]Updated January 2020

What Are The Best Airplane Seats For Kids?

Plus Information On Baby Bassinets

Unless you are in business or first class where the seats are considerably larger and more comfortable, you’ll be down the back. Here’s how to make the most of where you sit and discover the best airplane seats when you are flying with children. (If you are flying with an older baby, skip to the next section.

best airplane seats, baby bassinet, airline, family travel, best airplane seats information and tips

Flying With an Infant Using an Airline Bassinet

Request a bassinet/skycot seat

british Airways bassinet for young babies
British Airways cot style bassinet.

What Is An Airplane Bassinet?

An airplane bassinet seat, is a small bed for babies which is usually fixed to the airplane bulkhead wall (the wall behind the galley, or toilets or another cabin). In some premium cabins, they can be built into the seat compartment.

Bassinets are sometimes referred to as skycots, baskets and cots. There are a limited number of these onboard which makes them very popular for families flying with infants.

How Do I Book My Bassinet Seat?

  • These can booked by either calling your travel agent or airline and sometimes online. If you book directly with the airline, you often have better access to any online booking options versus booking with a travel agent or third party. This can sometimes be done online, but often you will need to call. 
  • A ‘bassinet seat’ is a normal passenger seat, which can either have the bassinet fixed to the wall in front of them, or has a special compartment built which houses the bassinet. Some airlines are charging extra for these seats, including Turkish Airlines,  as there are at the bulkhead position – a desired place for extra legroom. I have detailed which ones in the comparison chart mentioned.
  • Remember, it is only a request, and airline staff will do their best to accommodate you, but there is a limited availability of these seats.
  • If you are travelling with a baby on a US or Canadian airline, you are only given the option of a bassinet at the gate. It is very much on a  first come, first served basis, so it imperative you check in early and get to the gate as soon as possible to secure one.
  • Some airlines give preference to the youngest babies ( eg Qantas) so you will not have your bassinet confirmed until all infants have been checked in for the flight.
  • I always double check and call the airline to check my request has been noted. I also use the airline seat map to check it is correct by using www.seatguru.com and the airline website.
  • At check in or bag drop, I always again check the status of the bassinet and ask if there is any potential for a spare empty seat.
  • After take-off, a crew member should immediately get the bassinet and install it for you once the seat belt sign has been switched off. If they forget, do ask!
  • Most airlines require you to remove your baby from the bassinet if it is bumpy. A bassinet cannot be used for taxi, take-off or landing.

Seats where bassinets can be fitted are often highly sort after by other passengers because they are on the bulk head, meaning there is no seat in front of them which will recline and further restrict your space. However, some airlines will block these out (or show them as grey) for passengers without infants and only offer them to other passengers when it doesn’t look like another family with an infant or a wheelchair passenger needs them.

Some airlines, including  British Airways will let all members in the same booking, choose your seats online in advance if you are booking travel with an infant.   Whereas with Qantas you do need to phone ahead.

Be aware that if there are several people flying in your party, you will likely NOT all be allocated seats in the bassinet row. This is because airlines like to keep the other bassinets available for other infants or passengers with additional needs. So be prepared for members of your family to be seated in rows behind.

Remember, if it is a codeshare flight, you need to request any seats or dietary requirements with the airline operating the flight. (Although it doesn’t harm to mention it to the airline you book with.)

Bassinet sizes and regulations vary greatly from airline to airline; from age limit restrictions between 6 months – 2 years, requirements to remove or allow a baby to remain in them during turbulence, to weight and length of your baby. For full details on airline bassinets sizes and specifications, see my airplane bassinet guide to over 50 airlines!

Best seats bassinet, best airplane seats
A sample of the bassinet guide.

The best bassinet seats are …

The middle seats. If it is just the two of you plus baby are flying. Usually, these are the DEFG  middle section seats. The reason being that D and G seats on a 4 across seat plan are aisle seats. Therefore, you and your partner only have to jump across each other if you want to stretch your legs, pace the aisle with a toddler etc.

The ABC/ HJK means that either you will have to climb over someone or they will have to climb over you. Either way a bit of a nuisance. This applies to large aircraft like the Boeing 777, Airbus A380, A340, A330, Boeing 747 etc. But varies with each airline and their configuration.

I highly recommend looking at  www.seatguru.com when booking your flight, as you can review each seat. The benefits or negatives of each seat on your particular aircraft are easy to see – just by putting in the route or flight number into the search function.

Just a point to note, as bassinet seats are on bulkheads, the armrests generally do not lift up and you must keep the area on the ground completely clear during taxi, take-off and landing.

However, some arm-rests DO lift up on the E/F bulkhead seats on A380 and newer B777. However, this is rarely useful as it would likely be another family with an infant sitting next to you to use the other bassinet available.

The magazine racks are not as generous as the ones behind the regular seats – but to have your arms free when baby is sleeping is a bonus. Various airlines have different restrictions on the weight/age of a baby that can use the bassinet. I have a separate bassinet post detailing all this information.

Also remember to lift your TV out of the stowage under your seat before you or the crew put the bassinet up and baby in to sleep, otherwise you will not be able to unlatch it properly and will be left with no in-flight movie to watch…

best airplane seats
Emirates A380 seats DEF Seat E/F armest moves up.
Best airline seats, best airplane seats for kids
Emirates A380 ABC bassinet seats ( Arm rests do not move)

Flying with a slightly older baby, toddler or child?

Always ask the ground staff/crew when checking in/boarding, if the flight is completely full. A half empty flight is a huge bonus as then you can ask the crew if you could have a row of seats and spread out.

