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 May 10, 2022, 1:49 pm
  #46  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Belfast
Programs: BA Silver
Posts: 379
Bringing this thread back to life, well be travelling with our 18 month old in a few weeks and would really appreciate some advice/experience. Well be in CE.

Were planning food and I cant seem to find anywhere whether there will be food for a lap infant in CE. Can anyone point me to where I may find information? Well be carrying snacks regardless.

3 of 4 sectors are, so far, on non-NEO A32x aircraft. If asked nicely, would the crew onboard be receptive to dropping the middle table and allowing us to sit our daughter in the middle seat during the cruise while seat belt lights are off?

We have a stroller that folds to a very small size. Im fairly sure it would fit the overhead bin. If we could take it onboard it would remove the risk of it being broken, would it be appropriate to ask the crews if it could be stored in the closet?

Finally, it will be our daughters first flight. Any tips for best managing ear pressure equalisation would be significantly stress reducing

Thank you!
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Old May 10, 2022, 2:45 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Windsor, UK (In the flight path)
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Posts: 502
It's been a few years since I travelled with a 18 month old, but from memory, the answers to your questions in short are as follows (as far as I can remember).

No food at all for lap infant. They will heat food up for you if you bring it with you sometimes. If anything is left over, they might let you have access to it... Maybe?
It's unlikely they will remove the centre "table", it's unlikely, but ask anyway. They seem perfectly happy removing them to get "extra" passengers in club during "over subscription" of flights.
Stroller (and this annoys me) is hit or miss. I had a very small foldable one for all three of my children and I managed to get it onboard twice in about 30 flights. It's smaller than hand luggage, but still gets collected at the gate/door.... Annoying. then its pot luck for arrival, sometimes at door, sometimes at baggage claim.
Bring lollies to suck. and a few of them, it can sometimes takes 15-20 minutes or more for equalisation and often 1 lolly is not enough.

Lastly, and most importantly, relax. Be aware and attentive, but don't spend the entire flight worrying else the child will "note" your concern and play up. Children make noise sometimes, but as long as they arn't running around and causing a constant hell storm and you play/read/entertain them, you'll be fine RELAX
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Last edited by matthudski; May 10, 2022 at 2:58 pm
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 7:05 am
  #48  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: BA Gold, IHG Platinum
Posts: 57
We are travelling GLA-LHR-JFK in J in April. We are travelling with our son, who will be 23 months when we travel.

We have flown J before with BA with before but that was when he still having bottles and eating Baby Food pouches.

I know he will not be entitled to a meal given he is a lap infant. Is there any method of pre-paying for an additional kids meal? Thanks in advance.
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Old Jan 8, 2023, 7:09 am
  #49  
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No there is not a way to do this, I suggest you bring food with you.
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Old Feb 7, 2023, 2:14 pm
  #50  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 114
Apologies if this has been answered somewhere already. We're looking at travelling YYZ-LHR in WT with a 2 year old and 5 month old. We want both kids in car seats so will be paying for a seat for the infant.

1. Will we still be able to choose a bassinet seat even though the infant is in their own seat?
2. I noted on the website it says "The child in the car seat must face the same direction as the aircraft seat to which it is secured." but I don't think infant car seats can be installed forward facing? Has anyone any experience either installing an infant car seat forward facing on the plane, or BA allowing you to install it rear facing?
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Old Feb 7, 2023, 2:20 pm
  #51  
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There are plenty of infant seats that can be fitted forward facing, if your one only faces rearwards and you don’t want to buy a new one you will only be able to use this inflight and will have to use an extension seatbelt for takeoff and landing.
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Old Feb 8, 2023, 6:24 am
  #52  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: BA Gold
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Originally Posted by Can I help you
There are plenty of infant seats that can be fitted forward facing, if your one only faces rearwards and you don’t want to buy a new one you will only be able to use this inflight and will have to use an extension seatbelt for takeoff and landing.
OK thank you! Would you happen to know any brands that can be installed forward facing? Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but all the infant car seats I've looked at are rear facing only, because infants shouldn't sit forward facing in the car. Just to clarify when I say infant car seat, I mean those for babies up to 35 pounds, which can be carried around with the infant strapped in, also known as a bucket seat.
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Old Feb 8, 2023, 6:45 am
  #53  
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Can any help here, as I’m not a parent can others suggest any please?
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Old Feb 8, 2023, 7:20 am
  #54  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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msm2000uk Wozza2404 Did you guys ever use a car seat with your kids? Because of the pandemic we didn't travel with ours until they turned two and so never used a car seat.

