Kids on board!!!!

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by stuandmel, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. stuandmel

    stuandmel Intern

    Oct 10, 2005
    60
    0
    Sydney
    Unfortunately for everyone else, I have now graduated into being one of those travellers with a small child. I am making my first dom flight with her next week when she will be 3 weeks old. In booking with Qantas, they advised that they would enter my request for a seat up the front so that I had access to a bassinet (you can tell it is all new to me as I not even sure if that is spelled properly) but would not guarantee anything. Is anyone aware of how the system works - is it a string of priority listings like most other things? Apologies in advance to anyone who is on a Syd -Mel flight Thursday week.
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  2. Russell Corr

    Russell Corr Junior Member

    Apr 21, 2004
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    Gold Coast
    It depends firstly on what type of aircraft you are on and whether they actually have a bassinet at the front... sounds like your flight will have so just ask again when you check in.

    Usually im my experience you will get the bassinet seat however to be honest on a SYD-MEL flight you may not actually need it as the trip is so short.

    They are useful for longer flights particularly o/seas.
     
  3. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    1,248
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    Sydney
    12 years ago I flew with my wife and five week old daughtere from Sydney to Perth. We had normal Y seats and found that if you wrap the baby in enough blankets they will sleep on the floor at your feet. I might seem cruel etc, but she slept the entire way. With the benefit of experience we had a similar situation on the return flight.

    However, it is only an hour or so and if you consider the amount of time you hold the baby in your arms now, another hour is nothing.
     
  4. acampbel

    acampbel Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    351
    3
    I am absolutely certain that you will not be allowed to wrap baby in swaddling clothes and use it as a footrest!!!

    The only reason that you would not get a bassinet seat is if there are too few available for the number of babies. Sorry - that should have read "the only sensible reason". I would be extremely pissed off if I had a squirming bundle in my lap while some flight attendant's cousin sat in the front row.

    But it never happened to me so I wouldn't worry about it.


    Cheers,

    AC
     
  5. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    103
    0
    Nice question,
    I'm in the same boat,
    but no-one answered your question!

    I was never sure, if the ordering of the request
    was based on when the request was made
    or when you checked in. Its a tough question
    that no-one seems to know the answer to.

    On most flights there are two options:
    a) Wall mounted bassinets
    b) Portable bassinets

    a) is about 18 inches by 32 inches and can hold a 32lb baby
    b) is 10 inch by 25 inch and can hold a 18lb baby

    b) goes under your legs!

    Don't go rolling your baby in blankets especially
    if you enter U.S. air-space. God they'll have you
    arrested and your child put into protective custody
    in a minute! Maybe this suggestion was made in jest.

    To get a) it helps to get the seats just in front of the
    bassinet. I got preassigned bulk-head seats where the
    bassinets are.
     
  6. varyingtravel

    varyingtravel Junior Member

    Oct 6, 2005
    32
    0
    Sydney
    stueandmel, From my experience the best bet is to checkin as early as possible. I'm not sure whether there is any priority order for getting the seats.
    We did a number of trips with our daughter from when she was about 5 weeks, (Syd - Mel) and also to the UK when she was 2.5 months old (plus a number other domestic).
    For domestic the answer was always 'request it at checkin'. For international we had seats pre-allocated and had the bassinet but we were travelling business class. However, A women on the same UK flight as us in business class was told they couldn't reserve a seat with a bassinet for her. Not sure why she was told that. I spent about 10 mins on the phone with QFF while they tried to get seats with bassinets for us.
    Coming back from the UK, we could only get one of the seats with the bassinet and one directly behind. Fortunately the person seated with the bassinet had no baby and was happy to swap seats with me so my wife and I were seated together with the bassinet.
    The last time we requested the bassinet on a Syd - Bne flight at checkin, we were told we had the seats with the bassinet but in fact we didn't. We were 2 seats back. Because it was such a short flight, we didn't bother asking the other person to change seats with us.
    If you can't get the seat with a bassinet, just make sure you get a few pillows from the FA before takeoff.
    And also request an infant seat belt as soon as you get on board. It goes around the baby and then attaches to your belt.
    My wife used to feed our daughter during takeoff because that would often put her to sleep and we'd heard that it could also help her ears equalise. On some flights my daughter has slept the entire trip! :D :D
    we also tried to organise flights around my daughters regular sleep cycle. This sometimes worked :D and other times didn't :( :oops:
    I think we only had one bad trip with her where she cried for about 20 minutes before landing and promptly fell asleep just as we were landing.

