HELP- AA, UA or BA for US flight with heavy 15 monther and bad back(10 Posts)
I have to do this trip very soon, but have been putting off booking as I am dreading it so much. I am thoroughly fed up because in the past I have twice had my pushchair taken away at the door of the plane, and despite assurances that it will be there when I get off, it is chucked in the hold with the baggage. I then have to walk and queue miles through terminals, immigration etc. with all my stuff, including a car seat, 9 hours worth of HER food clothing and toys, and heavy fed-up child in arms, then have to wait until the buggy is brought out, if at all, battered and always last, long after all the less-stressed travellers have happily wandered off. Should I do what a friend did and book a wheelchair to meet me at the door of the plane? Or is there an airline that realises that buggies are just as essential to children at all times, as wheelchairs are to less able adults?
Or should I wait until she is 21, then send her on her own?
I sympathise with your situation, having flown long haul a couple of times with an 18 month old, and then a shorter flight with same toddler whilst 34 weeks pregnant.
I don't have experience of the American airlines, but have found BA were really good to me. I rang their customer services well ahead to talk through all my worries and previous hassles and they sorted out good seats for me and everything went smoothly as far as my buggy was concerned etc. I think booking a wheelchair is a great idea (wish I'd thought of that when I was heavily pregnant plus toddler in tow).
We've had excellent service with BA by booking with them direct, too. And frankly, if the wheelchair (or your buggy) isn't at the door as promised, you could always throw a strop, refuse to get off the plane, until they brought it to you.
Best to get their agreement to buggy being at the plane door in writing, too; pester them for a letter and then they have to take care of you.
AA have the best seat pitches in economy
I found BA utterley useless to the point of being deliberately cruel to me and my ds. Book the wheelchair because of your back, they are much better at disability than child friendliness.
American airlines have been brilliant every time I have flown them ( without children) but they have one of the largest leg room pitches ( if not the largest ) Very friendly helpful cabin crew, managed to lose a piece of my luggage - was found later that night and delivered to my hotel.
United Airlines I would not touch EVER. I flew with them as part of a large contingent that flew from Aus to the US with a number of teenaged students. The students were brilliant - the crew were rude, aggressive, unhelpful - it seemed like everything was just too much trouble. We had a number of suitcases broken and so on.
I had the chance to fly them again for an internal flight from LA to Seattle... I thought I would give them another chance - thinking perhaps I just had bad luck with the crew.
I had been dozing when the snacks were given out and when I awoke - the woman next to me asked if I wanted a drink or something as they had already been served. I said yes and as the cabin crew member walked past she got his attention stating I would like a drink - he turned to me and said ( not jokingly but in a pissed off manner) you snooze, you lose. I was GOBSMACKED!! The lovely american woman beside me was mortified - gave him a going over and told him to get my drink NOW. SInce then I have never flown United Airlines. Seat pitch is not that good.
Have had no experience of BA but have heard horror stories.
BA have car-seat style things which go onto the bulkhead, so she could sit it that rather than on you all the time, which is an advantage on a long flight with a toddler that size. You need to call and pre-book the bulkhead seat though to ensure you get one. If you take a very small lightweight buggy and the flight isn't absolutely jam packed full you might find they'll even put it in the overhead locker for you - they've done it for us before - especially if you explain you are on your own and/or CAN NOT get about the terminal at the other end without it.
BA all the way. I have flown with all three airlines across the atlantic with little ones. I go to the usa twice a year at least with my children who are now 3.5 and 1.5. BA has ALWAYS booked the bulkhead in advance for me so that I can put my under-2-year-old in the bassinet which is really a slingback seat that will hold even a large child. (My 18 mo. old dd is growing out of 2T stuff and she fit fine.) AA and UA only do this if you are a frequent flyer. The airlines don't have to, but BA have ALWAYS taken my umbrella stroller on board so that I have it promptly and unbattered at the other end. AA and UA refused to and wouldn't even give me help to get my two! children to the baggage carousel to get my buggy. On the AA flight. I just sat down in the plane and refused to move until they provided me with a wheelchair (they were trying to get out of it as I hadn't booked it in advance). I can't say enough great things about BA. They don't make parents with young babies wait in line and more than once the flight attendants have helped us carry our piles of carryon luggage and car seats on/off board. I have had an absolutely nightmare journey on AA and two not very pleasant ones on UA. I would pay double to fly BA over those two when I have my children with me.
Many thanks all. BA seems to have been voted Most Parent Friendly in 2003 according to their website, and they say they are starting to provide carseats in flight too if booked. I have never tried them with kids so I'll give them a go!
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