International Bumpies

picking airplane seats

LO and I will be making our way on an international overnight flight back to the US.  She'll be about 4 months old and we purchased a seat for her (since that's the rule).  I need advice as to where on the airplane we should pick our seats.  Does she have to be right by the window with her car seat? There are 7 seats across (2-3-2).  Should I opt for middle or the side of the plane and more toward the back or the middle?... the fronts have mostly been taken. Thanks!
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Re: picking airplane seats

  • What do you mean that's the rule? We have flown many times overseas with our kids as lap babies, until they are 2. I don't know why you think you have to buy her a seat. A lap baby still pays taxes, so they aren't free, but you can definitely fly with a lap baby.

    Yes, she has to be next to the window in her car seat, or in the middle of the row of 3. I would do the 2 seats. You don't want to have her next to a stranger.  I don't think middle or back matters.

    DS 02.10.2008 * DD 04.05.2011

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  • It sounds like you are buying a seat though I don't think you have to unless the child is 2 years. I plan on flying back to the states  around when my child will be 6 months and requesting the bulkhead seats for the bassinet option and doing a lap child.

    Bringing my European car seat would be a hassle as I believe I would need a different one once I arrive in the U.S since the safety requirements are different. 

     

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  • Yeah, it's definitely not a rule that they have their own seat until they're 2. DD hasn't had her own yet on our 4 transatlantic flights. I would recommend calling the airline and trying to reserve a bassinet - you'll be seated in the bulkhead row and once you reach cruising altitude will get a bassinet hooked onto the wall so LO can sleep / play laying down during the flight. We have always done that because DD hasn't had her own seat so it was nice to be able to put her somewhere besides our lap.

    We'll be flying back again in October, this time with 2 LOs, and DD will need her own seat (she'll be 2.5), but we're just planning on a lap seat / bassinet for LO.


    BFP1: DD1 born April 2011 at 34w1d via unplanned c/s due to HELLP, DVT 1 week PP
    BFP2: 3/18/12, blighted ovum, natural m/c @ 7w4d
    BFP3: DD2 born Feb 2013 at 38w4d via unplanned RCS due to uterine dehiscence

  • image kelly321:

    Yeah, it's definitely not a rule that they have their own seat until they're 2. DD hasn't had her own yet on our 4 transatlantic flights. I would recommend calling the airline and trying to reserve a bassinet - you'll be seated in the bulkhead row and once you reach cruising altitude will get a bassinet hooked onto the wall so LO can sleep / play laying down during the flight. We have always done that because DD hasn't had her own seat so it was nice to be able to put her somewhere besides our lap.

    We'll be flying back again in October, this time with 2 LOs, and DD will need her own seat (she'll be 2.5), but we're just planning on a lap seat / bassinet for LO.

    Yes, try to book the bassinet. It doesn't cost extra and can be great. Although be aware that even if you have booked it, it isn't always guaranteed. And some airlines are just awful about it (Delta I am talking to you!).

    We never got LO to actually sleep in the bassinet, but it was helpful to have someplace to put him down. There are weight and age limits, but I have flown a few times with an older LO and we were moved up to bulkhead and offered the bassinet until about 1 year (we declined, since really LO would not put up with it at that point.

    The only problem I have found was that when flying alone with LO was there were often business men booking those seats for a little extra legroom. It was a little awkward nursing and having my baby bassinet be hanging over their extra legroom, but it is the airlines policy not mine! 

     

    Also, strange you had to buy a seat for LO - I don't think it is a rule. I flew with LO on my lap until he was 2 years old. 

    LO born Feb 2010 m/mc 03.25.12 @ 11 weeks measured 8 Pgal/Pal always welcome
  • image expatmama:
    image kelly321:

    Yeah, it's definitely not a rule that they have their own seat until they're 2. DD hasn't had her own yet on our 4 transatlantic flights. I would recommend calling the airline and trying to reserve a bassinet - you'll be seated in the bulkhead row and once you reach cruising altitude will get a bassinet hooked onto the wall so LO can sleep / play laying down during the flight. We have always done that because DD hasn't had her own seat so it was nice to be able to put her somewhere besides our lap.

