Infant travel on BA

Old Jan 19, 20, 9:31 am
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Infant travel on BA

We recently did 10 flights on BA with an infant, two long haul, and I have to say I am quite impressed with the experience. We have no other airlines for comparison as yet (though with upcoming bookings on Cathay and Qantas). For those that might find some use in these comments, I thought I would share some experiences / tips.

Booking
This has been mentioned a few times on the forum in the past, but the current policy remains that an as-yet unborn infant is added to an existing booking after birth. It was not possible to do it earlier. This should not cause serious issues unless one is planing to travel long haul shortly after birth, in which case there could be issues with bassinet availability depending on the route and the aircraft. It was quite straightforward to add the infant to the booking (by phone).

Baggage allowance
This is very generous compared with other airlines, with an infant (on a non-HBO booking) entitled to:
  • 23kg bag
  • 2 items from the following:
    • Fully collapsible pram
    • Car seat or booster seat
    • Travel cot
    • Baby carrier
  • Same hand baggage allowance as an adult

On one routing we could have chosen between BA and Lufthansa, but the latter only allows a pram or a car seat free of charge. That seems pretty useless to me, as in many situations you will not have a car seat available at both ends of the routing, meaning you either have to pay to take the pram or travel without a car seat (i.e. unsafely) to the departure airport and/or from the arrival airport. BA is definitely a winner on this one and for this alone is our top choice on routes where they fly.

It seemed to be the case that the pram could not be collected at the aircraft door in LHR for moving between connecting flights. This may make things very difficult for a sole adult travelling with an infant. However, on one arrival at LHR T5A (from GLA, connecting onwards), there was a ground agent waiting by the aircraft door in case we needed it. That seemed to be an exception rather than a rule but Iím not sure how much consistency there is here. At all airports we used you could take the pram (single piece, fully collapsible) to the gate.

Most airports we used did not offer any kind of bag or packing material for the car seat or pram, so itís best to bring your own if you want to protect them from scuffing etc. We generally turned up with bubble wrap and sellotape for the car seat, packing it at the airport. At some airports the car seat must be taken to an oversized baggage counter after check-in, at others it goes through along with regular baggage.

Boarding
Fairly obvious but you get to board first along with those requiring assistance because of disabilities etc. This is actually very useful as it can be difficult enough getting around an airport with a baby, such that being able to locate your seat, stow your sundry items and settle in a little before the masses board makes things a bit less stressful. Plus, you get to board before Golds.

Cabin crew will come to you with extender belt and infant lifecot shortly after boarding.

Staff attitude
Generally very supportive, especially on the long hauls. I now realise how tiring and difficult it can be to fly with an infant on any length of flight, one of our two long hauls was pretty tough, and I have to say that the cabin crewís friendly, approachable and understanding attitude made things easier.

Bassinet
It was not difficult to secure bassinet seats, and a perk is that seat selection is available for everyone on the reservation at the time of booking. We have upcoming flights with Qantas for which the bassinet reservation seems to be a lot more up in the air - confirmed seats but we have been told it depends who turns up at the airport when etc.

BA has two types of bassinet available (only on long haul aircraft, of course): a lie flat cot (with what looked like White Company bedding) for younger infants, and a cradle-type seat for older infants. The latter may be safer as the baby is properly strapped in, whereas in the former there are two straps going over the top of the cot but not securing the baby as such. In any event the baby needs to come out in turbulence etc. Our baby didnít really sleep well in either - I doubt this had anything to do with either design, though a cradle-type seat that went into more of a lying, and less of a sitting, position would be welcome. Cabin crew will assemble the bassinet for you after the seatbelts signs go off, shortly after takeoff.

As an aside: on the A380, the overhead blue light on either side of the cabin (which illuminates, I believe, when someone presses their call button) is near some (most?) of the bassinets and is pretty annoying as far as a sleeping baby is concerned.

Generally speaking
I now realise how easy and relaxed it was to fly without an infant even when I thought it was stressful. Getting around an airport with one can, to varying extents depending on the airport, be very tiring. Getting through security is double the nuisance it used to be (especially at those airports that require a sleeping infant to be taken out of the pram (and therefore probably woken up) for the scanner), and queues for check-in or passport control are no fun if it is eating or sleeping time. Factor in more time than normal, plan ahead, and things will be less chaotic.

