Home Air Travel One very good reason to fly British Airways with your baby (or lap-held toddler)

One very good reason to fly British Airways with your baby (or lap-held toddler)

by Shelly Rivoli
Toddler riding in BA toddler seat by Britax - travelswithbaby.com

Flying with a lap-held toddler? Not if you choose the right airline.

One of the best parts of booking our recent flight to Europe with British Airways was that I was able to take advantage of the British Airways “Britax child seats” I mention in Travels with Baby, which is an option offered in addition to bassinets (a.k.a. “sky cots”) to B.A. travelers flying overseas with a lap child .
While many airlines offer bassinets on long-haul and overseas flights, these lie-flat baby beds always have an upper weight and height limit which varies by airline, but may be as young as 8 months. Plus, your baby will only be happy riding in a bassinet, either lying down flat or propped up with airplane pillows, until a certain point as well. By the time you fly with a 18-month-old, it’s pretty clear it will no longer be a viable option.

Good to know… With British Airways, however, your lap child from 6 months up through 23 months can ride comfortably—and for no additional fee—in one of these adjustable, reclining seats from Britax with a secure harness (you can recline it either more or less from the position shown above). Like the B.A. bassinets, the baby seats must be mounted at the designated locations—in this case an actual platform that folds out from the bulkhead wall (and is a great place to stash extra stuff!). So you must have an appropriate seat assignment to take advantage of these baby seats.

As well, there is no guarantee ahead of time that there will be enough of these baby seats on your flight for the travelers requesting them, so be prepared to jump through all the hoops you can to secure yours before—and immediately after boarding your aircraft. See more tips and advice on bassinet-booking procedures in Part V: Travels by Airplane of Travels with Baby.

On full flights especially, a B.A. Britax baby seat beats the heck out of having your lap child climb all over you—and your neighbors—during a 10-hour flight. And let me tell you, having a secure place to buckle your 1-year-old in flight without having to purchase an additional seat presents one serious value proposition for families traveling overseas. Just be aware that these seats are only for use during the cruise portion of your flight, and will need to be securely stowed away during take-off and landing, during which time your B.A. flight attendant will make sure your lap child is secured to your lap belt with a “belly belt” provided by the airline. More information at the British Airways site.

Thanks, British Airways (who by the way did not sponsor these flights or this blog post), for providing such excellent amenities and service to the baby- and toddler-challenged travelers among us. Two thumbs up from Travels with Baby.

For more help planning air travel with your baby or toddler, don’t miss the Travels with Baby sections on everything from choosing the airline (compare parent perks in the airline comparison chart) and seats to packing your carry-ons, planning your in-flight entertainment, and preparing for airport security. And for help in the airport and during your flight – keep your Take-Along Travels with Baby handy (you know I’ve got your back).

How about you? Have you flown British Airways with your baby or toddler? Have a different favorite airline for flying with your tot?


You Might Also Like:

Ask Shelly: Tips for Overseas/Long-haul Flight with a Baby?

Ask Shelly: Best twin stroller for travel to Europe?

Review of FlyeBaby Air Travel Hammock

Need to Know Airline Series

Ages & Stages Planning Advice Series

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli
Author of Travels with Baby and the new Take-Along Travels with Baby 
https://travelswithbaby.com/   Travels with Baby on Facebook

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Allison MIllard October 17, 2014 - 10:32 pm

I am surprise you praise BA we had the worst experience with them flying with our 15 month old – We will never use them ever again – I can list all the things that went wrong but i dont want to fill up your whole page

Cheap Air tickets May 18, 2013 - 5:29 am

Nice and amazing post. i suggest you all people flights with British Airways because The airline has its First Class for the passengers looking for all the facilities, services, comfort and hospitality equaling with five starrer hotels.

Jane January 25, 2013 - 4:54 pm

I would NOT fly BA with an infant after being told that my infant had to be removed from their infant car seat because it was rear facing even though it met US standards and we had purchased a seat for my son. We specifically purchased a seat for my son so that there would not be any problems with the cots/seats they provide as they do not guarantee availablity. Terrible ridiculous policies. Completely unsafe. Never again! We were not provided with the britax car seat instead.

Tina May 9, 2013 - 9:18 am

Wonderful site. The phone rep for BA wasn’t exactly helpful, could you please clarify whether it is at all possible to reserve the Britax seat for a long-haul flight? I’d love to save the $1500(!) for our flight to the UK but also want some kind of guarantee that our 11 month old will be able to sit/sleep comfortably. Thank you!

David S. White September 14, 2012 - 5:41 pm

Great article….BA does a pretty good job for families.

