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Guide: tips for flying with baby

To the point Travelling with a baby requires careful preparation, but with the right advice, you can make the experience enjoyable for the whole family. Here are our tips for flying with a baby in 2024.

Tips for flying with a baby

When we were about to have our first child, Alexandra, we heard this phrase dozens of times:

You’ll see, when you have a baby, you won’t be able to travel anymore.

With a baby “on the way”, “existential” questions took place in my head:

  • Will our passion for travel disappear with the arrival of our baby?
  • Will our travel life become hell?
  • How do you change a child on a plane?
  • Can we aim for tickets in business with a baby in our arms?
  • At what age can a child earn miles?

We didn’t back down when she was born, so it was one of the first things we wanted to do. We quickly applied for her passport before leaving . in Europe when she was two months old, then in Vancouver when she was four months old before embarking on a series of other trips. Since then, Alexandra has loved to travel.

Travelling with a baby (0 to 2 years), especially by plane, can be stressful for many parents. Admittedly, it was quite a challenge for young, inexperienced parents like us, but let me reassure you, nothing is impossible. All you have to do is take the plunge, get informed, set off and don’t hesitate to multiply your escapades. Your child will get used to it, and it will become more and more natural for him with each trip. Especially since travel costs are minimal up to the age of two, it would be silly not to take advantage of that. So please make the most of it.

In 2024, travelling with a baby has become a matter of course, even if it requires much preparation. Despite the challenges, many parents travel regularly with their young children, proving that family travel can be managed without too much stress.

Here are all our tips for travelling by plane with a baby so that you can say to yourself travelling is wonderful with the whole family. We’ve written another article for adults and families with children, which you can read here. Look at our many testimonials from families, some of whom left with their babies, and our family section.

voyage alexandra
Alexandra 12 mois - 18 vols

Is it possible to travel in business class with a baby?

Before moving on to the preparation for the flight and the journey with the baby, let’s talk about business travel.

Travelling in business class is perfectly possible with a baby. Nothing prevents you from doing so: you can book your ticket with points or pay for it. The same conditions apply to your baby’s flight in business class. For example, I paid $100 for my baby to travel with me in business class from Swiss to Europe during the holiday season.

Business travel offers many advantages, such as more legroom, a more comfortable seat, a quality entertainment system, and more attentive onboard service.

img 0349
Alexandra en classe affaires de Swiss – ZRH-YUL

However, don’t expect to be upgraded from Economics to Business…! At best, it will be towards Premium Economy / Economy Comfort if the operational needs justify it.

Pre-flight preparation

As a general rule, here are a few principles to think about:

  • Strategically book your flight with as few stopovers as possible to reduce travel time and accumulated fatigue, especially when starting with baby.
  • Choose flights during sleeping hours so your baby sleeps for most of the journey.
  • Select forward-facing seats with bassinettes. Depending on how he reacts, you’ll have more legroom and the option of putting him in it. So you can eat and rest while your baby sleeps safely in his crib.
  • Ask for your documents: passport, visa, birth certificate and insurance.

The baby airfare: in money

In 2024, many airlines are still charging around 10% of the price of an adult ticket for babies under the age of two who travel on their laps on international flights. However, some airlines now offer additional discounts and flexible options for families travelling with young children. Afterwards, you’ll need to reserve your child’s seat at the cost of an adult ticket.

Baby airfaire: in points

What about a reservation made with Aeroplan points?

For domestic flights, there’s no charge if the baby is seated on an adult’s lap. Just let the company know so your baby can be added to the reservation.

For international flights, you can pay with Aeroplan points or cash (I recommend money to keep your points). You’llneed to call Aeroplan once you’ve made your reservation to add your baby to your airline award.

aeroplan bebe

At the airport, take advantage of our facilities

We appreciate the fact that families are even more highly regarded than before. Airports and airlines are working hard to help them make their travel experience better and more relaxing.

Registering travel accessories for a baby

Most airlines allow you to check in bulky baby travel accessories such as strollers and car seats free of charge. Ideally, choose a compact one (we’ll tell you which one at the end of this article). However, be careful with your type of stroller, depending on the company!

Air Canada may charge for the check-in of a stroller if it is considered“large” as if it were a checked bag. However, I must say that Air Canada has never charged us in the past on our two flights between Montreal and Vancouver despite the imposing size of our stroller.

You can also bring your stroller and car seat to the plane’s door and have them “checked in” there. This can be convenient for parents with a stroller that is easy to close and fold.

TipYou can also take advantage of this opportunity to check with the gate agents whether the flight is full or not. This may allow you to take your car seat with you (if it is compatible with airplane seats) and position it on the seat beside you—at no extra charge!

Don’t want to get stuck at the airport? Choose a simple solution with BabyQuip ‘s baby equipment rental service, which will help you at your destination so you don’t run out of accessories. Various products are available for rental, with the guarantee of safe products.

