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Old Jun 18, 12, 2:03 pm   #1
 
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Long haul with toddlers - business or economy?

Will fly from Brazil to Europe and back with my wife and twin girls (will be 16 months old by then) to see grandparents.
Still not sure whether to get 2 business class seats with 2 lap infants or 4 economy seats? Plan to use miles on Iberia, and it is roughly the same price (10% more for infants). Don't know which will be more comfortable. We are used to the children sleeping in our bed if they are sick or something.
I suppose we will not be able to sit together in business, as we'll need 4 oxygen masks for 2 seats (2-2-2 configuration). Any ideas if we can use a seat or 2 for free if the cabin is not full?
Also thinking about car seats. Currently have rear-facing car seats, which I suppose are not welcome at the aircraft. I will have access to car seats at destination, or probably try to buy there if I find them cheaper (almost certain in that), so no need to bring them outbound. If I choose 4 economy seats, I'll have to buy car seats here I suppose (and carry them around).
Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 3:10 pm   #2
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The problem with business will be if the flight is full, you're going to be holding a child for 12hrs, end of conversation. If it was 1 infant and 2 adults you could at least juggle whilst the other ate, went to the bathroom etc.

I'd think some of the specifics are probably better asked on the Iberia forum, especially re IB policy on child seats.

Best of luck!
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Old Jun 18, 12, 4:53 pm   #3
 
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I vote for 4 seats in economy. 16 monthers can be squirmy. They'll be used to car seats and should handle sleeping in them well. And you'll have hours of free arms, vs maybe minutes. And you'll all be able to sit together.

I would imagine Iberia doesn't allow rear-facing seats, but you could forward-face them, assuming the seats are convertible, for the flights if need be -- and assuming they allow car seats at all. Some airlines don't.

Are your girls small for their age -- or at least not big? You might be able to request bulkhead seats and bassinets for them for sleeping. Then Business might be an option. But then again, when they're awake, you'd have no free hands.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 5:06 pm   #4
 
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I've never gone on a flight this long with my toddler, but I had my one cross-country "flight from heck" experience with her when she was 17 months old... that is just a really squirmy age. It would have been a million times worse had we not had a carseat to restrain her (and also serve as a place for a nap). My vote would be for the four economy seats and to find some way to get a carseat that works for the airline you are traveling.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 6:24 pm   #5
 
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Another vote here for 4 economy seats. 16 months was the WORST age to fly with my daughter by myself. Squirmy, didn't sleep well on planes anymore, was easily frustrated by communication difficulties and generally more high-maintenance than either an infant or a 20-24 month-old. Having the extra seats will be helpful, but it will probably still be a challenge.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 6:47 pm   #6
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3J

How abt a compromise on 3 J seats? That way each parent gets 1/2-time off and each kinds get 1/2 flight in own seat.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 7:59 pm   #7
 
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Well, yes, they are not big. I'll call Iberia about the size of the bassinet, but don't hope much.
The problem with the car seat is it cannot be mounted forward facing. It's one of those half-lying shells with a base and the girls are used to sleep in them. A bigger age group seat will be sitting only and difficult to sleep in. Otherwise I can't imagine they'll outgrow the current seat by then.
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Old Jun 19, 12, 12:41 am   #8
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You specifically say Europe as opposed to Spain. Would BA be an option for you? In addition to the bassinette, they also have oversized reclining seats from Britax that fit on the bassinette tray and take kids up to 2.

Downside is their 2-4-2 business class seating will see you scattered across the plane.

Just found this page - http://www.iberia.com/faqs/minors/#ancla2 - minors up to 8 months and 11kgs (that would be one FAT 8 month old!) can use the cots. Again, the IB forum might be better for interpretation of this - my well-built 16mo old used the cots on Lufthansa last summer.
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Old Jun 19, 12, 1:58 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuromancer View Post
Well, yes, they are not big. I'll call Iberia about the size of the bassinet, but don't hope much.
The problem with the car seat is it cannot be mounted forward facing. It's one of those half-lying shells with a base and the girls are used to sleep in them. A bigger age group seat will be sitting only and difficult to sleep in. Otherwise I can't imagine they'll outgrow the current seat by then.
You'd be surprised. My son does rear-face, but he's in a convertible seat (not an infant seat... he grew out of the largest infant seat available by about 6 months), and he sleeps great in it.

Here's a pic of him at 8.5 months old in his travel car seat, rear-facing on a plane. Not the greatest image, but hopefully it'll give you an idea of how he sits. The angle difference between rear-facing and forward-facing doesn't seem to be that great to me. He sleeps fine in it. I usually do roll up a blanket or bunch up a jacket or something for propping up his head a bit, once he nods off.
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Old Jun 19, 12, 7:25 am   #10
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Awwww! Cute baby!

Another vote for 4 seats. We do have a sticky thread on kids in premium cabins at the top.

One thing about being in economy with a toddler is that they often find "friends", either little playmates or grandparents who miss their own grandchildren... Plus, less stress if the toddler makes noise or cries. Business class passengers did complain about children quicker.

If you do opt for business, please sit towards the back, preferably near the restrooms. If you're up front, you get to walk by all those staring fellow passengers with your poopy and/or crying child.

Also, feel free to take a walk to the back when there is no service going on.

This is a bad age, as you've been warned. They are active and don't understand concepts such as "You can get out of your seat once we're in the air". They also can't be bribed!! Be sure to be well-stocked and have some "surprise" toys for those tricky moments when they don't want to stay in their seats. Just as the aircraft is leaving the blocks, whip one out for each child. Ohhhh new toy! Distraction until you're in the air (and can't get kicked off the plane for not controlling your toddlers!)
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Old Jun 19, 12, 6:58 pm   #11
 
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Thanks to all. I think I'll get 4 economy seats. Even if there is no availability, I'll buy one or two.
BA is an option, but the connection time for me is 1 hour. I was able to do it only running through T5 with all the lines, taking off shoes and such. With 2 babies, no way. Or I have to make a stopover in London for a day. Besides, the travel time is longer and the flights cost more Avios. I know what to expect from BA, but have never flown Iberia. Chose it due to good redemption availability and shorter flying time.
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Old Jun 20, 12, 12:35 am   #12
 
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Just got back from a trip with wife and 20 mo old twins - we had two SQ C seats (lots and lots of space - no problem) as well as two BF intl seats on UA/CO on domestic connection (much tighter space but still manageable when fully reclined as flat bed). Aside from takeoffs and landings we did not have to hold them at all.
Kids mostly behaved and we were able to have proper meals while they were napping and things went reasonably well. This time Benadryl worked on one but not the other perhaps because we gave a very small dose.

Both on SQ and UA we were allowed to have a pair of adjacent seats - apparently oxygen masks were not an issue there.

As a comparison a few months earlier we had four miserably tight Y seats on NH and it was a far more uncomfortable and tiring experience for us even though both kids slept better perhaps due to flight times and better Benadryl response.

Have SQ C and CX F coming up before they turn two...
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