1. Take the red-eye flight.
It is cheaper and the baby will sleep since you are traveling overnight, right? Wrong. Babies are usually much happier in the morning, and more likely to view travel as an adventure. At night, anything that interrupts their sleep is going to make them cranky. Also apt to get cranky: the business travelers on your flight who were hoping to catch some Z's before their a.m. meeting. But by all means, don't take our word for it.
Holiday travel often means flights to colder or warmer destinations. Why not bundle your baby up so you are ready to get off the plane and into the snow? If you want to avoid a hot, red-faced, crying baby on your chest while you sweat in your seat with nowhere to turn, dress your baby in layers. Same goes for flights to warmer destinations. Remember, you have no control over airplane cabin temperature.
3. Don't upgrade your seat.
These days, an economy plus upgrade can be purchased for under $100. If your baby is flying for free, i.e. on your lap, you are going to need all the room you can get. Don't burden your fellow passengers with your spillover. It is worth the investment!
4. Don't bring a change of clothes.
Nobody likes a stinky baby! Especially in an enclosed environment. Make sure to pack at least one change of clothes for your baby. Best-case scenario, it's just a little drool on a onesie. Worst-case scenario... poop explosion!
You are also vulnerable to baby accidents, so be prepared. You can pack a change of clothes for yourself -- shirt and pants -- or you can learn the hard way when your baby knocks a drink into your lap during takeoff and you look like you're the one who needs a diaper.
5. Bring too much.
Baby - check!
Diaper bag - check!
Sippy cup & snacks - check!
Do not overpack! Bringing a bunch of toys is unnecessary, since most babies will be happily entertained by a magazine or iPad (just this once).
Having to balance a baby while digging through an oversized diaper bag in a cramped coach seat is not easy. You are not a contortionist. Make sure everything you need is easily accessible.
6. Forget the essentials.
There's nothing like being 30,000 feet in the air and realizing you forgot the pacifier/sippy cup/favorite toy/medicine. Make a list and double-check the essentials before you leave the house. Traveling light with a baby is impossible, but traveling smart isn't. Don't be tempted to leave the stroller behind because it is heavy. A stroller is your built-in luggage cart, bassinet and high chair. It will also get you access to the express security screening lane -- bonus!
7. Forget about yourself.
You may not be a baby, but you have needs, too. Make sure you are fed and hydrated, otherwise the stress of flying with an infant may cause an emotional breakdown.
8. Be an entitled jerk.
Flying with an infant can be challenging, but you are not the only person who has ever done it. Ask for help when you need it, but do not automatically assume that you will get special treatment.
Show empathy to your baby. Flying is uncomfortable and difficult, and the more compassion you show your children, the easier it will be to keep them under control.
To get more parenting tips on how to travel with kids, check out kidsinthehouse.com.