A Note on Airplane Bassinets (and other notes)
If you’re anything like me, you will take solace in the fact that schlepping your little one around the world costs you nearly nothing extra until they hit the grand old age of two. However, here’s some of the “fine print” I have learned wrt airplane travel with a sub two-year old:
1) Airline bassinets have different weight limits. Singapore Airlines is 14 or 16 kgs, Air China is 6 months and Quantas is 11kgs. Make sure to ask when you are booking your ticket. If a bassinet is unavailable or if your baby is too big, ask the airline to block one or two empty seats for you. However, make sure these seats are not in the front row, because there is more leg room available, the armrests don’t go up which means that baby can’t lie across the seats, which is the whole purpose of blocking off seats!! Or just upgrade to business class.
2) Singapore Airlines (and others, I am sure), will make you take the baby out of the bassinet during turbulence which is really a pain the neck (literally) when you have spent an hour trying to put them to sleep, enduring the insensitive stares of non-parental passengers. Qantas doesn’t do this. Again, ask. It’s just easier to mentally prepare if baby’s going to be sleeping on your face for most of the flight.
3) When some flights offer an infant meal, they mean a jar of banana porridge or something similarly inappropriate for a post-weaning baby. Ask for a CHILD meal instead or make something yourself.
4) Airlines will try to stick all the babies at the back of the plane. When your card says row 57, don’t assume it’s because that’s all that’s available – ask for something up front. Traveling parents have enough to deal with without being the last in the immigrations queue.
5) Airlines assign bassinets by priority by age: the youngest babies get first dibs. This means that if you have a slightly older child, you are out of luck. I remember not being able to wait till my son turned 2 so I had to get him his own seat, and get him off my lap.