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, 2023, 11:00 am
  #61  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: LAX/MXP
Programs: BAEC
Posts: 566
Originally Posted by A13
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.
Not sure about the automatic seat blocking that is happening, but in terms of personal preference, I've always liked the middle pair of seats as it creates a mini space for me and the kid that feels large and also contained, with minimal disturbance for neighbors especially if you're set up at the end of the cabin and once the partitions go up. For this reason I feel like couples and parents with kids are among the very few that miss the old CW set up compared to the new club suites.
hyperspace is offline  
Old Jun 20, 2023, 3:04 pm
  #62  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: LAX/MXP
Programs: BAEC
Posts: 566
Crossing UK border at LHR

I've travelled LAX-LHR-Italy with my kids several times, but always connecting right away arriving into LHR. This time I'll need to cross the UK border. Last time I did so was 6 years ago, my kids were 2 yo and it was a terrible experience. Arriving from a CW flight, we were met with an insanely long line for passport controls, with no alternative but staying in the queue with our tired young twins.
It'll be one adult and 3 kids now, all of us have both US and Italian passports, is the process a little better? is there a family lane open? Or can I use the e-gates with the kids (they are 8, 8 and 4 years old)?

thanks!
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Old Jun 20, 2023, 3:31 pm
  #63  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Programs: Honors Diamond
Posts: 1,726
Originally Posted by hyperspace
I've travelled LAX-LHR-Italy with my kids several times, but always connecting right away arriving into LHR. This time I'll need to cross the UK border. Last time I did so was 6 years ago, my kids were 2 yo and it was a terrible experience. Arriving from a CW flight, we were met with an insanely long line for passport controls, with no alternative but staying in the queue with our tired young twins.
It'll be one adult and 3 kids now, all of us have both US and Italian passports, is the process a little better? is there a family lane open? Or can I use the e-gates with the kids (they are 8, 8 and 4 years old)?

thanks!
You cant use the e-gates. But you will be able to use the EEA/UK staffed lane with your Italian passports. In my experience this is now effectively a family lane as nearly everyone else that might use that lane can use the e-gates. There are also more e-gates than 6 years ago (I think) and the entrance is also normally staffed with someone telling those who are e-gate eligible they have to use them. So unless you hit a day with wider problems, an e-gate outage or similar it should be ok.

It tends to be be the non-EEA staffed lane that is slow - but even that is not always the case. Especially as nationals of some non-EEA countries with significant numbers of UK arrivals like USA nationals can now use the e-gates.
lcylocal is offline  
Old Jun 20, 2023, 7:22 pm
  #64  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: LAX/MXP
Programs: BAEC
Posts: 566
Originally Posted by lcylocal
You cant use the e-gates. But you will be able to use the EEA/UK staffed lane with your Italian passports. In my experience this is now effectively a family lane as nearly everyone else that might use that lane can use the e-gates. There are also more e-gates than 6 years ago (I think) and the entrance is also normally staffed with someone telling those who are e-gate eligible they have to use them. So unless you hit a day with wider problems, an e-gate outage or similar it should be ok.

It tends to be be the non-EEA staffed lane that is slow - but even that is not always the case. Especially as nationals of some non-EEA countries with significant numbers of UK arrivals like USA nationals can now use the e-gates.
thank you for sharing, sounds promising! In fact now I remember, that time 6 years ago I was traveling with my husband who only has US passport so we had to be in the longer line. Hopefully this will be a better experience.
hyperspace is offline  
Old Jul 10, 2023, 11:46 pm
  #65  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 175
I searched most of the site I couldn't find a specific mention of this. Can you reach over a touch someone easily in the new club suites when sitting in the middle with the privacy divider put away? I'm used to reaching through the old club divider but the new one I haven't tried with littles in tow.
Crisphoarder is offline  
Old Jul 11, 2023, 2:04 am
  #66  
 
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)
Posts: 7,392
Originally Posted by Crisphoarder
I searched most of the site I couldn't find a specific mention of this. Can you reach over a touch someone easily in the new club suites when sitting in the middle with the privacy divider put away? I'm used to reaching through the old club divider but the new one I haven't tried with littles in tow.
Not really. You could hold hands easy enough, but to actaully touch them in their seat you'd have to kneel on your seat and basically hang yourself through the divider.

