Monday, May 2, 2011

Airline resources when traveling with kids: part 3

 Air New Zealand
This airline has a great section with information about various services and tips for traveling with children, including strollers, car seats, bassinets, meals, and more.

If you're bringing a stroller, it has to fit in an overhead compartment or the airline will require you to check it with the rest of your luggage. This basically limits you to an umbrella-type stroller if you want to bring your stroller into the cabin.

As for car seats, the airline's website offers some nice, detailed information about what types of seats they accept on board:
The age of a child that can be restrained in a car seat is up to 4 years, provided the child does not exceed the weight limit for the restraint system of the car seat.
The car seat must have its own inbuilt restraint system and be of a type approved for use in motor vehicles. (---) It must also be in good, safe working condition and should not exceed the given dimensions.
An alternative to using a car seat inflight is the CARES child restraint system. CARES has been approved for use on Air New Zealand flights by the New Zealand CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).
Bassinets are not available on all planes in Air New Zealand's fleet, and as always they're availalbe on a first-come, first-serve basis:
Please note that because the bassinets are designed for infants up to 8 months old (and weighing a maximum of 11.8kgs/26lbs), pre-allocation of bassinet seats is only available for infants up to that age on a first come, first served basis. If you are travelling with an infant aged between 8 months and 15 months (and weighing a maximum of 11.8kgs/26lbs), a bassinet seat may be allocated to you if one is available at the time you check in on the day of travel.
The airline does offer kids' meals on long-haul flights. There are special meals for kids 2 and older, and also special meals for infants. On certain long-haul flights, diapers, drinking cups and even formula are available though supplies are limited.

The website also offers this advice if you're bringing your own food with you for your children:
You are welcome to bring your own pre-packed snacks for your children, however our Cabin Crew are unable to refrigerate, heat or add water to any food items you bring on board. Our crew are happy to prepare, heat and wash bottles whenever needed. Please remember that all food taken on board must be either eaten or destroyed prior to landing in another country due to quarantine regulations.
Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic's website offers an informative section for those traveling with children. There's a FAQ for parents that answers common questions. Cots are available, including one type I haven't seen myself that is apparently attached to a regular seat.

Skycots in Premium Economy and Economy Classes on A340-300 and B747-400:
Max weight of infant: 9,0 kg 19.8 lbs
Max height of infant: 740 mm, 29.0 inches
Skycot dimensions 35cm (width) x 21cm (depth) x 74cm (length)

Bassinets in Upper Class on A340-300, A340-600 and B747-400:
Max weight of infant: 11,0 kg 24.25 lbs
Max height of infant: 750 mm 29.50 inches
Bassinet Dimensions 35cm (width) x 24cm (depth) x 76cm (length)

Infant Cradles in Premium Economy and Economy Classes on A340-600: Max weight of infant: 11,0 kg 24.25 lbs
Max height of infant: 760 mm, 30 inches
Infant Cradle dimensions 28.63cm (width) x 72.7cm (length)
They also have special child seats available on board for kids weighing up to 20 kilos. The airline does not allow you to bring your own booster seats for children however (because they can't be secured with a seat belt).

Our Infant/Child Seat is available on all Virgin Atlantic aircraft and is suitable for newborn babies, infants and children up to a maximum weight of 44lbs (20kg) or a maximum height of 40in (100cm). The Infant/Child Seat is available for use in all cabins.
The airline will help you heat baby bottles on board, and also has a special menu for kids, as long as you make sure to order it at least 72 hours ahead of time.

There is no specific information that I can find about their policy for strollers, except this from their hand luggage section:
Infants are entitled to one piece of hand luggage weighing no more than 6kg. This is over and above the buggy or bassinet or car seat, which are carried free of charge.
It's probably advisable to ask about this when booking your flight, especially if you want to bring a stroller on board.

