Thanks to COVID19, we are all having to face situations we wouldn’t have imagined in our wildest dreams. Having safely travelled on international repatriation flights amidst COVID19 with my baby, I have experienced the anxiety that you’re facing, as your flight date comes close. Read on to find out tips for flying with an infant amidst COVID19.
Airline travel, train travel and hotel stays—all of which involve a large group of people confined in a small amount of indoor space—which could act as a challenge for families worried about the risk of virus transmission. The two main risks of air travel during the pandemic, are exposure by sitting near an infected (possibly asymptomatic) person and exposure through contact with contaminated surfaces.
While it is very risky to travel with an immunocompromised person like an infant or an aged person; sometimes you just have to take that flight for the future safety of your family or to be with your family across the world. Here are few tips you have to keep in mind:
Is it an essential travel, one that you cannot avoid or postpone?
Before booking that flight, ask yourself one last time if it is really an essential travel you are undertaking. I cannot stress how important this point is. As a parent of a little infant, it took some excessive thinking (and truckloads of anxiety) on my end to come to the conclusion that I want to fly with my baby.
If you live in an country where transmission levels are high and increasing, and you’re traveling to a place where transmission levels are low and declining- then it is a very obvious to take that flight (for future safety of your family). But there are higher chances of your flight passengers being effected by the virus, in this case. So be extra cautious .
Try and get in touch with other mums with infants flying on the same flight
The first thing I did when I booked my flight was to get in touch with others with babies who were flying on it too. However, this can be possible only if you are part of a bigger group of people who are well connected in a city or on a social media page. I also made it a point to get in touch with few others who have taken a similar journey in the past few weeks or months. In my case, that meant joining Facebook groups made by people hotel quarantine in Australia.
Getting in touch with them allowed me to get first hand information and tips on their experiences.
Check what the COVID19 condition and regulations are, in the country you travelling to
During these times, every country in the world is feeling with the situation in their own way. Some have opened up their borders, albeit with compulsory 14 day quarantine at home or in a hotel. Others have only opened their borders to people from certain low risk countries or destinations. Find out the rules and regulations of the country or city you are landing in.
Flight refund policies & health and safety rules
As you would have realised when trying to book that ticket, not many flights are operational amidst the pandemic. It is imperative that you check if the flight you booked is going to fly on the day. If God forbid, it is cancelled then will you get a full refund or will you be just given a credit voucher?
Also find out if the flight is following all the health and safety measures required. This means sanitizing and fumigating the entire flight before everyone is seated and having other necessary regulations in place.
Packing your nappy bag right
While flying internationally with an infant is exhausting in itself, flying amidst a pandemic make a it worse. Its important to pack your nappy bag well. Needless to say, carry extra milk powder/ food porches or dry snacks to keep baby fed and comfortable. If you are a breastfeeding mum, be ready for long hours of feeding in case bub gets irritable or bored. Make sure to carry bubs favorite toys, pacifiers or gadgets to help entertain or calm him/her. A few important additions to these are a disinfectant spray, antiseptic wipes and a hand sanitizer.
Choosing a safe seat in your flight
I would recommend booking a seat away from the Aisle. Ideally, book one near the window, if possible. Have a look at the chart below from this news link to get a better idea.
Carry a spare
A spare set of clothes and nappies isnt just about it. When you flying during a pandemic, its also important to carry spare pacifiers and teethers(basically anything that your bub loves putting in their mouth). In a regular situation you would walk up to the airhostess to sterilise the object. But during COVID its best to avoid or limit your exposure to others in your aisle or flight. I tried my level best not to move out of my seat to help keep baby and myself safe.
Nappy changing tips
I made sure that I didn’t change my babys nappy in the common toilet on the flight. In times like these, I preferred changing her nappy on our seat itself by placing a changing mat underneath. You can’t possibly trust the safety of the common toilet when so many passengers use it.
Coincide your flight with your babys nap times
If you have already maintained a schedule for your bub, needless to say try and book your flight closer to or around babys sleep. That way you can be sure baby will sleep it out most of the journey.
I would love to know your experience of travelling with an infant during COVID19. Please let me know in the comments section below.
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