There are photos on this review which will give you an idea of what I mean. https://thepointsguy.com/reviews/bri...ub-suites-777/
Wozza2404 is offline  
Old Jul 11, 2023, 3:14 am
  #67  
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 134
I'm likely going to be flying CE solo with my toddler on my lap. Having never done a solo trip with the toddler in CE before, I'm wondering what the onboard experience for F&B is like. Is there separate F&B for lap based toddler or do I need to purchase separately?
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Old Jul 11, 2023, 3:37 am
  #68  
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If the child is under 2 years old there is no food provision and you will have to bring your own?
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Can I help you is offline  
Old Jul 11, 2023, 5:26 am
  #69  
A13
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Sussex, UK
Programs: BA Silver
Posts: 498
Originally Posted by HeyUpDuck
I'm likely going to be flying CE solo with my toddler on my lap. Having never done a solo trip with the toddler in CE before, I'm wondering what the onboard experience for F&B is like. Is there separate F&B for lap based toddler or do I need to purchase separately?
Are they under 2 so lap infant? if so then no F&B will be provided.

I travelled last week with my just-turned 2 year old in CE.
Outbound was Avion Express and they didn't offer us anything for her (not that she wanted/needed anything as was satisfied in lounge).
Return was BAEF. She wouldn't eat the prawn or butternut squash salad but crew made her a tray with bread and the other bits,
As a side note, i did ask if i could have an extendable seatbelt given she had only just turned 2 and wasn't sure if she's stay seated but was a firm no.
Luckily she was ok holding my hand for take off and was asleep for landing but being separated by the table was a concern.
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Old Jul 11, 2023, 6:34 am
  #70  
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Absolutely a no for using and extension seatbelt from the second birthday onwards.
Can I help you is offline  
Old Jul 17, 2023, 6:15 am
  #71  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Programs: BA, LY, QF, UA, HH
Posts: 182
Any advice for a tight connection at T5 with a toddler?

Looking at the last few days - Im guessing Ill deplane late on to a bus with around 55 minutes until the next flight departs from B gates.

Currently Im planning to check the stroller as regular luggage, have one backpack with me and sprint with the kid in a rugby hold.

Im guessing Im at the mercy of conformance and the queue at security - but Ill take any advice that avoids spending 6 hours hanging around LHR with a jetlagged kid.

EPA
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Old Jul 22, 2023, 10:16 am
  #72  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: London, UK
Programs: BA Silver
Posts: 13
My wife and I are travelling with our baby LGW to St Lucia in CW. She will be 4 months when we fly. We've booked 1J & 1K on the outbound day flight, 4E & 4F bassinet seats on the overnight return.

As it's our first long haul with our baby any advice ./ thoughts on our seat choice would be greatly appreciated. We want to make the flight as stress free and as pleasant for her, for us and for our fellow passengers and of course the crew.

We've opted for row 1 on the outbound so that we have direct aisle access and daylight. The return in the older CW cabin for a seemingly contained family area hyperspace mentions seems a good shout but does it have direct access to aisle? Seat maps seem to suggest not and BA call centre was unable to confirm for us.

It's not too late to switch to 4E & 4F on the outbound if consensus here is that 1J and 1K would be a bad idea

TIA
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Old Jul 22, 2023, 10:32 am
  #73  
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You are in the older CW seat both flights, you should take 4EF both ways in my opinion.
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Old Jul 22, 2023, 10:47 am
  #74  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Programs: BA Gold, HH
Posts: 264
Originally Posted by Can I help you
You are in the older CW seat both flights, you should take 4EF both ways in my opinion.
good advice and they will have a controlled space to play/ move in front of you so its easier to manage.
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Old Jul 22, 2023, 2:36 pm
  #75  
A13
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Sussex, UK
Programs: BA Silver
Posts: 498
4EF is no brainer both ways. Large floor area, bassinet and direct access both ways.
Below is example from a380 but gives you an idea..
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