Flying Domestic with an Infant

Euna with Cebu Pacific's Smile Magazine

Over the holidays, my then 4-month old baby, Euna, did quite a bit of flying. She flew from MLA-CDO-DVO-MLA, a total of 3 different planes from 2 carriers in less than a month. She flew via PAL once and with Cebu Pacific twice on different planes. Her pediatrician had assured me that as long as the person who can pacify her is with her during the flight, then she should do well. Who else would that be but me? Hehe. Indeed, my baby behaved so beautifully, I'm now one proud mama. As long as she's not hungry, nor sleepy, and is kept occupied, she's one happy baby. Below are my observations/tips:

  • Reserve for bulkhead seats

  • From MLA-CDO, we flew via PAL. The plane had business class seats prior to the economy seats. While I'd have preferred flying business class, I couldn't afford it. The next best thing are the bulkhead seats which are the first seats after the wall that separates business class from the rest. This means that there's more legroom in front of you which is really an advantage if one were flying with a baby and breastfeeding to boot! It's best to call PAL days in advance before the flight to reserve for these seats or you could also drop by their ticketing offices.

    With Cebu Pacific, you'd have to pay for these reserved bulkhead seats through their seat selector while booking online. The only seats available for this would be seats D, E, and, F. These are the seats to the right of the aisle if one were facing the cockpit. Don't bother reserving for bulkhead seats when flying their ATR 72-500 as these are the small planes and bulkhead seats won't be given to anyone with an infant since these are near the emergency exits. We did and it was thank you ma'am. We were told we could fill-out the complaint form and hope against hope that we get a refund but that's it.

  • Strollers and Carriers most welcome

  • You can bring strollers and even use them while still in the airport even after one has already checked in. You can just leave them with personnel who are waiting by the door of the plane before boarding and the stroller will be sent out together with the luggages at the end of the flight. I'd suggest though getting a bag for the stroller to minimize damage to the stroller as well as avoid dusts and other micro-organisms from getting to the stroller.

    Carriers on the other hand really do come in handy as they'd give you the opportunity to actually use your hands not to mention save you from backpains (or at least distribute it evenly across your back) when the baby starts getting fussy.

  • Prepare a bottle of Milk

  • During take-off and landing, as the plane gains and loses altitude, pressure also changes. If you've noticed, this is the time when your ears would start to ring. I do experience this at times but not quite as profound as when I'm riding Cebu Pacific's ATR 72-500. Just imagine how your baby would feel (The flight from CDO-DVO aboard the ATR 72-500 was when Euna was the fussiest!) Having milk ready and giving this to your baby at these times helps a lot in relieving pressure. I'm breastfeeding Euna but I prefer preparing a bottle of pumped milk just in case.

  • Before, during, and right after getting off, remain relaxed

  • When whoever is holding the baby is feeling anxious, the baby senses the tension which could lead to the baby getting fussy or worse, cry! The trick is to remain calm, stay relaxed, and think good thoughts. On my end, I don't really feel anything when flying. I do entertain, with every flight, for a split second the thought of the plane crashing during take-off but that's it. My in-laws were very worried that Euna would cry the whole time during the flight based on what they've observed with other babies from their previous flights. Their granddaughter proved them wrong! At least they won't be so worried anymore with our upcoming flight to SG.

  • Put the baby to sleep

  • When the baby is sleeping, then the baby won't be bawling. Easier said than done. In my case, I just let her feed which usually leads her to sleeping half the flight (30 mins to an hour). Her flight from MLA-CDO, she was fussy the first half since she hasn't slept for over 3 hours already since she woke up. I had to cajole, sing, and play with her (all sitting down) until she was tired and ready to sleep after which she just fed and slept until landing. Her flight from DVO-MLA was different in that she slept through the first half of the flight (from take-off). I fed her right after strapping myself in. And we (together with the grandparents) cajoled, sang, and, played with her the rest of the flight

  • Bring a toy

  • One of the ways to keep the baby entertained is by bringing a toy. With Euna and at her age of 4 months, I brought her flower rattle. Immediately, her attention was drawn to its red center (she likes red) and the sound it makes. The in-flight magazine also held her attention too. If you boarded without any of these, don't despair. There's still you. You can just talk, sing, and play with your baby to keep her entertained.

  • Think positive

  • Anything is possible with a can-do attitude. You can do it!

This 20th, we'll be flying to Singapore. It'll be both our firsts. The only difference is that I will remember it and my baby won't (I think). We'll see how we'll fare. :)

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