Then you can make a bed for baby on the seats and take turns over watching them, whilst you or your partner has a sleep. If the flight is empty and you haven’t booked a seat for your baby and you have an airline approved car seat, then you always use that.

If a bassinet seat is available and your child doesn’t meet the requirements for weight/age, it is still worth considering asking for it. It is still a useful place to store items you need for the flight.  However, the fixed armrest could be cumbersome if you have a long baby.

British Airways have bassinets available on international flights for up to 2 years old, (subject to weight conditions) and Qatar and Singapore have the longest bassinets, but many airlines have restrictions anywhere from 6 months to a year.

Check my bassinet post detailing all the bassinet dimensions and regulations in a quick easy to read format.

The Spare Seat Trick

If you flying with an airline that doesn’t provide bassinets (or you are flying with children in their own seat) and you can’t secure a bulkhead seat or prefer not to – try for a window seat section… usually three seats abreast.  This is especially good if it’s just the two of you travelling with your baby or child.

A top trick used by those in the know is requesting the aisle and window seat as the middle seats are the last to go. You could end up with the whole row! If it doesn’t work out, whoever has been allocated the middle seat will always want to swap with one of you – so either way you’ll all end up seated together. This, of course, works for the middle DEFG section seats too. You may end up with a spare seat for free.

Several airlines provide a bit more space

Air New Zealand have the option of a sky couch on some of their aircraft – essentially 3 seats with extra width, great for toddlers or if you can’t get a bassinet.

Etihad have a bid for a free neighbour seat system. With Economy Neighbour-Free, you can bid for one, two or three neighbouring seats to stay passenger-free for the duration of your journey. The higher your offer, the better your chances are of an upgrade.

There is no guarantee that you will get the extra seat and if you have a booking of 4 people, you cannot bid for any additional seats, as the maximum seats in one row is four. Emirates have Skybid, a similar concept coming soon.

Don’t forget:

  • Have you remembered any items you need to help your baby or toddler sleep on the plane?
  • Would you like a free printable packing checklist? If so see here.
  • Find out which airlines/airports provide courtesy airport strollers here.
Want to know which are the best seats for kids on a plane? Read on and I'll tell you! #familytravel #flyingwithkids

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  1. Hey there I fly often with my baby for my partners work to and from australia and new zealand she's almost 4months old I'm very afraid of flying I case we crash I suffer high anxiety which makes it worse I usually travel with my partner but this time it's just me and baby do u have anything I could do to make myself a bit better? Thank you

  2. Hi Naomi,

    Firstly, you are not alone. Lots of people are nervous passengers and find it a daunting experience. This can stem from a 'control' issue, as it it the pilots who are flying the plane, whereas in a car, you are the driver and in charge. I recommend letting the ground staff know when you check in and also the crew on boarding. They can then explain things to you and inform you of any expected turbulence so it is not an unpleasant surprise. There are homeopathic remedies in pharmacies such as Bachs Rescue Remedy and Calms and similiar products which a pharmacist can recommend for you. Alternatively, a visit to your doctor and explaining the situation may result in you being prescribed something stronger for flights. Also a visit to the flight deck, once you've landed, may be possible on some airlines and then you can see how it all works and talk to the pilots themselves. This may help you for future flights. Good luck!

  3. Hi Naomi,

    Firstly, you are not alone. Lots of people are nervous passengers and find it a daunting experience. This can stem from a 'control' issue, as it it the pilots who are flying the plane, whereas in a car, you are the driver and in charge. I recommend letting the ground staff know when you check in and also the crew on boarding. They can then explain things to you and inform you of any expected turbulence so it is not an unpleasant surprise. There are homeopathic remedies in pharmacies such as Bachs Rescue Remedy and Calms and similiar products which a pharmacist can recommend for you. Alternatively, a visit to your doctor and explaining the situation may result in you being prescribed something stronger for flights. Also a visit to the flight deck, once you've landed, may be possible on some airlines and then you can see how it all works and talk to the pilots themselves. This may help you for future flights. Good luck!

  4. Shaidi Khanna8:07 PM (edited)

    I've booked a holiday to Port of Spain using carribean airlines. At the time of booking the agent told me that there were bassinets available on a first come, first serve basis. I've now found out that they have no bassinets. It's a 9hour flight with a 8 month old. I'm petrified!
    I also know the time we are travelling there, there probably will be no free seats as it's carnival time.

    We are flying on their boeing 737 300. They don't seem to have a seat plan on seat guru for carribean airlines.

    Any tips


    PS, I found your website really helpful
    Collapse this comment

    Hi Shaidi,

    I've double checked for you, and yes unfortunately that airline does not have bassinets. They will allow carseats IF a seat is purchased for an infant. However, believe me a 9 hour flight will go faster than you think, especially with naps or if a night fight, a long sleep.

    1)If it is a day flight, keep your baby active playing at the terminal, with opportunities to sit up, play on back, tummy time etc, ( to tire them out as much as possible before the flight. if a night flight, try and stick to your night time ritual as much as possible.

    2) With regards to seating, ask check in staff IF there are any spare seats- you never know you MAY get lucky, as peoples plans do change last minute. It looks like you will be on a Boeing B737-800 aircraft, with a mostly 3, 3, 3 configuration. The very last seats in economy, which will be AB or JK seats, just have 2 seats together, so you may prefer these for a bit more privacy, if the flight is full?

    3)Take turns with your partner ( or if travelling alone, ask the crew to help, they often take pity on a solo parent travelling.) with walking baby around the plane., a trip to the galley, and even a trip to the loo and seeing different things can engage them. If baby does cry a lot, then the loo can give you a bit of respite too.

