Author Topic: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?  (Read 2279 times)

naners

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Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« on: January 15, 2017, 03:44:30 PM »
Hello forum! My husband and I are going to take a family trip to Hawaii in the summer with our son, who will be 11 months at the time. Hawaii wouldn't have been my first choice but my extended family is going and we don't get to see them much. What I'm not looking forward to is the flight from our home in NYC to Hawaii. Option one is to fly all the way from NYC to Honolulu (10-11h), then a short connection to Maui where my family has already made their plans. Option two is to break it into two 6-7 h flights with a short stopover. I'm not sure which option is best (least bad), and whether it's worth the $800-1000 to buy a seat for the baby. Thoughts?

MayDay

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 05:02:25 PM »
At that age, my kids had a 0% chance of sleeping in my arms on a flight.  But when we had a seat, they would sleep in their familiar carseat. Also, there is no way I could sleep on a plane while holding an infant.

But, 1000$ is a lot of money.

I'd probably spend it. 

I don't know, regarding flights. It depends on the timing and if you are trying to sleep. If you are going to sleep a good chunk of it, I'd do one long flight. If baby will mostly be awake except for naps, I'd do two shorter flights. It's going to be awful at that age, though.
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GizmoTX

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 05:54:31 PM »
We did this twice when DS was an infant/toddler, DFW - Hawaii, at 9 months & then around 20 months. We bought him his own seat both times & used his FAA approved carseat. (Make sure that the carseat you take is FAA approved & labeled as such, or you'll have to gate check it & lose the comfort factor of the seat.) He slept most of the way when he was 9 months old, & we all were much happier with his own seat. When DS was 20 months old trip, he & I "walked" to Hawaii, meaning he wanted to walk the aisle with me, smile at everyone on the plane, & peek into the restroom. After that, he was sufficiently tired & satisfied to return to his seat. For that age, I packed small surprises for him to unwrap & play with at strategic intervals. I'd vote for the long flight, especially for the younger age & if the flight will be at night. Otherwise, you might be waking up a sleeping child with 50% of the trip to go.

ahoy

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 06:21:57 PM »
I think flying with young kids is no problem.  Unless I just lucked out or something.  I've flown 12 hrs more than once  between LAX and NZ with an 18 month old and then next time it was with a four month old.   Good thing about this trip is that they are night flights, kids pretty much sleep all the way.   We never bought another seat until we had too, which is after 2 yrs of age (I think).   Good luck, some kids are great on planes others not so great, whether they have their own seat or not.

 

bogart

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2017, 08:44:36 PM »
Hi.  Yes ... I did Europe and back with my son when he was ~18 months old and didn't buy an extra ticket.  Were the flights fabulous?  No, but they weren't noticeably (more) dreadful (than the average longhaul flight). 

Personally I'm just of the school of thought that ~$1K is a LOT of money to spend for (minimal) extra comfort for ~11 hours.  Of course, you may disagree ...

Hope you'll enjoy the trip!

MBot

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2017, 09:09:57 PM »
I would view it like a job, if you take the 10 hour flight and don't pay for a second seat at $1000... you are "making" 100/hour each way to have him on your lap.

Much better to do the single long flight and have your day done after one flight than to
Have a 14-20 hour day with 2 takeoffs and landings. IMHO anyway.

 I have not done long hauls with a baby, but I have had great success on shorter flights carrying my son in a soft structured carrier (an Ergo and a Lillebaby). It also lets you avoid bringing a atroller. You can't have them in the carrier for takeoff or landing but the rest of the time it REALLY helps them sleep and for you to be handsfree. The Lille is the better since it allows forward facing as well, so they can stay in the carrier on your lap sitting and play looking ahead.  Got mine used off a Facebook swap group. I took him most recently at 10 months. He seems to sleep really well
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 09:13:50 PM by MBot »

LadyFI

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2017, 10:57:52 PM »
i would not spend $800-1000 on an airline seat for an 11 month old, but that's just me. DD is nearly 5 and she took 6 trips  as a lap baby before she turned 2. Longest trip was at 4 months old from the US West Coast to Europe. Shortest was at 22 months to Denver. Others were in-between in distance and age.

Agree that having  a soft carrier is great for flying if your kid likes being worn. You can wear it and the baby through security too.

Have fun on your trip.

