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How Not to Go Nuts While Flying with a Peanut

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For a new parent, the thought of flying with your baby can be a little daunting – but it doesn’t have to be! My husband, Matthew, and I had our first baby (Elias) in the summer of 2008. With family in the Midwest and on the East Coast, we knew we would be flying a lot. In fact, our little peanut went on his first flight at five weeks old – and we all survived. All it took was a little extra preparation.


Here are a few tips on how not to go nuts while flying with a peanut. 



  1. Get to the airport early – You will feel much more relaxed if you have plenty of extra time for checking your bags, security and multiple diaper changes.

  2. Check your bags – Southwest doesn’t charge for your first two pieces of luggage, so don’t worry about carry-ons. You have enough to deal with! (Click here to view Southwest’s baggage policy.)

  3. Don’t forget identification – Even if it is obvious that your peanut is under two, you still need to have his or her birth certificate with you. Be sure to tuck it in a place that is easily accessible.

  4. Wear your baby – Use a baby wrap or carrier to wear your baby through the airport. This will keep your hands free as you go through security and the terminal. Your baby will likely enjoy people-watching, too!

  5. Use your stroller as a cart – You are allowed to bring your stroller (and car seat) to the gate. So, if you are wearing your baby, use your stroller as a cart for your diaper bag, purse, etc. It makes going through a large airport much easier.

  6. Check your stroller as soon as you get to your gate – Don’t wait to get a gate check tag when you are boarding. Instead, see an attendant when you arrive at your gate and check your stroller and car seat then. It will make things a lot easier when you are boarding.

  7. Use a roomy diaper bag and pack extra – You want to be sure to prepare for the worst when you travel, and that means packing lots of extras! Pack extra diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, a ziplock bag for a dirty outfit, baby Tylenol, a rattle, a blanket, a burp cloth and anything else that your baby may need. My two favorite travel diaper bags are made by Lands End and the Bumble Collection.
  8. Prevent those ears from popping – When the plane takes off and lands, be sure your baby is sucking on something like a pacifier or a bottle to prevent his or her ears from popping.

  9. Enjoy yourself - Even if it may seem a bit overwhelming to travel with a baby, take time to enjoy it. Parenting is a big adventure, and traveling is pretty easy compared to some other situations we will face in the future!


Click HERE to see Jessica navigate the airport with her peanut, Elias

Happy Mother's Day and Happy Blogging!


Southwest is happy to introduce Jessica Turner as its new resident Mommy Blogger. Her guest blog posts and video blogs will focus on traveling with her baby, tips she discovers and family-friendly activities to experience around the country. When she isn't traveling, she enjoys spending time with her family, working, blogging and scrapbooking. She and her husband, Matthew, live in Nashville, Tenn., with their 10-month-old peanut, Elias, who is currently into everything!

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Thanks, Jessica. My husband and I have a toddler and an infant and traveling is definitely a big challenge! We look forward to more helpful tips!!
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Jessica, your video is just GREAT! So natural, with common sense tips. I agree that wearing your baby makes everything easier. We just completed our first flight with the new baby (all 3 kids along), and I was so relieved to touch down in Nashville that I left my purse on the plane!
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It is always a good idea to let your kids know especially when you get to the airport late that you may not be seated together since SW has an open seating policy. We called those FREEDOM stories. I work for SW and we were seperated when flying. When we got to our final destination I would ask my kids who they sat with and what they talked about. These experiences and conversations gave them skills they now apply to their adult life. I was not just making lemonade I was make lemon pies.
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I agree with the advice you have except 1 very important detail... DO NOT CHECK YOUR CAR SEAT AT THE GATE. Instead, you should have purchased a seat for your child because that IS the safest way to fly. Regardless of whether there is a lap child policy, every person, including those under age 2 should be strapped into a seatbelt. It is for their safety and everyone on board the plane!
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I flew back and forth with my baby twice in a matter of two weeks when she was 3-4 months old. I had 5 flights altogether and only one was so full that I couldn't take the carseat on even though I didn't buy her a seat. Ask that at the counter when you check in! I always checked her stroller right away at the gate, but still had to lug it down myself. It's hard to juggle all that stuff when you're traveling alone with the baby! Jessie
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As someone who has flown 50+ times on Southwest with my now 22-month old, (more than half of those flights without my husband!) I consider myself an expert mommy flyer too. I'd like to add a few tips. 1. If you can't fit all of your own mommy stuff into your child's diaper bag, use a backpack as your purse instead. I have a great Vera Bradley backpack that I use solely for flying (so a copy of Luke's birth certificate is permanently kept in there, as well) and it is SO much easier to use a backpack than a typical purse. 2. For kids that are old enough to pay attention, a portable DVD player is a great form of onboard entertainment. 3. Milk is not available in flight. Be sure to purchase this in the terminal ahead of time if your child will need it. If your child does not eat peanuts, pretzels are always available. 4. With regards to Jessica's tip #1 listed above, I think there is a fine line between arriving early and arriving with a perfect amount of time to spare. I've found that when I arrived too early it is just harder to keep my son occupied. While it's cute for about 1 1/2 minutes, other passengers aren't so interested in watching your kids run circles around all of the seats at the gate. I look forward to reading this blog more...and for my next flight on May 22 from BNA to RSW! Susan Sherlock Nashville, TN
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great tips jessica! you're doing a fantastic job blogging for southwest!
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I agree with Jessica's tips and have enjoyed reading all the comments. I wish I had those tips when flying with my children, who are now grown and and now I'm still flying, but now it is to visit my Grandchildren. As a Nurse I would like to add something that other flyers may not be aware of when they are grunting and complaining about crying babies on board. First of all do you think the Mothers who are traveling alone with a child enjoy their baby crying. Sometimes these flights the Mothers take are not pleasure trips to begin with. As for the babies and young children crying, it is not because they are "little brats" that make them cry. Babies and young children have much smaller tubes in there ears that casues them pain or discomfort when the pressure changes during flying. My tip is to the other flyers on board that get angry when a child is crying .Buy some ear plugs for yourself. Believe me , it is no picnic for the Baby,or Mother that is causing such a ruckus!!!!!
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My husband and I have been loyal fans to SW for three years, we met online and from the beginning our airbus between northern and southern California was south west! Last year we were assured that twice by customer service that if we saved our rapid rewards we could utilize for a free flight to Hawaii, well now we have saved and even though we had millage plans with other major airlines we stayed true. When we called to reserve our trip they said they no longer offered this option as it was part of a partnership. Well needless to say our flights were very expensive thank god for a gift of time share.
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My daughter checked her stroller and car seat while traveling for the first time with her five week old son on Southwest. The Quinny (stroller) arrived broken. Since you have to sign a waiver before checking strollers etc. there was nothing she could do. Shouldn't the airlines cover the strollers and car seats with plastic to protect them from the dirt and take a little extra care NOT to break things?
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We've featured Jessica on our blog at At Famplosion, our passion is to provide families with information that will allow them to spend quality time together.