    4)Definitely take some toys and maybe an ipad or phone with a favourite show on. May entertain for a minutes? your little one will probably enjoy pressing any buttons and playing with seats etc and even emptying out baby wipes can entertain them for a while. Good luck, and i'm sure you will have a much better experience than you anticipate. Let us know how it went.

  5. Hi, I will be flying to South Africa with my 5month old baby boy, but my partner will not be coming with us. We will be flying with Emirates and leaving the UK at night (so hopefully he will sleep for a few hours- though he still wakes every 3 hours for a bottle), with a 3 hour stop over in Dubai. Do you perhaps know 1) which are the best seats to sit in with a bassinet when your flying as a single parent, 2) if the staff are generally quite good towards singe parents flying with a baby. Im concerned about when I need to go to the loo etc. Im also worried that Im going to have so much stuff to carry that Im really going to struggle. Ive got a stroller which im taking and also a baby carrier- but with the bags full of all baby things for the flight that i need to take it is still a lot. Also, I think I am being a bit silly, but can i only take 1 bag as hand luggage weighing 5kgs or can i take 1 for baby and 1 for myself? any help would be appreciated

  6. Hi, Emirates are a good airline and great with solo travelling parents. Just ask them to keep an eye on your son when you pop to the loo.

    Re seats, when i flew solo to South Africa, I preferred the aisle bassinet seat just to nip out if need be, but all have the advantage of no seat in front of them. You can choose your seat once you've booked it online.

    Baggage wise , you can take your own carry- on plus one for your son. Emirates are generous with luggage. Emirates also provide complimentary strollers in transit in Dubai. You may find it easier checking your stroller in at checkin and using your baby carrier. Hope that helps.

  7. Woww, this is so interesting. So many tips…! Next year will fly from Budapest to Miami as a single parent with my 11 months bambino (that time). I havent book my flight yet…. My question is: If I book the ticket (often flights are with BA) from one engine that serch for cheap tickets, do I get the oportunity to choose my seat near a carrycot, right away? Because if I book from ba.com, the price is higher but they let me choose my seat right after I've booked the ticket. Hope you understand my question. Thank you in advance!!!

  8. We are travelling from Manchester to Dubai and then to India with our four month old son.Such a wonderful site!Thanks so much! Do you know if there's usually somewhere where I can get the carseat wrapped in plastic wrapping?
    Also, I'm not able to find exact information about how much and what I can carry on the Emirates website?Can you please tell me if babyfood is fine in the hand luggage

  9. Hi, thank you!

    I am not sure re the wrapping but he airport website may have this information.
    Re baby food with emirates, as with all airlines baby food/milk et is exempt from the 100ml rule. You can take a much as you need. Airlines/ airports are quite general and stipulate 'reasonable' quantities as obviously every baby and every flight is different, and of course many people have connecting flights onwards like you. So rest assured you can take as much as you need. You can also request a baby meal on emirates which is puréed food in a jar. You need to request this minimum 24 hours before the flight. Have a fab time!

  10. Thanks a ton for the info! Since I'm moving I've got so much lagguage plus ofcourse all the baby stuff, I'm quite worried about the weight. Is Emirates usually generous weightwise if you're flying with a baby?
    Best wishes,

  11. Hi Carrie,

    I'm flying Iberia in April with my soon-to-be 10 month old. We booked through Priceline, which told us we have to book the infant ticket through the carrier. The carrier says we have to book the infant ticket through the travel agent (Priceline), and they have no control over the ticket until check-in. So, basically, we have 2 adult tickets and no ticket for my son 🙁 Have you heard of anything so ridiculous? It sounds like our only option at this point is buying a ticket for him at the airport and crossing our fingers that everything will work out…

    By the way, no Iberia info above.


  12. Hi Mirit,
    Wow that does sound ridiculous. I would perhaps call both Priceline and Iberia and ask to speak to someone in charge, as clearly someone is wrong! Thanks for the feedback and I will add Iberia as soon as possible. ;-0

  13. We are flying Seattle to Yaounde in June on Turkish Airlines (two stop-overs). It will be a long 24 hours of flights with a busy toddler. I'm hoping she'll at least sleep on the overnight Toronto to Istanbul leg! We booked her as a lap infant, since we don't have a spare $1500 for her ticket. I've tried to speak with two airline representatives, but can't get a clear answer about whether they have bassinets, how to reserve them, and if they will fit a tall 18-month-old. If the bassinets are nonexistent or too small, how likely do you think it is we'll get an extra seat for her? If likely, I'll bring her carseat for her to sleep in; if not, I don't want to lug the thing through 4 airports!

  14. Hey..
    Thanks for all the info.. It really helped. I want to know what to do if my kid doesn't fit in a bassinet because of his height? We are travelling in Quatar airways. & my baby is 79cm long..can I still request for a bassinet so that he can sit and play in that. or issomething like a toddler chair available instead of bassinet

  15. Fab, fab website! Question: I've managed to upgrade to business class on a longhaul BA 380 (whooohoo!). Seatguru doesn't indicate cots in business class, but BA itself does (10J & 15E), but I cannot find any photographs online of what exactly the cot-situation looks like? I've been placed in an aisle seat at the front of the cabin (10J), but was originally thinking of taking a window seat so as to be more isolated if baby cries and to breastfeed. I am now also worried that having a cot in a business class seat might compromise the comfort I've now spent all of our points on! Maybe I should just get a non-bassinet window seat and let the baby sleep beside me? Or will the cot actually make life even better for someone like me who has never travelled business class before? It is only me and baby on the flight, so no extra help. Any thoughts?

  16. Hi Mim,
    Lucky you! Club is lovely on BA! i would say have the bassinet, so at least you have the option. the cabins are very private with screen in the middle and if you face the screen a little and use a shawl, then you can definitely feed discreetly. Have a lovely time!

