We did it!
We traveled on a domestic flight from the coast to the midwest with the infant that is in our care. The baby is currently in foster care, but we hope the adoption will be completed this spring. I was worried about what paperwork the air carrier would want to see, but it turns out that we brought a bunch of paperwork for nothing.
The carrier that we used required that the baby have a Boarding Verification Document before boarding so we checked in online, but headed to the ticket counter upon arrival. I had a Minute Order, our licensing agreement, the baby’s medical information and birth certificate. I wasn’t sure what we’d need to prove that we had the right to take the baby on the plane, but it turns out that I didn’t need anything but the birth certificate. Interestingly enough, that was the one document I originally didn’t have and wasn’t worried about. I wonder if they would have made us buy a seat if we couldn’t prove that the baby was less than two years old? Apparently, they don’t care if I’ve smuggled the baby in from another country. They only care if that smuggled baby is going to need their own seat! Lol
TSA required us to pull out the baby bottles that we had pre-filled with baby water. They used some kind of pH paper (it looked like) to test for … contaminants?? … but didn’t put anything in the water and didn’t make us to anything to prove that it was water. I was able to wear the baby right through the metal detector. I didn’t have to take off my hoodie or anything. I think they are pretty used to parents flying with infants.
Getting on the plane was easier than I thought it would be as well. Since we didn’t buy the baby a seat, he didn’t get to bring any luggage onboard. We don’t check bags. Each adult had a duffle to go overhead and a backpack to go underneath. I wore the baby in his EcoSash and He carried the car seat. Wearing the baby through TSA and onto the plane was the best piece of advice I read.
The flights were uneventful. On the way there, the baby stayed up the entire time. We originally planned to gate check the car seat, but the flight had empty seats so we took in on board and the baby spent about 3/4 of the time in the car seat. We brought two quiet toys to play with and a few different foods for him to sample. He alternately looked out of the window or was distracted by the toys/food. His ears didn’t seem to bother him at take off or landing. We asked the flight attendant for wings and she returned with a little kid set that included wings (plastic, not metal), a crayon and a little activity book. Thanks, Southwest!
On the way back, the flight was full so we did gate check the car seat (the flight attendants were SUPER helpful). As we approached the cabin there wasn’t anyone on the jetway and we weren’t sure what to do about the car seat. A flight attendant told us just to leave it on the jetway. She checked it and gave us a ticket after we were seated. This time the baby slept for about three hours on His lap. The baby woke up that last hour and wanted to play silly games with us. Again, his ears didn’t bother him so he didn’t cry during take off or landing. In fact, on the descent he looked out of the window the whole time. He couldn’t get enough of the little boxes getting bigger and bigger until they turned into buildings. Even when the plane was touching down, he just kept staring out of the window.
I was really worried about flying with an infant, especially one in foster care, but it was much easier than I thought. Since this went so well we’re thinking about an international trip next. Do you think the baby would like Peru?