Travel with Children - Air France Experiences With Infant
Sep 23, 11, 10:07 am
My wife and I have booked Air France to travel BOS-CDG-DXB and then DXB-CDG with connection to Delta CDG-MSP and then MSP-BOS in December. Our daughter will be 15 months old and is booked as infant in arms. She will likely be too big for a bassinet. We took US Airways to Spain a few weeks ago and she barely fit in the bassinet (which had to be on the floor) for that trip.
What are people's experiences with Air France's flexibility with infants not booked in their own seat? Our experience with US airlines has been that they have been very accommodating in blocking a seat if one is available that we can put a car seat in. Will Air France do the same? Do you think we should try to book the bulkhead even though it's unlikely we will use a bassinet? Right now my wife and I have booked seats with one middle in between us in hopes that it will remain empty and we can put the carseat and daughter there. Is this a good strategy with AF? (It has generally worked well on US airlines.)
Also, I have read about some negative AF experiences in them refusing to gate check items. If we need to gate check the car seat so that we can try to use it on the connecting flight, will AF give us problems? (We have a Kidz2Go attachment that will let us roll it around the airport with us like a stroller.)
Thanks everyone for your advice on this.
Sep 24, 11, 12:37 am
On U.S. companies, you have the right to use an airplane approved car seat if your child has a seat and you are allowed to put a car seat in an empty seat if available and use the car seat. Other airlines don't have these allowances.
Air France has taken my car seats from me and forced me to check them because they weren't EU approved.
The other issue I have with them is that they take the strollers and you don't get them back till BAGGAGE CLAIM at your FINAL destination. I had a Sit & Stroll and I was flying alone with two toddlers and an infant to Paris and then to California. They seriously wanted me to negotiate CDG alone with three small ones, without a stroller? I had a baby carrier but still...
They claimed that I couldn't take the car seat/stroller to the gate because it wouldn't fit through the X-ray machine. And all the other airports I've successfully put this through?? Pathetic excuse! I had a supervisor called and they let it through because it was small.
Once I got on board, I simply put my Sit & Stroll in the seat and strapped my baby down. No one said a thing! The crew on board was nice.
I never flew AF again, except for a 1 hour hop and had my husband take the car seat (in the car, he was meeting us).
Maybe ask about the stroller situation on the AF board and perhaps someone here has more up-to-date information.
The only airline I know of whose bassinet is big enough for a toddler is Lufthansa.
I still think the bulkhead is a good idea since there's no one in front of you to disturb. You can also get in and out of these seats easier, which you will do a lot with a toddler. When I flew them, bassinet babies were priority to sit in bulkheads.
If you do manage to use the car seat on board, will it fit in a bulkhead seat with the stiff armrests? If it's wide, it may not.
Be prepared to face your connnection without a stroller or car seat. Be sure to have a good-quality baby carrier, not a front pack like Bjorn or Snugli but something more comfortable and useful.
Can you return the Gogo Kidz thingy? It's basically an overpriced luggage cart. You can buy a normal luggage cart with a metal (as opposed to the Travelmate's plastic) base and secure it with an extra bungee. Works better and is a fraction of the price.
Sep 24, 11, 1:08 am
Not Air France, but I have flown on airlines that would not allow a "car seat" in the middle seat due to safety, window seat passenger could be trapped in the event of an emergency.
I did fly recently behind a couple in the bulkhead with a tiny baby and a bassinet, it was a horror story. The baby, maybe 3 or 4 months was really too large for the bassinet and was not having the cover over the top. The cover was the airlines rule. The bassinet cannot be used if there is turbulence. The parents were miserable, I should say the mother, as they had to hold or sleep with the child for about 12 hours.
Why not buy a seat and at the least have the armrest up for more room if the airlines will not allow the seat?
Sep 25, 11, 3:08 pm
Not so much an Air France comment as a comment on Delta and CDG. In my family's experience flying CDG-MSP three times in the past year, the flight has always been oversold, so your chances of getting an empty seat for the car seat an baby are very low. Your 15-month-old is definitely too large for a bassinet on AF and DL.
With a toddler, though, the bulkhead seat is a godsend. The babe can stand in front of you and generally move around in a more controlled space than the aisle. The lack of storage space while seated is annoying, but the benefits of movement and not having to constantly stop a toddler from kicking the seat in front make it worthwhile.