  17. Hi,

    We are going to travel with our 2 month baby next month on a flight which has 7 hr journey period, 3 hr halt and 3 hr journey again. We are planning to carry around 10 200 ml ready to go formula milk bottles.

    My first question is whether the airport security will allow this considering its liquid.

    Also, please let me know if there is anything else that we need to consider when travelling with babies that young.

  18. Hi, we are travelling with AirTransat from Manchester, UK to Toronto with a 1 year old next September and wondered if you could advise on their bassinet policies, or options thanks, Tracy Mawson

  19. HI Tracy, here is the infoBassinette
    Maximum infant weight 11 kg (24 lbs)
    Infant’s size may not exceed the dimensions of the bassinette: 68 x 30 x 15 cm (27 x 12 x 6 in)
    Safe for non-active infants who are unable to sit upright; your bassinette will remain on request until a crew member has assessed the suitability once on board
    Limited availability, at bulkhead seats only
    Restraint systems approved for onboard use (car seats)
    Recommended for safety and comfort of children under 18 kg (40 lbs)
    For infant travel: an approved restraint system may be used on board only when a seat has been purchased for the infant
    Car seats must conform to these regulations:
    Maximum car seat width 40 cm (15.5 in)
    Forward and rear-facing car seats allowed
    Canadian-made: Manufactured after Jan. 1, 1981 and displays the following inspection label: "CMVSS 213 or 213.1 Canada"
    U.S.A.-made: Manufactured after Feb. 26, 1985 and displays these labels: "This child restraint system conforms to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards" or "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft"
    Car seats manufactured in other countries may NOT be used on Air Transat flights
    AmSafe CARES child restraint system accepted

  20. Hi Carrie
    Your site is great! I'm flying from the UK to New Zealand on my own with a four year old and a 13 month old. I'm flying with Singapore Airlines, and I decided to buy an extra seat for the baby, just thought it would be useful, also for the older one to stretch out on etc. But now Singapore Airlines has told me I can't have the bassinet. It seems a little unfair that by not paying anything I would get the bassinet, but by buying a whole seat, I lose the bassinet? Do you know if this is standard practice on airlines? What would you say would be more useful, the seat for the infant, or the bassinet (I think he'd be quite big for the bassinet anyway)? I'd appreciate your thoughts (and any others on travelling on my own with two – I've done it on my own with one, which was fine, but two is a bit different…).
    Thanks so much

  21. Hi Carrie,
    My husband and I are flying with Air Transat for a 9 hour flight from Vancouver B.C to London U.K in April 2015 with our (then) 10 month old son (on our laps). He will be too big for their bassinet so we are unsure about where will be the best place to sit. Our plane is the Airbus A330-200. I've done as much research as I can (seat guru etc.) but we don't know if bulkhead seats (row 36 or 14) are worth the extra $80 if we can't use the bassinet and we would have someone seated next to one of us as the rows are 3 people. We are wondering if there is another spot that would be better for us i.e. the first 2 seat row (behind the 3 seat row) (row 44). Is it risky to sit anywhere other than the bulkhead because people will probably put their seats back, thus taking up all of our room. also if the bulkhead is best, which seats (middle of the plane or on the side?)…any help is very much appreciated.
    Thank you so much!

  22. Hi,

    I've just had a look at the Air Transat seat plan http://www.airtransat.ca/en-CA/Travel-information/Our-fleet/Our-aircraft . I think the bulkhead is nice to have the extra room and no one reclining in front of you, however, yes as you mentioned another option could be some seats in row 44 , anyway row 44 A and B or 44 J and K. The only issue maybe that the tray table is in the arm rest, so you won't be able to lift it up for extra comfort. However, the bulkhead seats also won't have armrests that lift up either as they are bulkhead. It's a tough call on either option to be honest as both have pros and cons, especially when Air Transat are charging for the bulkhead seats too. Re bulkhead seats if you are all travelling either are fine. You would be very likely to have someone sitting next to you as they are popular. I wish I could give you a more definitive answer but it's such a tricky one. It's always worth asking at check-in if the flight is full or if a row of 3 is available for you, and also on board the flight too. We had the bulkhead on a flight once and the crew kindly moved us to an empty row of 4. 😉

  23. Hi, We will be travelling with a 9 month old in April to USA from Perth, Australia. I am trying to decide to whether to purchase a seat for my child or just take my chances and hope for a spare seat next to us. Also, I am unsure if we should book the front row with the bassinet (which apparently is not guaranteed on a qantas flight) or to book a normal row and hope for a spare seat in between us. This is our first child and have never flown with a baby before. Do you think 9 months is a difficult time to travel with bubs wanting to crawl on the floor constantly?

  24. Dear Carrie,

    What a wonderful website – well done on the info and tips – it's really helpful! I too have an additional question. We're flying from Paris via KL to Bali with Malaysia Airlines with our then one year old. She is already around 8,5 kilo and 74cm so would she still fit in the babycot?


  25. Hi there, thank you for your lovely feedback. Happy to help. 🙂
    I'm not sure how long you have before your flight and your daughters current age etc to work out approximately how much she is likely to grow by the time you go, but even so, I would guess that as most babies don't sleep with legs straight out, she should just squeeze in the bassinet. There is never a lot of room width wise but even so it's still worth the extra space, legroom etc.

