Old Jan 29, 2017, 7:37 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Prospero
Note: This a very early rough draft/outline... please ask questions or provide details and information. Perhaps we should turn this into a wiki now that the wiki is available on mobile FT?

Based on several recent threads and a lot of questions, I thought it would be a good idea to start a guide for things to consider when traveling with families.

Ground rules

Please keep this thread flame-free. We do not need to rehash the argument about whether children should be allowed to fly, or fly in premium cabins, or use this thread to report about unruly children on a recent flight. This guide is intended to help families travel as smoothly as possible on BA.

General tips

TODO: General information useful to parents traveling in all classes of service, strollers/buggies/prams, etc., security and immigration

TODO: Organize by age? e.g. Infants (under 2), children aged 2-11, young adults aged 12-15

TODO: UK APD and how this impacts on children based on age and cabin


Car Seats and Strollers/Prams/Buggies

comprehensive guide to strollers at various BA airports.

Using a car seat on BA flights


Lounge access

Unlike many airlines, lounge access is not immediately extended to members of a family. For example, if a Gold member is flying, they may bring only one guest into the lounge. In general, at least 50% of your party needs status, otherwise lounge access is only available if you are all traveling in business or first class.

Lounges with a kids play area

London Heathrow (LHR)

TODO: Add short reviews or links to info?

T3 Galleries Club

T3 Galleries First
Note that this area is fairly clean, though the computers don't seem to be working and there are very few actual toys in this large (as of 07/01/17).

T5 Galleries Club North



T5 Galleries Club South
T5 Galleries First
T5B Galleries Club

There is also a large, normally very clean baby changing room at gate A1 in T5.

TODO: Find a link to info about kids play areas in other airports?

London Gatwick (LGW)

BA Business lounge: there is a play room towards the far end of the lounge away from the entrance on the right hand side.

Other information: For travellers without access to Premium security and the lounge, there is an Assistance and family security lane available and a kids play area on the upper level of South Terminal airside departures. Pushchairs are available for the walk from pier to baggage claim but require a £1 or €1 coin. Further information here: https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-th...ices/children/

MIA. There is a good kids area in the MIA premium lounge which is opposite the staff entrance to the kitchen.

Children under age two

TODO: Information on traveling with children under the age of two (seats, fare rules, starting travel when under 2 and finishing when over 2, etc.), selecting cot seats, online checkin not available etc.

Skyflyers activity packs

Per the official BA text: "Our Skyflyers activity packs have an exciting flying theme to keep your little ones amused during their flight. The packs come in fun swimming bags, which they can use again and again.

For children between three and five years old, the pack contains crayons and a 'Spread your Wings' colouring book featuring Cuthbert the Cat.

For children over six, the pack contains a pen and the ‘Wing It’ book, packed with exciting facts about flying, together with puzzles and sudokus.

The Skyflyer packs are available on all flights over two hours from London Heathrow and London Gatwick. Please ask a member of the cabin crew once you board your flight.

Your young flyer can also personalise their belongings with their own Skyflyers baggage tag; you just need to print it out before your flight."



Note that these are not always handed out (for example, the OP's family did not receive them in First (but instead the kids received First amenity kits for adults).

ET/WT

TODO: Notes when flying in ET/WT

WTP

TODO: Notes when flying in WTP

CE

TODO: Notes when flying in CE

Travelling with the kids is one time where CE is worth a premium over ET as well if you have an even number of passengers in your party. The little table is handy for school work/colouring/storing iPads, etc. and not having a stranger in your row is nice (more for the stranger's benefit than the kids!).

CW

TODO: Notes when flying in CW

Depending on the number of children and their ages will determine where to sit. For example, if you're a party of five with a child under two, and your other two children are fairly self-sufficient, then you might choose the middle last row in CW, with the kids on the aisle and the parents and bassinet in the middle.

Or if your kids are pretty close in age and might get out of control when seated together, you might choose two pairs along the window with one adult and child per pair. Or you might choose a middle row of 4 seats and put the kids in the middle two seats.

