Choosing flight times with kids
Once you’ve decided to take your family on a trip, you then have to start planning it, which will of course include the actual travel bit to your destination. The time of day you decide to do this will depend on a few things: your own travel preferences, your patience level and the age or activity level of your child.
Here’s how we handled the whole thing.
Infant: Any flight at any time
When our boy was a baby-baby, it really didn’t matter what time of day we traveled. I nursed until he was about 9 months old and any flights up until that point were a breeze. I nursed him during take off and landing to help him pop his little ears, and whenever he began to fuss I would nurse him until he settled down and fell asleep. I flew alone with him at this age 2 times and it was always an enjoyable experience. As long as he was comfy, he and I were both happy. The Boba Wrap also helped to keep him snug and happy. Because he was so easy we would mostly take non-stop flights at any time of day with no issues at all.
9-24 months: Non-stop red eyes
9 - 20 months was the trickiest age for us. At 9 months, Carmine wasn’t sleeping as much as a newborn would and would get bored fairly easily. We learned quickly here that the easiest way to fly with our baby would be on red-eye flights where he could sleep in our arms. This wasn’t the easiest for us as it meant that neither of us parents would sleep but it was something we could deal with if it meant a sleeping baby for an entire flight. When I flew alone with the baby I had such a rough time I had to splurge on a seat for him on a couple of flights because he had gotten so big, he couldn’t sleep comfortably in my arms.
2 years: Connecting flights departing in the morning
While he was still within the weight and height limit of his infant car seat, we chose the red eye option because traveling with a sleeping baby is the easiest way to travel with a baby. However now that he has outgrown this seat, connecting flights seem to be the better option for us. Of course a non-stop flight might be the better choice for a specific trip but the connection will allow our boy to get some of his wiggles out between flights.
What’s your favorite time to fly with your kids? Does it stop mattering at a certain age? Let me know on Twitter @travelingcaseys!