Flying solo with kids

(15 Posts)
Alligatorpie Thu 27-Sep-12 10:31:58

i have flown long haul with dd1 a few times ( aged 5/6) and not had problems sitting with her. But when dh is with us, we seem to get all spread out (even when we prebook seats) and have hassle trying to get dd1 sitting next to at least one of us. Air Canada and BA seem to be the worst.
Now we have dd2 and I am flying return from Egypt to Vancouver with a stopover in England with the two girls (ages 6, six months) without dh. It is 17 hour journey. I have booked a bassinet and so far we are sitting together in front of the bassinet, but I have been reading story after story about airlines that change the tickets and have small children sitting by themselves ( next to strangers)
My six year old is quiet and would not tell a stranger she wanted to get out to go to the bathroom or ask a FA for a drink / food, so probably wouldn't get anything. I really don't want her sitting alone for a 5 or a 9 hour flight and yes, it may not happen, but it might. And I have four flights to stress about.
How do you avoid this? Does printing out a copy of our reserved seats help at all - I have heard it doesn't as airlines have the right to change seats. Does anyone have any other tips? Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
mummytime Thu 27-Sep-12 10:59:12

I would check in online asap. I have never had this happen, even when travelling in a group of 5. If it does happen I would be very polite and ask for the seats to be changed at check in, and repeat this polite request. I don't see how they can seat you away from the bassinet, as you are required to hold the child on take off and landing.

Rosa Thu 27-Sep-12 11:08:29

There is no way on earth I would be seperated from my 6yr old even if she was a frequent flyer - in the case of an emergency exit off the plane or similar . It is very doubtful that they will do it but if they do just don't accept it at all . Be firm polite at the desk , ask for a supervisor , Read the CAA advise - it reccomends that children are seated next to adults. I honestly feel it should be legislation that children up to 14 / 16 are seated next to adults. Many airlines insist that children under 14 or 16 are treated as mniors so when travelling with adults they should automatically be seated next to them.....

Want2bSupermum Thu 27-Sep-12 18:45:00

Air Canada were briliant when I flew with them on my own this summer. DD was on my lap but the ground crew and air stewards/esses couldn't have done more to help me. If you have the seats already booked then you will be fine because you can only change your seat to one that isn't occupied when you check in. FWIW on the flights I took the air steward rearranged everyone so all children under 12 were sitting next to their parents.

The big issue with Air Canada is their stroller policy. They will only accept an umbrella stroller as a gate check otherwise it counts as checked baggage and you pay for it. Also, check if you have to buy food. Between the US and Canada you pay.

Finally, don't forget your permission letter from your DH. Passport control will ask you for it.

Francagoestohollywood Thu 27-Sep-12 18:54:42

Check in online is the way to go. Actually, I bought our long haul tickets with a Travel agent, who did the check in for us.
We fly frequently, and it's never happened to get separated.

Alligatorpie Thu 27-Sep-12 19:00:14

It is a relief to hear such positive stories, I seem to be surrounded by people who have had negative experiences when flying.
Rosa- I had a FA on air Canada tell me that dd ( then 5) would have to sit four rows apart and on the other side of the plane from me on a nine hour flight. He said there was nothing that could be done...I burst into tears and another (female) FA saw me and did some juggling so we sat together. Dh was miles away from us.
But I have had much better experiences when flying without my dh. Hopefully all will go well on this trip.
Good point about the letter, my new baby has a UK passport, while dd1 and I have Canadian passports. As they both have dh's name, and I don't, it is always another source of stress, but I have never been asked for a letter or had any hassle. I will try to stay positive.

OP’s posts: |
Want2bSupermum Fri 28-Sep-12 20:36:19

At Montreal and Toronto airports I have always been asked for the letter from the father of the child. I didn't have it once and the only reason they let me in was because they were able to get hold of DH via telephone. DD and I both have Canadian passports and DH is Danish. They still always ask for it at those airports. I don't fly direct to Vancouver so don't know if it is different there.


Alligatorpie Sat 29-Sep-12 06:15:52

For those of you with letters from other parent, do you always get them notarized?

OP’s posts: |
GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 29-Sep-12 06:23:17

Have heard about this happening but it always get rectified at check in or on the plane - still stressful but they will make it happen. I guess I always think in that situation I'd just swap with the mother than feel responsible for her 6yr old.

I fly alone with DS (4yrs) and DS (10mo) and never been asked for their fathers permission confused

xMinerva Sat 29-Sep-12 08:51:40

Pre dc, dp and I went on holiday.

The airline had somehow seated a mother and her 3yr old dd separately. One was right at the front of economy and the 3yr old was right at the back.

While we were all queuing to board, the FA told us the situation and said that no-one could board until someone was willing to swap seats.

Loads of people offered and we were on our way.

I think even if they do sit you separately, the FA will do everything they can to get you together if you tell them the situation.

Want2bSupermum Sun 30-Sep-12 15:58:22

Girl As far as I am aware it is only Canada that has the policy of permission being required from the absent parent. There are exceptions but I do know the lady infront of me who was a widow carried her DH's death certificate. I think Canada has taken the approach because so many parents were running children up to Canada either during or prior to a divorce. It gets very messy and expensive to return those children back to the country of origin (normally the US).

Alligatorpie It doesn't need to be notarized but they prefer it to be. It can be a typed letter and then manually signed. This is a link which gives instructions on the consent letter requirements. They have samples there for you too.

Do note that it isn't required to have the letter but good luck trying to get through immigration at Toronto to Montreal airports without the letter.

mummytime Sun 30-Sep-12 18:40:30

I thought Mexico was pretty hot on it too?

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 30-Sep-12 21:00:04

Oh really, just Canada? Sorry I didn't mean it to sound like you were lying!! Just meant I'd never come across it flying in and out of America. Although I think Oz might also be the same...

Want2bSupermum Mon 01-Oct-12 06:22:51

Girl I assumed you hadn't travelled to Canada.... I haven't come accross it when with DD on my own (been to Denmark and UK) which is why I mentioned it. It seems very odd to me that you need your DH's permission but it you think about it the whole thing makes sense.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 01-Oct-12 06:58:30

Not with children I haven't, no. Just weird that Canada does it but not US I suppose

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