Traveling with Children beginner's guide

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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 Ä1 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 ĎWing Ití 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
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Old Feb 10, 20, 7:09 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by gustavmahler View Post
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.
you'll have to take them out the carriers too at security and put the carrier through the security machine. what will happen is that each of you will hold a baby while going through the scanner and then you go through again without holding a baby. To give an example, I go through the scanner while my husband holds my son. Then i go back through to collect my son and carry him though so he is scanned along side me. Whether to take a buggy will depend on whether you think it's more faff to unstrap at security from a carrier than from a buggy, and then have to fold buggy up at the gate. Personally i find a carrier easier and when in the lounge i just find a quiet space, put a blanket down and let my son play on that. It's upon arrival that I find the buggy a faff but YMMV, particularly as the buggy may be on the carousel at the other end rather than at the gate!
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Old Feb 10, 20, 7:45 am
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by gustavmahler View Post
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?
We were using the Boba Bamboo Wrap type baby carrier during the flight without issue, except during take-off, landing and turbulence. But this was not for BA, it was in VA or QF, but I believe most airlines will fine with them.

Originally Posted by JamieABZ View Post
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!
Or option B, let the other 2/3 adults take the 2 years old to play around and have fun in the terminal, while bring the twins mother into lounge so that she could feed the babies. From my recent experience, I found lounge access is very nice for mother with baby. I could just keep bring unlimited drinks and food to my wife while she busy on breastfeed and diaper changing
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Old Feb 11, 20, 4:51 am
  #33  
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For security screening too, they may ask for the child to be removed from the soft baby carriers too when carrying the child through the metal detectors. I don't know how quick and easy you will find it to put a child in and out of such a soft baby carrier, but I know there are times when I've seen it much easier to remove children from strollers and put them back in the strollers than to take them in and out of the body-worn baby carriers and -- worse yet at times -- made to remove the body-worn baby carrier device for screening too.

Originally Posted by gustavmahler View Post

Can we wear them in the carriers during the flight?
That's prohibited on US flights and I've seen some EU carriers refuse to allow lap-children to remain in things like the belly-side-worn Baby Becco carriers ... at least during taxi, take-off, landing, seat-belt-sign-on times. BA may be a different story at times since the European carriers allow for belt-on-belt attachments for lap-children held by an accompanying adult during the taxi/take-off/landing time frames, but I'm not sure if any of the mentioned with European carriers is a matter of practice deviating from policy or not.

For my relatives, it's normal to try to take the strollers for gate drop-off/pick-up (as often as allowed) and the body-worn baby carriers for each and every possible flight of relevance. The body-worn baby carriers can be a major relief to have at airports, especially if the stroller comes out broken or doesn't get delivered when and where it was expected/wanted by the child-transporters.
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Last edited by GUWonder; Feb 11, 20 at 5:05 am
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Old Feb 11, 20, 5:20 am
  #34  
 
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This seems an appropriate place to ask a question that's been on my mind for a few months. Apologies if the answer is quite obvious, but it's a new situation.

Flying Paris to Miami in July on an ex-EU. Naturally this involves a T5 - T3 transfer at LHR.

From experience, prams are delivered at the aircraft door in T5. However as we will be checking through to Miami, I assume I will need to ask at bag drop in Paris for the pram to be shortchecked to LHR? Otherwise, am I right to assume that the pram will go with the rest of the luggage for the connection?

In all honesty we aren't sure the pram will be required for the airport as our daughter is a confident walker and will be approaching the upper limit of a lap infant when we go, but mostly the concern is avoiding a scenario where we make a wrong assumption and end up with a pram stranded at LHR because we assume it goes with the luggage and it is actually unloaded at the gate.

Any advice will be gratefully received.

Last edited by Bohinjska Bistrica; Feb 11, 20 at 5:28 am
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Old Feb 11, 20, 5:33 am
  #35  
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If you are allowed by [email protected] to gate-check the stroller at CDG, then you can and should ask at CDG (and definitely confirm at the flight gate) for the stroller to be set for gate-delivery at LHR if you want it at LHR.

If you check in the stroller at BA's check-in counter at CDG, the stroller will likely be tagged to MIA with no need to claim it at LHR. Check your claim tag in that case to make sure it says MIA (and LHR for a CDG-MIA-LHR routing) and that there is nothing about "gate-delivery" on the claim check, check-in tag for the stroller, or otherwise.

