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Flying with toddler - Virgin Upper Class or Cathay business?

(24 Posts)
evelynevelyn Wed 18-Oct-17 07:28:30


Can anyone advise on flying with a 23 month old in business class long haul?

We have a choice of Virgin Atlantic upper class or Cathay Pacific business class (possibly BA too but they are much more expensive at the moment, London to HK).

23 months seems to be an awkward age as too big for most bassinets, but still young enough (just) to fly without a seat if we choose.

I'm confused about the various options. Does anyone have tips? If you prefer one airline over the other, why? Should we get him a seat? What type of child seat/bassinet will he get? The info on the websites is very clear for babies but not so clear for this age.

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
mummymeister Wed 18-Oct-17 08:25:24

Your child is far too old for the bassinets. you need to book him/her a seat so that they can spread out onto your lap and sleep. you also need to be aware that people in upper and business class are going to be a heck of a lot less tolerant of little ones running around, seat kicking etc. I would look at the seats that are one up from standard class so you get the extra room and book your little one their own seat. I really wouldn't travel with a toddler in upper or business.

PineappleScrunchie Wed 18-Oct-17 08:35:41

I've travelled with a toddler and a baby in business and it's fine, they certainly weren't the only ones in there either.

I'd recommend looking at the cabin plan (I found these on seat guru) and getting seats tucked away at one end of the cabin. On BA at least got most seats if you had some adjacent seats you had to go into the legroom of another seat to get round to each other. We were able to find seats that kept us all in the same little area and meant the kids could come for a cuddle without impacting anyone else. When ds was two he mostly wanted to snuggle up with one of us on the plane so his seat was a bit of a waste. Maybe worth it if it's a night flight and you have a good sleeper.

evelynevelyn Wed 18-Oct-17 10:07:48

Thank you, this is very helpful.

OP’s posts: |
ShanghaiDiva Wed 18-Oct-17 15:50:55

I have flown business class many times with Cathay with my dd starting from age 3. The only issue we had when she was smaller is that Cathay had the herringbone layout so you couldn't see what your child was doing if they were sat next to you - needed to be opposite you. This resulted in 3 year old daughter fully reclining her seat for take off!
I noticed recently that the design had changed so may no longer be an issue.

CatalpaTree Wed 18-Oct-17 15:54:51

Virgin Upper layout is similar to Shanghai describes above. You can’t really sit next to your child on most planes, you’d be across the aisle from them facing them.

Check the seating layout.

OlennasWimple Wed 18-Oct-17 15:58:17

Yy. Depends on the child obviously, but you won't be able to sit next to each other in many business class configurations, so it might be easier to get premium economy so that you can put the arm rest up between the seats and make more space for you both. One of mine would have been fine sleeping in the same lie flat bed as me, the other would wriggle far too much. (And during turbulence they have to be in their own seats anyway)

FinallyHere Wed 18-Oct-17 16:11:31

Do check the seat layout for the aircraft that usually operate on that route (though allow for disappointment of the aircraft type changes unexpectedly). In the last row of business in many flatbed configurations, the two centre seats are often in parallel, rather than the more usual head to toe positioning at the sides of the plane. These may work well for you.

welshweasel Wed 18-Oct-17 16:14:27

There's no way I'd fly at that age without their own seat but BA do actually do a baby seat that's suitable up to age 2 (although I think it is weight based) - mine loved it aged 14 months but don't think he'd tolerate it at almost 2! I would say book a night flight and if you can afford business then definitely do it!

fishybits Wed 18-Oct-17 16:21:55

I’d look at Virgin Premium Economy if flying with a toddler. Wouldn’t waste the money on UC and not being able to sit exactly next to my child.

littlebird7 Wed 18-Oct-17 16:24:14

We travel a lot and have flown business class many times with our toddlers. We will used to take the car seat ( you can buy a travel bag for it) and carry it on. This works in any class and we found our dc would happily sit in it for hours and was fine for take off and landing because they are used to staying still in a fastened car seat ( pref with snack to keep them occupied)
Cabin crew loved the idea and were very supportive.
I would choose virgin over the options. Emirates and Qatar are the best along with ethiad if you are flying east.
There are always lots of dc in business and first and we have never encountered a problem. When your baby is ready for a sleep you can recline the sleep and ask the crew to store the seat. It worked well for us for many years.

littlebird7 Wed 18-Oct-17 16:24:27

Sleep - seat

Siarie Wed 18-Oct-17 16:28:38

We took DD when she was 24 months on a flight to the Maldives in business class. So around 12/13 hours, stopped off in Dubai. We did it then as she didn’t need her own seat, she sat on our laps.

We asked the staff to alternate our meals so that one of us could eat them clear our food away sooner than normal and swap. On one leg we bagged a spare business class seat for her too, which worked out well.

