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Traveling As A Parent Question: Choices  
User currently offlineCentrair From Japan, joined Jan 2005, 3598 posts, RR: 20
Posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1947 times:

I usually don't ask these type of questions but am really in a quandary.

My wife and I are planning our first trip back to the US since becoming parents.

OPTION (1)
Buy three round trip tickets: Two Adult tickets and One Child (under 2) ticket. Our Daughter would sit in her childseat.

OPTION (2)
Buy two adult round trip tickets.
On NGO-NRT-MSP we would go Y. We would take seats on the window side and hope that no one is in the 3rd seat. We would then hold our daughter for landing and take-off and if the seat is open, let her sleep between us.
On MKE-DTW-NGO we would upgrade using miles to World Business Class and let our daughter sleep with one of us.
--------------------------

Personally I am leaning toward OPTION 1 simply for safety and total comfort (even though Y is anything but comfortable).

What would you A.net parents out there do?


Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAlgoz From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 130 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1939 times:

I'd get a babysitter and enjoy the break (LOL)...........

User currently offlineTPAnx From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1021 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1930 times:

Buy the extra seat for your daughter. If something went wrong..there's no way you could prevent her from becoming a
missile in the aircraft......
TPAnx



I read the news today..oh boy
User currently offlineCOEI2007 From Vanuatu, joined Jan 2007, 1912 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1916 times:

Quoting TPAnx (Reply 2):
Buy the extra seat for your daughter. If something went wrong..there's no way you could prevent her from becoming a
missile in the aircraft......
TPAnx

Thats what infant seat-belts are for!


User currently offlineCentrair From Japan, joined Jan 2005, 3598 posts, RR: 20
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1889 times:

Quoting Algoz (Reply 1):
I'd get a babysitter and enjoy the break (LOL)...........

Yeah. Unfortunatly she hasn't met her cousins, uncles or aunts. She is also meeting her 95 and 96 year old great-grandmothers.

Quoting COEI2007 (Reply 3):
Thats what infant seat-belts are for!

Not familiar with this. What is it? A snap on to the adult seat or something?



Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
User currently offlineJustapassenger From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1846 times:

I think the question is, “What would your daughter prefer.” If she will be perfectly happy in her child seat, get her a seat. On the other hand, if she is going to be crawling into your laps all the time, just get a lap child ticket.

Don’t forget to have something for her to suck on during the pressure changes of landing and take-off.

By the way, American carriers don’t offer infant seat belts and Northwest does not provide baby meals unless you order a “special” meal.


User currently offlineAirbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8483 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1809 times:

Go with option 2 and try to get a bulkhead seat with a crib. But do bring the car seat onto the plane just in case. But please, do not bring a kid that yound to Business Class  Smile I too wrestled with the same quandary. Trust me, the kid will not remain in her seat for very long it any time at all, unless you want to subject yourself and the rest of the plane to her screaming. So purchasing a third seat for her will be a waste of money. We traveled long-haul with ours about twice per year and every time the airlines have accomodated us in a bulkhead row with an empty seat in the middle for the car seat. It worked out really well.

User currently offlineCMHSRQ From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 995 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1807 times:

Option 1 with out a doubt, based on experience. It will be much easier for all 3 of you. PM me if you want more details as to why.


The voice of moderation
User currently offlineNG1Fan From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 446 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1767 times:

We travelled twice a year Europe-Australia with our son from when he was 4 months old on Lauda/Austrian to and Singapore from Oz. We always requested bulkhead and basinette, never paid for an extra seat. In fact, one one trip, he was under two when we left, and turned two 'Down Under'. For the trip to Oz, he was in the crib, and on returning, he had a seat at no extra charge (ticketing rules mandate a seat for over-twos, but charge the rate based on age at beginning of trip).

As for extra seat - if you're feeling cashed-up, go for it, just for comfort's sake.

One time, we ugraded to business on Lauda return, used the basinette and/or spare business class seat. Handy that middle seat in business class on 777 sometimes!

NG1Fan


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3638 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1750 times:

In my experience option 1, as thats what we did. Do you really want to run the risk of having a small child on your lap for a longhaul flight ? I don't know what the situation is with regard to carriers across the Pacific, but here in the UK you can never get a bulkhead seat with bassinet confiirmed at the time of booking; they are always "subject to availability"

Quoting Airbazar (Reply 6):
But please, do not bring a kid that yound to Business Class I too wrestled with the same quandary. Trust me, the kid will not remain in her seat for very long it any time at all, unless you want to subject yourself and the rest of the plane to her screaming. So purchasing a third seat for her will be a waste of money.

Trust me my daughter was always a credit to us (1st transatlantic flight aged 8 months) she always had a seat and always sat in it apart from take off and landing; and never once screamed. Please don't assume that all children behave in the same way as yours. We all should know our children well enough to have a good idea of how they will travel.


