Using an airline bassinet? Take note of this traveler’s tale and heed these tips.
Last week I heard from a mother preparing to fly with SAS from the United States to Eastern Europe with her FOUR children, ages 6, 5, 4 and 11 months (cross your fingers for smooth flights and connections for these fearless family travelers!). As you can imagine, she was shocked as she called to confirm her flights, only to find out that the airline would not allow her to use the airline bassinet for her baby because she is 2 months past their age limit for using bassinets, which for SAS is 9 months.
Although the particular bassinet used in the aircraft is rated to 24 lbs., the agent—and manager stood firm by their policy and refused to reserve a bassinet for the lap infant. She’s not the first parent to get caught off guard by an unexpected age limit for airline bassinets (a.k.a. sky cots). Here are a few reasons to be aware of if you have overseas travel with an infant in mind:
- The shapes and sizes of the airline bassinets themselves can vary a great deal between airlines, and even between different aircraft models operated by the same airline.
- More often than the weight of the child, it’s the length of the baby that is more of an issue regarding the size of a particular bassinet.
- Additionally, many airlines put their feet down when it becomes more likely a baby will be able to pull up or climb and topple over the side of the bassinet.
If you plan to take advantage of an airline’s bassinet for an upcoming flight with your baby, you should make sure you choose an airline that will accommodate your infant at the time of travel. And remember, bassinets are generally available on a first-come first served basis. So make sure you’re seated in the proper locations on the aircraft to avoid that possible snafu. (Much, much more on that in Travels with Baby, including the possible drawbacks of being on the busy, bulkhead row with baby .)
Here are just a few of the different ways airlines specify their airline bassinet policies:
- SAS – Bassinets for infants 9 months and younger. Click here for more information about flying with infants on SAS
- Air Canada– Bassinets for infants who cannot yet sit upright and weigh less than 25 lbs or 12 kgs (specific age not stated). Click here for more information on flying with infants on AirCanada
- Lufthansa – Bassinets (cots) for infants up to 14 kg and 83 cm (32 inches) in length. Click here for more information on flying with infants on Lufthansa
- KLM – Bassinets (carrycots) for infants no longer than 65 cm (25 inches) and weighing no more than 10 kg (22 lbs) on day of travel. Click here for more information on flying with infants on KLM
- Virgin Atlantic – bassinets (cots) for babies up to 1 year as long as they fit the bassinet, which varies in size between aircraft and classes of service. Follow this link for details. Click here for more information on flying with infants on Virgin-Atlantic
- American Airlines – bassinets on 777 aircraft and some 767 aircraft for children under 2 years and weighing less than 35 lbs. (15.8 kg). I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see a sky cot that seats a 23-month-old! (Perhaps it’s like British Airways’?) Click here for more information about flying with infants on American Airlines
And remember, British Airways not only provides infant bassinets (sky cots) for babies, but also offers a limited number of the Britax toddler seats that can be mounted on the bulkhead for children under 2 years. Click here to see it and read about our experience flying with this toddler seat.