Tuskalusa

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2017, 11:23:17 PM »
We were in this same situation when our son was 11 months old. We spent the $$$. To this day, I'm not sure how we would have dealt with having our little boy on our lap that whole time. If you're going to the expense of going to Hawaii with your little one, the plane ticket could save your sanity. Chances are you'll be eating in a lot with the baby, so that could help offset the ticket.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2017, 02:11:59 AM »
Have a 5 month old; we don't buy an extra ticket unless we have to. No ill effects for adults or little person.
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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2017, 06:38:41 AM »
So much depends on your individual kid - when we fly now with our 3 year old she barely wants to sit in the seat we now have to buy for her - last time we flew trans Atlantic she spent most of the flight cuddling with her mum anyway.

We've never paid for a day for them until we've had to, and we've never regretted that decision. What at have done is to try and always fly direct as the takeoff and landing are the hardest part of the flight. Not only this but the one time we did take a 2 leg flight (Seattle to London via Iceland) she refused to sleep until right before we landed in Iceland, woke up cranky and wouldn't sleep again. With a direct flight that could have been a few hours solid rest!

Gin1984

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2017, 06:56:24 AM »
What airline had direct?

naners

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2017, 07:33:19 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. It's hard to know what DS will be like at 11 months, but he has never slept in our arms and isn't a super cuddly baby now - so I'm guessing he won't be at 11 months. Leaning a bit toward just shelling out the money for a seat (but argh, so much money!). Hawaiian airlines flies direct NYC to HNL. Unfortunately we can't get all the way to Maui direct but it would just be a very short hop to get there.

Rockne

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2017, 07:49:32 AM »
We flew long-haul to Hawaii with our 1 year old, and what we did is booked the bulkhead. Since there are no seats in front of you, we used the floor in front as a little play area for her since most airlines have a little more space in the bulkhead but no under-seat storage. (We put down a small blanket and wiped down any touchable surface with baby wipes). We're smaller people (<5'8" each), so this really worked out. It may not work out as well for you as it did for us if you are taller.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2017, 10:30:23 AM »
I personally would if you have the money. It’s a safety issue. Babies/lap children have been injured during turbulence, and the guideline is to buy a seat and use a carseat if possible. The airlines don’t enforce this however because it is so costly and the odds of experiencing serious turbulence are relatively low.
Parents think they can hold onto a baby tight enough but that is not true except in minor circumstances. If you can't hold onto a baby safely in a moving car, you certainly can't effectively restrain a baby in a moving plane. If you lose elevation rapidly, the child will need to be strapped down or else they will smack into the overhead bin or land in another row. There have been a few instances of children dying in crash landings specifically because they were not restrained.
http://www.today.com/parents/severely-bumpy-flights-boost-lap-baby-concerns-2D12145603
http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/Plane-Crash-Survivor-Fights-for-Lap-Children-Ban-267443051.html
http://kidsflysafe.com/category/kids-fly-safe/
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 10:37:38 AM by little_brown_dog »

wordnerd

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2017, 10:41:42 AM »
Just did a cross country trip (with a side jaunt) with a 12 month old. Given that he really want to explore and walk, it was pretty hard to keep him corralled and not bothering our seatmate. I was actually sore after an full day of flying, just from lifting him, holding him, and pulling him away from other people. On the one flight where we lucked into having an extra seat free it was much more comfortable. For the trip you're describing, I would buck up and pay but maybe cry a little bit as I did...

LovesToTravel

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2017, 11:42:19 AM »
On long haul flights, the airline should be able to provide you with a bassinet which attaches to the bulkhead - an 11 month old should still fit in this.  You have to call them after booking to request a bassinet, but they will arrange for you to be seated in the bulkhead seats with the bassinet.

Here's a blog post someone wrote about how to get the bassinet: http://www.stylehiclub.com/cruising-flying/airplane-baby-bassinet/

lhamo

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2017, 12:05:45 PM »
Don't count on the bassinette working if you have a big baby -- ours outgrew the weight limits by 6-7 months.  Be very careful with this option because the problem with the bulkhead seats is that the arms do not go up, so if you don't have the bassinette to put the baby in you are sitting there in narrow seats with rigid arms and trying to hold the baby in a way that isn't painful for both of you.   It is a good way to end up in pain due to the way you contorted your body for 11 hours.