Or if you're on an A380 upper deck with 2-3-2 and you have one child, you might seat them in the middle.

There's no perfect answer for CW, but many good options and in general it depends on knowing your children.

First

TODO: Notes when flying in First

Traveling in F, the biggest challenge with a young children (ages 2-5) is convincing them to stay seated with their seatbelt on during take off and landing.

There are again many strategies depending on the number of children and their ages, and also depend in part on the aircraft.

On the 747, one strategy is to to take middle seat pairs, though if you need to help the child, it means walking around the aisle. So you could take 4EF and 5EF with an adult staggered next to each child. With a family of 5, we tried two approaches, 3A, 4A, 5A (adult), 5E (toddler), 5F (wife), and 1A (toddler), 1K adult), 2K (adult), 3K, and 4K. In general we had a better experience with the latter approach, but mostly because the middle seat pairs do not have a lot of space.

On the A380 and 777, the middle seat pairs are a bit more spacious so that strategy might be preferred.

Meals in First

When travelling in F, it is worth contacting You First in advance of the trip to obtain the flight menus so you can decide whether they will eat the F meal or if you need to order the kids meal. I found the CC to be very helpful in leaving off certain aspects of a regular meal to make it more child friendly - i.e. just chicken / steak and veg without the sauces. For breakfast they usually only load 2 portions of pancakes. Ask for them to be kept aside for your kids to make a fun, child friendly breakfast.

For night flights, pack pyjamas for the kids as the smallest size is likely too large for anyone under 18.

Be prepared for queue jumpers in priority boarding. Most passengers and staff assume that families with kids aren't in F and/or don't have status.

Seat Selection

TODO: Bassinet seats, sitting next to children policies, seating strategies, etc.

Parties with an infant can book their seats free of charge from time of booking for everyone on the booking, even without status.

Children under 2 travel on parents lap as the default option, unless you specifically buy a seat.

Trip Reports TODO: Add more links to helpful trip reports

Household accounts

TODO: Link to information about household accounts, earning Avios and tier points as a family, etc.

Tier point runs with kids

TODO: Probably not a good idea, but some do this, so add info here if there's anything worth adding.

Useful resources

Tips for flying with infants with British Airways
Print Wikipost

Traveling with Children beginner's guide

Old Jan 30, 2017, 7:52 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: BHX
Programs: BA GGL CCR GfL, SQ Gold, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Marriott Plat, Cafe Nero Loyalty Card (7 Stamps)
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In F on the 747 we tend to try and put the two kids (7 and 4) in 4 E/F and we sit in 4 A/K. The A/K seats are slightly behind E/F on this aircraft, and mean you can always see the kids when they get up to go to the toilet/cause mischief.

Travelling with the kids is the only time I consider CE worth a premium over ET, as well. The little table is handy for school work/colouring/storing iPads, etc. and not having a stranger in your row is nice (more for the stranger's benefit than ours).
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Old Jan 30, 2017, 8:15 am
  #17  
 
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Stroller-wise, I started this thread last year, might help?
Airports offering stroller/wheelchair drop off and collection at aircraft door
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Old Jan 30, 2017, 10:07 am
  #18  
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Not particularly well organized yet but that will happen over time. For now I've incorporated all feedback thus far into the wiki. Thanks!

I'll get back to working on this after I've had a chance to finish up my latest trip report.

Last edited by dylanks; Feb 5, 2017 at 5:43 am
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Old Dec 5, 2018, 6:26 am
  #19  
 
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Hope this is the right place to ask...

Me + wife + baby-pbdj11 are travelling in F back from Hong Kong in Feb on BA28. We are going to be travelling on the same flight as 3 other family members. Obviously already comfortable that we'll be able to guest in one family member per adult to the excellent CX F lounges there.

Question is, will baby-pbdj11 be able to guest in the third family member, since he will be an F ticket holder (albeit a lap infant)?!
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Old Dec 5, 2018, 8:56 am
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by pbdj11
Question is, will baby-pbdj11 be able to guest in the third family member, since he will be an F ticket holder (albeit a lap infant)?!
No.

