Money To Live

January 23, 2012

Buying airplane tickets for an infant

Filed under: babies,family finances,travel — by moneytolive @ 9:32 pm

R and I travel several times a year, primarily to visit my family and friends (his friends are all local, and his family is all overseas). R is tall, and neither of us is tiny, so airplane seats are not that comfortable. When we were expecting, I paid attention on flights. Could we fit into two seats with a baby? I decided that no, it just would not be comfortable.

We have our first two airplane trips planned for the spring — to visit my parents and to attend a wedding. Baby L will be about 5 and 6 months old for these trips, and we got him his own seat each time.

In order to be less annoyed at buying extra airplane tickets, I signed up for an Alaska Airlines credit card. Alaska has good flights/times/prices on our most frequent routes (San Fran, Las Vegas, Austin) and decent leg room, relative to other airlines. Based on our spending and their promotions, I expect we’ll get 2 tickets a year for $200 out of pocket (one reward ticket, one companion ticket, and we pay an annual fee and taxes).

Using those free/cheap tickets and traveling at off-peak times to visit my parents, we can lower our travel costs with a baby.

We’re planning a trip overseas to see R’s family later in the year, and it’s tougher to shell out close to $1k for a baby’s plane ticket than a few hundred for a domestic flight. We haven’t figured out a plan yet, but one possibility is that my mom will fly with us. We’ll have three adult seats, and we’ll take turns carrying L. I’ll let you know how that goes …

I’ve been gathering travel tips from other moms, and this is one of my favorites: If the baby screams on the airplane, buy drinks for the people nearby. Hopefully we won’t have any screaming, but if we do, I think I’ll buy a round.

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