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To expect British Airways to sit me next to my breastfed baby's basinette on a 27 hour flight?

(164 Posts)
TheToadLessTravelled Wed 19-Sep-12 08:43:51

Looking for advice from more seasoned travellers.

Booked for a 27 hour flight with DH and 11mo DS tomorrow.
Had booked to all sit together but British Airways lost/changed the seat allocation somehow and we have ended up with DH near the basinette and me where I could not even see the baby.

BA have been really unhelpful and I am really stressing about the flight now.

Three calls to BA have given three different stories about whether/how we can be moved but we are still not together although at least I can see DS from where I now am moved to several rows back.

The last agent said all bulkhead seats are now allocated and all cot positions booked on the whole flight in all classes which I thought would be unlikely.
Also told me there are no flights close to that time I can switch to.
Also told I cannot switch seats with DH so I have the cot position seat.

DS is tall and wriggly so even if me and DH swap seats so I can BF on takeoff the person next to me is going to have kicking feet in their lap. I don't want to be a total pain to other passengers but us sitting apart is going to mean a lot of getting up and down, shouting out etc I can just see it going wrong.

Any advice on how to get this resolved?
Not sure what else I can do

Tee2072 Wed 19-Sep-12 08:45:29

Talk to them at the airport tomorrow. They'll move you.

And yes, you can switch seats. Talk to the FA on the flight as well, if talking them to them at the airport doesn't work.

Never ring in these instances. Do it face to face on the day.

ArthurShappey Wed 19-Sep-12 08:46:42

Bloody hell 27 hours! Where are you going, to the moon?! <nervous flier>

kim147 Wed 19-Sep-12 08:49:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

simperingsally Wed 19-Sep-12 08:51:21

Just wait till you get there. There are usually empty seats and the cabin crew were very accomodating when i traveled with dd last year.

Good luck with the flight 27 hours! I couldnt do that!

Rosa Wed 19-Sep-12 08:54:45

Yes you and dh can swap no problem at all. But agree tackle at the desk ask them to sort it out , for 27 hrs you need your dh next to you help, for your benefit and also the passengers next to you. If no immediate help ask for a supervisor, stay calm , polite, but insist that you should all be together. They do pre allocate cot areas but they can change things . Maybe think about asking for a row of 4 seats and then using the blankets put ds on the floor to sleep... I and many others have done that. Also bf on take off might be hard if he is long as he needs to be securely strapped in... Don't worry I am sure they will help you

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 19-Sep-12 08:55:07

Don't worry. I'm sure the cccccabin crew will swap you. No offence but I'm sure noone else would want to sit next to your baby smile

C0smos Wed 19-Sep-12 08:58:22

I've flown with BA multiple times and I've never had this problem. The only annoying thing is that you can't check in online and have to get to the aiport really early to check in.

First up there is no way your DH will only be sitting near the bassinet, he will be sitting directly infront of it, there is no way that they would put a baby in a a bassinet and then someone else on the seat in front if it. There just isn't room, the person would have to squeeze in and out etc. plus if the seatbelt signs come on then you have to get the baby out of the bassinet and on your lap in a lapbelt fairly sharpish. So your DH will be sitting in front of the bassinet.

There is also no way that BA can stop you swapping seats with your DH, they don't keep a register and check who is sitting where. They just come through and check for empty seats to check everyone who is meant to be on board has got on the plane, so as long as you and DH do a straight swap you'll be fine.

There is not much you can do if your DS is wriggling, but hopefully the person next to you is sympathetic or you can ask nicely if they would mind swapping seats with the person seated further back.

I think people sometimes prebook the bulk head and don't realise that means they will be next to a screaming baby for a few hours. However if they need the bulkhead because of restricted mobility then they are as entitled to them as you are, particulraly as they may have paid extra and you haven't.

Hope your flight goes well, don't stress to much, my DS is now 3 and a champion flyer, just slept for 8 hours on an 11 hour flight at the weekend but when he was a baby we used to spend hours walking him up and down aisles to try and settle him, he hated the bassinet and screamed everytime we tried to put him in it so he sat on our laps the whole time.

Good luck

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 19-Sep-12 08:58:30

Just swap seats when you get on (is it a disability issue which has made them say no swapping?)

There are not many cot positions and they really may all be full, however, there's a good chance your DS will get moved next to one of you when you check in.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 19-Sep-12 09:00:47

Ah sorry I thought you had a baby and an older DS, ignore my post!

StrawberrytallCAKE Wed 19-Sep-12 09:01:03

BA are shocking. We booked our seats together (me, dh and 3yo dd) and they sat us all in different places. As much fun as the person next to dd would have had I decided to call and they said they had to speak to someone at the airport on the BA desk to change it. If you are really worried it might be worth calling the airport desk.

honeytea Wed 19-Sep-12 09:41:51

Maybe the person in the seat next to DH's seat also has a baby they can kick each other.