  26. Hi
    I've travelled with a crawler long haul, and had both the bassinet on one way and then a spare seat option on the return. I preferred the spare seat in that instance because I was with an airline which had smaller bassinets than Qantas. Qantas have fab bassinets. And one of the industries most generous. I know as a general rule, Qantas prioritise the bassinets for the youngest babies first, but saying that, after ringing them up and BA who the flight was code shared with, I was allocated our seat with a 1 year old, over 6 months in advance! Superb service and definitely worth ringing up. You can check your plane type on seat guru and then the Airplane configuration on the Qantas website site and ring Qantas to request that specific seat. The bassinet is usually symbolised by a black dot on the Qantas site. It can be a bit challenging with a baby who wants to crawl, especially if a long flight but if they have a chance to crawl etc at the boarding gate and airport etc, then this helps to tire them out for the flight. It's certainly doable 🙂

  27. Hi Carrie, thanks for the tips! I am soon flying from London to India on BA, with my 4 month old. I have been allocated 11J, in premium economy. I am wondering if it would be easier to have a bulkhead in the middle (12F), to get in and out…I did read that 11J is one of the better seats to have but because it's a window seat, I am not sure. Appreciate your thoughts!

  28. Hi SE,

    Oooh enjoy! 11J and 12F are both different seats as 11J is an aisle and 12F a middle seat. Basically from left to right the seats go AB DEFG JK, with all A and K seats a window. If you are travelling alone, then maybe an aisle seat just for ease for you getting up and out etc? If with partner, then an AB seat or JK. Hope that helps.

  29. Hi Carrie! Great advice! In April, we will be flying from Macedonia to the US with our (then) 5 month old. Do you know what accommodations Turkish Air makes for infants? Their website is very minimal on the subject. Thanks!!

  30. Hi, Im just waiting to find the dimensions but on the A340 the bassinet is much lower than on the A330. The higher position made it more difficult to see the baby whereas on the A340 you have the baby just above your knees. There is a Lounge at Ataturk airport which for a fee you can access ($35pp) they have toys etc there too.

  31. Hi Carrie, Thanks for the response!! Sorry, I was confused – I have 11K NOT 11J! So, it's a window bassinet seat. My options are the window bassinet seat or the middle bassinet seat. Neither seem ideal to me unfortunately! Seems that British Airways only does window or middle bassinet seats…Maybe a window seat is better than being stuck in the middle with strangers on either side? Thanks!

  32. Hi Carrie, what seats do you recommend for a couple with a 2 and 1/2 year old toddler flying melbourne to Paris with Emirates? Unable to book bulkhead as reserved for bubs in bassinets and seat gurus best seats are designated for adults (required for emergency exit) Thanks so much!

  33. Hi Krissy,

    Ooh Paris lovely! I would probably go for for ABC seats or HJK seats. The first part of your flight from Oz will be on a Qantas flight A380 and from Dubai to Paris an Emirates A380

  34. Hi Carrie – love your site – you're a godsend. We have a trip from Syd-Hawaii with a non-walking but crawling 1y.o, flying Hawaiian Air. I'm a bit unclear about car seats – if we are lucky enough to get a spare seat (have not purchased a seat for baby – she'll be a lap infant), do we need a car seat? We have no intention of bringing a car seat as she'll be on our lap. But in case a spare seat is available, I don't want to be 'ineligible' for it if a car seat is required. Thanks heaps for your help!

  35. Hi,
    Thank you! Happy to help. Basically, a child under 2, must be in a car seat if occupying a seat by their self for taxi, take off and landing and turbulence. And of course they can use it for cruising part of the flight too. Otherwise, they must be a lap baby and held by a parent or adult at these critical times of taxi, takeoff, etc…

    However, if there is a spare seat and you didn't have your car seat, you could still use the seat for your baby, as long as you held them during taxi, takeoff, landing and turbulence etc. Hope this makes sense?

  36. Hi Carrie.
    I am planning a trip from SFO to HKG with my three kids, ages 7, 4 and 6 months old this summer by myself on Singapore Air. I can't decide if the bassinet seat (bulkhead) row is better than the last row of each section. It's nice if I get the bulk head but afraid that they will not let my 2 kids occupy the bassinet row in case they need to save it for other babies. I don't like the fact that bulkhead row's arm rest cannot be lifted which makes nursing a long baby difficult. Having no one in front of me is nice. But if I am in the back with all the kids, I can lift up all the arm rest and have more width space. Please suggest! I like the configuration of this plane is 3 3 3 so I do not have to worry about sitting with strangers. Please suggest and willing to use other airline if better seating too! Thanks in advance.

  37. Hi Carrie, great site and thanks to share your experience with us. I am going to Azerbaijan from Italy with a stopover in Istanbul with my 9 months baby. I will fly with Turkish Airline and spend 6 hours in Istanbul Ataturk airport. I will take the travel stroller with me (Quinny, the one that turn very small once closed) and powder baby food as solids are more complicated during the journey. Any special advice/opinion about Turkish Airline and Istanbul airport? Thanks a lot, Annamaria

  38. My newborn will be almost 2 months old and I want to travel with her from the cold winter climate of Minnesota to the warm climate of Arizona to spend Christmas week with family. My significant other is adamantly against this and wants us to skip the trip altogether. He is worried about taking the baby from cold to warm climate, exposing her to all the germs in the airport/on the plane, and disrupting her environment. Do you know of any research I can show him about traveling with a 2-month old? Are his concerns valid enough reason to miss out on this trip? I realize this increases her risk of getting sick, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. He feels I am being selfish. This is causing a huge rift in my family, & I'm very depressed about it.

  39. Hi, your significant other sounds like a doting Dad who has the natural protective instinct for his little one..but he need not worry about flying with a newborn, as long as no major medical issues etc..

