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 29, 2017, 6:07 am
  #1  
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Traveling with Children beginner's guide

Content moved to wiki... saving this space for anything in the future that might not make sense in the wiki.

Last edited by dylanks; Jan 30, 2017 at 6:48 am
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 6:30 am
  #2  
 
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Many thanks Dylanks for what will no doubt prove a useful thread. Turning it into a wiki would be helpful. then others can add their experiences when appropriate.

IN particular, there seams to be a lot of threads WRT Bassinets, seating to accompany children etc. and I'm sure the seating section will prove invaluable in keeping the threads clutter free. Linking to this thread may also be useful. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...eat-board.html
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 7:19 am
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Couple of thoughts:

When travelling in CW, I have always found it a better experience to take two side pairs rather than sitting 4 across in the middle. Keeping the kids apart, plugged into IFE / iPads makes for a quieter flight than if they are sitting together.

If travelling in F we usually take the centre E/F pairs and will stagger it so that we have a adult in 1E / child in 1F / adult in 2F / child in 2E. That way each adult can access each child and it's easiest for the adult in E to assist the child in E and the adult in F to assist the child in F etc.

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.

Just had excellent return flights from LHR to SYD (via SIN) in F and the CC were amazing with my kids.

For night flights, pack pyjamas for the kids.

Be prepared for queue jumpers in priority boarding. Rude DYKWIAs tend to assume that families with kids aren't worthy of travelling in F / don't have status.
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 7:42 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by navylad
Many thanks Dylanks for what will no doubt prove a useful thread. Turning it into a wiki would be helpful. then others can add their experiences when appropriate.

IN particular, there seams to be a lot of threads WRT Bassinets, seating to accompany children etc. and I'm sure the seating section will prove invaluable in keeping the threads clutter free. Linking to this thread may also be useful. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...eat-board.html
Thanks, wiki created and link added.

Originally Posted by Newly Wed
Couple of thoughts:

When travelling in CW, I have always found it a better experience to take two side pairs rather than sitting 4 across in the middle. Keeping the kids apart, plugged into IFE / iPads makes for a quieter flight than if they are sitting together.

If travelling in F we usually take the centre E/F pairs and will stagger it so that we have a adult in 1E / child in 1F / adult in 2F / child in 2E. That way each adult can access each child and it's easiest for the adult in E to assist the child in E and the adult in F to assist the child in F etc.

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.

Just had excellent return flights from LHR to SYD (via SIN) in F and the CC were amazing with my kids.

For night flights, pack pyjamas for the kids.

Be prepared for queue jumpers in priority boarding. Rude DYKWIAs tend to assume that families with kids aren't worthy of travelling in F / don't have status.
Interesting strategy, I think this will make for some interesting pros and cons of various approaches, based a lot on knowing your kids and their ages, and of course how many kids you have. For example, we have 3 kids, so our goal generally is to surround our youngest so he cannot run off during takeoff and landing.

I have some ideas for how to explain various ideas, and will look to add this approach into the guide.
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 8:02 am
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Great idea. Was thinking about such a thread not so long ago. More than happy to help contribute where I can.

One suggestion when putting together the wiki may be to have it categorised/organised within the sections based on ages, e.g. Infants (under 2), children aged 2-11, young adults aged 12-15. This will reflect the BA fare structure.

Would also think it relevant to have something on UK APD and how this impacts on children based on age and cabin.
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by madfish
Great idea. Was thinking about such a thread not so long ago. More than happy to help contribute where I can.

One suggestion when putting together the wiki may be to have it categorised/organised within the sections based on ages, e.g. Infants (under 2), children aged 2-11, young adults aged 12-15. This will reflect the BA fare structure.

Would also think it relevant to have something on UK APD and how this impacts on children based on age and cabin.
Agreed, great suggestions, I'll make the changes when I get a chance (probably on Monday), unless someone beats me to it!
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 9:17 am
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Just a quick note to confirm that there is definitely a kids play and TV area in galleries club north. It is situated at the far end by the business area. Smaller than the one in the south complex but non the less does the job.

Also there is a good kids area in the MIA premium lounge which is opposite the staff entrance to the kitchen.
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 11:31 am
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Children's game packs should be handed out on all longhaul departures from London, there are two types for different age ranges.
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Can I help you
Children's game packs should be handed out on all longhaul departures from London, there are two types for different age ranges.
Yhanks for sharing. Can you confirm if these are available in all cabins and what the two different age ranges are? Do CC ask the age or just hazard a guess?
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 12:38 pm
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They are available in all cabins but I handed out my a crewmember working in the WT cabin before or just after takeoff.

Skyflyers activity packs

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.
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 1:32 pm
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I'm chuffed to see that the child seat thread is linked already.

I think it's worth a note on here about trips where the child turns 2 mid trip. There's guidance on the BA site but there have been some questions on FT about how this is ticketed and what happens if segments are not just on BA metal.
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 2:19 pm
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For infants under 2 it is worth noting that European airlines provide a lap-strap for the infant that links to yours for take-off, landings and turbulence. But these are not allowed on American airlines due to FAA rules, so you have to hold them yourselves. So if flying an American airline might be worth packing a set of reins.
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 2:27 pm
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Another BA plus is parties with an infant can book their seats free of charge from time of booking for everyone on the booking. A nice little bonus .
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Old Jan 29, 2017, 2:42 pm
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A couple of notes - children under 2 travel on parents lap as the default option, unless you specifically buy a seat. They don't count as a guest in the lounge, so a status holder can guest their partner and child.

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

In 6 domestic sectors we've had one Skyfliers kit issued (but we've never asked).

A few photos if you want for the wiki ?



Skyflyers kit



Galleries North kids zone
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Old Jan 30, 2017, 6:52 am
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Thanks for all the great suggestions and feedback (more than I expected actually)! I'll work to add these details into the wiki as time permits.
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