Ideally it would be god for you and DH to sit next to each other but if space is really limited and all the other bulkhead seats have mothers and babies/disables people in them it is a little unreasonable to want you DH next to you to make your life easier.

Just sit in DH's seat, I have often moved seats within the group I was traveling in.

MsVestibule Wed 19-Sep-12 09:55:03

Unless there is a physical reason why DH has to sit in a bulkhead seat (disability, exceptionally long legs), you'll have no problem swapping seats with him - just sit in his allocated seat from the outset.

I do understand why you're unhappy to not be sitting next to your DH, though. I travelled to Australia from the UK with DD(23 months) and DS(4months) and wouldn't have wanted to do that by myself!

TheToadLessTravelled Wed 19-Sep-12 09:59:30

Thanks everyone for your reassurance. Hopefully we can move the seats at the airport tomorrow, I just hate leaving it to the last minute.

For those who asked.. 27 hours is from London to NZ with a refuelling stop in Singapore & a transfer in Sydney.

Only booked it as the agent said we would definitely have seats by the baby. More fool me for believing her angry otherwise would have done in two flights with a stopover.

British Airways are not family friendly at all if this is how they book. I will go Air NZ next time as they have been great before.

Will let you know how we go....

Secondsop Wed 19-Sep-12 10:18:51

You'll have no problem swapping with your husband. If your issue is more that you'd rather both be sitting next to the baby: if this turns out not to be possible (and I've had friends on flights before where there have been so many babies that not everybody gets their seat choice, far from it, and they assign the bassinets to the youngest babies on the flight) some friends swear by having mum and dad sitting apart, taking turns to look after the baby. This way you can take turns to have a rest. Appreciate this is less practical when breastfeeding.

kilmuir Wed 19-Sep-12 10:22:25

we are a family of 6 with 4 children, fly with BA alot. we have our allocated seats but rarely sit on the named seat.

Mrscog Wed 19-Sep-12 10:25:44

I didn't realise you had to sit in the seats you were given anyway - me and DH often swap around for the window etc.... But yes, you should be able to all sit together - I'm sure they'll sort it out for you tomorrow.

Jellibotti Wed 19-Sep-12 10:26:53

Agree with what honeytea said, the other bassinet will probably be taken. If the seats are in a 3-3-3 configuration like in a 737, you may find that another couple have booked their seats earlier than you. I regularly do long haul flights alone with the children, sometimes you get a bassinet, sometimes you don't. 14 hours on your own with a toddler and a 6 month old on your knee is not fun. Especially when it's just the first leg of a journey.
The only time I've been really annoyed is on an Emirates flight, on my own with just one 8 month old. I had booked a bassinet, but a truly obnoxious family had checked in first, insisted on all being in a row and therefore blocked the other bassinet too. When I checked in I was told they'd move the husband and older child once boarded, so I could have the spare bassinet. When it came to it, the man was blind drunk and swearing loudly at the flight attendants (and his wife) so no one dared move them. Selfish prick.
BA is definitely the best airline to fly with a 6-24 month old, for one reason alone- the Britax car seats that strap onto the bassinet ledge. I think I've asked about ten other airlines whether they have these and they don't, so through that age stage, I always booked with BA. You can feed them in them, strap them in whilst you take the other kids to the loo and generally know that they can't climb out if you nod off! They don't carry as many as there are bassinets on each flight, so ask for one as soon as the seat belt signs go off.

Good luck!

Oh and don't forget a change of clothes for you! I spent one 13 hour flight in a pair of Pjs brought from first class as my 2 month old had EXPLODED all over me. Both ends. It was my first flight with a child on my own and I had plenty of spares for her, just didn't think I'd end up covered in D and V 20mins into the flight.

Thumbwitch Wed 19-Sep-12 10:32:51

Er, if they don't sort you out properly when you check in, just swap seats on the plane. Loadabollocks that you can't swap with your DH. Every time I book seats with DS, who is not yet 5, they end up putting him in the aisle seat and me in the next one. EVERY time without fail. I always swap with him, because I don't want him in the aisle seat, obviously! Never been a problem - I don't bother asking/telling them, I just do it. We both have a special meal (me, GF, him, child meal) - despite their evident confusion when they try to give us the seat-appropriate (and therefore wrong) meal, it's STILL never caused a problem and I'm quite sure it won't with you and your DH either. smile

MrsMuddyPuddles Wed 19-Sep-12 10:33:06

Ask at check-in, (then at boarding if check-in "can't do anything", and, if necessary on the plane, to swap so you're sitting in the aisle seat behind your DH so you're close to each other. if it comes down to the "on the plane" option, hover near your DH and prey on appeal to the sympathies of the person who would otherwise be stuck behind a potentially crying baby.

annh Wed 19-Sep-12 10:36:27

Why can you not change with your dh? Presumably you have travelled by plane before and know that you can sit in any of the seats you have been allocated? We travel as a family of four, usually get allocated seats 2 x 2, and I sit next to whichever child is annoying me least on the day, and in whichever of the two rows we have, regardless of what it says on the boarding pass.