    We'll be flying back again in October, this time with 2 LOs, and DD will need her own seat (she'll be 2.5), but we're just planning on a lap seat / bassinet for LO.

    Yes, try to book the bassinet. It doesn't cost extra and can be great. Although be aware that even if you have booked it, it isn't always guaranteed. And some airlines are just awful about it (Delta I am talking to you!).

    We never got LO to actually sleep in the bassinet, but it was helpful to have someplace to put him down. There are weight and age limits, but I have flown a few times with an older LO and we were moved up to bulkhead and offered the bassinet until about 1 year (we declined, since really LO would not put up with it at that point.

    The only problem I have found was that when flying alone with LO was there were often business men booking those seats for a little extra legroom. It was a little awkward nursing and having my baby bassinet be hanging over their extra legroom, but it is the airlines policy not mine! 

     

    Also, strange you had to buy a seat for LO - I don't think it is a rule. I flew with LO on my lap until he was 2 years old. 

    That is true and almost led to a disaster when I flew to the States alone with DD last Christmas. I had booked a bassinet seat that was like 29D or something, but they switched planes and instead of keeping me and DD linked to a seat with a bassinet, they kept me linked to seat 29D which was an inside seat in the middle. I have no idea how I would have managed that. Thankfully, even though the plane was pretty full, they were kind enough to move me up to an Economy Plus aisle seat (United), and the seat next to me was empty, so I could put LO down there for her to kick and play during the flight.

    Since then, I usually call several times between when I book and when the flight is to make sure that I still have the bassinet seat reserved. Apparently on our flight back to Germany in September they (again United) double-booked the one bassinet on the plane, but I'm guessing because I called again about a week before the flight and 2-3 days before, we were the ones with the lucky tickets. The other family who had booked the bassinet ended up with 3 economy plus seats, so at least they also had somewhere to put their LO, but no bassinet. 


    BFP1: DD1 born April 2011 at 34w1d via unplanned c/s due to HELLP, DVT 1 week PP
    BFP2: 3/18/12, blighted ovum, natural m/c @ 7w4d
    BFP3: DD2 born Feb 2013 at 38w4d via unplanned RCS due to uterine dehiscence

  • We flew when my son was 9 months old. He was already quite mobile and has never been one to sleep in a place/thing he didn't already know.

    We bought three seats; got the singular car seat that is allowed in airplanes as well as in the US and Germany; and asked for three seats in the middle. In the end, it worked out that I sat on the aisle, PJ in his car seat in the middle, my husband in the other aisle seat. It worked out GREAT. We both had a nice rest for our heads to sleep; could get up and down without leaving him alone, asking the other parent to sit in our seat, or wake him up (I have to get up all the time - I hate sitting still....wonder where the kid gets it from  Wink); and PJ was able to sleep in the car seat that he knows.

    In the airport he slept while we change planes, so we were able to squeeze his car seat onto the buggy that we brought along, and transfer while he was in his sleep. It was awesome!

    On the way home, the flight didn't have three seats in the middle row but four, so we did one window seat for PJ in his car seat; I sat next to him for nursing reasons on the aisle; and my husband sat on the aisle seat across from me. That was okay but not as nice.

     Good luck!

       image

  • If it is just you and LO I would choose the window seat for her and the isle for you. The others are correct that you aren't required to purchase a seat (a lap baby ticket but not their own seat ticket). You could opt for the bulhead with bassinet (if available). BUT whenever the seatbelt sign is on you aren't allowed to have the baby in there and now a days that is almost the whole flight!

    We have always purchased a seat for the LOs and taken their carseats for they can sit in them. I personaly wouldn't do it any other way. I use my infant seat in the US even though it european. It is only for a couple of weeks. We purchased a convertable in the US that we travel with when the kids get older. A car seat is really the safest way for an infant or child to travel on a plane. Plus it is easy for me to be able to have them buckeled in safe if you have to get up or something.

