your baby is slightly over the weight limit and gets turned down at the check-in counter. It doesn’t hurt to ask the flight attendant politely again after you board the plane. Of course, wait until all passengers are seated, and the plane is flying smoothly. Avoid meal times as the crew would be very busy serving passengers, and it’s easy for them to say ‘no sorry’ just because they are busy at the time, so pick the right time to ask for a favour.

We tried to request a bassinet at check-in, my baby was 15 months old, and she was tall. The staff at the check-in counter didn’t hesitate to decline us after checking my baby’s height rather than her weight. However, with a bit of perseverance, we asked a flight attendant again during our flight. She kindly set one up for us without any questions at all! Although my baby was just a tad bit too big and had her feet hanging out, it still saved me big time from carrying her throughout the entire flight.

© Photos by Kida

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Tip 3: No bassinet? Get that bulkhead seat!

Suppose none of the bassinets is available, request bulkhead seats instead. They’re more spacious and closer to the lavatory (okay, this could be a good or a bad thing depending on how often you use the lavatory). Usually, you can purchase an assigned seat when you book the flight, but if you’re willing to take the chances, arrive early to check-in, and you’ll have a better chance of getting a bulkhead seat.

If this fails, there’s no harm in asking a flight attendant one more time after you board the plane.

Still no luck? Ask for an exit-row seat. Although exit-row seats are not as spacious as bulkhead seats, they provide more legroom at least on one side. Ideally, request for an exit-row seat away from the lavatory, so you can stretch your leg out without tripping over people all the time.

Can you hear the lullaby? Nothing beats the joy of a sleeping baby.

© Photos by Kida

Tip 4: Get that empty seat next to you!

If bulkhead seats and exit-row seats are all assigned, ask at the check-in counter if you could have an empty seat beside you. There’s little they can do if the plane is absolutely filled to max capacity. However, if there is even one empty seat available on the flight, chances are they will try to accommodate you and swap seats around.

We’ve experienced numerous times where the check-in counter staff said, “Hold on, let me just juggle a few seats around.”

Again, if this fails at check-in, walk around after the plane takes off and keep an eye out for empty seats. If there are empty seats available, politely ask a flight attendant when they’re not busy serving meals. Usually, the back rows are empty or reserved for staff who may not even need them during that particular flight anyway.

Now you can both enjoy the view!

© Photos by Kida

Good luck, and hope you all get some sleep!

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Have you tried any of these methods, and did they work? If you have any other tips on flying with a baby, please share them with us below!

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