However, if you're Gold you may be able to (politely) ask given that you would have guesting privileges on your F ticket and you also have them from your Gold card.
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Old Oct 25, 2019, 4:38 am
  #21  
 
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Quick question, does a lap child count as a lounge guest? I.e, if I have a lap child myself, would I be able to guest in another person with one? Hopefully it won't come to this!
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Old Oct 25, 2019, 4:53 am
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by gustavmahler
Quick question, does a lap child count as a lounge guest? I.e, if I have a lap child myself, would I be able to guest in another person with one? Hopefully it won't come to this!
It seems like the sort of question that should be in the Lounge Access Guide sticky, but I couldn't see it. Nonetheless, a child under 2 does not count as a guest. This is a oneworld policy, as you can see here:

https://www.oneworld.com/airport-lounges?location=

oneworld lounge access for infants and children

  • Infants under 2 years will not be counted as a guest when travelling with an eligible adult customer
  • Children travelling as a unaccompanied minor (aged between 2 and 11 years) who are eligible for lounge access, must be accompanied by an adult who will be counted as their guest
  • Children travelling as a young passenger (YP aged between 12 and 17 years), who are eligible for lounge access do not require an accompanying adult (Note: Subject to local licensing laws; in Japan the ages are 12-19 years)
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Old Oct 25, 2019, 5:03 am
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by BertieBadger
It seems like the sort of question that should be in the Lounge Access Guide sticky, but I couldn't see it. Nonetheless, a child under 2 does not count as a guest. This is a oneworld policy, as you can see here:

https://www.oneworld.com/airport-lounges?location=
Wonderful - thanks!
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Old Feb 10, 2020, 2:55 am
  #24  
 
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With our triplets now five months old and the inevitable trips to see my in-laws and other family in the US over the coming years (cries are getting louder already…), we’ve decided to dip our toes in the water of infant air travel. No, we haven’t gone and booked a multi-partner reward with 12 sectors over 6 time zones (not yet), instead we’re on a simple little trip to NCE… Simple? I think those days are behind us.

Like everything with having multiples, there’s an added layer of faff/complexity that often other parents (even those with lots of kids) won’t have to deal with. We’ve enlisted some trusty/naïve friends to fly with us since we cannot travel with 3 lap children between us, so we have 4 CE seats booked with Avios (everyone else should stay well away!). I have a feeling this will all warrant some kind of TR when we’re done, but to help avoid it being completely calamitous, I’d appreciate some sage advice from those for whom infant travel can be done in their sleep, or else people who know BA travel better than I do. Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute to these threads over the coming years to help the next lot of first-time travelling parents. In the meantime I’d really appreciate some help.

We have a triple buggy, which would be really useful to have in the terminal with us. Here’s a link, and the dimension are as follows.
Length: 130cm
Height (folded flat height): approx. 25cm
Width: 74cm
Weight: 15kg

It’s pretty great for living in London since it’s more compact than a lot of doubles and goes through all standard UK doors ok. However, I have some questions.
  • How does this work through security (apologies I’ve never taken much notice)? Will I need to collapse it and put it on the belt?
  • Is this buggy too big to check at plane door? If we can do this, at what point will we get it back? (I checked the Airports offering stroller/wheelchair drop off thread and at LHR it says that we would drop/retrieve it at the bridge but this one is larger than a single buggy, obviously.)
  • Can I gate check/check at plane door at NCE?
  • If I have to leave it at check-in, we have some baby carriers, but does anyone have any other advice/experience of getting through the airport?
Any other advice of travelling with infants would be much appreciated.
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Old Feb 10, 2020, 3:06 am
  #25  
 
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As long as the buggy is collapsible stroller type, then it is fine. As you need to put it on belt for security scan. Each adult will need to carry a baby, and there is high chance you will get pad down even thought the machine does not beep.

