Organizing a trip by air with children can bring us many concerns, including the fear of forgetting important documents, not knowing what to bring in flight and the fear of managing a trip at high altitude.
Here are some suggestions that the mothers of the Facebook group Its4kids — suitable for children — gave us to prepare for a trip by plane with the children, avoiding stress and worries.
Book your plane ticket
Where can I book my flight ticket? What is the right time to buy it and where can I find the best offer?
In general, the rule to follow when buying an airline ticket is: the sooner you book, the more you save.
To find the best flight and buy your flight ticket, we recommend using Skyscanner, an absolutely reliable search engine in which you have real-time availability and prices of each airline, even low-cost.
With Skyscanner you can also monitor the price of a flight, you can set to receive an alert whenever the price of the trip undergoes a change or when it falls below a certain threshold set. This is the best way not to miss out on offers.
Children’s plane ticket
When booking a children’s plane ticket, you must ask the airline directly about the travel conditions it reserves for babies.
While some airlines may allow babies to fly even the smallest (with a medical certificate attesting to their fitness to travel), others may not accept babies born on board.
Also with regard to the ticket for infants (0-2 years), each airline has different rules: some airlines do not charge the ticket to newborns and they are not entitled to a seat. Other airlines, on the other hand, charge an «enfant» ticket. In any case, it is advisable to report the presence of an enfant at the time of purchase of the ticket.
Children over two years of age are always entitled to a seat, which is why some airlines charge the full fare or apply only a small discount.
Travelling by plane with a newborn baby: how to do it?
If you intend to travel by plane with an infant, it is advisable to inform yourself in advance about the presence on the plane of any dedicated seats.
Usually the first rows are reserved for parents with young children: it is then possible to book a «baby cot»cradle for babies up to six months that attaches to the walls of the first seats but can not be used during the phases of takeoff or landing, or the ‘infant seat, child seat for children up to 2 years adjustable.
You can also bring your own car seats: in this case the airlines (especially the low cost) may require the payment of a full price ticket for the child. Otherwise, the children must remain in the parents’ arms.
Before you leave, we recommend an eye exam to check that there are no ear problems that could cause further problems in the airplane.
Pregnant air travel
To travel by air during pregnancy before any long journey is recommended to do a checkup by your doctor, who will know how to advise what to do to avoid any complications.
Many airlines have limitations depending on the stage of pregnancy, usually you can fly up to 36th week of pregnancy (32nd week if the birth is twinned). After the 28th week a medical certificate is required, which can be downloaded directly from the company’s website
For a flight during pregnancy it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and clothes, not to block blood circulation (maybe wear slippers to wear when traveling), drink plenty of water to maintain a good state of hydration and, if possible, ask for an armchair in the front row or on the aisle side to have more freedom of movement.
For more advice on how to travel during pregnancy, we recommend reading the article dedicated to holidays for future pregnant mothers.
Travelling by plane for people with disabilities
For people with disabilities, walking difficulties or wheelchairs, it is recommended to always contact the assistance of the airline to request the special service for disabled people on the plane before booking tickets.
With your request for assistance at the airport and on the plane, you should also enquire about the measures for your wheelchair.
Documents for air travel with children
What are the travel documents for children to leave in peace?
To travel, children must have a personal identification document: an identity card or passport.
As for the identity card, you can request it from birth in your municipality of residence, at the Registry Office.
To travel abroad, children must have a valid identity card or passport.
Children up to 14 years of age can only expatriate if:
A parent or guardian will accompany them. The document of the child must have the names of the parents or guardian, or you can present the family status, birth certificate or appointment as guardian.
the accompanying person has the accompanying declaration signed by the parents
the child is entrusted to the airline by means of a declaration of accompaniment by his or her parents or guardian
We recommend that you read the airline’s guidelines carefully before you leave.
On our portal you can find an article dedicated to travel documents for children to organize a trip abroad.
For unaccompanied children
Unaccompanied children can also board the plane, thanks to the childcare service offered by many airlines.
Up to a certain age, around 11-12 years old, the service is compulsory and may require a specific fare. Above that age the service is optional, many airlines no longer offer this service to children over 14 years of age.
If childcare is required: children are welcomed at the check-in desk at the airport and taken on board the aircraft, where they are taken care of by the hostesses who will take care of them throughout the flight. Upon landing, children are taken to the ground staff who will be responsible for them until the arrival of relatives or friends (who must have a document to be recognized).
It is good to know that low cost airlines do not offer this service and do not accept children flying alone.
Hand luggage with children
Children under two years of age are not entitled to carry-on baggage, but in some cases a parent can bring an additional bag of accessories (such as a diaper bag) of up to 5 kg, in addition to their hand luggage.
You are allowed to carry liquids and everything you need to feed your child for the duration of the trip: baby food, milk powder, snacks, juices, chamomile.
Some airlines, for babies, allow the transport of more than 100 ml of liquids, but it is possible that some security officers control the content of food and prohibit the transport of some products.
Here’s a list of things that are always best in hand luggage for children and infants:
- A complete change
- Baby bottle (max 100 ml) and pacifier
- Hygiene products not exceeding 100 ml
- Bibs and napkins
- Waterproof towel for the gearbox
- Dehumidified wipes
- A towel
- Something to munch on
- A cover
- A plastic waste bag
- Games and books
- For closed nose, bring a nasal spray and ear drops
- For air sickness, it is better to have a doctor give you a suitable medicine
Many airlines allow you to heat milk bottles, water for milk powder, baby food.
All travellers over two years of age can bring on board a hand luggage that must not exceed certain size and weight.
In some cases it is also possible to add a small shoulder bag or baby carrier with the necessary documents.
The space in the cabin is limited, so it may happen that since there is no more space, the hand luggage is taken into the hold (at no additional cost).
If your carry-on baggage is not enough, you can take on a larger piece of checked-in baggage.
Often on scheduled flights, not low-cost, the price of the ticket includes the transport of one or more bags up to 15-25 kg in weight, for low-cost flights, however, each bag checked has an additional cost.
It is important to carefully check the weight and size limits applied by the airline with which you are travelling. Once these limits have been exceeded, considerable surcharges are applied.
Medicine for children on the plane
In your hand luggage you can put medicines for children, the important thing is not to fill up with unnecessary drugs and remember to be careful not to have bottles containing more than 100 ml.
In special cases the family doctor can write a declaration of the pathology the child is suffering from and which medications he or she should have with him or her. It is better to carry the most urgent medicines in your hand luggage, while everything else can be carried in your hold luggage.
The stroller in the plane
Almost all airlines allow you to carry your stroller by plane free of charge. It must be registered at check-in and then boarded, or it can be taken directly to boarding and left to the staff who will find it at the descent of the plane.
Don’t forget to put a label on the stroller with the name, surname, address and telephone number of the owner.
Travelling by plane with animals
Travelling by air with pets is possible: many airlines allow on board, in the cabin or in the hold, four-legged friends, with different regulations regarding fares, costs, weight and size of the cage.
As a rule, to travel by air, animals must have: an identification microchip, a health card, a certificate of rabies vaccination.
Each airline has its own rules: the Alitalia website lists all the documentation you need to have to organize a trip by plane with your pet.
Each company can determine the type of cage used to transport the animal, the number of any animals accepted in the cabin or the possibility to get them out of the cage or not.
Generally, for each flight are allowed small dogs and cats (some companies accept the classic carrier others require details).
Medium or large dogs, on the other hand, travel in the hold in special reinforced cages. Some companies guarantee the assistance of specialized personnel, assistance centers and refreshment for animals during the ports of call.