Should I Buy my Child Their Own Ticket
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Flying with a child in your lap is a lot of work - buy them a seat if you’re able.
Flying with kids is a lot of work. Whether it’s your first flight, or your tenth flight, you simply never know what will happen when flying. The more you fly, the easier it becomes, but it’s still a lot of work to take your kids through the airport into a small aircraft that will lift off the ground for an hour to many hours. Some kids have no problem flying while others will really struggle with the new experience.
If you’ve never flown with a baby before, then you’re in for an experience that can range from great to absolute nightmare. There are a lot of different tricks you can have up your sleeve for a baby, but ideally you won’t have to use any of them. Simply be flexible because you don’t know what will occur. Don’t feel like your baby has to be perfect on the flight though - if others judge you then they judge you.
One thing that can make flying with a baby much easier is if they have their own seat to sit in. Trying to keep a baby on your lap for an entire flight is really hard. If the baby is still less than 6 months, then you might be able to get away with it without too much issue. The bigger your child gets though, the harder it will be to fly with a lap child - if you don’t have to do it then we wouldn’t recommend it.
If you’re not sure, try sitting on a dining chair in your home and keeping your child on your lap for the next hour. Now imagine that you have to do that while someone sits on either side of you and on the other side is either a wall or if you’re lucky the aisle. If that doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend a few hours then congratulations - you’re not crazy. Can you do it? Sure. Do you want to? Probably not.
Like we said earlier, if your child is still a baby that isn’t moving around a lot, this may be easier. But once you’re close to age 2, you really don’t want the child sitting on your lap if they don’t have to be. They’ll be all over the place, kicking and screaming to get down, and making a real mess of the whole situation. It’s hard enough when they have their own seat at this age, but trying to keep them on your lap is a whole other level of hard.
The shorter your flight, the easier it is to keep a lap child entertained and quiet. If you’re over 90 minutes though then you’ll almost invariably run into a situation that you could have avoided if you just would have had an extra seat for that child to sit in. With an extra seat, your child can stretch out a bit, they can kick their legs some, and you have room to maneuver around with your child.
Yes, you can save a few dollars by not buying a seat for your child. If you’ve flown many times with your child on your lap and know how they’ll act, then that’s one thing. If this is your first time flying with your child though, spend the extra money for the seat - you’ll definitely be glad you did. The extra seat can turn what would have been a nightmare scenario into simply a bad flying experience.
Buy the extra seat for your child if you can afford it. You’ll be very glad you did when you need that extra space to let your child stretch out a bit.