Not many parents wants to travel with a newborn, but sometimes it is a matter of necessity.
So you’re probably wondering how soon you can fly with a newborn and if it will be safe?
Depending on the airline you are flying with, you can fly with a newborn who is as young as 2-14 days old, though an approval letter from a physician may be required.
How Soon Can You Travel With a Newborn By Plane?
Here are airline policies of the major air carriers in the U.S. if you want to fly with a newborn:
- Alaska Airlines: Alaska Airlines state that there is no minimum age requirement to fly, but you should “check with your doctor if you’re unsure your infant should be traveling via plane.”
- American Airlines: If flying with American Airlines, you can fly with a newborn who is young as 2 days old, but you must have a medical authorization form completed by a physician for newborns under 7 days old.
- Delta: Delta state that you can only fly with a baby under 7 days old if you have an approval letter from a physician.
- JetBlue: Newborns as young as 3 days old are allowed to fly with JetBlue, but if aged between 3 and 14 days, written approval from a doctor is necessary.
- Southwest: Southwest state that “a medical release for travel is required for any infant under 14 days old.”
- United: United state that newborns younger than 7 days old are not allowed to fly.
- Air Canada: Air Canada state that newborns as young as 7 days old are allowed to fly.
The Same Applies When Flying Internationally
Regardless if you’re flying domestically or internationally, airline policies appear to remain the same.
So, you can fly internationally with a newborn who is as young as 2-14 days, though an approval letter from a physician may be required the younger a newborn is.
While how soon you can fly with a newborn may vary in other countries according to airline policies, they will generally be similar – i.e. from 2 days and older.
Related: How Early Should You Get to the Airport For an International Flight?
Doctors Recommend Waiting
Doctors recommend waiting until your baby’s immune system is better developed until they can fly.
While this can be as soon as one month for full-term infants, most doctors recommend babies be between three months and six months old before flying.
Even Newborns Need Passports
When flying domestically in the U.S., newborns do not need any form of ID to fly.
In fact, anyone who is under 18 does not need ID as long as they are accompanied by an adult who has an acceptable form of ID.
When flying internationally, a passport is always necessary, regardless of age.
Related: What Do Kids Need to Fly?
Sit in the Bulkhead or Back Row
The best place to sit on a plane when flying with a newborn is a bulkhead row.
This is because the bulkhead:
- Leaves more room for a diaper bag
- It is easier to pass an infant between parents/caretakers
- You have better access to flight attendants
- You can get off the plane more quickly.
The back row of the plane can also be a great place to sit when flying with a newborn because:
- It is near the galley, making it easier to get up and walk around
- It is near the bathroom
- It offers more privacy
- The food cart starts from the back, so you won’t be stuck if you need to get up
- Seats are more likely to be empty at the back of the plane
However, keep in mind that the back of the plane can be louder and there will be a lot of movement as people come and go to the bathroom.
It’s Generally Safe to Fly With a Newborn
Generally, it is safe to fly with most, healthy, full-term infants.
However, the longer you wait to fly, the better, so an infant’s immune system can better develop, and they have had the time to complete their primary immunizations.
Infants who get stomach bugs or respiratory illness are more at risk than older babies, too.
Always consult your physician first to get the all clear from them.
What to Keep in Mind When Flying With a Newborn
- Check With the Airline: Many airlines will require a note from a healthcare provider before a newborn can be cleared to fly, depending on how soon after their birth you want to fly.
- Consider the Noise: Planes can be very loud, so it can be a good idea to use baby ear muffs.
- Use a Car Seat: Placing an infant in a car seat rather than carrying them on your lap is a better idea. The Federal Aviation Administration actually recommend this.
- Travel Light: Traveling light is recommended because it will ensure your full attention will be on your newborn and not your luggage.
- Board Last: Boarding the plane last means that you will avoid passengers climbing over you and walking past you and in your baby’s path.
How Soon Can You Travel With a Newborn By Car and Train?
While you can take short car trips with a newborn soon after birth, it’s recommended to wait until your baby is at least six weeks old for long-distance road trips.
Doctors recommend waiting until your baby’s immune system is better developed until they can travel by train.
So the same recommendations apply for train travel as they do air travel, which is to wait at least 3 months before traveling with a newborn on a train.