Both of our families live in Europe, so we have already been on quite a few transatlantic flights with our son. Certainly not my favourite thing to do !! but here are my 5 most important lessons learned so far:
1. Milk and Food
You can take as much of the following as you like in your carryon : breastmilk, formula (water for formula), baby food and snacks ... and I do!
If we are traveling together, one of us boards with ALL our stuff when they are boarding families with young children and stores everything as strategically as possible (basically taking up all of the space above our seats) while the other boards last. This has become super helpful with Götz getting older because he can move freely as long as possible minizing the time being fenced in on the plane. But also when he was still in the sling, I enjoyed these extra minutes of walking around with him a lot.
3. Other passengers
I have my lines ready: Hello, I'm Isabell. This is my little son Götz. I know you probably hoped not to sit next to/in front of/behind us. I'm sorry!! But I can assure you, I'll do my best. Done. Whatever happens on the flight, I ignore their looks, do not apologize, etc. BECAUSE I am busy doing my best!
For air travel, being comfortable and not getting sick is the goal! And nothing does this job better than merino wool! I usually dress Götz in our MINI LILA ™ organic merino wool and silk onesie + pants (with flip over cuffs to cover his feet when he sleeps or needs extra warmth) + shirt. When he was very little, I also used a hat too. The great thing about the merino wool is that it keeps him warm while at the same time making sure that he doesn't get hot or sweaty. Wool responds to body temperatures in real time, chaneling away excess heat immediately.
Once Götz started to be interested in toys/objects/books, I started hiding his favorite one 2-3 weeks before our flight. Also, I pay a lot of attention to what he is into right before traveling (e.g. opening and closing containers, ripping paper, hiding under a swaddle blanket, stacking things...) and then try to come up with something similar that he can enjoy while on the plane. But honestly, it's challenging to keep him content for hours on a plane when all he wants to do is move! This is why I personally prefer overnight flights which leads me to the next point.
When Götz was under 12 months, we always tried to fly with airlines that provide baby bassinets. It makes the flight so much easier!! We took the sheep skin he sleeps on with us, placed it into the bassinet together with his cuddle toy, and then tried to stick as much as possible to the bed time routine we had established. Voilá, he slept through every overnight flight! Now, that he is too big for the bassinet, we try to book a flight around his "dinner time" so he can have dinner on board, play a little bit, walk up and down the aisle (in our arms!), and then have his bed time routine ending up in the carrier/sling. It takes a few minutes (or a bit longer) until he falls asleep AND stays asleep after being rocked, but it usually works!