Special queue with a baby

More and more airlines are introducing specialized services for families. For example, some airlines offer particular boarding priorities, baby meals and dedicated play areas in airports. Take advantage of priority lanes for families. This could save you valuable time, especially if your baby starts to fuss. So look for the signs (often, they are the same lanes as people with disabilities).

Nevertheless, we recommend that you arrive early and rest, if possible, to handle check-in formalities.

Airport security with a baby

There are also special lanes to go through security at most airports. This is the case in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver, for example.

Also, be aware that you can bring bottled water (say it is for bottle feeding) or any other liquid food. These products will usually be tested. But in 2024, security measures for families with babies were relaxed at some airports.

Suppose your baby is on top of you in its carrier. In that case, you will usually be able to keep the baby on top of you (especially if you show the officers that he is sleeping and waking him up will not benefit anyone).

However, if your baby is in the stroller, you must pick him up and fold the stroller so it can be x-rayed. If you are lucky, it will only go through the metal detector and be analyzed by an agent.

Airport family services

Many airports now offer family concierge services, dedicated family lounges with play areas, and well-equipped changing and breastfeeding stations. Find out in advance about the facilities you will visit at the airports.

Airport toilets with a baby

Generally, most airports contain family restrooms (usually combined with those for the mobility impaired).

You will be able to take your time in a secluded room without other people around you.

Airport lounge with a baby

Airport lounges accept your baby on one condition: it is “silent.” As long as you don’t disturb the quiet of the lounge too much, your child is tolerated.

However, if your baby starts to cry, it’s best to leave the lounge and return once calmed down. Lounges are still a good option if you don’t want to get stuck in the rush at the boarding gate.

More and more lounges now have a dedicated room for children or even breastfeeding. This is the case, for example, of the Maple Leaf trade show in Montreal or of this American Express Centurion trade show in San Francisco!

Boarding the plane with a baby

In theory, you should be the first to board the plane. However, different rules apply depending on the company or flight.

Except for Air Canada, all the airlines we travelled on allowed us to board first: it’s very convenient to quietly install our stuff (changing bags, food, toys, etc).

Air Canada first calls passengers in “Zone 1” and its frequent flyers. Then, they will bring the families on board.

Baby's comfort and safety on the plane

Free seats for a baby

When you buy your ticket, you will probably be offered a seat in front of a partition to which a crib can be attached.

This is a good deal because these seats usually have more legroom and are often charged or reserved for the airline’s frequent flyers. To know the seats with a crib in advance, I advise using the site SeatGuru.

However, the policy is different for each company. I was surprised, for example, that Air Canada charged the second parent to sit next to the parent with the baby on their lap when choosing a seat. This had never happened to me, whether on Air France, KLM or Easyjet.

KLM has been the best airline on economy trips with babies as a family. On our way to Europe, a last-minute change of aircraft (B747 vs A333) disrupted all the seat reservations we had made (to have a crib in economy class).

In compensation, we have been “upgraded” from economy to comfort economy. In addition, a seat was blocked between my wife and me to give us more room with our baby.

On our way back to Canada, we also upgraded to a comfortable economy so that we could enjoy a baby bed. All the other economy seats had been allocated to frequent flyers. Thank you KLM!

The baby bed / “bassinette

Up to a weight of 10kg, you will be able to put your baby in an adapted bed that will be hooked up by a flight attendant when the plane is at cruising altitude.

However, when the captain indicates turbulence (the “fasten seatbelt” sign), you should pick up your baby.

I’ve never liked putting our daughter in the crib. The crib is very straight. Also, as she was breast-feeding, it was easier to hold her against us for the whole flight, so that my wife could breast-feed her if necessary. As a result, our baby never cried on any of our family flights, and there were fewer position changes for our daughter.

Last but not least, babies can be disturbed by various noises occurring behind these walls, where the aircraft’s kitchens or toilets are usually located.

On a personal note, I tried to put Alexandra in the crib offered by Swiss, but it never worked: she didn’t want to sleep in it.

On the other hand, she fell asleep comfortably sitting in her Swiss business class seat. There are already some luxury tastes in this little one!

Supplied accessories

The accessories provided for your baby depend once again on the company. Swiss, Air France, KLM and Easyjet for example, gave us a blanket, a pillow, a life jacket and a belt adapted to the baby.

Air Canada, on the other hand, gave us nothing, not even a belt and told us to hold the baby against us. As I said, it depends on the company and the policies.

How to keep your baby occupied during the flight?


Feel free to get up, walk around despite the narrow aisles and head to the back of the plane. You’ll usually have more space and can relax with your baby. Moreover, if your child is chirping, laughing or crying, he won’t bother the other passengers.

Meals and hydration

If your baby is not or is no longer breastfed, you can ask the flight attendants to heat your meals or water for your bottle. Ask in advance as it may take them some time.

You’ll even get accessories like with Swiss.