11 months is challenging because if they have started walking they are NOT going to want to be held that long.   Also be aware that turbulence is often an issue in flights over the Pacific, and the seatbelt sign might be on for much of the flight -- depending on the carrier and the flight crew, you might not be able to move around much (some carriers are stricter about keeping people in their seats than others).

If you do decide not to buy a seat, one strategy you can employ is to pick two assigned seats for you and DH and leave an empty seat between them.  If it is a wide-body jet, definitely go for two aisle seats in the middle section -- having both of you on the aisle makes it much easier to take breaks and move around.   If only a 6-acrosser, then take an aisle and a window on one side, leaving the middle seat empty.  If someone finds themselves in a seat between two parents carrying a baby, I can GUARANTEE YOU that they and the flight attendants are going to do their best to rejigger things.   At worst, you or your DH trade with them and you end up sitting together and passing the baby back and forth.   At best, there will be at least one empty seat somewhere else on the flight (maybe even a business class seat) and the flight attendants will move the other passenger to that seat. 
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smella

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2017, 12:07:30 PM »
at 3 months and 12 lbs I already found D too heavy and annoying to hold for a 6 hour flight...so I'd probably shell out to buy the seat.

dca

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2017, 01:16:45 PM »
We've lapped it with our baby on 5 trips, including 3 times cross-country (~6 hours). For a 10-11 hour trip, though, I would probably buy a seat.

NeonPegasus

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2017, 02:57:38 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. It's hard to know what DS will be like at 11 months, but he has never slept in our arms and isn't a super cuddly baby now - so I'm guessing he won't be at 11 months. Leaning a bit toward just shelling out the money for a seat (but argh, so much money!). Hawaiian airlines flies direct NYC to HNL. Unfortunately we can't get all the way to Maui direct but it would just be a very short hop to get there.

Even with a >2 year old, I felt gypped having to buy a ticket because my younger two refused to sit anywhere but my lap.

BUT, my oldest was like yours - not a cuddly baby. I can't offer any more advice but I can tell you that the non-cuddliness is definitely a personality thing. At 9, DD1 likes hugs ... but only when she asks for them. And when she wants a hug, you better not have anything else to do because her hugs are minutes long. :)

mm1970

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2017, 06:22:29 PM »
Hello forum! My husband and I are going to take a family trip to Hawaii in the summer with our son, who will be 11 months at the time. Hawaii wouldn't have been my first choice but my extended family is going and we don't get to see them much. What I'm not looking forward to is the flight from our home in NYC to Hawaii. Option one is to fly all the way from NYC to Honolulu (10-11h), then a short connection to Maui where my family has already made their plans. Option two is to break it into two 6-7 h flights with a short stopover. I'm not sure which option is best (least bad), and whether it's worth the $800-1000 to buy a seat for the baby. Thoughts?
Buy the seat.


mm1970

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2017, 06:28:45 PM »
I personally would if you have the money. Itís a safety issue. Babies/lap children have been injured during turbulence, and the guideline is to buy a seat and use a carseat if possible. The airlines donít enforce this however because it is so costly and the odds of experiencing serious turbulence are relatively low.
Parents think they can hold onto a baby tight enough but that is not true except in minor circumstances. If you can't hold onto a baby safely in a moving car, you certainly can't effectively restrain a baby in a moving plane. If you lose elevation rapidly, the child will need to be strapped down or else they will smack into the overhead bin or land in another row. There have been a few instances of children dying in crash landings specifically because they were not restrained.
http://www.today.com/parents/severely-bumpy-flights-boost-lap-baby-concerns-2D12145603
http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/Plane-Crash-Survivor-Fights-for-Lap-Children-Ban-267443051.html
http://kidsflysafe.com/category/kids-fly-safe/
This is the longer version.  We flew a lot with my older son, 5 times before he was 18 months old.  I consider any flight more than 5 hours to be long, so that was every flight (either to Hawaii or the East Coast from CA).

In addition to having the carseat where he can sleep and play and be SAFE, you also get the added benefit of more space under the seat in front of the baby.

I can't imagine how much it would have sucked to be on a 5 hour or 10 hour flight with him and no seat.  Even more, to be "person #3" in a row with 2 parents and a baby?  No thanks.

The only time we ever flew with him without his own seat was when we were flying on miles, short hop flights that were mostly empty. So he got his own seat anyway, at 18 months.

