Monday, September 12, 2011

Flying with infants: all about cots & bassinets

If you're traveling on a long flight with an infant, it's a good idea to ask your airline or travel agent if it's possible to reserve a bassinet on board when booking your tickets. This is essentially a small bed for your baby, and can go by different names: cot, baby basket, carrycot, or cradle for example.

Always ask for this if you are traveling with a very small child, because it is a fantastic perk: your baby gets a place to sleep, and you get your hands (and lap!) free for at least part of the flight. Usually, these cots are free of charge.

Usually a child under the age of 2 travels for free if they sit on your lap. Another alternative is to purchase a seat for your infant and use an approved car seat (check with your airline what seats can be used on board). If your child is over 1 year old, you could also use something like the Child Aviation Restraint System, CARES.

However, if you do qualify for a bassinet, that is your best and cheapest option.

The age, size and weight requirements for bassinets vary between different airlines. Listed below are links for various airlines, and what each airline's website has to say about their policy for bassinets on board.

KLM
Carrycots can be reserved for babies on intercontinental flights. These are suitable for babies no older than 6 months of age who are no longer than 65 cm and weigh no more than 10 kg on the day of the trip.

Lufthansa
On Lufthansa long-haul flights special baby cots are available. Please be aware that the number of seats with cots is limited. The bassinets are suitable for babies up to 14 kg and up to 83 cm in length and are provided free of charge. Night flights are especially suitable for journeys with small children because children can then maintain their usual sleep pattern and get some rest.

British Airways
We can supply specially designed carrycots so that your infant can sleep on board, particularly useful for longhaul flights. We can also supply an on-board infant seat that attaches to the carrycot positions.
The carrycots and infant seats cannot be used when the seat belt signs are on.
We have a limited number of carrycots and infant seats, which are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Please request them from the cabin crew on board the aircraft.
The infants seats supplied by British Airways are:
  • ideal for ages from 6 months to 2 years, but can also be used from birth
  • adjustable to a variety of positions from horizontal to vertical
  • available for infants who weigh no more than 13kgs (29lbs)
  • available on all longhaul flights, except in First Class on Boeing 777 aircraft, where only carrycots are available

Scandinavian Airlines
When flying with us to/from North America or Asia you can book a cradle (bassinet) for babies up to 9 months old. The length of the cradle is 89 cm or 72 cm, depending on aircraft type. Please book it at the same time as your ticket. 

Delta
There is no specific information about any cots or bassinets being available. The airline's site does provide this information:
For both safety and comfort, we recommend purchasing a seat and using an approved child safety seat for children under the age of two.

Air Canada
If you're travelling with an infant in Economy Class, you may request a bassinet in advance of travel by contacting Air Canada Reservations. However, we are unable to confirm availability until the time of your flight's departure.

Important:
  • bassinets are assigned on a first come, first served basis, subject to availability at time of flight departure;
  • bassinets may be provided in Economy Class only on the following aircraft:
  • for safety reasons:
    • bassinets can be used only for infants weighing less than 12kg (25lbs) who are unable to sit upright;
    • the cabin crew is responsible for installing the bassinet once the seat belt sign has been turned off.

Iceland Air
The airline's website does not mention anything about bassinets or cots being available. Instead it has this to say about traveling with an infant:
Passengers traveling with infants may bring on board an approved child seat, provided that there are free seats on the flight in question. Passengers can ensure a seat for a child seat by purchasing the child fare. 


Japan Airlines
Bassinets are available:
Reservations Required.
  • * Our bassinettes are ideal for infants weighing up to 10.5kg (age 2).
    Dimensions (length: 77 cms, width: 32.5 cms, and depth: 15 cms).
  • * Please note that bassinettes are available in limited numbers and reservation may not always be possible.

Air France
(Updated Jan. 30th 2013) The airline's website has this to say about traveling with an infant:

An infant (under 2 years of age) can travel on your lap at no extra charge on flights within Metropolitan France, and receive a discount on international flights.
For the comfort of both you and your infant, we can provide you with a bassinet (upon request and subject to availability). You can then take advantage of a child fare for your infant.

