Tips For Staying Sane When Flying With Babies Including Infants Passports

by adam on April 5, 2010

Planning a plane trip with a small baby is not an adventure for the timid. It used to be that airlines would pretty much wave families with infants through quickly but now all documentation and security requirements apply to every traveler. The need for a passport applies to babies too and obtaining infants passports means preparing at least a couple of months prior to the departure date. It is a requirement that all first time passport applicants, including children, must appear in person at a center authorized by the U.S. government.

The first order of business is getting the babies photos taken. While it is easy for adults to use computer technology to take and crop their own pictures to meet requirements, it is harder with an infant and using a professional is a good idea. The photo has to be two inches square and the baby’s eyes must be open with the face in full view. Two identical copies are needed.

Both parents or legal guardians listed on the child’s birth certificate must accompany the child to the passport agency and an official copy of the certificate must be presented, a photocopy will not be accepted.. If only one parent has legal custody, he or she must also present documentation to prove this. The actual application can be obtained online and filled in prior to the personal visit, but both parents must sign in front of the authorized agent.

Costs of infants passport are about $80-$85 if done directly through the government sites. There are also private passport firms that can help with expediting passport return times and charge for a fee for their services. Under normal conditions, a non-rush document will take four to six weeks to receive.

Air travel with a baby can be challenging and some doctors advise against flying with an infant who is less than six weeks old. This is because of the newborn’s susceptibility to the germs within the plane’s cabin. Most adults who have flown are well aware of the effects of air pressure changes in the ears, especially those who have flown with a cold, or sinus or ear problems. Children are prone to ear infections and it is good advice for the parents’ and other passengers’ sanity to check with the pediatrician for medication that can help.

Take advantage of the services that are offered by airlines and airports to make the trip easier. When lugging a child seat and other carry ons, ask for cart services to the gate. Allow plenty of time to get through security lines and here again, a single adult traveling with children can get assistance from airline or airport personnel. Do be certain to listen for the early boarding call; the extra time to be settled in is helpful.

Most airlines do not require children under age two to have their own seat; they are permitted to sit on an adult’s lap. While this is obviously a cost savings, it bears a personal cost-benefit analysis, both regarding the safety of not having a baby in an infant seat and the parent’s ability to comfortably hold a child, especially on a long flight. There are seldom empty seats on domestic flights so if the child does not have seat, chances of finding an extra are slight.

While the requirement of having infants passports can seem cumbersome, the process is not difficult with proper planning. There are benefits in overall security for all travelers as well as providing documented identification in the sad event that parent and child become separated. Be sure to use the valuable information online to be prepared for the passport appointment.

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