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Traveling International (US to India and back) with 1.5 Year old, Lap Infant or seat?

Traveling International (US to India and back) with 1.5 Year old, Lap Infant or seat?

Old Oct 5, 15, 6:41 am
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Traveling International (US to India and back) with 1.5 Year old, Lap Infant or seat?

My wife and my son (who will be about 1.5 years when he travels) have to travel from US to India and back. My son will still be under 2 years when they return. Now I am confused whether to take a "Lap Infant" ticket (10% of full cost?) for my son or get a separate seat by putting him in "child" category ?
To make things clear, she is not going to take any sort of car seats (airline approved and such) on the plane. All she is taking is an umbrella stroller which will be gate checked.

Should we take a Lap Infant ticket and hope to get an open middle seat so my son can sleep well on the flight or take a separate seat to guarantee him a seat ?
I am confused because taking even an infant seat (not lap infant) means we spend full amount and need to know if there is any workaround.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 7:14 am
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That is one long trip. For that age child, I would definitely get him his own seat. He can then sleep across one seat and in your lap. "lap" seat means there is no seat assigned and he has to be on your lap the entire trip! UGH!!! PLEASE do yourself and fellow passengers a favor and get him his own ticket. Really unfair to fellow passengers. He will fuss for sure!

Those trips are really full, You can't count on a free seat in the middle! or for that matter anywhere in the plane! Book early so you can request all 3 seats together!
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Old Oct 5, 15, 8:17 am
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Traveling International (US to India and back) with 1.5 Year old, Lap Infant or seat?

Whatever option you choose, pay up if needed for bulkhead. So you won't have to worry about him/her kicking seat in front, and it will be more confortable when s/he wants to seat on your lap.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 10:41 am
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Please continue to follow this thread in the Travel With Children Forum.
Thanks..
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Old Oct 5, 15, 1:53 pm
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Unless you have the tiniest, chillest 1.5 year old the world has ever seen, I would buy the kid their own seat. To me, 1.5-2 is *the worst* age for flying, as they're mobile and curious, and still too young to communicate effectively, too young to reason with, too young to stay glued to an iPad for hours, and too young to bribe into good behavior Or, at least, that was my experience.

My lesson was a 1-hour tarmac delay for a (full) 1-hour flight from DC to NY when my oldest was a couple of weeks away from two. Thought I'd save a few bucks. Biggest mistake of my flying-with-kids career. I can't even imagine 20+ hours of flying to India...
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Old Oct 5, 15, 2:43 pm
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Open seat are becoming quite rare - so don't count on it. I suggest an extra seat if in economy. I also suggest the fewest connections possible.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 4:52 pm
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Originally Posted by icedancer View Post
Unless you have the tiniest, chillest 1.5 year old the world has ever seen, I would buy the kid their own seat. To me, 1.5-2 is *the worst* age for flying, as they're mobile and curious, and still too young to communicate effectively, too young to reason with, too young to stay glued to an iPad for hours, and too young to bribe into good behavior Or, at least, that was my experience.

My lesson was a 1-hour tarmac delay for a (full) 1-hour flight from DC to NY when my oldest was a couple of weeks away from two. Thought I'd save a few bucks. Biggest mistake of my flying-with-kids career. I can't even imagine 20+ hours of flying to India...
He is mobile and can walk now, won't stay glued to TV or iPad. You have given spot on description of what my son is.


Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
Open seat are becoming quite rare - so don't count on it. I suggest an extra seat if in economy. I also suggest the fewest connections possible.
Yes we are trying for only one connection. The only problem being my city is DAYTON which is not really a main city so only 1 stop connection we have is DAY-EWR-BOM and that may not always be the best price. But yes since it is my wife and kid traveling alone, I don't want any curious moments so I am looking for something that can take off from US Soil and land in India at our final airport directly. Only problem with United is one bag policy.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 5:53 pm
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This is a brutal flight with a child that age, no question about it. Do everyone a favor and buy the kid a seat.

Moreover, I would strongly recommend considering connecting in Europe to have a chance to get out, run around, and generally decompress. EWR-BOM is one of the longer flights in the world and absolutely no fun in coach at any age.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 6:24 pm
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No question I would do via EWR - shortest and best dept/arrival times.
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Old Oct 5, 15, 8:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Erasmus View Post
This is a brutal flight with a child that age, no question about it. Do everyone a favor and buy the kid a seat.