Like you, your baby needs to be hydrated and fed. Breastfeeding, as I’ve experienced, is a great help both during take-off and landing to relieve the pressure in your baby’s ears. Alternatively, use a bottle or pacifier and massage his ears.


Before or during the flight, you can dress him in casual or nightwear to let him know that it’s almost bedtime, even though he’s travelling. Take the time to bring along one of your child’s favourite books or a cuddly toy to help them fall asleep. Explain where he is, reassure him that he’s in a safe environment and that you’ll always be by his side.

On arrival, try to get back into the daily routine as quickly as possible so that he can quickly adapt to his new destination.

My main baby travel accessories

Many of our friends have often asked us for advice on travel accessories, especially those related to Alexandra. Our tip: travel light, as you now know, and don’t skimp on the quality and ergonomics of your accessories.

Here’s a short list of what we recommend. You’ll find the products and their links directly on Amazon.ca (where I got the best prices, by the way).

The travel stroller for baby

The stroller we always took with us on the plane was Mountain Buggy’s Nano Stroller. You can see her in the photo above, in front of the Air Canada lounge. The latest version is the Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller V3. Its significant advantage is that it is lightweight and robust and doesn’t take up much space when folded. We took him to many countries and continued with the same one when our second child came along.

nano mountain buggy
Mountain Buggy 2016 Nano Stroller

It is simply brilliant: it folds in 3 to fit in the luggage compartment of the planes. You can take it to the airport and carry it to the gate (or even your seat on a jumbo jet). All the flight attendants asked us the name of this stroller to recommend it!

The long-distance stroller for baby

We also had an all-terrain stroller, which we used mainly in Montreal but also took on trips to Vancouver. It was accepted in the hold for free.

bob revolution se
BOB Revolution SE Single Stroller

I can’t recommend it enough as an everyday stroller for running, going to a beach or in the snow! Its most recent version is the BOB Revolution Flex 3.0.

The baby car seat

In fact there are 2 car seats. The one from the first year (which we attached to the Bob Revolution SE and can also be fitted to the Mountain Buggy Nano) is the Bob B-Safe. The newer equivalent is the Britax B-Safe Gen2.

bob b safe
Bob B Safe Car Seat

The second one is when the baby starts to go beyond 10-12 months. The Britax Marathon G4. 1 is really excellent, having owned it. Its most recent equivalent is called the Britax Allegiance.

The baby car seat carrying case

Because you have to carry your car seat when you travel, this J.L Childress Ultimate Car seat bag allows you to carry any car seat like a backpack! Very useful for navigating through airports or once you have retrieved your luggage on arrival to get to your rental car.

j l childress ultimate car seat
J.L Childress Ultimate Car seat travel bag

Moreover, you can store items (diapers, wipes, accessories) not included in the baggage allowance since “the car seat is carried free of charge.”

The travel bag for diapers

I couldn’t see myself carrying the diaper bag I used over my shoulder. Also, since I often travel alone, I needed a practical bag.

obersee rio diaper bag
Obersee rio diaper bag

So I opted for the black version of the Obersee Rio Diaper Bag! You can put everything in it! Diapers, wipes, bottles (in the little detachable bag that keeps the bottles cool), computers, documents, cameras, etc.!

The baby changing station

This Skip Hop Pronto changing station is super convenient in spaces as tight as an airplane bathroom. I can hang it on my wrist while holding Baby to go to the bathroom.

skip hop pronto diaper changer
Skip Hop Pronto

It has several pockets, really a must! The newest version is the Skip Hop Pronto with mattress.

Toy hangers for babies

It may be a simple accessory, the Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy. But how useful in a plane! Just hang the toys on one end and the other on your wrist (or baby’s).

baby buddy secure
Baby Buddy Secure-a-toy

No more rummaging around under the seats (and you don’t really want to see what’s under the seats…) looking for the famous comforter!

Baby’s high chair for travel

This highchair, Mountain Buggy Pod Clip-On, fits on any table and stores flat to take up very little space (I put it in the car seat bag).

mountain buggy pod
Mountain Buggy Pod Clip-on

Dad’s travel accessory

We have quite a few gadgets that we take with us on trips. But if I had to name just one, it is the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones!

bose qc35
Bose QC35

It’s certainly expensive, but I’ve had it since September 2017 and never part with it. It cuts me off from all surrounding noise (including, of course, the jet engines of an airplane) without preventing us from hearing our children. I also wear it to sleep in flight. It’s just perfect!

Bottom Line

By following these tips, you can ensure that your plane trip with baby goes smoothly! Preparation is the key to dealing with the unexpected. Try to anticipate and rehearse the stages of your trip before you leave. You’ll be more serene and know what to do if the unexpected happens.

If you have any questions about air travel with baby – or any other questions – feel free to come and ask them on the milesopedia facebook group!

For even more travel tips, there’s the book The Traveling Parent’s Guide by Sophie Reis of BB Jetlag.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien Voisine
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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