If you want to gate check in the stroller and have the stroller tagged for delivery at MIA baggage claim (but not tagged for delivery at LHR), there is a risk of a mess up unless and until you're given a claim check of sort that mentions that the bag is to be delivered at MIA. In such case, make sure it has no gate-delivery tag/instructions on the tag/stroller, or there could be the unfortunate problem of the stroller being gate-delivered at LHR and you not knowing about that until it's too late.
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Last edited by GUWonder; Feb 11, 20 at 5:45 am
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Old Feb 11, 20, 6:07 am
  #36  
 
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Or option B, let the other 2/3 adults take the 2 years old to play around and have fun in the terminal, while bring the twins mother into lounge so that she could feed the babies. From my recent experience, I found lounge access is very nice for mother with baby. I could just keep bring unlimited drinks and food to my wife while she busy on breastfeed and diaper changing[/QUOTE]
This is my current thinking. Thank you.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 7:07 am
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
If you are allowed by [email protected] to gate-check the stroller at CDG, then you can and should ask at CDG (and definitely confirm at the flight gate) for the stroller to be set for gate-delivery at LHR if you want it at LHR.

If you check in the stroller at BA's check-in counter at CDG, the stroller will likely be tagged to MIA with no need to claim it at LHR. Check your claim tag in that case to make sure it says MIA (and LHR for a CDG-MIA-LHR routing) and that there is nothing about "gate-delivery" on the claim check, check-in tag for the stroller, or otherwise.

If you want to gate check in the stroller and have the stroller tagged for delivery at MIA baggage claim (but not tagged for delivery at LHR), there is a risk of a mess up unless and until you're given a claim check of sort that mentions that the bag is to be delivered at MIA. In such case, make sure it has no gate-delivery tag/instructions on the tag/stroller, or there could be the unfortunate problem of the stroller being gate-delivered at LHR and you not knowing about that until it's too late.
Very helpful - thank you.

I will discuss the options with Mrs BB and see what we think is best.
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Old Nov 19, 20, 1:12 am
  #38  
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Originally Posted by albpenny View Post
you'll have to take them out the carriers too at security and put the carrier through the security machine. what will happen is that each of you will hold a baby while going through the scanner and then you go through again without holding a baby. To give an example, I go through the scanner while my husband holds my son. Then i go back through to collect my son and carry him though so he is scanned along side me. Whether to take a buggy will depend on whether you think it's more faff to unstrap at security from a carrier than from a buggy, and then have to fold buggy up at the gate. Personally i find a carrier easier and when in the lounge i just find a quiet space, put a blanket down and let my son play on that. It's upon arrival that I find the buggy a faff but YMMV, particularly as the buggy may be on the carousel at the other end rather than at the gate!
Iíve travelled through Heathrow at least 5 times with my now 2 year old in a carrier and never once there or at out stations have I had to take him out of it for security, much less pass him off to someone else to go through the scanner solo. They do sometimes swab the carrier but thatís it and delays us maybe a few seconds. Itís never been any hassle.
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Old Nov 20, 20, 1:51 pm
  #39  
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Old Apr 19, 21, 12:22 pm
  #40  
 
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I hope I'm not wrong reviving this thread that has been dormant for some time.

I have an upcoming trip in June, LAX-LHR in CW and it looks like it'll be with the new Club Suites. While normally I'd be thrilled to try the new seat, I'm traveling solo with my 6 yo twins. Basically one of the few cases the old middle CW seats were actually a better layout for us 3.
Has anyone travelled with kids with the new CS product? I'm thinking of taking a window seat for me and pick two aisle seats for them, one directly across from me and the other slightly in front.
The twins are really well behaved generally and traveled before, I'm not concerned about that, more about feeling too distant from them?


I also have a short flight in CE, so I'm thinking they'd be sitting together with me on the same row across the aisle? can two 6yo seat next to each other without an adult exactly next to them (although I'd be just an aisle away from them)
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Old Apr 19, 21, 7:05 pm
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post
I hope I'm not wrong reviving this thread that has been dormant for some time.
On the contrary, I for one appreciate you taking the time to find the most appropriate place to post relevant questions relating to family travel instead of taking the lazy option by creating yet another post that asks the same repetitive questions and advice that so many people seem to do. It makes it far easier for others in a similar predicament to access the information and solutions they're looking for and I'd imagine that was the primary reason why someone went to the trouble to create a dedicated wiki and guide in the first place.