Moreover, I would strongly recommend considering connecting in Europe to have a chance to get out, run around, and generally decompress. EWR-BOM is one of the longer flights in the world and absolutely no fun in coach at any age.
If I would have been with them while going, I would have taken a layover in Europe but I would rather have them in direct flight from EWR.
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Old Oct 6, 15, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by ChangingNappies View Post
Whatever option you choose, pay up if needed for bulkhead. So you won't have to worry about him/her kicking seat in front, and it will be more confortable when s/he wants to seat on your lap.
Bulkhead seats with toddlers are mixed bag, in my opinion. The pros are well outlined above.

The cons are that generally bulkhead seats have fixed armrests, meaning that kids can't raise the armrest and sleep on your lap. Also, if your child is good at escaping, the bulkhead makes it much easier to do than in a normal row, especially since s/he won't be in a car seat. Some bulkhead seats can also be assigned for disability seating, meaning that you can sometimes lose your seat assignment at the last minute.

PS. I just re-read the OP and realized that it's just the wife & child traveling together. I would definitely get the child a seat and strongly recommend bringing a car seat....that is a looong flight and the car seat at least gives some peace of mind that your child isn't going to walk off if you fall asleep.
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Old Oct 6, 15, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by AsiaTraveler View Post
Bulkhead seats with toddlers are mixed bag, in my opinion. The pros are well outlined above.

The cons are that generally bulkhead seats have fixed armrests, meaning that kids can't raise the armrest and sleep on your lap. Also, if your child is good at escaping, the bulkhead makes it much easier to do than in a normal row, especially since s/he won't be in a car seat. Some bulkhead seats can also be assigned for disability seating, meaning that you can sometimes lose your seat assignment at the last minute.

PS. I just re-read the OP and realized that it's just the wife & child traveling together. I would definitely get the child a seat and strongly recommend bringing a car seat....that is a looong flight and the car seat at least gives some peace of mind that your child isn't going to walk off if you fall asleep.
My wife won't be able to manage with a car seat and my son throws tantrums while siting in car seat when in car here as well so it is a no go on flight. My wife sleeps a lot on flights while I am usually awake entire time. But I have instructed her to NOT SLEEP at all. I know it sounds harsh but only if our son sleeps, I told her to sleep.
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Old Oct 6, 15, 10:29 pm
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After 20+ hours I might fall asleep. Even if my husband had told me not to.
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Old Oct 7, 15, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by rak007 View Post
My wife won't be able to manage with a car seat and my son throws tantrums while siting in car seat when in car here as well so it is a no go on flight. My wife sleeps a lot on flights while I am usually awake entire time. But I have instructed her to NOT SLEEP at all. I know it sounds harsh but only if our son sleeps, I told her to sleep.
Not all car seats are created equally. A Cosco Scenera seat is $50 and weighs about 8 lbs. It can easily strap onto the handle of a stroller when in the terminal. If in the bulkhead, you could position it rear-facing, so that it reclines more for sleeping. It is very doable.

Asking your wife not to sleep on the plane is not reasonable or feasible.

If not a car seat, consider getting a CARES harness so that your son can be properly/safely strapped in during the flight.

As for the original question of seat or lap.... Without a doubt, get him a seat. Especially with only one adult traveling, the child needs a seat. Consider how your wife will eat while flying with a lap child. She won't be able to lower the tray table. Even if she were to go without, she would still need to feed the child. How can that be done with a toddler on her lap and two strangers on either side and no surface to put things on?

Good luck!
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Old Oct 7, 15, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by VickiSoCal View Post
After 20+ hours I might fall asleep. Even if my husband had told me not to.
Yeah, seriously....I was like, "Whut?"

Although it's unlikely that a kid *wouldn't* sleep at all during a 20-hour flight, so I doubt the mom would *have* to stay awake for that long.

I've often found that if I start to nod off, the kid takes the cue and does the same. My kids may be weird in that way, though

But also....the food. My kids used to make a giant mess at that age while eating. I cant imagine having them doing that while sitting on my lap.

How does she plan to access her under-seat bag?

Even if the kid were quiet and well-behaved, I think I'd be pretty pissed as a seatmate, since the act of doing pretty much anything would require spreading into my (already teeny-tiny) bit of personal space.
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