Flying Privately With Your Baby
Here are a few common questions and some tips for your baby's first private flight!
When can my baby fly?
There are no specific regulations as to when you can fly with a newborn. As long as baby and birthing parent have been medically cleared when leaving the hospital after birth, you are safe to fly privately!
Whether flying private or commercial, your little one needs a passport before flying internationally. You should make sure that all the documents and paperwork required by immigration and customs are in place.
Where should baby sit on a private plane?
Just like on commercial airlines, regulations permit that infants can travel on your lap until the age of two years old, when they will then require their own seat.
That said, when flying, whether on a commercial flight or private aircraft, the safest place for your infant is properly secured in their car seat, especially during takeoff and landing. Turbulence can happen any time and is responsible for most in-flight injuries.
Make sure that your car seat is AAP approved. Near the base of the car seat, you will find a white sticker with lots of small print. In red letters it should say that it’s approved for aircraft use. Most infant seats sold in the US are FAA approved, but it’s important to clarify this on your own seat.
Be sure to install your rear facing car sear on a forward facing plane seat, so your infant is looking towards the rear of the aircraft.
On a private aircraft with two-part seatbelt, install your carseat with lap belt only.
When installing a convertible carseat (as opposed to a bucket seat) be sure to use a seat that has access to the belt buckle release.
While the carseat is the safest place for baby, if your pilot is expecting smooth air on your long haul flight, you may choose to have a smaller playard or travel crib as an alternative place for your little one to play or take a nap. I have been able to fit the Bugaboo Stardust between the forward and rear facing chairs, the Stardust is narrow enough not to block the aisle on many planes. I would be sure to fold and stow the travel crib before landing, safely retaining baby in their carseat.
What do I need to know when packing for a private flight with baby?
On many private aircraft, the cargo hold may not be pressurized or temperature controlled. It is important to bring all liquids (especially baby food, formula, breastmilk, and other baby care items such as diaper creams or toiletries) as well as all powdered baby formula in the cabin of the plane.
Depending on the airport, you will either be able to drive directly to the plane or will go through the private jet terminal (FBO) and walk to the plane. You will not need to go through a traditional TSA security checkpoint and therefore will not need to adhere to the 3oz liquid regulations. Feel free to bring as much baby food/formula as necessary (and I always recommend packing more than you think you will need!)
Most FBOs have many amenities including full kitchens with refrigeration and ice machines, family restrooms with changing stations, and private lounges to feed baby. Take advantage of this space before boarding your flight to prep a bottle, get baby ready with a fresh diaper, and organize yourself and your belongings before your flight.
And finally, bring your NCS along for the trip! Having a very travel experienced extra set of hands while flying can very helpful!