Parents deserve a gold star for flying with a baby. Full hands, heavy bags and evil looks make this a supreme parenting challenge. We can't help you navigate perils like using the airplane bathroom while holding a baby (good luck), but we can help you remember all the important stuff with this packing checklist for flying with an infant.
Why travel insurance is so important when traveling with a baby
Parents need travel insurance for one simple reason: Babies get sick. And when that happens, insurance can help in all kinds of ways.
Trip cancellation benefits can reimburse you for your non-refundable trip payments if you have to cancel the trip for a reason such as a covered illness or injury that's disabling enough to make a reasonable person cancel their trip. These benefits apply whether you (the insured) or your traveling companion (e.g. your baby) suffers the covered illness or injury.
Emergency medical benefits and emergency transportation benefits are also crucial when traveling with an infant. That’s because your regular health insurance may not cover the cost of a medical evacuation or medical care if your little one experiences a covered medical emergency while you’re overseas, or on a cruise.
And if anything else goes wrong on your trip — a lost passport, a missing prescription, a long travel delay, etc. — Allianz Global Assistance is there for you. Call the Emergency Assistance hotline from anywhere in the world, and we’ll do our best to help.
If you don’t already have insurance for your upcoming trip, you should get it now. Popular options are the OneTrip Prime Plan or the OneTrip Premier Plan from Allianz Global Assistance, because both of these plans cover children aged 17 and under for free when they're traveling with a parent or grandparent.
Four more surprising essentials for flying with an infant
- A baby passport. It may seem silly to have official documents for someone who can't even crawl, but a passport is required if you're flying with an infant (or cruising) overseas. Getting a passport for a baby is a little tricky. Both parents must be present, or you'll need a special parental consent form or court order.i You can't be holding your baby in the passport photo, so the best option may be covering a car seat with a white sheet and taking the picture.ii Get more info on the forms you need for a baby passport here. The good news: your baby's passport is valid for five years.
- Custody and consent documents. If you’re traveling solo with your baby — or with a grandchild, or a baby that is not biologically yours — you’ll want to bring with you proof of the child’s identity, such as a birth certificate, and written consent from the child’s biological parent(s).iii For international travel, check the S. Department of State’s guidelines to find out if there are special entry/exit requirements for minors for your specific destination.
- An airplane bassinet/travel cot for long flights. Not even the most attached parent wants to hold his or her baby for 10 hours straight. For long international flights, you can request a free bassinet where your baby can sleep. A few caveats: There's usually only one bassinet per plane, Style Hi Club warns, so request it early. And only certain seats can accommodate the bassinet, so make sure you snag one.
- A bribe bag for your fellow passengers. To avoid malevolent stares when they're flying with an infant, some savvy parents bring goody bags with candy, snacks and earplugs for the people seated near them. A few parenting experts criticize the practice, saying there's no need to apologize for a baby's behavior. But we say hey, it can't hurt to have these on hand, particularly for a long flight.
The Essential Packing Checklist for Flying with an Infant
If you forget anything, don’t panic! Ask another parent on the plane or in the airport if they have extras, or pick it up at your destination.