    I don't think the place in the plane makes much difference. Just make sure you board early if you o take a carseat to get yourself situated.

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  • I fly delta and that's the rule for their airline. Sorry I should have clarified that. I don't think I could hold my baby for a 12 hour flight in my lap anyway.
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  • image 18Emily:
    I fly delta and that's the rule for their airline. Sorry I should have clarified that. I don't think I could hold my baby for a 12 hour flight in my lap anyway.

    They must have changed that since I last flew with them --- not to be a negative one, but be warned that on the international flights I took with them, they have been the only airlines to not have ANY changing tables on board -- and it is illegal to change a diaper in a seat.

    First and last time I ever flew Delta with kids.... but hopefully they have gotten better. That said, the stewerdesses were AWESOME -- gave me my own row for me and little one.

    But I am a bit of a crazy traveller. LO and I flew all over the place with just one seat for 2 years, often 10 hours or more -- and we lived to tell the tale and didn't make huge enemies of anyone on the airplane (but I wouldn't have done it if I didn't have an easy going kid). 

    LO born Feb 2010 m/mc 03.25.12 @ 11 weeks measured 8 Pgal/Pal always welcome
  • ah yea sorry no that's wrong

    Delta does not require you to buy a seat - international or domestic until the child is 2

    I have flown to the US 3 times with dd and 2 of those times I did not buy her a seat at all.

    I DID have to buy her an 'infant in arms' ticket - which was just the taxes + 10% of the cost of our flights

    It's up to you if you don't want to hold her for 12 hours, but it is doable - I did it twice at 3 months and at 11 months - for a 14 hour flight and then a 4 hour flight to get to MN from Oz :)

     Also - they did have changing tables in the bathroom on the int'l leg, but yes not on the domestic - that was a PITA! I still fly Delta though as it's most convenient for me to get from here to MN and I collect ff points with them :)

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  • oh and in answer to your original question

    if you're on your own with LO, then I'd definitely book the 2 seats by the window, so you don't have anyone else next to you.

    If you're with your dh too, then I'd consider booking the 3 middle seats - the problem with the adults sitting across the aisle (& baby at the window) is that if ther person in the middle section is holding the baby they have other people next to them. I've done both though, so really just as long as you're all together you'll be ok.

    Yes they do make you put the carseat next to the window (if you are in those 2 seats), to make it easier for everyone in the row to get in & out I guess

    I don't think back or middle really makes much of a difference - I'd probably go middle just to stay away from the bathrooms - the light that comes on when people open the door bothered my LO on some flights

    Lilypie Maternity tickers

  • Oh no - not Delta! Could you please do us a favor and share with us your experience? I have a deep hatred of that company but heard recently that it had gotten a slight tick better and would be interested in the response.

     Also - in our case, the back of the plane was MUCH MUCH MUCH better. Less people in a rush (think business travelers), more space because that is where the prep space is and a better diaper change space. Lastly, the temperature is generally (but not always) cooler back there and it is easier for me to wear layers and have little man in layers rather than trying to cool him down.

       image

  • image 18Emily:
    I fly delta and that's the rule for their airline. Sorry I should have clarified that. I don't think I could hold my baby for a 12 hour flight in my lap anyway.


    It is not their rule, you were misinformed. It is fine to buy a seat for your baby, and it is safer, but it is 100 not a delta rule.
  • image 18Emily:
    I fly delta and that's the rule for their airline. Sorry I should have clarified that. I don't think I could hold my baby for a 12 hour flight in my lap anyway.

    I have no idea where you hear that but it is wrong, it is definitely not Delta's rule. We have flown many times with kids as lap babies on Delta overseas, and had a flight booked in a few weeks with my dd as a lap child on Delta but decided to get her her own seat. Whether you want to hold your baby for 12 hours is a different story, but it is absolutely not a Delta rule. 

    DS 02.10.2008 * DD 04.05.2011

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  • I flew a bunch with my #1 and I found that middle/aisle seats in the back of the plane were the best. That way you don't have to crawl over people with LO and you are right next to the lavs.
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