We recently travelled from Australia to NZ on a three and a half hour flight with our ten-month-old baby and it went exceptionally well! Here are my top tips:
1. Timing is everything! Ensure bub has a nap before you leave home. The hustle and bustle of an airport is enough to keep even the drowsiest bubs awake! Then hopefully by boarding time, they'll be ready to snooze the flight away.
2. Equipment. We shared one big suitcase that we checked in along with the pram. So we were only left with one nappy bag, a backpack for passports etc to take on board and our bub in the front pack. You want to keep it very minimal as far as the things you have to carry go.
Also, having bub in the front pack leaves you with free hands to fill in paperwork etc. Plus, the majority of bubs (that I know at least) are far happier in the front pack so win, win.
On a side note; in regards to the carrier, we were debating whether or not to take our baby born front pack, which is brilliant, or use the Kathmandu backpack style. In the end, we settled on the front pack because bub can fall asleep if need be as opposed to the backpack.
3. Let bub get plenty of energy out before the flight. We let bub crawl around in the boarding lounge. It's a carpeted area for those of you who haven't flown before and it's reasonably clean.
If you are concerned about it being grubby, we usually have a light muslin cloth in the nappy bag that we sometimes use in the place of disposable nappy change mats if we don't have any to lay down on the change tables in public parent rooms. So if bub had a sleep before you left home and a good crawl around before the flight, it should well and truly be nap time by take off.
4. Feed for take off and landing. I nursed our bub for take off, but her ears didn't seem to get affected at all. For take off on the way home, she peered out of the window with her dad very excitedly. However, she slept through both landings, all the way through security and out to the car.
5. Think about your seating position. Choose where you sit depending on what is most important to you. Upon leaving Australia, we sat in the middle row at the front, where the baby bassinet is usually attached directly in-front.
I did not request the bassinet as we did not require it. We had plenty of leg room which was great, however, we preferred to be on the side aisle as DH wanted a window seat and bub absolutely loved it as well. We were a lot more comfortable with our TV's directly in front of us.
I brought along bubs favourite toy, but she preferred Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for a while then went off to sleep whilst I watched vacation (have tried to watch it three times now - still have not seen the end!).
6. Choose your airline. I love flying with China Airlines. I called them prior to our flight to double check what we were allowed to check in and requested an infant meal. We were waved to the front of every line at the airport and then a lovely lady came to collect us from the boarding lounge so we could board the plane first. Not only do they have great service, but I have found in my personal experience that they are the most affordable.