User currently offlineFoxBravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 3001 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1719 times:

Hi Centrair--first, congratulations. My wife and I just became parents too--our daughter was born about a month ago. I hope you're having as much fun as we are! Although I haven't actually flown with the baby yet, I have faced the same choices and here is what we have decided to do, based on input from lots of people with little kids, both here and offline.

For our first trip to visit the grandparents, a domestic flight where the fare was quite low, we decided to book the extra seat. Although it's often possible to get an empty seat at check-in and install your carseat in it (I have one friend who has traveled all over the U.S. with his baby in a carseat but has never paid for the extra seat!), we are flying at a busy time and I expect the plane to be overbooked. You might be able to get a sense of this by looking at the seat maps for the days you are planning to fly.

A bit more relevant to your situation, we are also planning an overseas trip in a few months. This one was trickier, because the fare for the third seat would have been very expensive. Instead, we are doing what some others have suggested and reserving bulkhead seats with a bassinet (some airlines, including Air France, will confirm these in advance at the time of booking, but others will not, and some don't have them at all). In case of turbulence, we plan to pick up one of these: http://www.babybair.com (recommended to me by A.netter Starlionblue, and available on Amazon). If I hadn't been able to reserve the bassinet, however, I probably would have tried to use miles or something to get an extra seat, since holding the baby on our laps for a long transoceanic flight would be a challenge to say the least.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!



Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
User currently offlineIAirAllie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 1663 times:

Quoting COEI2007 (Reply 3):
Thats what infant seat-belts are for!

The FAA does not aprove of infant seatbelts and you will not be provided with them or allowed to use them on any American carrier. They belive they are more dangerous than no belt at all. Babies just aren't designed to be restrained from only one point around the middle.


Go with option one. Flights are fuller than ever these days and it is VERY unlikely you will get a middle seat to yourselves. What you will end up with is an arm full of squirmy 1- 2 year old on a very long flight trading her off with your spouse anytime you want to eat sleep or read to the annoyance of the person in the seat between you.

The only SAFE option is to have her in an approved car seat. Check for the sticker because at least with US carriers they can't let you use it if the sticker is missing. The car seat will be where she is safest and most comfortable.

The bassinet is an option if she is under a certain weight. However you cannot rely on getting one. They are very limited and can be difficult to reserve once again the car seat is safest.

Good luck have a great trip don't forget to bring snacks, lots of diapers, baby food that she likes and distractions like coloring books, quiet toys or a DVD player. If she's in an exploring learning to walk phase then make sure you give her time to be active before boarding in the gate area the plane isn't the safest place to explore for a little person.


User currently offlineIAirAllie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 1649 times:

Quoting FoxBravo (Reply 10):
http://www.babybair.com

FYI the Babyair is specifically prohibited for use on US carriers. Some will let you use it at cruise but none will let you use it for taxi, take off or landing. My FA manual at one airline actually had a picture of this device and issued instuctions not to let it be used.

"*Not yet allowed during take-off, taxi and landing in US" from the baby b'air website. Should include or any flights operated by US carriers.

[Edited 2007-08-20 19:45:34]

User currently offlineFLY2LIM From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1185 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1549 times:

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 9):
Trust me my daughter was always a credit to us (1st transatlantic flight aged 8 months) she always had a seat and always sat in it apart from take off and landing; and never once screamed. Please don't assume that all children behave in the same way as yours. We all should know our children well enough to have a good idea of how they will travel.

Here we go, another a.nutter who believes every child under 16 is an out of control idiot. My wife and I have flown with our daugthers since they were 3 months old, and these were trips like yours (a little shorter) between SFO and LIM. With the oldest daughter, we started taking her on our lap. When the second one arrived, we just bought four seats (in our case) and enjoyed our flights. A couple of times we flew on business with them (one time AA upgraded us without asking, we were all Gold or above) and, this may be hard to believe, they never screamed, yelled, or even make a sound. They even stayed in their seats. Other passengers complimented us, upon disembarking, because they had not noticed for the entire flight that there was a child in the seat they were occupying. So, it's all about preparation. Have enough for them to do. Have enough food for them, things for them to drink, and enjoy your trip. My daughters usually fell asleep in their child seats during takeoff and that allowed the parents to sleep a little too.
DO NOT expect a seat next to you to be open, especially if it's the aisle seat. Just pay for the ticket. It's your child.

FLY2LIM



Faucett. La primera linea aerea del Peru.
User currently offlineFLY2LIM From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1185 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1545 times:

Quoting Airbazar (Reply 6):
Go with option 2 and try to get a bulkhead seat with a crib. But do bring the car seat onto the plane just in case. But please, do not bring a kid that yound to Business Class I too wrestled with the same quandary. Trust me, the kid will not remain in her seat for very long it any time at all, unless you want to subject yourself and the rest of the plane to her screaming. So purchasing a third seat for her will be a waste of money. We traveled long-haul with ours about twice per year and every time the airlines have accomodated us in a bulkhead row with an empty seat in the middle for the car seat. It worked out really well.



