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 Jul 28, 2023, 6:00 am
  #76  
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
Posts: 11
Hello FT. Flying to SFO later this year with partner and 16 month old booked as lap infant in Club. Should we choose 777 (Club Suites) or A380 (old CW). Leaning to old CW middle pair, despite my desire to try suites! Advice welcome.
KQTraveller is offline  
Old Jul 28, 2023, 6:06 am
  #77  
 
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Originally Posted by KQTraveller
Hello FT. Flying to SFO later this year with partner and 16 month old booked as lap infant in Club. Should we choose 777 (Club Suites) or A380 (old CW). Leaning to old CW middle pair, despite my desire to try suites! Advice welcome.
Pros and cons to both. 16month old will be fairly active so the ability to 'lock them in' to the club suite area by closing the door might be appealing. But there's also a lot to be said for the rear centre pair in old CW which effectively gives you a decent area of floor space.

Ultimately I guess it comes down to whether you're dual parenting for the whole trip (in which case middle pair A380) or looking to do it in shifts in which case you might be better off with a club suite.
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Old Jul 28, 2023, 6:13 am
  #78  
 
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Originally Posted by Wozza2404
Pros and cons to both. 16month old will be fairly active so the ability to 'lock them in' to the club suite area by closing the door might be appealing. But there's also a lot to be said for the rear centre pair in old CW which effectively gives you a decent area of floor space.

Ultimately I guess it comes down to whether you're dual parenting for the whole trip (in which case middle pair A380) or looking to do it in shifts in which case you might be better off with a club suite.
I have done both - and completely agree. The only other point to add is time of flight and how much sleep you are hoping your toddler will get. For me, if a day flight (and less sleep) I would opt for A380 and if night flight CS as the little one is hopefully in the bassinet for longer and you can enjoy CS.
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Old Jul 31, 2023, 10:24 am
  #79  
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
Posts: 11
[QUOTE=A13;35435720]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..



Thanks very much, is this 14E/F?
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Old Jul 31, 2023, 4:26 pm
  #80  
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Does anyone have any experience booking a seat for a child under 2 on a partner airline using avios? Website says to call in, just wondering if the process is fairly straight forward.

Our son has been on long haul flights (e.g., LAX-LHR, AMS-LAX) when he was ~5 and ~8 months old with great experiences, but infants are different than toddlers. We're on the fence of whether to book 2 premium economy seats + lap infant on Iberia or 3 economy seats with child in seat (he will be 18mo at the time). If anyone has any advice, I'd appreciate it.
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Old Aug 1, 2023, 12:19 am
  #81  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by kevinjm
Does anyone have any experience booking a seat for a child under 2 on a partner airline using avios? Website says to call in, just wondering if the process is fairly straight forward.

Our son has been on long haul flights (e.g., LAX-LHR, AMS-LAX) when he was ~5 and ~8 months old with great experiences, but infants are different than toddlers. We're on the fence of whether to book 2 premium economy seats + lap infant on Iberia or 3 economy seats with child in seat (he will be 18mo at the time). If anyone has any advice, I'd appreciate it.
I cannot offer advice on the first point. On the second I would personally go with premium economy. If your son has previously travelled well in the bassinet it gives you more space and a more comfortable flight. Also you will be able to secure the bulkhead seats and you really do get a lot of room. Plenty for your son to stand and move around a little.
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Old Aug 1, 2023, 2:19 am
  #82  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Originally Posted by kevinjm
Does anyone have any experience booking a seat for a child under 2 on a partner airline using avios? Website says to call in, just wondering if the process is fairly straight forward.

Our son has been on long haul flights (e.g., LAX-LHR, AMS-LAX) when he was ~5 and ~8 months old with great experiences, but infants are different than toddlers. We're on the fence of whether to book 2 premium economy seats + lap infant on Iberia or 3 economy seats with child in seat (he will be 18mo at the time). If anyone has any advice, I'd appreciate it.
Just call up. You'll be charged 10% of the adult fare in Avios and taxes.

Regarding IB, this will depend on the plane, IMHO. On an A330 the bassinets on are either side of the middle row of 3, but the A/C front row pair is against a bulk head so whilst no bassinet (which you won't want for an 18mo anyway, I'd imagine), you'll have a decent amount of space.

On an A350, the first row of PE is an exit row so you won't be able to sit there with a lap infant. So you'll be either sitting behind someone else, or you need to take the middle bulk head but it's a row of 4 so a good chance of someone else with a child taking the other two seats (the bassinets are the middle two seats of the row of 4).

So I'd have a good look at the seat map for the airline you're on (Aerolopa is a great resource for this), and make your choice based on that.
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Old Mar 7, 2024, 12:49 am
  #83  
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
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Some good tips in this thread, thanks all.

Am flying out of LGW in CW and have the 4E/F pair with bassinet. I spoke to BA previously and they told me the bassinets/seats are loaded on the plane and no need to reserve.

Can someone confirm if that is there experience as well and is it just a case of asking for them as soon as getting on board? Thought it worth a final check to avoid any nasty surprises!
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Old Mar 7, 2024, 2:35 am
  #84  
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Correct, cots and car seats are automatically loaded, when you are seated let the crew now which type you would like after takeoff.
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Old Mar 7, 2024, 3:00 am
  #85  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 564
Originally Posted by 12d121
Some good tips in this thread, thanks all.

Am flying out of LGW in CW and have the 4E/F pair with bassinet. I spoke to BA previously and they told me the bassinets/seats are loaded on the plane and no need to reserve.

Can someone confirm if that is there experience as well and is it just a case of asking for them as soon as getting on board? Thought it worth a final check to avoid any nasty surprises!
As an FYI as someone who did Gatwick Long Haul with an infant very recently, and to manage your expectations...

- Look out for last minute aircraft changes to an aircraft with new Club Suite, and if that happens make sure you choose a new seat very quickly. In our case we had the same strategy of booking seats 4EF in old club, but when the aircraft changed on the outbound, we lost our allocation of bassinet seat (and couldn't get anyone at BA to reinstate) and were automatically allocated E/F seats on the new aircraft. With Club Suite and tiny humans E/F is actually pretty unhelpful if you're sharing parenting (no easy access between seats, you have to go up one aisle to the galley and back down to the other side) - moving to an A/E or F/K pair is far, far better.

- On the return flight crew couldn't find any bassinets that were the right size for our son on board the aircraft. No idea how this happened, but it did. Very frustrating.
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Old Mar 18, 2024, 5:35 am
  #86  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
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Hello, tried to find this info but so far drawing a blank. I'm travelling with my 13 year old godson on a BA domestic flight next week from LHR. Could someone please help me understand the ID requirements for him? He's got an expired passport. I presume that, along with a copy of parental ID / a letter from them would be more than adequate? Thanks!
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