Kid #2 always bought a seat.

On the 2 flights vs 1, eh...I've done a couple of 11 hour flights to Europe.  I'm not really a fan.  But 2 6-hour flights aren't great either, because the whole day is longer.  But the kid can run around a bit in the airport.  Which may help.

jac941

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2017, 03:54:34 PM »
Buy the seat and use your car seat on the plane.

A flight with even moderate turbulence is pretty scary with a lap child -- they bounce into the seat in front of them and whack their heads. Or their heads whack you in the face. Then they vomit from the motion sickness. It sucks. And cross country / cross pacific flights tend to have some turbulence. I've had a few bad turbulence flights (even the adults were barfing on these flights), and while they weren't bad enough to fling the kid through the airplane, it still would have sucked to restrain a kid in that.

Also, miserable kids on long flights isn't fun for other passengers and kids are more likely to behave in their car seat which is familiar. So it's a courtesy to your fellow passengers. Obviously this is way less of an issue, but it's definitely another thing to consider.

Have a nice flight no matter what you decide!

Helvegen

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2017, 04:02:26 PM »
I spent the money on her own seat for an international flight. I got a steep under 2 discount, but this was almost 10 years ago on a euro line.

Our flight was delayed 12 hours with no notice because they only figured out AFTER the machine arrived that the crew couldn't work anymore, then they couldn't find a crew, then they needed to switch out machines...agh. Yes, that seat on the plane was worth every penny.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2017, 11:06:43 AM »
I would view it like a job, if you take the 10 hour flight and don't pay for a second seat at $1000... you are "making" 100/hour each way to have him on your lap.

This is basically my take on it. Yes, the time on the plane will be less comfortable if you don't spend the money, but how often do you really spend $1,000 to make your day more pleasant? If the answer is "never," why should the answer change just because you happen to be on an airplane?

We've done several flights with our now 13-month-old. We've never reserved him a seat for himself. Our most recent flight at 12 months was a bit more of a challenge just because he moves around so much more than he used to, but we regret nothing.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is that some airlines do what's called an "infant block" where you can call them up, tell them you'll be having a lap infant, and they'll make sure that the seat next to you is the last one they sell. You could still easily end up with someone buying that seat, but it's pretty common for at least one seat to be unsold at takeoff. Definitely look into this for your airline.

I would probably opt for the two 5-6 hour flights instead of the 11 hour flight and then a short hop to Maui. Having a bit of a layover gives the kid some time to move around in between flights.
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lizzzi

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2017, 11:36:39 AM »
My husband was a professional pilot (AF career and then biz jets), and he always insisted that our children have their car seats on the airlines. It was a safety issue, as others have posted above--in case of turbulence, rough landings, etc. We just paid whatever the tickets cost for the little one(s) to have their own seat. No professional discounts for us, unfortunately. But he was a real safety nut, like all the crews seemed to be.

MrsDinero

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2017, 11:39:31 AM »
For a long flight like that yes I would buy an extra seat.  If possible try to get the bulk head seat.  You might have to pay extra, but that little floor space between the seats and the bulkhead (wall) makes an excellent mini play area. 

KCM5

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2017, 01:01:05 PM »
I've done flights like that and I have never bought a seat.

Check the weight limits for the bassinets for the airline you plan on flying. It all depends on the airline - we flew a long haul one trip (four 8 hour flights plus six shorter ones) when our kid was almost 2 (as in we returned the day before her second birthday) and she fit fine in the bassinet - I think it was Lufthansa? They had huge bassinets.

And if it's an overnight flight it will be even easier - they'll probably sleep the whole time.

If you don't get a seat for the kid and want to use a bassinet, make sure you have bulkhead seats and reserve a bassinet and then tell the flight attendants that you want one also. There are a limited amount on board.

Here's a good reference: http://www.flyingwithababy.com/essential-airline-bassinet-information-chart/

seattlecyclone

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2017, 09:38:51 AM »
Regarding the safety angle, read this FAA report from 2011. After studying the data, the FAA concludes that infant restraints could have saved three children from dying in airplanes over a 32-year period from 1979 to 2011. The last such preventable death happened in 1994. Airplanes have gotten safer since then. Going forward, they predict one preventable infant death every 10-15 years.

