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advice re; flying to NZ with 9 month old

(8 Posts)
Andreakate Sat 30-May-09 22:44:24

Hello - I am booking tix to fly to NZ for Xmas with my son who will be 9 months old.

I have some questions I was hoping for help with.

- is it best to book a seat for my son or fly with him on my lap? money is an issue, but so is sanity! is it a full fare if he has a seat.
- what airlines are best for travelling with babies?
- is it best to stopover or fly direct?

Many thanks for any help you can offer

Andreakate Sat 30-May-09 22:49:56

One other question sorry - assume he will be too big for a bassinet but do any airlines offer baby seats in the bulkhead?

Olihan Sat 30-May-09 22:57:11

You will have to buy an infant ticket for him, even if he sits on your knee. It's a % of the total ticket price but it depends on their airline as to how much.

Your best bet, ime is to book a seat for you and request a bassinet/sky cot which hangs on the bulkhead in front of the very front row of seats in each section of the plane. He'll have to be on your lap for take off/landing and during turbulance but the rest of the time he can play/sleep in it, plus it's very useful for putting stuff in! You also get extra legroom because it's a bulkhead seat so there's plenty of room to keep your paraphanaila with you and avoid having to open the overhead locker every 5 minutes.

I assume if you're flying from the UK you will have to stop somewhere. I would personally recommend Singapore as a stop over. The airport is lovely, there's lots of facilities (including a swimming pool), it's quiet (for an international airport) and the staff are so helpful. Singapore is about 12 hours from here and then NZ is about another 10 after that.

I'd also recommend flying with Singapore Air as their cabin crew can not to too much for you if you have dcs and the overall service is 10 times better than BA. We've been over to Singapore every year for the past 4 years (my dad lives there) with the dcs various ages from 9 weeks up to 5 years and the crews have always been amazing.

I think if you book with Virgin you will actually fly with Singapore Air, also I think Air NZ use SA aircraft but the fares can vary if you shop around.

HTH

Olihan Sat 30-May-09 22:58:19

He shouldn't be too big for a bassinet - the weight restriction is about 15kg, I think. We fitted dd into one last year when she was 18mo.

WhatSheSaid Sat 30-May-09 23:25:47

Hi, I flew to NZ with my 9mo last year.

If you book a separate seat you would need to pay the full fare, I think. I don't think you need to for a 9mo. When you book ask for a seat with a bassinet. I think they allocate them by age of baby travelling (youngest get them) so at 9mo you should be fine. My dd ended up sleeping on my lap most of the time but the basssinet was useful for extra space to put stuff in.

I travelled with Singapore, they were very good. Dd's fare was 10% of my ticket price, it varies between airlines. I think AirNZ are overpriced for what they are (at least, when buying tickets in NZ), shop around for fares.

Some people prefer flying straight through and getting it over with. I stopped in
Singapore for about 18 hours between flights and stayed at the Transit Hotel which is within the airport so you don't have to go through customs, immigration etc. I think it cost me about 40 quid, well worth it to have showers and sleep on a bed! If you stay there tell them you have a baby when you book and they will provide a travel cot.

I didn't ask for help with bags etc but if you do they will help you at baggage reclaim. I was travelling on my own and when I got to Auckland a Singapore Air employee spotted me struggling, got all my bags for me, took me through the priority lane for customs etc and had me out of the airport in about 5 mins - fab.

Catper33 Sun 31-May-09 09:41:49

We live in NZ and have flown with a variety of airlines back to the UK. Qantas were not particularly good, Singapore and Air NZ great Customer Service and great with children. BA has been the best for us as they have the bouncy seats instead of a skycot that fits onto the table in the bulkhead seat. Our 10mth old found it great and was more than comfortable. Previously we flew with our son when he was the same age and not a big child on other airlines and he was too big for the bassinets. The staff on BA were great and the fligyt times/connections suited us. Choose what fits best for you in terms of your priorities.

LivingLaVidaLurker2 Sun 31-May-09 10:00:14

I have flown with Air NZ and Virgin, twice with the dcs.

We booked them both their own seats, which cost a % of the full price. For my ds (who was 8 months the first time we flew), we took his car seat on, which then fitted into the plane seat. This worked perfectly for us as it made the trip more comfortable for all of us.

The first time we flew, we had a two hour stopover in LA - you're put in an airport lounge (that makes it sound quite posh - it isn't...) and they provide free drinks and snacks. You do have to go through LA immigration - fingerprints etc. but we found we were given priority as we had children.

Second time we went via Shanghai and had a hour stop. When we got there we booked into a hotel for a couple of hours, which was great as we could have a shower and the children could run around the room.

Both times, I think the worst part of the trip is actually Heathrow - in other countries, staff go out of their way to help parents and children, but not at Heathrow.

Olihan Sun 31-May-09 22:01:31

I agree with Living, Heathrow is hell on earth with dcs. We went out of Manchester this year, instead of H'row and it was so much less stressful. Singapore Air do a flight out of Manchester once a day so if you're up north I would definitely go from there.

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