    My eldest went on her first trip at 11 weeks from cold UK to hot South Africa and was absolutely fine on a 12 hour flight. In fact the younger the baby is, often makes it even easier to fly. They are so portable at this age and sleep and eat mostly.

    As an ex flight attendant I've seen young babies fly ALL the time, including super long flights and we even had a baby girl born on one of my flights when I was crew.

    Families live all over the world now, and often need to travel long distances to meet relatives and spend special occasions with them, and it is very normal for newborns to accompany them these days. I appreciate you wanting to be near family at such a special time.

    Germ wise, of course they are everywhere and we naturally want to protect our babies from any unnecessary illnesses and yes airport and airplanes have them, especially due to the re- circulated air . However, germs are present everywhere including the handle of the shopping cart when we go grocery shopping, then we carry baby etc. and everywhere we go or touch…Often where young kids group together at parks, soft play, Doctors etc are the worst offenders… Also if you have an older child, they bring every cold etc back home with them from nursery and of course expose baby.

    Going to a nice warm climate will be lovely for you all too as you will be escaping all the coughs and colds in Minnesota for a while.

    So in a nut shell, unless your baby has a medical condition where your paediatrician has advised not to travel, then I don't feel his concerns of routine, environment, germs, hot cold climate etc are valid enough to cancel the trip..

    Perhaps you could reassure him by consulting your paediatrician and also getting the all clear to fly yourself, especially if a complicated delivery. (Always a good idea to wear DVT support tights etc..)

    Baby may get her first cold from the flight but then she may not and if she does you mustn't blame yourself or feel guilty. Babies get colds all the time! My youngest had her first at 2 weeks and was so snuffly – also a winter baby. .

    Most airline allow babies to travel from the age of 2 weeks old ( mainly due to reassurance no complications after birth and that both Mum and baby are fit to travel) . Hope that helps and you get to Arizona for Christmas.

  40. hi Carrie thanks for this great site. Im travelling from San Francisco on Etihad airways and i wanted to know if the armrests lift up because im travelling with a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 year old. my husband is not coming. the seats that have have selected are not bulkhead seats. im so worried because its a 16 hour flight.

    thank you again

  41. Hi and a pleasure.
    it's only the bulkhead seats that often have armrests that don't come up. Some exceptions are A380 and new B777 aircraft if DEFG bulkhead seats. So if you have 'normal' seats then yes these armrests will come up. Ask as soon as you get to the airport check in if there is any space available for you to have a row of 4. In the meantime select the DEG seats as the middle seat F will be one of the last to go and you may end up having it empty anyway.
    Your kids are a good age and the older one will love all the TV. Don't forget to ask the Sky nanny for help. My friend recently flew 24hrs with them and found she needed to ask for help. Hopefully that was a one off. Have a lovely holiday.

  42. I’ve never traveled with any kids, but I can only imagine how challenging it can be. I love that you have this review so people know what can be best when it comes to flying with a little one. It sounds like a lot of work (which I’m sure it is), but this should make it a whole lot easier. Great job!

    Danielle |

  43. Hi Carrie – we are flying with two little ones to Italy with Emirates on the A380 and one of my worries (among a long list! hehe) with booking the bulkhead seats was that the arm rests would not lift up, making it tricky for the two kiddos to share a space. Do you know if this is still the case or if the arm rests do indeed lift up? I rang emirates directly and they were not able to give me a definite answer….. Does anyone have suggestions about the best seating options for two adults, one 4.5 yr old and 1.5 yr old (on our lap)? Wondering if we forgo the extra legroom of bulkhead seats and try our luck to score 4 seats in a row elsewhere. Thank you!

    • Hi Nikki, oooh how lovely to go to Italy! Re the bulkhead seats, the ones in the middle bassinet position ie seats DEFG, the arm rest goes up between E and F- There is a picture above where you can see it. The bulkhead bassinet seats by ABC or HJK do not lift up. If you can’t get one of those seats, then yes try the trick I mention where you choose DFG or something similar, as the middle seats are always the last to go, so chances are if there is a spare seat, your E could be that lucky one. Have a fab time away!.

      • Thank you! I keep getting different answers from Emirates. We are booked in the DEFG block so will cross our fingers for a spare seat! Thanks again!

  44. Hi Carrie , what a great site this is..so much useful information, so glad I found it..I’m flying next month to Sydney from Heathrow via Doha with qatar airways with my husband ,6 year old and 8 month old. I have a bassinet booked already for the baby , the airline have given me seats 50 hjk , I know they are bulkhead bit concerned armrests don’t lift but my main concern is on seatguru a review for seat 50j says may have restricted legroom in this row, I can’t find any other reviews on it though. Also what is your opinion on this airline with regards to flying with young children.
    Thank you. Sam x

    • Hi Sam, so glad it is helping you! I really wanted to help other parent avoid the issues we encountered. Re the restricted leg room, that does seem a bit unusual as bulkhead seats are behind a wall or partition, so they have nothing like a seat, or the entertainment system impeding any leg room. Im struggling to think what this could be?
      Qatar have good reviews for flying with children, and I’ve heard good things about them.

      • Hi Carrie , I know it’s been a couple of months nearly but just to update you on qatar airways a380 it was the best flight I’ve ever been on, we had no problem with bassinet seats can’t understand why in seat guru it says restricted legroom because we had lots , you could easily walk between the seats and bassinet on the wall. Cabin crew were brilliant with the children especially the 8 month old who they played with and entertained when they had time. Next time we fly london to Sydney it will definitely be with Qatar airways again. Xxx

  45. Hi Carrie,
    We are flying o Mauritius via Dubai with Emirates next March and my LO will be 20 months. We have bulkhead seats booked already but I’m thinking he probably won’t fit in the bassinet and that actually a row of 3 seats (if we can get) would be better as he can sleep across those seats (knowing that bulkhead seats you cannot lift the arm rests). What do you think?
    Thanks in advance. Nikki

    • Hi Nikki, hmm yes its unlikely he will fit into the bassinet at that age. My 12 month old just about did and she is quite slight. I think that’s a good plan and worth a shot booking the window and aisle and hop that no one chooses the middle.