So yes, flying with your infant in their own seat is marginally safer than flying with your infant in your lap.

But...the flipside of this is that when you require families to buy separate seats for their infants, the cost of flying with an infant goes up. Some fraction of families will choose to drive instead because of the cost (more often for shorter flights than longer ones). And when that happens, the net effect of requiring infants to fly with their own seats if they fly at all would increase the death rate more than 70-fold, from one every ten years to more than seven each year.

Deaths aren't the whole story. The difference is even starker when you take serious injuries into account. For every person who has a fatal injury on an airplane, one other person gets a serious non-fatal injury (from turbulence, non-fatal crashes, etc.). On the roadways, 85 people get seriously injured for every person who dies. Removing the lap infant option would increase serious injuries by a factor of about 1,400.

Put another way, flying with a lap infant is already thousands of times safer than driving. If you've ever considered a road trip with your baby to be an acceptable risk, you should be more than satisfied with the risk involved in holding the baby on your lap in an airplane. Buying them another seat will increase the safety factor slightly, but you're really protecting against vanishingly small probabilities when you do. In fact, from a pure safety perspective, that money would probably be better spent saving up to convert a future road trip to an airplane trip.
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backandforth

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2017, 08:33:50 AM »
I would shell out the money and buy an extra ticket. For one, this is not just 10 hours, it's 20 hours at least, because you have to fly back to NYC, right? so the "hourly rate" is more like $50, or less if you connect in SFO, and when the baby start screaming, 30 minutes can feel like 3 hours on an airplane.

Another option is that if you can swing a few more vaction days, do a 2 day layover in SFO, it's a fun place, has beautiful national parks within driving distanct. That way you can break up the trip to more manageable pieces.

Regardless, envy you for being able to vacation in Hawaii, have a great time with your family. We miss that place so much, haven't had a proper vacation since ours born, and the travel bugs are itching!

Jules13

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2017, 10:58:42 AM »
I've flown 6 times with kids to Australia and would buy the extra seat.  It's nice to have the extra room (even when once my 2 year old insisted on only sleeping on me almost an entire trip) and they can lay down and sleep easier if they aren't a cuddler.  I would NOT take the car seat however.  We did that once and for us, it was a nightmare.  It was bulky and in the way and once it's on the plane, there is no going back.  Also, our son was 16 months at time, so yours might not be as tall, but we had to spend nearly the entire trip trying to get him to stop kicking the seat in front of him.  It was AWFUL!.  But, yours might be better in a car seat than ours was.  We checked the seat on the way home!  Good luck!

jac941

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2017, 10:18:52 PM »
I would NOT take the car seat however.  We did that once and for us, it was a nightmare.  It was bulky and in the way and once it's on the plane, there is no going back.  Also, our son was 16 months at time, so yours might not be as tall, but we had to spend nearly the entire trip trying to get him to stop kicking the seat in front of him.  It was AWFUL!.  But, yours might be better in a car seat than ours was.

I installed the car seat rear facing for my kids until they were at least 2. Then you are facing them and can interact. And they can't kick the seat. I agree that forward facing would be a nightmare for a young kid who is having a blast kicking the seat.

My 4 year old actually still prefers to have his car seat on the plane because he can sleep better and see out the window. We give him the choice for longer flights and he almost always opts to have his seat on the plane. That said, he is old enough to not kick the seat in front of him. Otherwise I wouldn't do it.


nottoolatetostart

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2017, 03:13:04 AM »
I didn't read all of this, but wanted to respond that when our oldest was 10 months we flew to Germany/Spain and then took her to Thailand at 12 months old (we were crazy apparently). Flights originated from US.

We had business class (we used miles and hubby had free upgrades) so that helped out a lot. One thing that helped immensely is that on our flight to Thailand (stop in Tokyo Narita from the US) is that we did not sit together. We sat on opposite sides of business class and in different rows, so she could not accidentally see the other person. Hubby and I split time with her, so each of us had some "off" time where we could sleep, eat, read, watch movie in peace, whatever. It made the flight more peaceful and then we just moved her, with her bag of stuff, back and forth between us. She did great! If I recall, we had to pay 10% tax on one of our seats even though she sat in our lap.

When you both sit together, you both are involved in the childcare when really it can be a one-man job. When we walked off our Germany/Spain flights when we did sit together both of us were wiped out. We felt much better after the (longer) Narita flight when we each had some alone time (by sitting in separate seats). Probably because we are so introverted!

