Recently, I have prepared two posts discussing jet lag in babies and long haul flight tips with an infant. I thought with such detailed information I have provided it will be enough to cover the topic. Turned out you have to learn a few tricks on how to book airplane bassinet for your child before purchasing the actual flight.
We were finally taking off from Mexico City and here what has happened.
Long story short, sitting on the sofa in our living room with my husband, we have made our mind and said it out loud: “Let’s go to Mexico!” I was still on my maternity, as we changed our trip to Argentina due to my brother-in-law’s marriage in March; Santi got a sweet offer in one of the VFX projects there, and he was clearly missing Spanish and his friends that were all there too; finally, our landlord in London wanted her house back. So, it seemed to be a perfect solution for us, and we started to prepare for another long haul flight with toddler. One month for everything to close and move to our new destination as adventurous expats.
First, we got the flights. We knew we will go to Argentina for a month and we will get back to London after it. So, Santi has booked with Aeromexico four tickets to fly from London to Mexico City, stop in Buenos Aires and get back to London. One ticket – Four destinations! Did you know you can do that?
Flying with a baby is not new for us. We have mastered a few tricks throughout the years of traveling. The next step was to make our one-year-old nug feel comfy and sleep well at night. We have called Aeromexico UK directly to book a newborn bassinet. You can pre-book the travel bassinet for airplane online, however, most airlines need to make a reservation by phone.
Trick № 1: Airplane baby bassinet is offered by airlines free of charge!
It’s true. If you come with the baby and he weighs less than 12kg (the travel bassinet length is about 80cm), the baby bassinet is yours IF the special seat where you can attach this bassinet has free space.
Trick № 2: Airplane bassinet seats where you can attach the baby bassinet are NOT free at all!
That said you have to pay to be allocated near the newborn bassinet for every seat you want to occupy. In our case, we were two parents. There are two possibilities where you can attach the travel bassinet for plane: one at the beginning of the plane, the first row after business class; another in the middle of the plane.
Important: rows may vary depending on the plan of each plane! These seats usually have a lot of space to stretch your feet and are suitable for tall people too. On the sides of the row, you will have emergency exits.
We were informed that if we would like to have a travel bassinet, we have to purchase airplane bassinet seats. Price varies due to destinations. We have paid 100£ for London – Mexico City and 39£ for Mexico City – Buenos Aires per seat per destination. Not cheap at all, isn’t it? However, we were sure we have seats assigned and our baby is in comfort. FYI, seats at the beginning of the plane cost three times more and exceeded the amount of total price we have paid for our flights.
Trick № 3: You still can get airplane bassinet and seats free of charge!
This one can happen only in case if nobody has pre-booked those special airplane bassinet seats and there are no other babies claiming their rights. Good luck!
Though, I must say from London our baby was the only little human on board, and as there were no other people booked the third seat, we were given it for free.
Trick № 4: If there is no one else who has pre-booked the special airplane bassinet seats, you might be allowed to have an entire row for yourself!
It is usual practice, but don’t be afraid to ask. You should ask if there is a possibility to have one extra seat. It always depends on the number of passengers and the mood of the person who checks you in.
And now the most interesting part is coming that made me write this post in the first place.
Trick № 5: Ask your airline to send a confirmation with a type of a plane and assigned seat number!
Why is it so important?
When we were about to take off from Mexico City flying with a toddler to Argentina, where our entire family was waiting for us (We haven’t been there for two years, and there were hundreds of relatives and friends that haven’t seen our baby son yet, so you can imagine the whole excitement we had!), we were about to lose our flight connection due to the very simple reason: the seats we have paid for were just regular seats somewhere at the end of the plane. The special seats were filled with three adults that also have paid for them.
Long story short, as we realized later, just before the flight, planes were swapped (for an unknown reason, it just happens) from Boeing 787-9 to Boeing 787-8. The company Aeromexico happily sold these seats to other people without asking us to do so. The woman who checked us in confirmed our seats were the ones with the baby bassinet (I asked her twice), though by then she knew there was a plane change. That said, although there is only a difference in one number, the layouts of those two planes are quite different: our original 27E and F with the airplane baby bassinet and tons of free feet space quickly turned into regular seats at the back of the plane.
We claimed our rights, however, the representative of Aeromexico didn’t even want to check the digital version of our booking confirmation. Booo! In the end, we realized, the only thing we didn’t have (to prove we were right) was the type of the plane listed on our booking. Keep in mind, it might come very handy to enquire about this information just before your flight.
Of course, we were a bit upset. Luckily, we were offered these seats by two other people who paid for them too, and little Teo could enjoy his nap in full.
Wait! But there is more. The last trick I am about to list just dropped a bombshell after realizing how airlines operate, at least Aeromexico did so.
Trick № 6: There is no guarantee the infant bassinet is yours even if you have purchased the special airplane bassinet seats!
After we were anxious about taking our night flight back to Mexico City with allocated seats 27E and F, we called Aeromexico to make sure we wouldn’t face the same problem ever again. At the end of the conversation, when the guy explained to us what had happened and confirmed our next flights with types of the plane via e-mail, he also casually mentioned that we have to get to the airport as soon as possible to assure we can get the airline baby bassinets.
It turned out you have no guarantee to get the “free of charge” (whatever!) travel bassinet if there is another baby coming whose parents paid for one of the special seats in the same row. Unless you have booked all three of them, you have to hurry up to the airport and be the first one at the check-in desk to register for your flight. This is where you can exhale and breathe at a relaxing pace.
To conclude, trick № 2 clearly contradicts with № 6. Honestly, I find it quite unfair to provide misleading information to passengers flying with a baby. However, what most important is to be well-informed. I believe this piece of information will come to be useful for you and help to avoid any potential issues with airlines during your flight (especially when you are on vacation or about to visit your families!). If your baby doesn’t fit in a bassinet, help your child to sleep with these leg pillow devices.
And!!! If you get this far reading, thank you, but also, check our family’s best selection of everything you should have when traveling with kids, including KIDS TRAVEL ENTERTAINMENT! It is so important to distract our little nugs during long haul flights.
Enjoy your flight! Watch some movies and don’t forget to rest while your little one rests.
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Also, check out:
- Flying With An Infant On Lap: 15 Workable Tips For Long-Haul Flights.
- Dealing With Baby Jet Lag and Adjusting Fast To A New Time Zone.
- Traveling with a newborn around the world: Simple Tips that will make your trip unforgettable!
- All About Using Car Seats On Planes.
- Cruising with Kids.
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