  46. Bringing a 6 month old and 9 and 10 year old from Dublin to states, just wondering if I book a bassinet seat how do my other 2 use the inflight entertainment as there’s no head rests in front? Have to try keep everyone happy

    • Hi Jo- The TV for the bulkhead/bassinet rows usually come out from the seat itself. They are designed especially for the bulkhead seats. There is usually a button to eject them partially from their stowage or you manually pull them out. Just askthe cabin crew if you are unsure. Make sure you pull them out before the bassinet is set up though, as some designs mean you can’t get them out properly, meaning you’ll have to take the bassinet down again to get them out.

  47. Hi. Your website it great. So much information. I’m struggling to decide what to do for my booking, though. My husband and u are travelling from London to Melbourne with a Dubai stopover with our daughter who will be 20 months old. The first leg is Emirates and the second Emirates operated by Quantas – both a380 x yat . We have a seat booked for her. As she’s older than the bassinet age limit, should we book away from the bulkhead to allow us to raise the arms rests and stretch out or try for the bulkhead to get the extra space?

    • Hi Claire, usually if a seat is booked for an infant, airlines won’t give the bassinet row out as that would mean someone who doesn’t have a seat, wouldn’t be able to use the bassinet. So yes, it could be worth booking away from the bulkhead so she can stretch out. You can also try and got for the middle section DEFG seats, and book DE and G. The middle single seats are always the last to go , and IF there is a spare seat you there is chance you would have it. Worst case scenario if someone is given the F seat, they would definitely want to swap with you as they wouldn’t want to be in between a family.

  48. Hi, I’m traveling alone with a 4month old with Brussels to Entebbe (it’s a 10hr flight) I booked a premium Economy seat 14A and requested a bassinet for my son, but a little worried about the seat they booked for me as it’s on the window any advice on the best bassinet seat to book on.

    • Hello, there’s nothing wrong with a window bassinet seat at all and every aircraft cabin layout is different – just remember to remove your TV screen from the stowage before the bassinet is installed after take off- as it can be tricky otherwise. Have a look at seat guru and input your airline and flight details and it will tell you the aircraft type and whether its 2 abreast like a AB JK or 3 seats abreasts like ABC or HJK

  49. Hi,
    Im flying from Manchester to Melbourne with Emirates on Xmas day with our VERY active 15 month old. Would you recommend a stopover in Dubai for a night? Or should we just go straight there? Also, should we try and book a bassinet seat? Or try for a spare seat?

    • Hello- ooohh lovely, a warm Christmas! A tricky one as Christmas day is usually a quieter day- or at least it used to be, so the likely hood of spare seat or more is greater! It’s unlikely he will fit in the bassinet as it was a bit of a squish for my then 12 month old. Let me check with some ex colleagues if Xmas day flights are still fairly quiet.

  50. Hi Carrie, what age would you recommend for a first flight, we plan a long distance flight (US to Europe) with a baby of then 1 month… ?
    Thanks for your advice!

    • Hi Iver, I found the younger the better and as long as the airline allows it ( usually baby must be at least 2 weeks old, and you have checked with your Dr that there is no reason not to travel. We first went when my eldest was 11 weeks old and she had most of her jabs.

  51. Hi I am planning to fly Manchester to Melbourne on my own with my little boy who will be 7months old at the time of the trip to visit friends. I have found some flights with emirates (2nd leg of journey is with Qantas) but I can’t seem to find out if the bassinet/bulkhead seats are available before I pay. I don’t want to pay and then find out there are no seats available with a bassinet as I don’t think I can cope with holding him all the way!! It does say they will reserve you an appropriate seat if you’re booking with an infant-do you know if they keep the bassinet seats free or should I contact the airline before booking to confirm there will be a bassinet/bulkhead seat? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Tessa – yes this is a common issue with many airlines. I think Qatar Airways is one of the very few where you can check before you book the flight.

      What I have done in the past is check the airline seat map ( on airline website) and seat guru with the exact planned flight details. I then ring up the airline and ask if any of those bassinet seats are currently available or if they have been requested. If they are available, I book immediately online and request them. What often happens is those seats are blocked for passengers to choose, unless they have an infant – but as you say, its impossible to tell beforehand how many other parents with infants have booked the same flight. In this case, it is the actual operator of the flight who will be able to tell you and is responsible for issuing seats. So ring and check with both Emirates and Qantas before you book. Hope this helps? Let me know how you get on.

      • Thanks for your advice-I contacted emirates (twice!) the first time they said they were unable to tell me if there were any bassinet seats free until I had booked the flight-a bit frustrating as I was happy to be flexible with flights depending on bassinet availability. My husband convinced me to ring again a few hours later and I spoke to someone else who checked the flights and told me there were bassinet seats available! Maybe it’s how you phrase the question. So now we’re all booked to go. This website is fab for tips and advice thank you-fingers crossed for a smooth trip.

        • Hi Tessa, I’m so glad it worked out! Yes, I’ve discovered that when I’ve rung airlines up before. Sometimes it very much depends on who you speak too to receive the right answer. I think some customer service agents know the basic questions very well but when it is something a little out of the ordinary they say no just in case!