In my experience, kids dont want to sit in car seats if you are right there. Save the money, buckle through, sit apart....
Trust me, paying/miles for 4 tickets now that we have 2 kids over age 2 is no piece of cake and hence, we drive everywhere now.

Liberty Stache

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #33 on: February 01, 2017, 07:50:58 AM »
On long haul flights, the airline should be able to provide you with a bassinet which attaches to the bulkhead - an 11 month old should still fit in this.  You have to call them after booking to request a bassinet, but they will arrange for you to be seated in the bulkhead seats with the bassinet.

Here's a blog post someone wrote about how to get the bassinet: http://www.stylehiclub.com/cruising-flying/airplane-baby-bassinet/

+1 We used one. It was well worth it. Not sure if they offer then on domestic flights though. Call them.

If no bassinet, I would not spend the money.
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Jules13

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2017, 12:58:05 PM »
Neither of mine would go into the bassinet either, for what it's worth.  Screamed anytime we tried to put them in there.  I know many others who say the same thing....so just don't bank on that!

Kaybee

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2017, 02:19:13 PM »
Flight Attendant chiming in...

Having a child in a car seat is INFINITELY safer.  In training, we're officially trained to brief you on how to hold a lapheld baby but basically told "if the shit hits the fan, lapheld babies are likely to end up seriously injured and/or be separated from their parents" (which is why you can't just hold a baby when driving in a car).  If you hit rough (or even some variations of moderate turbulence), a lapheld baby is likely to experience an entirely different type of flying and even the bracing positions when holding the baby aren't ideal...

However, airlines will likely never switch to forcing people to purchase a seat for their babies because then literally millions of families would no longer be able to fly and the airlines frankly care more about getting your business than your baby's safety.

It's up to you.  Plane crashes aren't super common but turbulence, unfortunately, isn't super rare.
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seattlecyclone

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2017, 03:08:58 PM »
Flight Attendant chiming in...

Having a child in a car seat is INFINITELY safer.  In training, we're officially trained to brief you on how to hold a lapheld baby but basically told "if the shit hits the fan, lapheld babies are likely to end up seriously injured and/or be separated from their parents" (which is why you can't just hold a baby when driving in a car).  If you hit rough (or even some variations of moderate turbulence), a lapheld baby is likely to experience an entirely different type of flying and even the bracing positions when holding the baby aren't ideal...

However, airlines will likely never switch to forcing people to purchase a seat for their babies because then literally millions of families would no longer be able to fly and the airlines frankly care more about getting your business than your baby's safety.

It's up to you.  Plane crashes aren't super common but turbulence, unfortunately, isn't super rare.

Did you read the FAA study I linked above? The lack of a requirement to buy a seat for babies has nothing to do with airlines "wanting your business" and everything to do with the fact that requiring it would cause more deaths than not, because plenty of families would choose to drive rather than buy a seat for their babies, and driving is way, way, way more dangerous than flying the same distance.

Yes, if something amazingly, uncommonly bad happens on the plane, a baby in a car seat is safer than a baby in a parent's arms. But even in a parent's arms, babies are safe because airplanes are safe. Comparing it to "why you can't just hold a baby when driving a car" is a false equivalence because car crashes are hundreds of times more likely than plane crashes. I'd be willing to bet we all have things we could fix in our homes for a few hundred bucks, that would have a greater chance of saving their life than buying them a separate plane ticket.
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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2017, 09:44:10 PM »
I have, on a few occasions, flown with a lap baby, but only when they are really small and pretty much sleep the whole time, like under 6mo. No way would I do a long distance flight with a squirming, heavy toddler on my lap. And even though flying is generally safe, turbulence or a crash landing can have a catastrophic outcome for children not properly secured. I don't fly that often, but I have had some gnarly experiences (sudden drops in smooth air, landing in a hurricane, etc) where no way I would want to be trying to hold a child. Now that we have several children, I doubt we will be flying very often because it gets very expensive, very quick, to buy multiple seats.

