Family Friendly Airline Review – Emirates
Review by Carrie Bradley on flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne with an 11 month old and 3 year old.
Our flight from Kuala Lumpur left at a respectable 3.30pm – our only day trip when flying long haul on this occasion. This flight was a lot shorter at only 8 hours, so we weren’t fazed at all. We had all our toys packed and apps prepared, and had fed the girls lunch at the airport. We were given our pre- requested bassinet seats 17 D,E and F. G was empty as the flight wasn’t completely full, so we could spread out a bit. The B777 bassinet seat arm rests didn’t go up between seats E and F, unlike the A380.
Boarding was swift and we easily had ample space in the overhead lockers for all our belongings. When the cabin crew were released from their seats, a flight attendant came and installed the bassinet. As she was doing so she asked with a stern authority baby M’s weight – because we don’t have scales at home I was unsure and let her know this, but explained to her that Baby M was under 1 and (at the time) the current Emirates website stated that bassinets were suitable for up to two years old but over 1’s may find it a bit of a squash; so I was confident she would fit. I was rudely told that this was not the case, and that she must be able to lie flat. At which point I was asked to take her out of her lap belt ( the seat belt sign was still on for the passengers as we were still climbing altitude) and put her in the bassinet. The flight attendant asked me to make sure her legs were flat, which any parent knows, is almost impossible to do with a wide awake baby, plus sleeping babies generally sleep in a frog-like position! Thankfully baby M fitted in with no problem, but needless to say, my normal calm demeanour had been rattled by this particular crew members abrupt attitude. I think that some training or a mention of this in training school would really benefit non- parent crew, because as ex crew and as a parent I found this attitude wholly unacceptable. A point to note is now the guidelines on the Emirate website have changed and the information now reads “Whilst our bassinets are designed for babies up to two years old, we won’t be able to provide one if your baby doesn’t fit safely.” I still think this needs to highlight the completely lying flat point.
I’m happy to say the rest of the flight went a lot smoother and the rest of the crew were lovely and very good with our two girls. We were given a great kids pack consisting of a back pack, a book, eyeshades, pen and activity book, soft toy and blanket, a child size green headset ( we used our own) and a few other goodies. We were also handed a baby amenity kit – consisting of some baby wipes, a spoon, a bib and a bassinet liner. My 3 year old enjoyed her child meal, and my 11 month old had food I brought for her in pouches – as she was too old for the pureed food offered by most airlines as a baby meal. This was also supplemented by items from our trays too. The crew were happy to refill the girls bottles with milk and heat it up for my youngest. After the service, the crew kindly took a photo of the girls wearing the iconic Emirates hat, and I could see they did this for all the children on board.
The flight was a little turbulent, so about 3 hours into the flight, I ironically couldn’t use the bassinet nor my Fly Babee , but M slept happily in my arms, and with an extra pillow we were all very comfortable.
It’s tough to beat the sheer amount of facilities for kids on board an Emirates flight. The in-flight entertainment system ‘ICE’ has a huge range of games, movies; plus a dedicated kids channel and the kids packs are vast with lots of goodies. I hope it was just a blip with that particular crew member and the bassinet saga, but perhaps all non -parent crew with every airline need reminding that babies don’t generally sleep lying flat out. I will definitely fly with Emirates again as they really do look after their younger passengers, and are very well equipped for long haul and ultra long haul flights.