Mods, just a suggestion but might it be a sensible idea to consolidate all the other recently created threads regarding family travel and seating conundrums to here? Moving forward and as travel begins to ramp up it might be a helpful and beneficial thing you could do for a lot the BA FT community - including those without kids.
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Last edited by 1Aturnleft; Apr 19, 21 at 7:27 pm
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Old Apr 20, 21, 4:55 am
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post
I hope I'm not wrong reviving this thread that has been dormant for some time.

I have an upcoming trip in June, LAX-LHR in CW and it looks like it'll be with the new Club Suites. While normally I'd be thrilled to try the new seat, I'm traveling solo with my 6 yo twins. Basically one of the few cases the old middle CW seats were actually a better layout for us 3.
Has anyone travelled with kids with the new CS product? I'm thinking of taking a window seat for me and pick two aisle seats for them, one directly across from me and the other slightly in front.
The twins are really well behaved generally and traveled before, I'm not concerned about that, more about feeling too distant from them?


I also have a short flight in CE, so I'm thinking they'd be sitting together with me on the same row across the aisle? can two 6yo seat next to each other without an adult exactly next to them (although I'd be just an aisle away from them)
Assuming they're used to travelling I'd put them in a middle pair so they can talk through the divider and then you sit slightly ahead in the window seat. OK you won't be able to access the one on the other aisle particualrly quickly but at least they're together. This is what I always did with mine in F - which is a similar set up.

In CE yeah put them together and you sit on the other aisle. Nothing stopping you doing this at all - with the one unlikely exception of CE having 12+ rows as it can then include the mid-cabin exit rows, where they wouldn't be elgiible to sit as they're under 12.
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Old Apr 20, 21, 5:47 am
  #43  
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Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post
Has anyone travelled with kids with the new CS product? I'm thinking of taking a window seat for me and pick two aisle seats for them, one directly across from me and the other slightly in front.
The twins are really well behaved generally and traveled before, I'm not concerned about that, more about feeling too distant from them?
See the link below for previous comments. You won't be able to see your children in this seating arrangement. Your head will be facing the windows and there is a high set of panels on all sides. I've indicated what you can see when sat down assuming all doors are left open. If you sit on the edge of the seat and lean forward, you will see the entrance area to the nearest seat (11F) but very little of anyone in there. Consequently you would be better all in the middle block since if you stand up you can see the children in front of you. In the window seat you will have to move to the aisle to see the children. One option is to move during take off and landing to WT or WTP and then swap back in the cruise. Generally LAX is a smooth ride (compared to say LAS) so hopefully turbulence won't be a problem. If so then you could see if both kids can use one seat and you have the other side in the middle. But WTP would be a better option than CS. Having said that the chances of an equipment swap are very high at the moment. This design is quite deliberate, in terms of sight lines, to preserve privacy, one of the bug-bears of many travellers.



I also have a short flight in CE, so I'm thinking they'd be sitting together with me on the same row across the aisle? can two 6yo seat next to each other without an adult exactly next to them (although I'd be just an aisle away from them)
As noted in this thread, yes you can do this and you also have the option of putting all three together, depending on aircraft, since most middle tables have gone (and the middle tables can be removed).

One parent, two 6 yo kids in CW, where to seat
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Old Apr 20, 21, 5:03 pm
  #44  
 
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If you sit on the edge of the seat and lean forward, you will see the entrance area to the nearest seat (11F) but very little of anyone in there. Consequently you would be better all in the middle block since if you stand up you can see the children in front of you

Thank you as always for the detail insights!
I guess I'm not too concerned as being able to see them as much as being close by. I can see how the layout is designed specifically around privacy, which is a welcome change, but for families is not very convenient.
If I'm in 12K and one kid in 12F, would 13F be closer to me (although out of sight) rather than 11F?

thanks!
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Old Apr 20, 21, 5:19 pm
  #45  
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Originally Posted by hyperspace View Post
If I'm in 12K and one kid in 12F, would 13F be closer to me (although out of sight) rather than 11F?
No, 11F plus 12F are closer to you in 12K than 12F plus 13F due to the door way area being at the front of the unit. You are right that 13F is completely out of sight.
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