One other thing I haven't seen mentioned is that it's not really that safe to check a carseat, either at the baggage area or gate check, unless it is securely packaged in it's original packaging. If you watch how luggage gets thrown around on the tarmac, you can imagine what might happen to your carseat. Hairline fractures in plastic components compromise the integrity of the seat, rendering it less effective in a car accident. But I am a real stickler for carseat safety, extended rear facing, extended use of the five point harness, I only use new carseats, etc, some people don't care as much about these things.

Kaybee

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2017, 10:21:36 AM »
Did you read the FAA study I linked above?

I didn't read your study but plane crashes are not the only dangerous situations on planes (most of which aren't newsworthy).  Flying has been my career for 10 years and I've seen at least that number of lapheld children sent to doctors because they've either gone flying in unexpected turbulence or the parents have dozed off and *dropped* their babies (every parent says they won't do that but it still happens regularly enough).

As someone who has seen the guilty expression on parents' faces after the baby has been collected off the floor/wherever they landed, I would recommend a carseat.
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Cassie

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2017, 06:17:07 PM »
One thing to think about what if you pay for the seat and the child refuses to sit in it without screaming because it wants to be on your lap?  My kids sat on my lap until they were too old at 2.

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2017, 08:03:00 AM »
If you are traveling on the same flight with family, you could hold off on buying the infant seat until the last minute. Since we have 5 in our family, we would buy two pairs of window/aisle seats, and gamble that one center seat would be empty. This works even better if you are sharing a flight with extended family and ask everybody ahead of time to help you get an empty space.

 It has worked in 4 out of 5 flights for us, but it was not such a risk because our baby wants to be in our lap all the time anyway (actually right now she has an entire house to roam in but she has squeezed herself between me and the back of the couch!)

I might not have risked it if I had a heavy, squirmy, restless baby.

« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 08:09:19 AM by Poundwise »

LZZ

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2017, 08:08:47 AM »
And as a poster noted above, since some of the flight is over the Pacific, encountering turbulence is more likely.

Did you read the FAA study I linked above?

I didn't read your study but plane crashes are not the only dangerous situations on planes (most of which aren't newsworthy).  Flying has been my career for 10 years and I've seen at least that number of lapheld children sent to doctors because they've either gone flying in unexpected turbulence or the parents have dozed off and *dropped* their babies (every parent says they won't do that but it still happens regularly enough).

As someone who has seen the guilty expression on parents' faces after the baby has been collected off the floor/wherever they landed, I would recommend a carseat.

rockstache

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2017, 01:49:06 PM »
I have no comment on the kid thing, but I did heavy research into that specific NY to Hawaii nonstop flight and all the reviews were miserable. They don't serve food (except for purchase), and the plane is old and uncomfortable...supposedly. I went ahead and booked a stopover in SFO instead of going straight through.

LZZ

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2017, 02:03:51 PM »
The Hawaiian Airlines NYC-HNL that the OP quoted in her second post does include complimentary meals. 
https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/our-services/in-flight-services/dining-and-drinks/menus/new-york-jfk

And I remember it was a good flight when I took it 4 years ago with great service and comfortable plane (after flying American and United extensively for work).

Were you researching a different airline?   

I have no comment on the kid thing, but I did heavy research into that specific NY to Hawaii nonstop flight and all the reviews were miserable. They don't serve food (except for purchase), and the plane is old and uncomfortable...supposedly. I went ahead and booked a stopover in SFO instead of going straight through.

rockstache

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2017, 03:06:41 PM »
The Hawaiian Airlines NYC-HNL that the OP quoted in her second post does include complimentary meals. 
https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/our-services/in-flight-services/dining-and-drinks/menus/new-york-jfk

And I remember it was a good flight when I took it 4 years ago with great service and comfortable plane (after flying American and United extensively for work).

Were you researching a different airline?   

I have no comment on the kid thing, but I did heavy research into that specific NY to Hawaii nonstop flight and all the reviews were miserable. They don't serve food (except for purchase), and the plane is old and uncomfortable...supposedly. I went ahead and booked a stopover in SFO instead of going straight through.
Sorry, I should have mentioned I only read the first post so I didn't see the subsequent one. I was looking at the United flight. No one had anything good to say about it. Thanks for clarifying!

