Help, what to check in and what to take to the gate/on the plane? Flying USA to London with newborn...

(15 Posts)
SaltyGoodness Thu 19-Dec-13 15:50:57

We will have to fly home to London with a 3-week old newborn (not ideal, but has to be done). What would you do with:
-carseat (which can be used with the buggy - clicks in and out)
-buggy (Uppababy Cruz + bassinet that clicks in and out)

I would rather take the buggy and either carseat or bassinet right up to the gate and then leave it there, taking DC on the plane in either carseat or bassinet. Or am I mad, and should I be checking in all of this and just use the sling?

We are flying United. Treating ourselves to business class blush for this very special occasion. At least we won't have to worry about luggage allowance as we will be loaded down with stuff! Many thanks for any logistical advice smile

NatashaBee Thu 19-Dec-13 15:55:49

Do you have a front row seat booked with a bassinet provided by the airline that fits to the wall? (not sure what United offer in that regard). If you don't, I wouldn't bother taking the car seat/bassinet on board as I can't see where you'd put it - just check it at the gate. If you do have a front row seat with leg room, I guess that you could put the car seat by your feet, but personally I would just stick with the sling since I don't imagine you're going to put a 3 week old down much anyway.

minipie Thu 19-Dec-13 16:16:12

AFAIK you can't put a baby in your own bassinet/carseat on a plane. They have to be on your lap, or in the airline's provided bassinets which clip to the bulkhead. As Natasha says, phone and book this when you book your flight.

So, you will need to drop the buggy + bassinet or buggy + carseat at the gate. Before you choose, it is worth double checking what they allow to be dropped at the gate - it's possible that buggy + bassinet would be ok but buggy + carseat would not, for example.

I'd take the buggy to the gate if you can - sling is great but it can be a long way from check in to gate, and a buggy is really handy for schlepping all your other carry on as well.

Take lots of muslins and spare babygros/vests in your carry on, obviously nappies and wipes etc too - poo explosions happen when least convenient. Blanket/cardigans and hat as planes are cold. An extra small pillow or two to help you get comfy while holding the baby (though business class will probably provide that if you need it). Also a book for you to read.

Orangeychoc Thu 19-Dec-13 16:23:01

Having flown recently with a baby this is my advice:

Book a "sky cot" which gives you the front row of seat and a bassinet thing to put baby down in. Essential for eating / moving around the plane and she may sleep happily in it.

Take the Uppababy to the plane door. If you are delayed in the airport you dont want to be slinging baby for hours, plus the pram is a good means of transporting other hand luggage, coats etc around the airport easily. I found airport staff very helpful and we were sent to the front of immigration queues etc when they saw the pram. The checkin staff will tag the pram and then the plane staff will take it off you and return it to the door when you land.

Take spare clothes on the plane, plus more milk (if FF) than you think you'll need. The security staff may ask you to taste up to half of the milk before it goes through scanner, so say you had 2 made up bottles and 2 cartons you could just taste the bottles and leave the cartons sealed. Surprisingly it was the trip out UK to US that were stricter on this than the US staff on the way home (where I didn't have to taste anything).

Sucking on take off & landing will help with ear pain. Either milk or dummy if you use one.

You will likelyneed to check the car seat into the aircraft hold at the time you check in. They should let you keep the buggy up to the departure gate (apart from writing your details on the tag you should label it with something both brightly coloured, very cheap and easily recognisable; we used a sock at the time!).

Have United confirmed that you actually have a bassinet (you will not be able to use your own one on the aircraft so I would leave that bit of it at home) for little one?. Always worth checking particularly with that airline.

They will not let you put anything like a car seat beside your feet; all aisles and seat areas have to be kept clear.

Hopefully as well when you arrive into the UK airport, the buggy will be at the aircraft jetway on departure.

Which airport are you flying into (I ask that as some airports entail a long long walk to arrivals), are family/friends meeting you?.

minipie Thu 19-Dec-13 18:00:52

Yes, make sure you know how to fit your car seat into whatever car you'll be getting into at the UK end.

SaltyGoodness Fri 20-Dec-13 15:18:55

Thank you all for the advice - this is really helpful.

It sounds like we should try and keep the buggy with us up to the gate... which is what I was hoping to hear! Had expected everyone to plump for the sling only. Just wondered, what about the bassinet? (I linked to a photo in the OP above, so you can see it) We can't leave it 'at home' as we are actually travelling home to London and bringing everything. I'm worried that it doesn't fold down as much as the skeleton of the buggy. Will check with the airline but getting a definitive answer out of them is difficult.

Re: our seat, I've checked with United and their skycots/bassinets for business class now go on the floor between two seats (all seats are in rows of 2 or 4) - it sounds quite new and the flight attendants on our flight over weren't quite sure how it worked but were very reassuring that it would be a more flexible way of accomodating babies.

Maaaany thanks. Can't wait to get home brew

Frozenatchristmas Sat 21-Dec-13 13:33:43

Definitely take a sling. London airports don't give you your buggy back at the gate you will only get it back at baggage reclaim which is usually after immigration and a long walk n

SaltyGoodness Mon 23-Dec-13 03:29:23

"London airports don't give your buggy back at the gave, only at baggage reclaim"

Is that true? I'm trying to remember ever seeing buggies in the immigration queues at Heathrow.... can't remember ever seeing one confused

minipie Mon 23-Dec-13 08:49:34

Ours has always come back at baggage reclaim (Gatwick) don't know about heathrow though.

I can't really see where there would be space for a pile of buggies thinking about it - an air bridge is pretty narrow

NatashaBee Mon 23-Dec-13 13:42:19

We got ours back just as we got off the plane at Heathrow (Virgin) that was a couple of years ago though.

Frozenatchristmas Mon 23-Dec-13 17:32:24

I have never had a buggy back coming back in from Asia through heathrow. Always at baggage reclaim. That has been for years and includes BA at terminal 5.

Frozenatchristmas Mon 23-Dec-13 17:33:38

Sorry, I realise I said London airports which was a bit of a sweeping statement. Heathrow is my experience.

Trapper Mon 23-Dec-13 17:44:37

I've had mine returned at the gate at Heathrow ever since early 2012. This is the best time to fly with a little one - to young to run up an down the cabin, no problems with jet lag etc! Ours did Heathrow/SEATAC at 3 weeks.
I would definitely take the stroller to the plane with you. Take the sling in hand luggage as a precautionary measure in case you don't get the chair back at the gate on arrival. Make sure you get each component part if the stroller tagged separately to avoid anything getting mislaid.

SaltyGoodness Mon 23-Dec-13 22:55:55

Trapper that's really helpful. Thanks.

And why have I been worrying about jetlag when at 3 weeks old our baby won't HAVE any sort of circadian rhythm grin. Might as well go with it!

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