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  • Read This Before You Book That First Flight With Your Baby

    Be prepared for baby's first plane ride by reading up on flight regulations and getting a few tips from moms like Kelly Misa and Say Alonzo.
    by Jillianne E. Castillo .
Read This Before You Book That First Flight With Your Baby
PHOTO BY travelandleisure.com
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • There are a lot of preparations to be done when going on any trip. This doubles (sometimes even triples) when you become a parent. There’s just more requirements to acquire, bookings to make, cash to stash and things to pack. With a baby especially, things can get a little more complicated. In fact, you need to make arrangements before you even arrive at the airport.

    Say Alonzo, Katz Gamboa, Helga Krapf, and Kelly Misa, each one a mom to a child 2 years old and below who has already traveled by plane, say you need to reserve a bassinet (a small portable crib that’s usually attached to the back of airplane seats on flights) in advance, no matter what airline you take.

    Helga, mom to Amelie, 1, and who recently appeared in My Rebound Girl, explains there are limited seats with bassinets on any given flight. Inform your airline you need one during booking is key. 

    Model and blogger Kelly, mom to Tristan, 1, adds a bassinet is a lifesaver during long haul flights. "It will make life easier for you and your baby." Kelly says you may also want to ask what the available kiddie meals are. "You can give to your baby if he/she can already take solids."

    Katz, whose son Jace has gone with her and husband Joross Gamboa to Canada, Italy and Paris, advises moms never to assume their babies can fly free of charge even if they will just sit on a parent's lap. Some airlines will recommend you buy an extra seat especially on long-haul flights. "I always make sure I reserve ahead of time because there is a first-come, first-serve basis for infants who won't be buying a seat. If you are bringing a car seat, there may also be a fee."  

    Strollers often come with no extra charge, according to Say, mom to Asher, almost 2 years old, who has gone on a plane ride five times. "You can bring them with you on the plane -- they just get it from you before you take your seat at no extra charge or extra baggage fee," says the showbiz personality and mompreneur. "You can also check in at the courtesy lane."

    Again, it is best you discuss options and extra fees with your respective airline, ideally when you book and not after so you don't get any surprise fees. To help you with the fine print, we’ve taken two local airlines and listed down their guidelines and benefits when flying with an infant.  

    Philippine Airlines

    Must be this old to fly
    Philippine Airlines only allows infants 16 days old and above to travel on their aircrafts. If your child is below 2 years old, she need not have her own seat and can stay on your lap. Don’t forget to inform the airline in advance if you’re traveling with an infant on your lap -- she will need a ticket of her own (prices can vary). 

    Children 2 years old and above, including those turning two on the return flight, should have seats of their own. The airline states it’s for safety reasons. 

    Freebies and Benefits
    Baggage allowance 
    Flying to the US, Guam or Canada? If your baby is paying at least 10 percent of the adult fare, you get to check in one collapsible stroller and one luggage not weighing more than 7 kg. If it’s anywhere other than these three places, the luggage can weigh more than 10 kg., and you get the stroller space, too. 

    Advise Philippine Airlines if you need one ahead of your flight. If your baby is 6 months old or below, request one at the time of booking so they can have it ready for you on the plane. The bassinets can be made available on all aircrafts (except Q300, Q400, A320 and A321) on flights with a flying time of at least three hours. 

    On baby’s traveling companions
    Babies travel with their parents. According to Philippine Airlines regulations, an infant is only allowed to travel with an adult she’s not associated with provided that the accompanying adult is qualified to under the law and that the reason is medical, death or an immigration problem. Supporting documents are required to be submitted to the airline if this is the case. Learn more about this by contacting PAL or talking to a travel agent.   

    What other parents are reading

    Cebu Pacific

    Must be this old to fly
    Cebu Pacific only allows infants 8 days old and above to fly on their aircrafts. Those below 2 years old don’t need a seat of their own, though you’ll still pay a small fee for them. Inform the airline that you’ll be flying with an infant upon booking.

    If you’d rather not have your child on your lap for the whole flight, you can book a seat for her provided that you bring along a Federal Aviation Administration-approved car seat. You’ll be charged a fee for this as well. 

    As with Philippine Airlines, those 2 years old and above are required to occupy a seat for safety reasons. 

    Freebies and benefits
    On Cebu Pacific flights, those travelling with infants get priority boarding. You’ll be one of the firsts to board the plane along with unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, persons with disability and others needing assistance. 

    Don’t worry about bringing a stroller either. Cebu Pacific will let you check in a stroller free of charge provided it’s collapsible and is not battery operated.

    On baby’s traveling companies
    Under Philippine law, minors travelling with anyone other than their parents are required to secure a travel clearance. To learn more about this, visit dswd.gov.ph. Learn more about Cebu Pacific’s guidelines on traveling with an infant by contacting them or through a travel agent.  

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