Travelling with a Baby

Old Aug 30, 16, 7:56 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: MEL, Australia
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Travelling with a Baby

Hi everyone,

I have a question regarding full service airlines vs LCCs.

We have a 1 year old and are flying HKG-TYO (3hrs in, 5 hrs back) this is part of a larger trip we have planned. The TYO leg is late Dec 2016 returning early Jan 2017.

My wife and I are debating whether to fly an LCC (Vanilla/Peach/HK Express), which for 3 of us would be about $950AUD return to HKG. If we book ANA/JAL/CX, the prices start at about double. I've kept an eye out for any sale fares, but nothing doing at the moment.

Our question is this:
When flying with a child under 2, what differences are there between an LCC Vs the full service airline for a 5hrs flight? Specifically with respect to:
- Short delays (delays under 12hrs)
- Long delays (over 12hrs)
- In flight service/experience
- Any other considerations? Not so concerned about baggage, but more about how we will be looked after in the event things don't go swimmingly. If things go exactly to plan, I would expect the LCC is the best choice (or is it?).

We will have travel insurance, to cover us if something exceptional happens. But we're debating whether it's worth paying an *extra* $1000 for the round trip. I know the intuitive answer is probably not, but I'd like to know what is the difference?

Has anyone flown any of the above airlines with a child/infant? How did you find it?

Thanks all!
daoople is offline  
Old Aug 30, 16, 8:59 pm
  #2  
Moderator: Delta SkyMiles, Luxury Hotels, TravelBuzz! and Italy
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Hi, daoople
Great Travel With Children Forum here on Flyertalk. I am moving your thread to that Forum
All best wishes,
Obscure2k
TravelBuzz Moderator
obscure2k is online now  
Old Sep 9, 16, 1:22 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 381
To be honest, from my experience there isn't a whole lot of difference between the two that will specifically help you travelling with a baby when things go south, especially if you are just flying economy. It's possible that a full service carrier will be a little more helpful, but they're still limited in what they can do and I've seen this vary by country AND carrier. Of course, the full service ones will do a little more on the longer delays, with accomodations and/or meals but it has NEVER been a good experience in my opinion.

I can also say that I've had LCCs in Asia lie quite a number of times about the cause of delays. There was one time when I flew from Hong Kong to Shanghai to meet someone. The people in Shganghai were told that the flight was delayed due to bad weather in Hong Kong... But the weather in Hong Kong was fine. In Hong Kong we were told that the flight was delayed due to mechanical problems.... But apparently there was a news report that there had been a bomb threat...

Lastly, all of the full service carriers you mentioned offer a much better product than the first three... I like ANA and JAL, but I love CS. However, personally... it's not worth double the price. You're better off booking "premium seats" from one of the first group for a little more, rather than double for the second group.

I have a different suggestion. Check your current credit cards, and possibly investigate PREMIUM travel cards such as the Citi Prestige/AMEX Platinum/Chase Sapphire Reserve that are available in your country. I book all of my flights on my Citi Prestige because of the exceptional trip delay/trip interruption insurance that it comes with. Essentially the Prestige offers up to $500 USD in charges resulting from flight delays of 3 hours or more and covers hotels, ground transportation, meals, and necessities. I believe Amex and Chase both offer similar coverages although their exact terms differ and I believe Citi's is the most generous in terms of how long the delay needs to be before the benefit triggers.

All of these cards have a high annual fee (around $450 USD), (and may not be available in Australia) but they come with a slew of additional benefits that are WELL worth the expense, even if you only do one trip a year. There are also less premium travel cards you can get with slightly watered down features which would still be better than what the airlines usually offer you. You should do a little research on the Flyertalk Miles and Points pages. (You should also keep an eye on those forums as many times they will post on fare sales for specific routes)

The premium cards usually also come with airport lounge access which will be a GODSEND if things do indeed go south and you're stuck waiting, or even if they don't and you get to the airport early or have a long layover. You can at least relax in the relative comfort of the lounge rather than the main terminal.

I've been flying with small children for several years now and nothing ever goes as planned. Leaving the house always takes longer than I expected, security takes longer, everything takes longer. We plan to get to the airport extra early nowadays. If by some miracle, everything goes smoothly we can relax in the lounge for a while. If not... then we can stay in the lounge for a little longer and I'm covered by the travel protections from my credit card without having to rely on the good graces of the unfortunately unreliable airlines.

Oh, check to make sure the plane and airline you are travelling on offers baby bassinets. Call in advance to try and guarantee one, and ask EVERYONE until you get one. Some airlines are better than others about getting you into a seat with a bassinet but it will make a big difference. Sometimes you have to be relentless to get it, since those seats can be considered premium and sold for more.

In any case, good luck on your trip.
baroqen is offline  
Old Sep 10, 16, 2:49 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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My expereince" Asian airlines are generally more accomodating to famlies and those with children. If you are traveling to Asia and within asia, I'd pick any Asian airlines over anything else. They let you board early if you have a baby or young child, faster processing at immigration at arrival too. They have more friendly and understanding flight crews than lets say UA AA DELTA. I would also pick any middle easten carriers like Etihad, Qater, gulf and any non US carriers over any US carriers.
We flew internationally to Asia when our child was 15 month and also once when he was 22 months. We just took a suitcase full of packaged ready to eat baby food and powerder milk and another bag full of diapers. iT is more managable when you have young child like a baby or a young toddler. Enjoy the transit time at airport in Asia! Hit the lounges too!

Last edited by Blueskyheaven; Sep 10, 16 at 2:55 pm
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