Nicole February 9, 2012 - 1:54 am

I had my car seats that are FAA approved taken away from me on a British Airlines flight. Our US carseats don’t meet EU standards and are not valid so I was told. Beware. This is such a pain. Are there any car seats that can travel worldwide and meet all safety standards everywhere. This is really needed.

Shelly Rivoli February 9, 2012 - 10:01 am

EEEK! I’ve never heard of a European air carrier playing THAT card before – hope they at least provided you with a Britax child seat for your flight! You would have to question the sanity of any flight attendant suggesting an infant is safer riding without a US-approved car seat than in one, and I hope you complained (not to mention they are codeshare partners with American Airlines, ahem!). I am in complete agreement that we need to get one standard, or agreement on accepting standards for travelers, between nations as this is a huge source of confusion and pain for traveling families. I’ve also discussed this with safety techs to try and get to the bottom of it. From what I understand, the current testing standards used for U.S. car seats are just different from those used for EU car seat, not necessarily more lax or better at this point (as it may have been argued ten years ago or so), and it’s hard to argue at this point which is the “safest standard.” So even though a Britax car seat made in Europe is tested to meet ECE 44, they don’t bother testing the Britax car seat made for the USA in the same tests, and instead test it only for the FMVSS 213. Clearly there are US families traveling with their car seats to Europe, and European families bringing their car seats on trips to the states, and I would hope any legal authority would recognize it’s in the child’s best interest to have a car seat that travels all the way with it than to send families the message they are better off leaving the car seat at home (note that it’s still legal to transport children without car seats in taxis in most cities around the world, including major cities in the US and Europe – I would certainly rather have my child in a car seat or travel vest instead). Australia, however, has much more rigorous standards and is known to enforce its car seat laws on visitors, so it’s a good idea to rent one if you’ll be doing much driving down under – https://www.travelswithbaby.com/blog/important-tips-for-using-child-safety-seats-during-travel-in-australia/ I’m glad you raise this question and I have actually been trying to find a dual-certified seat that I might help bring to the market just to address this need. Till then, we do what we can. I, myself, have never had a problem using my US car seats or travel vests abroad, but the fact remains that local laws state child safety seats must meet whatever the current local standard is – with no regard to travelers bringing their children or car seats from foreign countries. For those who are most troubled by the differing safety labels, they can always rent a locally-certified car seat at their destination instead (worldwide directory here http://www.travelswithbaby.com/planning/baby_gear_rentals.htm) Have I rambled (or ranted?!)? 😉 Hope this addresses your comment to the RS post as well https://www.travelswithbaby.com/blog/how-to-fit-three-car-seats-or-boosters-across-the-back-seat-of-a-small-rental-car/

mommaconn March 6, 2011 - 4:45 am

Thank you for your website. I wish this entry was written last year, when we were traveling with our daughter, then at age 6 months. We were fortunate to have one of these Britax seats available for both our flights to and from London. She slept like a doll – 7 of the 9 hours to London from Los Angeles on a red-eye flight. I appreciate how this apparatus can be easily adjusted so that the seat can be sat upright and lie horizontally. I thought the seat fabric was a little thin and so to help make it more comfortable for her, I cushioned it a fleece blanket. We didn't mind that she had to sit on my lap with the seat belt extension for take off and landing. I thought the service from BA and the flight was good. The flight attendants were very accommodating and friendly to the little ones.

I will be coming back to your website for more tips for my future trips overseas! 😀

praveen March 4, 2011 - 4:57 am

It is not true. They neither provide the bassinete nor allow the stroller in Heathrow airport telling it is big. My wife really had a very bad experience with British airways first time after flying with them for almost 5 years . Hope this is our last trip with British airways.

praveen March 4, 2011 - 4:47 am

we had a real bad experience with British airways. Almost 5 years we were travelling with British Airways. But the last trip my wife went with my 8 months old kid was horrible. They didn't allow the stroller in Heathrow telling it is big, They didn't even provide the bassinate for the nine and half hour journey flight to Bengalure telling they are out of stock. They were least bothered and were not helpful in any way. only thing they told was you should have made it has a special request.

caroline February 4, 2011 - 3:53 am

Dear Shelly,

I am so glad I have found your blog and website. I am from Quebec and I am going to Malaysia, Borneo Island, Singapor and Hong Kong, with not one, but TWO babies. The journey is about 30 hours (with Cathay Pacific which i heard was great), with one baby on my lap (5 months) and my oldest on a seat (2 years old).

Any goooood tips to keep my 2 years old entertained during this long long flight ?
Also, any tips about a 13 hours jet lag for both babies ? (How do you cope with such a jet lag regarding sleeping time and eating ?!?!)

Thank you so much !!

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