When you say your husband is near the bassinet, I presume you meant "near" as in the seat right in front of it?! Your baby is not going to be travelling alone! It's a pain for you not to be next to your dh too but it's not the end of the world. Also, somehow additional seating options always seem to be available at the airport that don't show on the website or by phone so you may well end up travelling together anyway.

SoupDragon Wed 19-Sep-12 10:38:04

Also told I cannot switch seats with DH so I have the cot position seat.

This is bollocks.

As your DS will need to be on your lap for take off anyway, the bulkhead position is irrelevant. You need to be in your allocated seats for take off and can swap thereafter. However, when you check in, just ask them to swap the allocation.

I've flown BA many times with an assortment of children and found them fab. Even the year when they thought it a good idea to seat each child in a separate row and me about as far away from them as I could be. They sorted this out by the time we checked in.

2rebecca Wed 19-Sep-12 10:48:05

I've never had anyone check I am sitting in the correct seat unless i took someone else's by mistake. Once your family are through the boarding gate you and your husband swap boarding passes and go to each others seats. We never sit in our seats in order and just regard the seats given as "our" seats.

annh Wed 19-Sep-12 10:51:38

And if you did get asked about moving seats, I would ask them how they think your husband is going to breastfeed?!

Backinthebox Wed 19-Sep-12 11:48:49

Hello - British Airways working-on-the-aeroplane person here! Let me see if I can clear a few things up for you.

Firstly, there are no flights in BA that are 27 hours long. It's not even possible for a normal passenger aircraft to be airborne that long. And BA don't fly to NZ. The last portion of your journey will be with a different airline.

BA do honestly try to make sure that every person who needs a bulkhead seat gets one, but the bassinet positions are given out on a first come, first served basis. It is unlikely that they will be available for general passengers to reserve, as they know that they are most valuable to passengers with babies. However, just because you have a baby does not mean you will be guaranteed a bassinet position. Luckily you have!

Now, there appear to be 2 things distressing you about your seat. Firstly you have not been given seats together as a family. The chances are that each bassinet position will have been requested by a family with a baby. As all of the bassinet positions are at the bulkhead of the cabin, all the babies will be in the same area (subject to the oxygen masks available at each seating position. Different for different planes, and I don't fly the route you are going on so can't comment further there.) It would be unfair to deny another family with a baby a bassinet position just so that you and your husband can sit next to each other.

Secondly, you are very concerned about your husband being given a seat by your baby and not you. Just swap with him. We move people around all the time on aircraft, it's not a big deal to swap seats within your own party. Really! I wouldn't even bother mentioning this to any BA staff. If you want to politely ask at check-in though if they have 2 seats together for you and your husband, go ahead. There may be 2 seats together somewhere else on the plane, but without a bassinet position. Depends how much you want that bassinet. Be aware that the Singapore and Sydney routes are some of our busiest routes, often departing with every seat full - and loads of babies on them, someone else would probably only be too happy to have your bassinet place if you want to sit next to DH!

BA really do try be as family-friendly as they can be. But an aircraft cabin is a very small environment and there is only so much space. It's unfortunate that you have been given 3 different answers, but it is also possible that if you have rung on 3 separate occasions that there had been changes in the bookings on the flight. Flight bookings are incredibly dynamic, and often change and fluctuate right up to doors closing. Most people book a cheaper none-changable ticket, but there are also thousands of people each day who pay more for a fully flexible ticket so they can change their minds at the last minute.

My advice is to accept that you are flying on a busy route and that you are highly unlikely to be the only family with a baby on it, and ask politely at check-in if there is any chance of 2 seats together beside a bassinet position. If there is, hurray! If not, decide whether you want to sit together more, or want the bassinet more. If you go for the bassinet, then you just take the seat beside it without mentioning it. The cabin crew will not be surprised either if you decide to swap seats part way through the flight so DH can watch the baby for a bit while you rest.

Also, bear in mind that other passengers and cabin crew may like your baby quite a lot! I've had Bryan Adams entertain my daughter on a flight once (didn't know it was him till the end of the flight - I could only see the back of his head and kept a close eye on 'that man who has DD sitting on his lap so she can see out of the window!) Other passengers have provided me with lots of relief from my kids over the years, playing peekaboo with them or chatting away keeping them from wailing when my patience at trying to calm them down has failed.

Any other general flying questions, just ask. I can't answer questions about specific flights though.

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