For travel with toddler, depending on age, I would highly recommend preparing drinking water for then to drink during take off and climb, and during descending phase. It would help for most of time, although sometime the baby might prefer bottle or breastfeed for sucking to be more effective. In my experience, I always prepare 2x 50ml water for each flight.

Lastly, put alot of buffer, such as get to airport early, long connecting flight is required.
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Old Feb 10, 2020, 4:52 am
  #26  
 
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I'm following this thread now because we are travelling to Venice in June via LHR with a 2 year old and 6 month old twins (I'm the grandfather). It's been a bit of a struggle already getting seats booked but we have 5 adults travelling too so we're not TOO concerned but always looking for tips. All in Y with only me as the status holder so trying to decide which of my children I like best to take into the lounge with me and the twins!
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Old Feb 10, 2020, 4:54 am
  #27  
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gustavmahler, best of luck flying with triplets. You may well become the expert here of traveling with multiple young kids of the same age at the same time. Twins are challenging enough, but triplets ..... have to be a whole other league. You may need a new thread: "Traveling with Children Experts' Guide"

All I can say is that BA is pretty awful about allowing and doing gate-delivery of strollers at LHR. While this may hit harder for LHR transits, even dealing with LHR O&D trips can be a real challenge at times on return to LHR.

Last edited by GUWonder; Feb 10, 2020 at 5:16 am
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Old Feb 10, 2020, 6:16 am
  #28  
 
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Thanks, all - this is really helpful. GUWander - I'm less concerend about having access to the buggy when we arrive back at LHR. It's more having it in the terminal before the flight. The carriers we have are pretty good, so I think they would be fine in those from plane door to baggage hall.

Can we wear them in the carriers during the flight?
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Old Feb 10, 2020, 6:33 am
  #29  
 
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if you have an adult carrying each child, i'd say check in your buggy and use carriers in the terminal. Everytime i have taken the buggy in the terminal i've regretted it as it's far easier just to put the wee one in the carrier and go - plus it saves having to take lifts etc between floors as you often need to do on arrival.

Re carrier on board, yes you sure can use them. i don't think you can have the babies in them for take off or landing but i may be wrong. i usually just keep the carrier strapped to me (i have a baby bjorn) and open it so baby is in my arms, then strap it back up on landing, pick up bags and away we go. so much easier than faffing around with a buggy.

also, someone said upthread that you need to fold the buggy up to go through security - not true, you can take it through unfolded but it takes far longer. Going through security with baby, bear in mind it will take ages anyway, if you have milk/baby food etc. it'll all be taken separately if over 100ml and swabbed.

good luck, the first time is nerve wracking, but you'll get used to it. Of course, as they get older, the challenges become different, but it adds to the, erm, fun....
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Old Feb 10, 2020, 6:53 am
  #30  
 
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Originally Posted by albpenny
if you have an adult carrying each child, i'd say check in your buggy and use carriers in the terminal. Everytime i have taken the buggy in the terminal i've regretted it as it's far easier just to put the wee one in the carrier and go - plus it saves having to take lifts etc between floors as you often need to do on arrival.

Re carrier on board, yes you sure can use them. i don't think you can have the babies in them for take off or landing but i may be wrong. i usually just keep the carrier strapped to me (i have a baby bjorn) and open it so baby is in my arms, then strap it back up on landing, pick up bags and away we go. so much easier than faffing around with a buggy.

also, someone said upthread that you need to fold the buggy up to go through security - not true, you can take it through unfolded but it takes far longer. Going through security with baby, bear in mind it will take ages anyway, if you have milk/baby food etc. it'll all be taken separately if over 100ml and swabbed.

good luck, the first time is nerve wracking, but you'll get used to it. Of course, as they get older, the challenges become different, but it adds to the, erm, fun....
Thanks. I think I thought having the buggy would be easier, as we'll be building in plenty of buffer time, so there could end up being an extended time in the lounge/airport. Then again if we have to take them out for security that adds to the faff.
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