    My take has always been that everyone is entitled to travel by air including children and babies. You do what you can to ensure they don't disturb other passengers comfort but if they cry and scream and you've tried everything you can to calm them down, that's all you can do.

    Have a good first trip!
     
  7. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

    Jun 30, 2002
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    From what I have seen, Qantas do theire best to accomodate bassinet requests, but if there are not enough on the plane to go around someone misses out.

    For SYD-MEL this may not be a problem, as you have to hold the baby for takeoff and landing anyway, so the baby would only be in the bassinet for a short while (but maybe long enough to give you a bit of a break!)

    BTW, 12 years ago you may have got away with the baby sleeping on the floor, but these days you wouldn't (more for reasons of unexpected turbulence than anything else I would guess)
     
  8. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    If the aircraft has bassinet position in the cabin in which you have purchased your fare, your request will have the highest priority over the allocation of those seats ahead of non-bassinet requests/desires for those same seats.

    In my experience, it is rare for all bassinet positions to be occupied by babies, so your chances of missing out are very low. Just make sure that the aircraft type for your flight actually has bassinets - check the on-line seat maps. Generally speaking, the 737s don't and the 767s and A330s do have them.

    For a 1 hour flight, its less important. Holding a 3 week old for an hour is quite normal for new parents :lol: . For a 4 hours flight it becomes much more worthwhile.

    As a parent of 4 kids, I can say that we have never missed out on bassinet positions when requested and available on the particular aircraft type.

    As a suggestion, plan to feed the bub (bottle or breast) during takeoff and landing. The swallowing action helps to equalise pressure in the ears, comforts baby, and takes their attention away from other things going on in the cabin. Try to time it such that you start feeding just before the pressure changes, so that means a few minutes after takeoff and about 5-10 mins after starting to decent.
     
  9. stuandmel

    stuandmel Intern

    Oct 10, 2005
    60
    0
    Sydney
    Thanks for the tips - it will be a year or so before she is ferreting around the cabin stealing people's shoes, I'll go for the bassinet to keep the hands free for the odd refreshment. One person I spoke to mentioned that after a LHR-SYD trip (they were relocating back here) their 3 month old had huge issues getting back into a sleeping pattern. We were thinking of a UK trip early next year and wondered if any others had issues with young children following big trips?
     
  10. GDSman

    GDSman Member

    Oct 18, 2004
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    Hobart
    Had a 3 week trip round Europe with 6mth old recently. Flew down back in QF and WTP+ in BA (which delighted everyone who saw us - although the kid was fine). Everything great on the flights, always had bassinette, got crew to feed me and missus in shifts which worked well. Took portable cot rather than suffer changeable hotel cots (plus gives baby consistency). On return his sleep patterns were disrupted for at least 6 weeks!
    Have flown many times before and since (mostly QF and Jetstar) and have always had excellent experiences - many crew have kids and appear to love dealing with a baby (has to beat some of the other passengers...). Good luck!
     
  11. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
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    Congratulations on the new addition to your family :!:
     
  12. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    One thing that has worked for assisting sleep our first 3 kids was Phenergan. But seek advice from your doctor and be sure to test it out at home first. A small percentage of children are actually stimulated by this antihistermine, while for the majority it helps to knock them out. We have not had any reason to use try it out on Mini NM#4 yet :wink: .

    Another option is the advice given to Mrs NM from her GP after the arrival of Mini NM#1. He suggested a glass of port for mum 30 mins before breastfeeding. And if that didn't work, finish the bottle and you won't be concerned about the noise :lol: .

    In my experience, babies sleep patterns vary greatly as they develop anyway. So don't avoid travel for fear of upsetting the sleeping pattern. All babies and young children will sleep when they get tired, just as they will eat when they get hungry (a baby that is a fussy eater just has not become hungry enough yet :wink: ). Its just that when they do sleep it may not be for 8+ hours at a time - oh well, welcome to the reality of parenting :roll: .

