Updated: Oct 5, 2020
I have been thinking about our first plane experience with Roman and all the things I wish I had known before going. His first flight was to Abu Dhabi which was roughly a 7 hours and Roman was 9 months old at the time (I am going to do another blog post about toddlers as its a complete game changer).
You can pre book your seats for free when travelling with an infant with most major long haul airlines
On all the long haul flights we have been on with Roman we have always been allowed to pre book our seats as soon as we book the tickets, there is an icon that points out seats designed specifically for children (I did not know there were designated areas) they are always at the front of the sections and have extra leg room that allows you to request a bassinet or bouncer! the only thing I would note though is this is great for little babies that will stay in a bassinet or on you but the arm rests don't go up so if they want to lay down (if your lucky enough to have a free seat) I would advise to go a row back.
Infants don't have meals included
HOWEVER - most airlines have hidden in a little area a fridge full of spare infant formula, baby pouches (Ella's kitchen etc.) and snacks that if you ask they will give to you. they will also store anything you need refrigerated for you; milk, food and any medicines.
Infant Extra Baggage Allowance
Check your airlines policy first as they all differ but you should normally be allowed 2 extra pieces of luggage normally to be a pushchair, car seat or travel cot. We have always taken a travel stroller with us and this is just personal preference but we actually always check our stroller in so that we don't have 1000 things to deal with at security and carry Roman in a carrier, now he is older he can walk. If you do want to take your stroller to the plane door (or you may have one that fits in overhead so ignore this) just let them know they will stick a tag on it and you will hand it in outside the plane, a note to remember though is if you have connecting flights you wont generally see the stroller again until you claim your baggage at the final destination - The extra baggage also comes out at a different luggage belt to the normal suitcases as well so check that at the airport you arrive at to avoid confusion.
Don't stress about your baby crying
Especially if you are on a long haul flight, most people have headphones on and cant actually hear you. the first time Roman cried on a flight I was so flappy that I was actually making the situation worse, your child's cry is worst to you as its a trigger sound, if you are in seats in the kids section as well most of the mums and dads are in the same boat so no one cares!
Pack more entertainment than you need
I have a special bag just for Roman full of toys, stickers, snacks, play dough and anything else I could think of don't peak to early but if you can see a red flag of boredom creeping up you will always have something new to keep them occupied. I just visit our local pound store and fill a basket up with at least 1 or 2 new toys for every hour.
Baby Changing Facilities
You would never believe that those tiny toilets are actually a full on baby change! they have a pull down changing table behind the toilets, all you need is your normal change bits, its very cramped but a life saviour.