Not sure about the layout of planes on the airlines you’ve mentioned but we books the two central seats and had the barrier down so we had our own little pod of space to spread out. I think this was on the A380 but can’t recall.

Plenty of entertainment for them, it was fine. She didn’t tantrum either which was nice

SpaghettiAndMeatballs Wed 18-Oct-17 16:56:41

The only thing I'd say about having their own seat is that in Business, it tends to be 2 and 2, so one of you will get to sit alone, and the other will have the child - depends on your dynamics how that'll work.

I've flown business with kids plenty of times, and no-one cares (and the vast majority of kids are good anyway - this thing about obnoxious children simply isn't my experience - obnoxious adults on the other hand....)

It's long haul, and I don't know the planes (I'm generally short haul these days), but they might have a middle bit the child can sit in, you can look at plan layouts online to see what the deal is - or if it's overnight (OK, that's a trickier proposition when you're flying to HK), I always ended up with a child on my lap anyway..... (legs going numb..).

Also bear in mind that if you're coming back once he's 2 he'll need a seat anyhow, and it might be almost as cheap to do that as to buy a single (for whatever crazy reason that is)

sukitea Wed 18-Oct-17 17:35:51

There are always lots of dc in business and first

<Makes mental note to never fly business or first> Sorry not helpful.

DarthMaiden Wed 18-Oct-17 17:55:57

Virgin UC seats have a seat and a footstool with a back on it - together they convert into a lay flat bed.

However the stool also has a seatbelt so the UC “pod” can be set up to have you sitting opposite each other with the table between.

As pp’s have said the pods are designed for privacy so are offset - so you won’t get a good view of your child without standing up.

That said, it’s fine if they are sleeping and when awake you can use either pod as described so you can sit together.

allegretto Wed 18-Oct-17 17:59:59

you also need to be aware that people in upper and business class are going to be a heck of a lot less tolerant of little ones running around
I wouldn't say you need to be aware of this at all - if you have a ticket, you have every right to be there!

PatriciaHolm Wed 18-Oct-17 18:01:11

We did Virgin Upper to and from Oz with an 8month old and 2.4 year old. As previous posters said, the layout means the adult next to the toddler has to keep peeking over the partition to check on them, so we had one adult opposite and one next to them, and used the stool arrangement for one of us to sit with them most of the time. She basically watched a lot of silent peppa pig! (Wouldn’t wear the headphones). The stool arrangement was great actually, both kids fell asleep in time for DH and I to have dinner facing each other!

pilotswife Wed 18-Oct-17 18:15:10

Have flown Cathay Business many times with babies and toddlers. Staff are fantastic and so helpful. You need to check the type of aircraft you're flying & avoid the herringbone design seating layout.
I found the afternoon or night flight out of London worked well and the kids would sleep all night . Never travelled with a child seat.
I have travelled with a toddler on my lap in first and Business on Cathay - it worked out fine. Easy child though and night flights so just snuggled in and staff took her for a walk while I ate / went to the loo etc.
I think the bassinets on Cathay only take a 10 or 12 kg baby.

Dailystuck71 Thu 19-Oct-17 21:17:18

Last time I flew Cathay business it wasn’t a complete lie flat seat.

BA would be the best option with their double bed facility on the middle two seats.

StrumpersPlunkett Thu 19-Oct-17 21:50:51

So British airways business is a
Layout so parents either side facing toddler in middle would work v v well

PineappleScrunchie Fri 20-Oct-17 08:05:18

Not always. The BA flights we took were:


in the middle with aisles down the side then two herringbone seats the other side of the aisle. So best to look on seat guru when you know what flight you want to make sure.

Also, unless you're in the bulkhead the toddler in the middle would be climbing out through someone else's leg space to get round to your seat. This is particularly bad on a night flight where the leg space becomes that passengers bed.

evelynevelyn Sat 21-Oct-17 16:52:26

Thanks all. Here's what we did in the end, in case helpful to anyone else:

We opted for Cathay because we decided DS needed his own seat, and the Cathay seat configuration allows us to see/access each other better than Virgin's, though neither is great in business class as they are mostly designed for solo travellers.

(This is a Cathay B777 vs Virgin A350).

On Cathay, we have booked a Child Restraint Seat. This is like a car seat but provided by the airline and needs to be prebooked. (Some aircraft/cabins allow your own car seat, some allow the seat provided by Cathay, and some neither).

I was surprised that Cathay's service staff seem to know nothing about the seats and we got conflicting/wrong information several times until finally we we spoke to someone who knew the drill. The seat info is all on the website, we just needed to be persistant.

OP’s posts: |
Dailystuck71 Sat 21-Oct-17 18:55:17

Glad you are sorted. They do lovely satay 😀

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