    For a very small baby (perhaps up to 6 months depending on the size/weight), a comfortable baby carry sling is a good way to look after the baby between check-in and flight and between arrival and luggage collection. It can be much easier than dealing with a pram/stroller. We found a fantastic one for our last baby and wished we had come across that design for the first 3. We found the "pouch" type where the baby sits like a koala are not very comfortable for parent or baby.
     
  13. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005
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    Correct. On my UA LAX-MEL and domestic Qantas flights others
    got bumped from the seats directly infront of the wall mounted
    bassinets.

    HOWEVER, both airlines said just because the seats were reserved
    infront of the bassinet there was no guarentee I would get the bassinet.
    They could only put in a request, but how the requests are ordered
    (check in time or time of request) no one could answer.
    Any comments on this issue?

    Was the guy who said he wrapped his kid in blankets and put
    them on the floor confirm he wasn't joking? Boy times have changed,
    did they put noisy kids in the over-head bins? (wrapped in blankets
    of course)!!!
     
  14. Warks

    Warks Established Member

    Oct 9, 2003
    2,111
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    NM's pointer about giving Bub a drink on the ascent/descent is the most important piece of advice here. You've all been on the plan with that incredible screaming baby sometime. We've only flown once with a 6 month old and gave him a drink on the way up. It was only SYD-BNE so when it was time to descend he wasn't interested in another drink so he screamed all the way down! I was wondering if we should have not worried so much on the way up as the ascent is not so fast and saved the drink for the way down.

    Ah well that's 6 years ago now - although the memory is still fresh!
     
  15. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
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    Most infants experience pressure change related discomfort on ascent and descent. It seems that they expeirnce this more coming down. The only way to communicate this discomfort is to make a noise, a la cry or scream. Sucking or chewing can help to equalise the pressure between the sinus and the ear, thus reducing the discomfort.

    When mini serfty got older, we would give her a "Mintie" to encourage chewing. We had to watch this as, is the case of most young children, she began to equate getting onto an aircraft with Minties and wanted an enless supply through the entire flight.
     
  16. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    Congrats on the new addition to your family. :)

    As others have suggested, the SYD-MEL flight is so short that it won't matter much if you don't have a bassinet. I've never seen one on a 737 but I have on 767s and 747s on the centre bulkheads.

    I haven't see the floor bassinets for long time - they may not be available any more. On many flights you'll usually find an FA who will offer to have a turn of nursing the baby if he/she is unsettled.

    Don't worry too much about the noise either, especially on a short flight - the parents always worry more about this than others do. Anyone who gets aggro about noisy children needs to get a life. :roll: And at this age you probably won't have too much trouble anyway. It's when they get a little older that the fun begins (e.g. toddlers wiggling around and up-ending tray tables during the meal, etc). :lol:

    The ear pressure problem can be quite pronounced for some kids. Two of my three kids had this problem and one still does at age 9. As mentioned above it mainly happens during descent, and can be very painful. When our children were infants, we'd offer them the breast (or later a bottle) to alleviate the pain. Now that the kids are older I always take some chewy lollies on board (e.g. Fantales) as it seems to help.

    Good luck.
     
  17. stuandmel

    stuandmel Intern

    Oct 10, 2005
    60
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    Sydney
    Thanks for all the tips! After 5 minutes of crying when we walked on board (after being quiet in the QP and terminal), junior needed a feed to settle her when we first got on. Most looks were quite civil from our fellow J pax, although a number of Socceroo fans returning to MEL after a night of celebrating looked quite worried as they wandered down to Y. She then fell asleep and stayed that way until we were well off the plane. We never used the bassinet and sat in row 4 on the return leg where the same sequence of events occured. Getting row 1 J/K would have involved moving Jimmy Barnes. It appears as though she has the ear canals required of a FF !
     
  18. Groundfeeder

    Groundfeeder Active Member

    Nov 3, 2005
    650
    31
    Brisbane
    This seems to have been a standard arrangement for me in J for many years and I don't even wear a bra!
     
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