Air China
Air China's website does not offer very extensive or detailed information for those traveling with children. The bare basics are covered when it comes to cots:
Most flights on Air China provide cradles for babies. Please reserve a cradle more than 72 hours in advance to ensure one is available. This can be done through the local business department of Air China.
Child meals are available, and the airline recommends that you order them when you book your ticket. There are also baby meals for very young travelers.

There is a FAQ with information for unaccompanied children traveling on the airline. As for information about bringing car seats and strollers, the airline's FAQ on baggage has this to say:
A baby stroller (if able to fold) or carrying basket may be checked free of charge.
Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific's website covers all the basics in their "Infants, children and minors" section. One thing that does stand out is that the airline will not chill or heat any food or liquid: I'm guessing this means that you're out of luck if you want them to heat a baby bottle for you.

The airline's bassinets/cots are mainly designed for children 6 months and under:
  • All our aircraft are equipped with special baby bassinets. A bassinet measures 76.20cm (30") x 38.10cm (15") x 20.32cm (8") and can carry up to 12kgs
  • Please note however a baby older than 6 months may feel uncomfortable in a bassinet
  • A request for a baby bassinet (BSCT) can be made at time of reservation if passenger is traveling with an infant.
Some restrictions do apply to the types of car seats you can bring on board. They have to be forward facing and designed for children between 6 months and 3 years old, weighing no more than 18 kilos. Like many other airlines, Cathay does recommend the CARES child restraint system for use on board.

Cathay Pacific does offer special meals for children and babies. These should be ordered at least 24 hrs before your flight. The meals are part of their "Junior VIP" program.

The rules for bringing strollers and car seats on board are available in the section for cabin baggage (I wish more airlines would at least link to this information from their "traveling with children" section!):
When you are travelling with a child or an infant, you may carry onboard the following item(s) free:
  • an approved car safety seat,
  • a small bag of food and nappies (for consumption on the flight),
  • an umbrella type collapsible stroller (if cabin stowage is available).
Singapore Airlines
This airline's website offers some good information about the services available for those traveling with infants and children. Bassinets are available (again on a first-come, first-served basis) for infants weighing up to 14 kilos.

Booster seats are not allowed on board (I don't think any airline allows these on board since they can't be secured with a seat belt). There are also some restrictions on the kinds of car seats you can bring:
Approved car-type child seats may be used for children under three years but not less than six months of age. The seat must be forward facing and can be secured to an aircraft passenger seat by means of an aircraft safety belt.
The seat also has to be approved by certain organizations listed by the airline.

There are three types of meals for children available: baby meal for children under 1 year old, post-weaning meal for children 1-2 years old, and the child meal, recommended for kids 2-7 years old. On top of that, children traveling on some Singapore Airline flights in travel classes Suites, First and Business class can order a so-called "Yummy!"-meal for children aged 2-11:
Children can choose their favourite dish from a selection of delicious, mouth-watering meals created just for them. To make mealtime extra fun, the main courses come with treats such as fruit-flavoured drinks, candies, cookies, and yummy desserts. Yummy! dishes are served as main meals and are not refreshment or continental breakfast items.
According to the website, diapers, bibs, wipes, and even baby bottles are available on board on request.

The airline's policy for bringing strollers on board can be found in their Baggage FAQ
Infants are entitled to 10 kg (22 lb) of checked baggage. In addition, a fully collapsible stroller or pushchair, carrycot, and infant food may be checked without charge.
All airlines: general ticket-price policies
  • Children under 2 usually fly for a fraction of the price, as long as they don't have their own seat. You can sometimes get a cot/bassinet for them, or they travel on your lap.
  • Many airlines allow car seats on board, if they fulfill certain requirements. If your child has a car seat, you will pay pretty much full price for their ticket because they need a seat.

More airline resources
For more airline resources you can read my other posts with information about these other airlines:

1 comment:

  1. Good idea! I know some people feel like there's a sort of hard-line "no more strollers" age, but it simply isn't like that in the city. It will be a very long time, for example before my son is able to walk the 12 city blocks, safely, to get the Target.


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