We had a very easy trip with baby Z in his first flight. While it may sound like a long flight (east coast to west coast), it’s a piece of cake compared to the international flights that we are going to embark early next year.
I spent a whole week weighting pros and cons on whether I should book baby Z his own seat as I couldn’t imagine how to hold a 20+ lb baby for 15 hours. I totally understand that the safest place for baby Z on a flight is in his car seat. By buying a seat for him, I can possibly strap him up. However, I really don’t think it’s possible to pin him down in his car seat for 15+ hours. Somehow, when he is placed in a new environment, baby Z is a lot more clingy and he will want to be held more than staying in his own car seat (it’s proven in our last trip). Therefore, the increase level of his safety can be quite minimal. Plus, a lot of international flight has extra seat belt for lap child. That child seat belt attaches to the adult’s seat belt making it safe for the lap child in case of emergency.
Since I have a lot of friends flying international, so I know that there are bassinets for babies available in those long flights. I was counting on that for baby Z’s first international flight. In fact, I was looking forward for it. I saw so many families having that privileges in my previous international flgiths. so I was excited to be one of those families. Yet, I didn’t know that there are weight and height limits for the baby to use the bassinets. And apparently, baby Z is quite a big baby, so even now at 9 months of age, he will not fit in most of those bassinets.Not to mention by the time of his first international trip, he will be way over the limits.
Therefore, I was seriously consider buying a seat for baby Z so that I have a place to rest him. However, for the time we want to go, buying a seat vs having him as a lap child makes a difference of $750. That’s quite a lot of money which can be used in other expense during the trip. Plus, like what I mentioned before, I’m not sure how well baby Z can stay in his seat.
Fortunately, after much research, I found ONE airline that baby Z probably can still fit in their bassinets by the time we fly. YEAH … Now, I have a place to put baby Z down to lay flat to sleep. In fact, that probably is much more comfortable than the cramped economy seat.
Here is my findings on infant bassinets after my whole week of research. It was an frustrating experience as there are not a lot of people sharing their experience on this. I was searching everywhere for reviews as well as consulting travel agents. I hope my summary below will be helpful to other parents who want to bring their babies to a long flight.
Bassinet – this is only for international flights. Most international flights have bassinets available for lap child. Basically, the bassinets hang at the wall in front of the bulkhead seats. Bulkhead seats are generally reserved for families, and you have to call customer service to be assigned to the bulkhead seats. To score a bassinet, that can be tricky. Here are the details I found out as I reserve one for baby Z in his first international trip early next year.
- Each airline has a different weight, height and/or age restriction. In particular, most of them will not fit a baby over 12 months old and a lot of them restricts the use to babies under age of 6 months. Here is an overview chart that I consulted when I booked our flight. However, always check the airlines’ official website for their policies before making your final decision.
- Some airlines allow reservation of bassinets and confirm with families that they will definitely have a bassinet. Some airlines only makes a note of your request in your reservation, and can only confirm your bassinets on the day of departure. Some airlines assigns the bassinets in first come first serve basis while some give priority to younger babies. Some airlines do not even make any note of your request and you can only register your request to the gate agents on the day of departure.
- Regardless, most airlines only have 2-4 bassinets in each flight for economy class. Therefore, for those 10+ hours long flights, try to book your tickets early.
- Usually, even if your reservation is confirmed, you are still required to call the customer service to confirm your baby’s height and weight within a week before your flight.
- I can imagine such a godsend to have a place to put a baby down to sleep for the 10+ hour flight! We are going to have a 16 hours departure flight and a 10 hours return flight. Definitely try to get a bassinet. Once you get your reservation number for your flight, call the customer service right away. For example, our flight in Feb 2018 has only 2 bassinets in the economy class, and they are all taken already (with one under baby Z’s name).