Preparing to go flying with a newborn : A guide

 

When you first find out you are pregnant, you expect the first couple of months to be relatively chilled out. It then starts to dawn on you that that won’t be the case, sleepless nights, endless hours of just being a milk machine and then there is adapting to be a little family as well.

Anyone who knows me and my husband will know that we tend to not do things by half. So it is no surprise that our first couple of months are going to be slightly different!

America here we come

USA

Shortly after we realised we were pregnant, we had some more fantastic news in our close circle of family friends. A  wedding. I don’t want to go into the details of who is getting married to who. This after all this is a public forum and it is not my news to share.

What I can say is that the wedding is taking place on the East Coast of the States and is one that we wouldn’t miss for the world especially as it involves my husband’s best friend.

So, imagine the scene, this is my first pregnancy, we are apprehensive as it is and then at about 20 weeks pregnant we realise that we will be going half way across the world with a, potentially, 4 week old baby. To say I was even more worried was an understatement.

The good news though is that, actually having properly planned the trip I am not in the least bit concerned. It will be a great adventure and it will be so lovely for Bump to be there (not that Bump will know much about it).

Planning

Information on flying with such newly born children is surprisingly lacking online. I have taken a huge amount of comfort from that, I think it means it is dead easy!

W won’t mind me telling you this but he is a huge travel and aviation nerd. It is his thing. I have always found it rather cute that he can tell you any plane type (even down to the route its probably flying) when one is flying overhead. He is part of an online community that focuses on collecting Clubcard points and air miles through every day spending. He tells me that one of the experts in this area is a man called Rob from the website Head for Points.

Anyway to cut a very long story short, through our normal day to day spending over the last two years, we have more than enough air miles to fly to the USA in First Class on British Airways for cheaper than the economy tickets on the same plane would cost us! I know it sounds mad when you first read it but it is true. If you want to know more and find out how you can do this yourself please visit Head for Points.

The practicalities

I’d like to think I am an organised person. In all honesty we both are. But boy is there a lot to do after Bump arrives. Pretty much all of the ‘to dos’ can’t be done until we have a date of birth!

Think of a name and register the birth

certificate

Ok everyone has to do this. You have 42 days to think of a name for your newborn and register it at the local Registry Office for the area where the baby is born. That would be fine for us, however, we will need to get the process started ASAP. One of W’s first jobs is to call the Registry Office up, make an appointment and then take us down there to register the birth.

Passport Photo

Canada

An approved Canadian newborn passport photo. Cute…

Whilst we are out in town getting Bump registered, we are going to pop into Snappy Snaps and get Bump a passport photo. We all know the rules on passport photos are strict. They are slightly relaxed for newborns but I still won’t be able to have my hand in the photo support Bumps head or anything like that.

It is a bit mad to think that Bump will have this passport for five years. He or she will look nothing like the photo in 6 months!

Paging British Airways

We actually can’t book Bump onto our flights to the States until after they are born and we have a name and date of birth. Despite what people believe, we will actually have to pay for Bump. His or her fare will be 10% the price of ours and we will have to pay the government taxes.

Bassinet

British Airways Bassinet.

The one little worry is that despite beginning pregnant and knowing I will be flying with a baby, BA can’t reserve us a bassinet seat. We are just hoping that there will be availability when we get on the plane.

Passport Application

Simultaneous with the passport photo and calling BA, we are going to complete Bump’s passport application. Being a first passport this will need to be countersigned by someone like an accountant or solicitor. That isn’t a problem given my husband is a solicitor so will ask a colleague. Given the time scales however, W is going to make a personal appointment at the Passport Office in London, that way we will get Bump’s passport back in a week instead of the usual three weeks.

The all important passport number

Once we have the passport number, it will then be a case of telephoning BA to let them know the number and applying for an ESTA. An ESTA is the electronic visa the majority of UK visitors to the US need in order to get into the country. It is an online process and 90% of the time your application is approved right away. We are hoping that will be the case with Bump as we don’t have much slack in the system for delays.

Bugaboo Comfort Transport Bag

Transport Bag

Bugaboo Comfort Transport Bag

Our buggy is a Bugaboo Camelon3 which I am in love with. We have decided that the Bugaboo Comfort Transport Bag is going to be a key bit of kit for us.  Having forked out a small fortune on the buggy, we don’t want it to get damaged.

F0r this trip, Bump will be young enough to be carried in a sling (more on that later), so rather than gate check the buggy (which would mean W dismantling the Bugaboo as we board the plane) we are going to check the luggage into the hold at check in. The added advantage of this, as we see it, is that we then won’t have to wait on the plane for the buggy to arrive at the plane’s door. When we arrive in the States. This will mean we won’t be at the back of the line at immigration.

Phew I think we are there

After all that, we should at least be ready to go to the States. Minus the packing of course.

We are hugely looking forward to the trip. I am sure Bump will be a delight on the plane and we will have a wail of a time.

Did any of you fly with a baby so young? Do you have any tips?

Penny x

 

 

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