  52. Hi Carrie,
    We will be travelling in May from London to Bali with a stopover in Dubai with an almost 3yr old and a 5 mth old.
    We are flying with Emirates but I’m stumped on what seats to book. I guess the bassinet seat for baby but the older child would be better in a row back where the entertainment is available from the point of sitting in the seat.
    Do you have any great wisdom?

    • Hi Nikki, sorry i thought my reply had come through. The bassinet seats have their TV in the arm rest so they would still have entertainment. If the flight has lots of baby on they may only put you and toddler there and hubby across the aisle or just behind so another family can use the bassinet if 4 across. (DEFG) with 3 you will be all together although the armrest doesn’t move up.

  53. Hi! I’m travelling from Auckland to London in May solo with my baby girl who will be 6 months. We are flying with Emirates on the A380 & I can already see which seats we have been allocated. We depart Auckland at 20.30 so I’m hoping she’ll sleep soon after we get on. On the 1st leg (which is 17 hrs!!!) I have been allocated 43J which is the middle seat and then on the 2nd leg 54E. As I’ll be travelling solo do you think I should request moving seats to either be by the aisle or the window rather than in the middle? Thanks so much in advance!

  54. Hey, I’ve read a lot of the reviews, what an amazing website!
    I’m planning to fly with my babe in September( she will be 4 month by then) from San Francisco to Beijing. My husband will fly one way with us, and I will take my baby back to the US by myself.
    My question is:
    1. is it worth to buy 1 business ticket so me and my hubby can switch during the flight.
    2. If we both get economy plus( air China or United), should I get an extra seat for my baby. Or for us to have extra space.
    3. If I book from Expedia, should I contact them for the bassinet or should I contact the airline after booking?
    4. I saw people bring a pillow and put baby on it, should I get one so my baby can stretch sometimes?
    5. Im pretty nervous about bringing her back by myself, but my husband can’t fly with us during that time, I just need to speak out here so I feel abit better lol


  55. Hi there! I’m about to travel Wellington-Rome by myself and my three children aged 7, 5 and 15 months old. We are flying with Etihad.
    I requested a bassinet but it’s only for baby up to 10months/10kg so my baby is too big already.

    What seats would you recommend me to get for all four of us? I don’t know if baby has her own seat but I doubt it as I only paid $200 for her return tickets. I need all of us to get some sleep at least on the second flight Sydney-Abu (night flight). How can I make her comfy enough to sleep for a long stretch?

    Many thanks

  56. I have three kids, 1, 3 & 5 at present and travel once a year to japan. My experience is bassinet travel is best if they fit. in the UK Baby milk can usually be preordered online with boots airside avoiding the whole security tasting thing. For older children, go armed with preloaded iPad and phones etc and ween them off once you get home. Let them play with toys they have for as long as possible, colouring and basic craft, then slowly introduce newly brought toys – not to small to get lost and slowly give them out wrapped up, also magazines with toys which they are interested in are good as you can read to them as well. Volume protected headphones are good at home but with airplane noise sometimes too quiet. Earlier this year I got from amazon a small travel pack of magnetic flat building blocks which are great and compact. Oh, do make sure you have a small changing bag with carrabina or hook to hang in toilets and check them out as soon as you can, disabled toilets are bigger and I invested in a BabyZen YoYo compact urban buggy narrow enough for aisles and will fit in the overhead locker but comfortable enough for a toddler, i’ve had it for three years and still find it the best buggy out of the 6 I’ve had it’s so light. If your budget won’t stretch to this a gb Qbit Stroller is another option but found it less sturdy. In my view avoid business class if you are lucky enough to afford it or wanting to use air miles – just to stressful with the added pressure of other passengers expectancies, although amazingly with my eldest who is quite difficult have’t had a direct complaint. If the kids a a bit elder and ultra well behaved – lucky you, grrrr. Don’t think they will sleep just because you have a flat bed – although it can avoid the kids lying over you getting cramp because you dare not move! Good luck, if they are kept occupied and fed it’s not too bad – home prepared food is good and on demand but not to many sweet treats apart for taking off/landing you don’t want them to arrive ill.

  57. Hi Carrie, amazing site, thank you! We are flying Emirates a380 from Sydney to Dubai end of march and was wondering which bassinet seats are best – ones near the galley or ones near the loo. Both seem bothersome.

  58. Hi great website ! I am flying with my 15 month old from London to Barbados with BA. We have requested one bassinet seat and two family remembers sitting behind me . I’m wanted to move to rows A-C so I can sit with my family however is it a silly move and should I keep my front seat esp if they can provide me with a toddler seat ?

    • Thanks Dhru! They only usually allow 1 person to sit at the bassinet seat with the infant and then the rest of the family normally behind or very close – like you currently have. I would be reluctant to give up the bassinet seat for a row ABC if your little one can fit into the toddler seat. Have you checked my bassinet weight chart to see if your little one will meet the weight requirements for the bigger bassinet? Here is the link https://www.flyingwithababy.com/essential-airline-bassinet-information-chart/

      You may like the extra space too. What you could do is have your other family members request the A and C seats . If there flight is not completely full, the B middle seat will be the last to go, so you may get the option of a bonus spare seat.

      • That’s helped a lot. I have decided to keep my original seating plan. Also do airlines provide a meal for toddlers ?
        Since our last holiday my daughter is now on cows milk. I have a feeling she will need one bottle on the flight ..can I ask the crew for as much milk as I want?

        • Hello- they will likely have a little but some airline only have the little UHt pots so it’s best to take your own as you never know. I keep it chilled by using ziploc bags and fill it with ice after passing security, and then by asking the crew. Under twos are not normally provided with a meal by any airline. Singapore is one of the few exceptions.

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