I had read before that BA was very good for infant travel relative to other airlines, and my initial experience of 2 long hauls and 8 short hauls would seem to confirm that.

Last edited by go_around; Jan 19, 20 at 9:42 am
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Old Jan 19, 20, 11:07 am
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I couldn’t agree more, my 7 month ha been to Greece and Canada and BA have been great with her!

she has the same outlook as you, a380 WTP next month then CX PE and QF domestic Y, so it’ll be interesting to see how they are with her next month

Last edited by aidy; Jan 20, 20 at 5:53 am
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Old Jan 20, 20, 3:21 am
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I just traveled with my 6 months old baby last month on SQ, even though is not BA. Ya, I agree that it is very easy to travel without infant. I had to stuff all the necessary items inside both my wife and my carry on. While still need to prepare a easily accessible bag.

But the worst part still the Y seat at bulkhead where you reserve for bassinet. It just simply too narrow, and I being the one suffer as I had to sit in the middle and being sandwich by wife+baby and a stranger...
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Old Jan 20, 20, 4:53 am
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Reading this with interest. We had triplets in August (born at 31+3) and so we're wondering what the first trip will be. We're considering a short trip to the south of France in May (so MRS are NCE), taking my parents and in CE. That maximises adults, space and luggage allowance. The other thing we'll need to do at some point is see my wif'es family in the US. That will be to MIA, BNA or DEN, and again we'll need at least one other adult with us.
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Old Jan 20, 20, 6:23 am
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Originally Posted by gustavmahler View Post
Reading this with interest. We had triplets in August (born at 31+3) and so we're wondering what the first trip will be. We're considering a short trip to the south of France in May (so MRS are NCE), taking my parents and in CE. That maximises adults, space and luggage allowance. The other thing we'll need to do at some point is see my wif'es family in the US. That will be to MIA, BNA or DEN, and again we'll need at least one other adult with us.
I would say try to avoid any short connection between two flights, make sure at least 3 to 4 hours in between each.

And also prepare some worst scenario. We had a few worst case scenarios. First worst case scenario, he poop and slightly overflow during the descending with seat belt. We try our best to let him hold until to the gate then we rush to ground agent to ask for nearest baby change room. The second and worst worst case scenario, he poop at 30 minutes before arrival. During the diaper change, we found that pilot started to descend and our son asked for breastmilk to help his ear pop in the washroom. 1 minutes later pilot asking crew to prepare for landing, and here comes the panic button from us and also the cabin crew lol.....
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Old Jan 21, 20, 11:36 am
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Originally Posted by dici View Post
I would say try to avoid any short connection between two flights, make sure at least 3 to 4 hours in between each.
I second this, 2.5-3 hours between flights at a minimum. By the time you get off the aircraft (you may decide to wait until all other pax have disembarked), clear security/immigration as appropriate, visit the baby changing room one or more timed, feed or whatever, you will not even have an opportunity to think about a sandwich or coffee for yourself before having to find the next gate.

I am not sure if it is a BA policy or practice (if it is, itís very good) that, load permitting, the adjacent seat on short haul is blocked off. From memory, out of 5 flights on A320 series, we had a row of 3 seats to ourselves (2 adults and 1 lap infant). Could have been coincidence? In any event the extra space makes a big difference, and most other pax would in any event rather avoid sitting in the same row as a baby if load permits.

All the best of luck for flying with triplets!
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Old Jan 21, 20, 2:08 pm
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+1 for this.

Travelling with babies since three years (now the older is 3 and the younger almost 1). Staff is just amazing and super helpful at LHR, recently they also allowed us to get through GF although I was the only Gold (my wife has no status and the 3 years old counts as guest now) without me asking. Onboard experience has always been extremely helpful.

I also agree on the allowance comment. It is very generous indeed and with Gold status it is just ridicolous. When we are all on the same booking I can carry up to 7 pieces up to 32kg each plus 2 car seats and 2 buggies - not that I ever wanted to lol

I do enjoy travelling with BA overall, but I must say when travelling with kids it really shines.
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