FTF has always been helpful, so I thought I’d pass on a few tips we picked up on a recent 10-day trip to Paris, France (my 27th, but first with a 5-month-old baby).
We did not bring a car seat, so we didn’t buy a “seat” for him. Probably our best advice would be to go against the conventional wisdom about getting bulkhead seats for the long flight. We went to great efforts to secure two such seats only to discover that they: had not much more leg room than regular seats; had no convenient place to store bags except in the overhead/overcrowded storage bins; and, once the airline-supplied bassinet was put down on the floor, there was basically no room for our legs and feet!
We ended up switching to a three-seat across aisle, put the bassinet on the floor in the middle, relaxed, then everyone slept well.
On the return flight, there was only one empty seat on the entire flight but a friendly flight attendant managed to convince people to move so we could have the three-seater. It worked out great for everyone.
Corollary to the above: find an ally as soon as you get on the plane. There’s always at least one flight attendant who will smile and coo at the baby. Engage her in conversation, ask about her kids/grandkids, talk about how sweet your baby is, etc.
Don’t overdo it, but be sure to make a friend. It will definitely serve you well!
More tips: We also had great success with the Combi Savvy Z 2000 stroller: lightweight (7.7 lbs.), fit into overhead bin, easy open/fold, easy to lug up and down steps, Metros, etc. This new model includes bigger wheels, so it did fine on all the streets, sidewalks, and cobblestones of Paris.
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