Last edited by gustavmahler; Feb 8, 2023 at 8:40 am
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Old Feb 8, 2023, 7:59 am
  #55  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Originally Posted by gustavmahler
msm2000uk Wozza2404 Did you guys ever use a car seat with your kids? Because of the pandemic we didn't travel with ours until they turned two.
We never did - By pure chance all travel we did before they were two was long haul so we were in CW - where there's plenty of space.

Plus even if we did I doubt whatever seats we were using 10 years ago would still be around now!
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Old Feb 8, 2023, 9:48 am
  #56  
A13
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Sussex, UK
Programs: BA Silver
Posts: 498
Found a bit of a quirk booking an infant in LGW Club World cabin.

Solo traveller with infant, will be 23 months at time of flight so too big for the bassinet/chair thing.

I'm thinking 4A will be best as have direct access, floor area and she wont bother the neighbour etc.

I noticed if i select it and confirm, 4B get blocked.. is this normal practice? (noone is there as if i change seats i can move to 4B)


If i select the bassinet seat (4E), the 4D (and 4G) gets blocked



and if I select 4F the whole row gets blocked (4D,E,F,G)


Anyone know what's going on!? Doing in on both outbound and inbound.
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Old May 5, 2023, 10:17 am
  #57  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 114
I have booked flights and purchased a seat for my infant who will be 5 months at the time of travel. I am unable to select the bassinet seat online. I called and after a painful 30 minute conversation, the agent said that he could not select the cot seat for me because it is reserved for infants on laps. I got the sense this was a 'computer says no' situation and wonder if it is worth calling to see if I get a more helpful agent, or if there is no chance they will give us the seat? Any insight would be much appreciated.
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Old May 5, 2023, 12:07 pm
  #58  
Ziz
 
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I saw your prevous post about the car seat. I'm British and Canadian so feel I can comment on this. THe 'bucket seat' car seats cannot be installed forward facing. However, there are stage 1-2-3 seats you can get that will accommoate an infant but also face forward. You'll need one eventually anyway when he's bigger so you could just buy it now.
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Old May 5, 2023, 5:28 pm
  #59  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Programs: BAEC Silver
Posts: 458
Originally Posted by rocketship87
I have booked flights and purchased a seat for my infant who will be 5 months at the time of travel. I am unable to select the bassinet seat online. I called and after a painful 30 minute conversation, the agent said that he could not select the cot seat for me because it is reserved for infants on laps. I got the sense this was a 'computer says no' situation and wonder if it is worth calling to see if I get a more helpful agent, or if there is no chance they will give us the seat? Any insight would be much appreciated.
I think the agent is correct - the bassinets are for infants that do not have a dedicated seat.
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Old May 10, 2023, 10:42 am
  #60  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 114
Originally Posted by Ziz
I saw your prevous post about the car seat. I'm British and Canadian so feel I can comment on this. THe 'bucket seat' car seats cannot be installed forward facing. However, there are stage 1-2-3 seats you can get that will accommoate an infant but also face forward. You'll need one eventually anyway when he's bigger so you could just buy it now.
Thanks, that's what I thought. We do have a few convertible seats but the minimum weight limit for forward facing is 22lb, I expect he'll be too small at 5 months.
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