Qantas
If you require a bassinet onboard, you must notify Qantas at the time of reservation. Bassinets may be requested for infants up to 18 months of age, but the recommended age limit for bassinet use on international flights is eight months. The weight limit is 11kg (25lbs). The bassinet size is 71cm x 31cm (28in x 12in). The depth is approximately 26cm (10.5in). Infants paying 10% of the adult fare who are too large for bassinets are not entitled to a seat and must be nursed. Alternatively, the payment of a child's fare would ensure a seat. Bassinets are subject to availability.

United Airlines
A limited number of bassinets can be reserved for use, free of charge, on international aircraft (Boeing 747, 767 and 777). These bassinets are large enough to hold a child up to approximately six months old. They may not be used for takeoff or landing, or when the seat belt sign is illuminated. To request a bassinet for your flight, please contact United Reservations at 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) within the United States, or call the appropriate worldwide contact. Bassinet reservations are subject to availability. We recommend making your request early, as bassinets may no longer be available for your flight once you are at the airport.

Continental Airlines
On most long-haul flights*, Continental offers bassinets for ticketed infants weighing 22 lbs (10 kg) or less on international flights operated with 777, 767 and 757-200 aircraft.
Along with bassinet requests we will provide accompanying seat assignments for an adult traveling with an infant and up to one travel companion. Bassinets are limited in quantity, and while we recommend they be requested in advance, there is a possibility we may not be able to accommodate all requests. To request a bassinet and an accompanying seat assignment, contact Continental Reservations. There will be no fee for these seat assignments when arranged by Continental Reservations or with a Continental representative at the airport.

Finnair
The baby basket is fastened to the bulkhead of the aircraft during the flight. The child can sleep and lie down in the basket during the flight with the cover zipped up. During take-off, landing and turbulence, the infant sits on the lap of an adult with a separate safety belt fastened. The adult is allowed to have only one infant sitting on his/her lap. The maximum inner length of the baby basket is 70 cm and the infant using the basket may not weigh more than 11 kg or 24 lbs and must not be older than 6 months.

American Airlines
The website does not mention cots or bassinets, but has this information for parents traveling with infants:
Infants under 2 years of age may be held in an adult's lap, however, taxes, fees or fares may apply. For the safety of your child, American recommends purchasing a seat and using an approved child safety seat. Please contact Reservations for further information.


Air New Zealand
On international fights, bassinets may be installed on Air New Zealand Boeing 747, 777 and 767 aircraft. Currently there are no facilities for bassinets on board Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft. These bassinets are designed for infants of average size up to 8 months old. The bassinets are made up with sheets, a pillow and blankets.
There are only a limited number of bassinet positions on any aircraft so it is important to request a bassinet seat when making your booking. 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.


Virgin Atlantic
We offer three types of in-flight cots, depending on the aircraft and cabin travelled in, which are suitable for young infants. Manufacturer weight and height restrictions apply. --- The in-flight cot must be requested before you fly.

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)


Air China
Most flights on Air China provide cradles for babies. This can be done through the local business department of Air China.
  1. You may apply for infant cradle service on the São Paulo route at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled departure of your flight.
  2. On all other routes, you may apply for cradle service at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure of your flight.This can be done through the local business department of Air China.

Cathay Pacific
    • 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 travelling with an infant.

    Singapore Airlines
    While a limited number of bassinets (beds specifically for babies) are available onboard on a first-come, first-served basis, we recommend that you request for a bassinet at the time of booking to assure easy travel with your infant.
    The dimensions of the bassinet are 768 L x 298 W x 158 H (mm). Bassinets can support a maximum weight of 14kg.
     Image thanks to seeklogo.com

    20 comments:

    1. Can anyone advise me where the bassinets seats are normally located. Eg on a wall so near a lavatory and has lots of traffic?

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    2. Yes, they are usually on that bulkhead wall near the bathrooms. In spite of this, it didn't seem too busy for my kids when they were babies, but that may vary depending on your flight!

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    3. hi there. i see this is dated sept 2011. im looking at flying BA- my daughter will be 1yr *approx 10.5kgs at that time. accord to this the weight max for BA cots is 13kg- please can someone tell me if this is definately right? thanks

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      Replies
      1. I'd double-check to be sure, either on BA's website, or by calling them. The rules look to be the same, from what I can see here: http://www.britishairways.com/travel/family-prepare/public/en_us

        Hope you have a great trip!

