If you have an overseas flight with an infant in your future, chances are you’re hoping to take advantage of the airplane bassinets available on some long-haul flights. If so, a few quick words of advice: “Don’t assume anything.”
Truth is, it’s a lot easier to not score an airplane bassinet for your flight than it is to actually get one. But by following this checklist as you make your flight reservations and count down to your departure, the odds of getting an airplane bassinet will be in your favor.
Airplane Bassinet Checklist
1. Call your airline BEFORE booking tickets to confirm bassinets are available on the flights you want, and that your child is within size/weight/age limits to use the type available on that flight–these restrictions vary by airline and sometimes by aircraft.
2. Purchase seats at a bassinet position on the airplane (not all bulkhead seats are for bassinets, remember, and confirm locations with the airline if you are uncertain).
3. If you purchased your tickets online, follow up with a phone call to reservations to put in your bassinet request (and any optional perks for your airline; see Airlines Table in Travels with Baby to compare available perks).
4. Call your airline 24 hours in advance to reconfirm your bassinet request (don’t forget to do this before your return flight, too!).
5. Check in as early as possible for your flight to ensure you are one of the first families to receive the limited number of bassinets on your airplane.
Tip: At Seat Guru, you can see a seating chart of the actual plane that will be used on your flight (barring last-minute changes), including the restroom and galley locations, a guide to which are considered the “good seats” onboard, and details such as diaper changing stations and locations for airplane bassinets.
If you don’t want to chance it, or worry that bulkhead row seats may be too exposed and noisy for your baby to sleep, consider the FlyeBaby air travel hammock for infants. It can be used in most seating positions throught the airplane. More here in the detailed FlyeBaby review.
Got more questions about flying with babies and infants–and their older siblings? Check out the Travels by Airplane section of Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide… with more than 80 pages of tips and advice on air travel alone, including the airlines comparison chart, tips for planning your in-flight entertainment, and more.
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Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks