Flying With Baby Alone
So there are tons of lists out there on how to fly with baby. But I personally haven’t found any on how to fly with baby – ALONE! Scary sh** but actually totally doable.
First off, I am writing this from a perspective of Thailand where I am based. Thailand is extremely child friendly and people will go out of their way to help you – even more so when you are travelling alone with an infant.
A few notes: Suvarnabhumi has a VIP /Fast track immigration line that also allows people with infants to use it. Make use of it! It’s a 2 minute wait and the staff will help you with all your stuff.
Don Mueng doesn’t have this feature but you can just ask someone and they will guide you to a fast lane for Monks or crew or something similar.
Keep in mind you won’t necessarily have this luxury at arrival – especially in many countries in the west! Shockingly I wound up waiting in immigration in my own home country for almost an hour with my baby strapped to me in the carrier after a 12 hour flight. I was furious because at that point the adrenalin of the trip had worn off and I was just exhausted and wanted to finally sit down! Switzerland I am talking about you. Shame on you for not sorting out your immigration queues!
So now to the list:
Prepare well: Make a list and cross check again just before you leave the house. Being prepared takes the pressure off! Make sure your airline will give you a bassinet (this only goes for infants of course. Flying with older babies is a different blog post – to be continued…).
bring a carrier – this is the single most important thing to have when you fly with baby. You will need to babywear the little one in many occasions, especially when you are alone. You need both your hands for many things and also carrying a crying baby on the plane for hours is devastating for your back!
bring enough diapers – someone once told me 1 diaper for every hour. That will be a lot of diapers if you fly to Europe or the US, but better too many than not enough. I took about 8 diapers for my flights to Zurich and needed about 5. I was happy to have the extra stash, just in case.
bring a set of clothes for baby and for you – baby once puked all over me. So I needed an extra shirt and pair of pants and luckily had them.
Toys – depending on age, bring something they can unwrap and have never seen. If they are smaller, hide an old toy they love for a few weeks and give back to them on flight. Make use of every day gadgets on plane like the plastic spoons for coffee and or download a video for the odd emergency.
Bottle or breast feed– this is to equalise the ear pressure during take-off and landing. It also helps to calm them down. Once they are older, they just need something to chew or suck to help with the pressure, even just a binky will do. If baby is sleeping, let them sleep through the whole thing.
Birth certificate and travel permit from spouse Don’t forget to bring the birth certificate (and a translation). If your baby was born in Thailand, immigration will want to see it anyway for that first trip out of the country. Also if you don’t have the same surname as your baby (and even if you do, just to be on safe side) get a travel permit from your spouse/partner. Just something that states he she allows you to travel on your own. Will upload a sample shortly.
Most importantly - stay calm! The flight will pass, it will somehow be ok and you will manage it. You won’t believe the amount of super human strength you can find when you have to and every time I did a crazy long-haulf flight on my own, I later thought “ oh, that wasn’t so bad was it!”. You will rock this!!