        Delete
    4. Many parents choose to have their baby sleep in a bassinet for the first few months of life. Bassinets are smaller than cribs, and allow parents to keep their baby in the bedroom with them while they sleep. This is especially helpful for nighttime feedings and to help prevent SIDS, as parents are closer and can easily hear when their baby is in distress.

      ReplyDelete
    5. Just found out the reason there's no specific information on Air France, KLM or Delta is because they do not allow you to book a bassinet seat in advance. They assign these seats based on a first come, first serve check in AT THE AIRPORT. YIKES! Anyone gotten around this?

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      Replies
      1. This must be a new policy from those airlines, and not one that I like. I'll try to find out some more information and update this post accordingly! Thank you for posting!

        Delete
      2. According to KLM's website, you should still be able to book one ahead of time. The text on their website is the same as what is in my post above: "Carrycots can be reserved for babies on intercontinental flights, via My Trip or by calling KLM Telephone Reservations. These are suitable for babies who are no longer than 65 cm and weigh no more than 10 kg on the day of the trip."

        For Delta (at: http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/special-travel-needs/children.html), it seems they don't even mention cots anymore on their website, but I would check with a travel agent or directly with the airline about that.

        Air France (http://www.airfrance.ca/CA/en/common/guidevoyageur/assistance/voyager_bebe_airfrance.htm) still offers cots, and it sounds like you can book them ahead of time: "An infant (under 2 years of age) can travel on your lap at no extra charge on flights within Metropolitan France, and receive a discount on international flights.
        For the comfort of both you and your infant, we can provide you with a bassinet (upon request and subject to availability). You can then take advantage of a child fare for your infant."

        Delete
    6. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had not encountered
      such a subject like this. I’m able to at this moment look ahead to my future. Thank you so much for the specialized and results-oriented guide. I won’t hesitate to refer your web site to anybody who needs and wants tips on this area.


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      ReplyDelete
    7. I just spoke with a Delta rep (as we're flying to Switzerland in 2 months with our son - he will be 11 months old). They offer bassinets on international flights. They are only available for bulkhead seating and attach to the bulkhead wall. USAirways offers only cardboard/disposable bassinets on many of their international flights - these sit on the floor (no thanks!) and United reps couldn't tell me whether international flights had the floor version or the bulkhead mount version (not helpful). We will be flying Delta.

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      Replies
      1. Thank you so much for that information! Hope you have an awesome trip!

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      2. Are you sure they provided them? Deltas website makes no mebtion of that. I have changed my holidays destination to a closer place because of this fact.

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      3. Delta's website does not mention cots and bassinets, but it seems from feedback here that they do offer them. The safest bet is always to call the airline, or contact them via email to get the most accurate and up-to-date information possible! Best of luck with all your travel plans!

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      4. Hello! My husband and I are going to Rome and then coming from France next December. Our baby girl will be 12 months. I called US Airways (cheapest flight) and they told me they do not provide bassinet for a 1 yr old. Now I'm reading this. Did you call their customer service line? Tks!

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      5. Natalia, US Airways doesn't mention any cots or bassinets as of right now on their website. I would take the word of the airline, especially because what's available might be different depending on the type of plane you're on. http://www.usairways.com/en-US/traveltools/specialneeds/children.html To make it a little easier on you if you're traveling with the baby on your lap, you could look into getting a Child Comfort Seat like the one mentioned here: http://traveling-kids.blogspot.ca/2012/08/10-great-travel-gear-items-for.html

        I hope your trip goes well!

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    8. any idea if ANA has bassinets too?

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      Replies
      1. Hi, sorry for the late reply, but yes, it does seem like ANA has bassinets. Check out this link for more information: https://www.ana.co.jp/wws/us/e/asw_common/checkin/rakunori/family/faq/ "Bassinets are provided on ANA's international flights (excluding some types of aircraft).
        Please ask for a seat where a bassinet can be set upon reservation."

        Delete
    9. Is Bangladesh biman have bassinet seat

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    10. What is the size and weight limitations at us airways?

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