Quoting FLY2LIM (Reply 13):
Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 9):
Trust me my daughter was always a credit to us (1st transatlantic flight aged 8 months) she always had a seat and always sat in it apart from take off and landing; and never once screamed. Please don't assume that all children behave in the same way as yours. We all should know our children well enough to have a good idea of how they will travel.

Here we go, another a.nutter who believes every child under 16 is an out of control idiot. My wife and I have flown with our daugthers since they were 3 months old, and these were trips like yours (a little shorter) between SFO and LIM. With the oldest daughter, we started taking her on our lap. When the second one arrived, we just bought four seats (in our case) and enjoyed our flights. A couple of times we flew on business with them (one time AA upgraded us without asking, we were all Gold or above) and, this may be hard to believe, they never screamed, yelled, or even make a sound. They even stayed in their seats. Other passengers complimented us, upon disembarking, because they had not noticed for the entire flight that there was a child in the seat they were occupying. So, it's all about preparation. Have enough for them to do. Have enough food for them, things for them to drink, and enjoy your trip. My daughters usually fell asleep in their child seats during takeoff and that allowed the parents to sleep a little too.
DO NOT expect a seat next to you to be open, especially if it's the aisle seat. Just pay for the ticket. It's your child.

FLY2LIM

I am sorry, I meant to quote Airbazaar and not Bongodog, with whom I agreed.

FLY2LIM



Faucett. La primera linea aerea del Peru.
User currently offlineRampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3147 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1526 times:

We have an "active" child.  Smile (One time the FA offered my wife and I free wine or cocktail after our boy finally went to sleep. In turn, we offered to buy drinks for our neighboring passengers.) We always bought him his own seat. Sometimes we had to hold him for comfort, but usually he'd spend at least some time in his own seat. Trying to manage my own seat tray with his food and my drink is not possible with him in my lap. Keep in mind, child seats extend out far enough that you can't lower the tray.

I can't think of a time in the last 2 years when my wife and I have seen a vacant middle seat, so my guess is that you shouldn't depend on getting one for free.

Get your baby her own frequent flier membership! Actually, I'm not even sure if that's legal. I've been able to use my FF miles for the baby's fare, while I pay for mine and my wife's and continue to add new miles.

On related advice, read your allowances for baby foods and drinks on TSA's website. Usually, we had no problem, but I did make a printout of it and used it to show one TSA agent who was a little unaware. While it's not a bad idea to expect delays or diversions, TSA consistently limits our babyfood and drink provisions to "duration of flight only". Not very realistic, but that's what we're stuck with.

On the nicer perks, I think it's great that we can roll our stoller right up to the door of the plane, have it personally checked in the baggage hold, and have it waiting for us at the door again when we depart. Continental has always done that for us at any rate.

-Rampart


User currently offlineFoxBravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 3001 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 1461 times:

Quoting IAirAllie (Reply 12):
FYI the Babyair is specifically prohibited for use on US carriers. Some will let you use it at cruise but none will let you use it for taxi, take off or landing. My FA manual at one airline actually had a picture of this device and issued instuctions not to let it be used.

Right, it's intended for use during cruise--in particular during turbulence, which is supposedly when most injuries to infants on laps occur. I suppose an individual airline's policy might prohibit its use even during cruise, as you noted, but the FAA seems to have no problem with it so I'd be curious to know what the airline's reasoning was. The forces that would lift an infant out of a parent's lap during turbulence are different from the sudden deceleration that might occur during takeoff or landing--in the latter, the parent's head might snap forward and crush the infant (but query whether that or having the infant propelled forward like a missile is the lesser of two evils...).

Quoting Rampart (Reply 15):
Get your baby her own frequent flier membership! Actually, I'm not even sure if that's legal.

It certainly is legal! If your baby has a ticket and is occupying a seat (in his/her carseat) as a paying passenger, then he/she is entitled to earn miles just like anyone else. The exceptions might be if your child gets some sort of special discount fare (although these are getting harder and harder to find), in which case the trip might not be eligible for credit.



Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
User currently offlineIAirAllie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1426 times:

Quoting Rampart (Reply 15):
Get your baby her own frequent flier membership! Actually, I'm not even sure if that's legal

It's legal go for it!


User currently offlineAndesSMF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (7 years 2 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1424 times:

Quoting Centrair (Thread starter):
What would you A.net parents out there do?

Get her own seat. You should be able to get a discounted rate as well. Sit her of her car seat in the airplane. For a long ride, is the best option you have. Especially since she will be able to sleep w/o you having to hold her.


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