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Planning Flights for Childbirth

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Mother booking flight to be at my baby's birth

May 2008

My mom needs to fly from Newark (EWR) to Oakland or San Fran to be at my birth in August. However, it's very hard to say exactly when the birth will occur.

My ultrasound (at 25 weeks) says August 6th. That's the middle of my fortieth week. However, I know - and this is a first baby for me - that the date could fall before or after that.

We've researched JetBlue, United, American, and Continental...so far, everyone wants $100 plus cost differences to change a flight.

I'm advising her to book August 2-15th for her visit,but a change will probably be needed, and those flex tickets are insanely expensive.

All the airlines have lovely policies about death, but not birth! Any advice on which airlines have been the kindest to you in this situation? Thanks!


Try to find a friend/relative who has a decent stock of frequent flier miles built up. On United, free tickets can be changed without charge to another flight that has the same type of free ticket available. Book on the early side and keep pushing it out if needed. anon
I jsut dealt witht he same thing when delivering my baby this past March. Many of the airlines will sell you insurance for an amount less than their change fee, in case you need to change the flight. Your mother may want to check into that. We ended up buying her a ticket on Southwest, where there was no change fee. She ended up coming out here more than two weeks before the baby was born, which I would have thought was problematic but ended up being a godsend in terms of getting ready. Depends on your relationship with your mom and her flexibility for how long she can stay.

I recently purchased another ticket for my mother from New York state to San Francisco on Northwest on their web page, needing some flexibility about a return date. Not only were they the cheapest flight by far, but there was an opition for insurance that was about $13 (can't remember exactly) for insurance to avoid a change fee if we needed to change the flight. Good luck! Anon


jetblue doesn't fly from newark, but i always thought their change fee was only $25? did that change? the other new option would be Virgin, which flies only from JFK - their change fee is only $40. Of course both charge you fare changes...

For my first child's birth, my Mom planned on coming 2 weeks after my due date as we were kind of assuming I'd deliver late like she did - it worked out that she came when my daughter was a week old.

For my second daughter, she waited until the due date neared before booking anything. I had an induction date that she scheduled a flight around shortly before. That might not work so easily in the summer months, though (booking short notice). michelle


I had my child 6 weeks ago and I went through this same dilemna. My mother bought her ticket with frequent flyer miles, which gave her flexibility that was really helpful. Though many dates are blocked out in advance, changing right around when she needed to travel worked well. She only paid the change fee. There's no cost difference because the ticket was a miles ticket.

My mom planned to come one week before my due date to hang out with me, and then stay for a total three week so she'd be there for the birth and time afterwards to hang out. When my water broke 10 days before my due date, my mom paid the change fee and got a flight at 6 am the next morning.

If you or she doesn't have miles, try looking on Craigslist. I've bought miles this way in the past and it's worked out well. I met the person at the airport to make the payment and have them book the ticket in my name. Sarah


Airlines are in a bit of a pickle at the moment. They can't charge enough for a plane ticket to move a passenger from point a to point b in most cases, so they are turning to all of these wonderful little add-ons in an attempt to make the flight break even or god forbid, profitable. Perhaps you've noticed the gas prices when you are down at the Chevron station. Those impact air travel, too.

Pontificating aside, if I were you...I would look for an airline (JetBlue, Alaska, Frontier, etc) that is not too big to care, has their res agents working domestically, etc.). You may get lucky with a Res agent who feels your Mom's pain and has been empowered to make decisions re: waving fees. -anon


I recommend trying Southwest if they go to Newark. They have a great cancellation policy so it might be worth trying to find a close enough airport that they fly in to. Otherwise, you might have her come at 39 weeks just to be safe (which still isn't surefire). Congratulations!
I dont know if you want to use southwest but they are very flexible when it comes to changing flights, there in so charge you would only have to pay the difference. I'd look into it if I were you. anon

Last-minute flight for friend's birth?

July 2004

I have to be out of town (in Long Beach) during the week that my friend is likely to deliver her babies. I would like to try to come back for the birth. I obviously can't plan this ahead of time and will need to leave immediately in order to make it back. Does anyone know the best way to get inexpensive last minute flights? I would need a direct flight from either Long Beach or LAX to San Francisco or Oakland (the ideal would be Long Beach to SF). If possible, please email me directly with advice, as time is of the essence! Thanks! martha


Southwest Airlines is usually good for last-minute flights, and you can get one-way tickets Los Angeles- Oakland for about $98.00. They don't fly into SFO or Long Beach. R.K.
Try JetBlue. No minimum advanced purchase required (but they don't always have the cheapest seats left if you buy last minute). They fly Oakland-Long Beach....
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