Flying from Australia to Europe with a baby: Some thoughts in advance

If you’re already living in Europe and decide to take a European family holiday, you’d be unlikely to take a flight of more than a few hours. I envy you! For my trip to Germany with my four-month-old baby, getting there will take close to 24 hours, coming from Australia. You can probably understand I’m a little bit nervous about a long haul flight with a baby.

However, I’m hoping that good Europe travel planning and some helpful advice will keep me, my husband, our baby and our fellow passengers sane. I’m sure the benefit of hindsight will give me some more ideas to add here, but so far, these are my ideas for minimising the problems of flying to Europe with our baby:

  • Be prepared. I’ve talked about packing before and especially taking the right stuff in your carry-on luggage, and I think it’s also to take extras for the flight, that is more nappies (diapers), more changes of clothes, more milk if necessary and so on, in case of delays or simply the regular baby disasters! I’ve heard that most airlines stock a small supply of emergency supplies for babies but it’d be far better to have your own, I’m sure.
  • Book the right seats. Make sure you book as far ahead as possible and talk directly to the airline to get the seats with the bassinet if you’re travelling with a baby. I even tried to book before our baby was born (because that’s when we booked our tickets to get a cheap fare) but the airline wouldn’t issue a ticket without a name and birthdate. Fair enough!
  • Figure out the logistics. Will the airline let you bring your pram on board (mine would, but only if my pram weighed 10kg instead of 11kg), will you need to make a stopover (we will, sans pram), will getting your baby used to being carried in a sling help (I hope so!) and will there be a car with a baby seat waiting for you at the other end?
  • Relax. My husband is worried about being the family that every other passenger dreads sitting near. Maybe we will be, but we’ll do the best we can. Our little boy is as about as quiet and well-behaved as babies come, but we can’t predict how he’ll react to being on a strange plane! I read some good advice somewhere: the plane trip might seem to take forever but it’s really only a small part of the trip.

Fingers crossed that our flight goes well and apologies in advance to our fellow passengers. Please leave me your best tips in the comments.

[Photo from caribb via Flickr CC]