JustTrying

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #45 on: February 06, 2017, 10:36:55 PM »
Have you looked into the airline's policy about giving infant seats for free if they're available? I've taken my baby on 4 flights, and I was traveling alone and therefore didn't have the arms needed to deal with an infant carseat. BUT the airline's policy was that they would have given me a seat for free if they had any empty seats available and I had an infant seat with me. On each 4 flights I would have been able to take advantage of that, had I brought the seat. I think there's a good chance your airline has a similar policy, so it's something to look into! We have travel plans coming up, and once again, with 2 different airlines, their policy is to give the baby the seat if there are any seats available. (Once again, we're too lazy to bring the carseat though...)

But no, I would not pay $1000 for an airline ticket for my child.

VeggieTable

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2017, 07:46:25 PM »
Did a few short flights with DS under age 2 without a seat, and it was pretty miserable. The times we did longer flights to Europe with him in his car seat were MUCH better. That said, you have to decide if it's worth $1000 for 8-10 hours of relative comfort.

Another option is to get a travel bassinet like the PeaPod and set it up on the floor beneath your feet. Granted, it's really tight back in coach, but you could always splurge for Economy Comfort or whatever they're calling it these days - you know, the seats with slightly more leg room. That would've been my plan if we'd opted for DS not to have his own seat on an extra-long flight.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2017, 07:53:53 PM »
Have you looked into the airline's policy about giving infant seats for free if they're available? I've taken my baby on 4 flights, and I was traveling alone and therefore didn't have the arms needed to deal with an infant carseat. BUT the airline's policy was that they would have given me a seat for free if they had any empty seats available and I had an infant seat with me. On each 4 flights I would have been able to take advantage of that, had I brought the seat. I think there's a good chance your airline has a similar policy, so it's something to look into! We have travel plans coming up, and once again, with 2 different airlines, their policy is to give the baby the seat if there are any seats available. (Once again, we're too lazy to bring the carseat though...)

But no, I would not pay $1000 for an airline ticket for my child.

I agree. Way too lazy to carry a carseat while travelling. Saving money has just been one of the best bonuses of said lack of effort.
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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #48 on: February 08, 2017, 05:57:29 AM »
Have you looked into the airline's policy about giving infant seats for free if they're available? I've taken my baby on 4 flights, and I was traveling alone and therefore didn't have the arms needed to deal with an infant carseat. BUT the airline's policy was that they would have given me a seat for free if they had any empty seats available and I had an infant seat with me. On each 4 flights I would have been able to take advantage of that, had I brought the seat. I think there's a good chance your airline has a similar policy, so it's something to look into! We have travel plans coming up, and once again, with 2 different airlines, their policy is to give the baby the seat if there are any seats available. (Once again, we're too lazy to bring the carseat though...)

But no, I would not pay $1000 for an airline ticket for my child.

I agree. Way too lazy to carry a carseat while travelling. Saving money has just been one of the best bonuses of said lack of effort.

I have this strap for air traveling. It works best for kids 2 and over but is an alternative to a carseat - https://www.amazon.com/Child-Airplane-Travel-Harness-Restraint/dp/B0012E4FV8

Fits in a bag so you don't have much to lug around and keeps the kid contained in the seat. This is my goal. My kid is 4 and I don't think she even realizes she can get out of her seat on an airplane.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Worth buying an airline ticket for long haul with baby?
« Reply #49 on: February 11, 2017, 02:37:10 AM »
Have you looked into the airline's policy about giving infant seats for free if they're available? I've taken my baby on 4 flights, and I was traveling alone and therefore didn't have the arms needed to deal with an infant carseat. BUT the airline's policy was that they would have given me a seat for free if they had any empty seats available and I had an infant seat with me. On each 4 flights I would have been able to take advantage of that, had I brought the seat. I think there's a good chance your airline has a similar policy, so it's something to look into! We have travel plans coming up, and once again, with 2 different airlines, their policy is to give the baby the seat if there are any seats available. (Once again, we're too lazy to bring the carseat though...)

But no, I would not pay $1000 for an airline ticket for my child.

I agree. Way too lazy to carry a carseat while travelling. Saving money has just been one of the best bonuses of said lack of effort.

I have this strap for air traveling. It works best for kids 2 and over but is an alternative to a carseat - https://www.amazon.com/Child-Airplane-Travel-Harness-Restraint/dp/B0012E4FV8

Fits in a bag so you don't have much to lug around and keeps the kid contained in the seat. This is my goal. My kid is 4 and I don't think she even realizes she can get out of her seat on an airplane.
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