When the time comes and you need to fly internationally with an infant, what do you need to do to be prepared? One of the biggest questions is when you are on a long flight, you will want to have a place where baby can get some sleep. Most airlines these days have skycots or bassinets that attach to bulkhead walls. More than 50 airlines make such accommodations for a bassinet of some kind.
Bassinet Rule Differences
A bassinet is a small bed for smaller babies. Bassinets are sometimes referred to as skycots, baskets, and cots. There are a limited number of these onboard, which makes them very popular for families flying with infants. If you need one, you need to request a bassinet seat for yourself. This is a normal passenger seat, which can either have the bassinet fixed to the wall in front of you or in premium cabins, it may have a special bassinet compartment built into the wall.
The differences between airlines are the allowable age of the baby, size of the baby for the bassinet, proof of baby's weight (some require recent documentation from a pediatrician), placement of the cot (some go on the floor), and style of bassinet (some are cardboard, others are more substantial).
In most cases, the airlines will require you to hold your baby during taxi, takeoff, landing, and during turbulence.
Take a Look at Some Airlines
Since most airlines, definitely international carriers with longer-hauls, offer bassinets, it would be best if you check with your specific carrier about its rules for bassinet use. In most cases, you can find the information on the airline's website.
Some airlines request bassinet reservations in advance, others have bassinets only available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Some require the purchase of a child seat, others do not.
Take a look at the varying rules for reserving bassinets for a few popular airlines.
Air France allows travelers to request a bassinet on long-haul flights in the Business, Premium Economy, and Economy cabins, subject to availability. They are are designed for infants weighing less than 22 pounds and measuring less than 27 inches. Bassinets must be reserved at least 48 hours before departure and travelers need to phone in to check availability. A baby kit is available that contains a bib, a diaper, Nivea wipes, and more.
American Airlines accepts infants as young as two days old. If you are traveling with an infant less than 7 days old, your physician will be required to fill out a passenger medical form before your flight. Infants must be accompanied by a person 16 years or older or by the infant's parent (any age) in the same cabin. Bassinets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the gate for travel only on the carrier's Boeing 777-200, 767-300, 777-300, and 787 aircraft. Bassinets are not available in first or business class cabins.
British Airways has carrycots and child seats available for children up to two years old. They are free, but the carrier warns they are subject to availability onboard the aircraft on the day of travel. They will be given to the people sitting in the skycot/child seat positions on a first-come, first-served basis. You can reserve a skycot in advance, using the Manage My Booking function on the airline's website.
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines offers free bassinets for passengers assigned to a bulkhead seat on equipped aircraft for some of its international flights. Bassinets can be requested by contacting Delta Reservations before arriving at the airport and then speaking with a gate agent. The airline cannot guarantee a bassinet due to a limit of two per aircraft and weight restrictions. Only infants weighing 20 pounds or less and be no longer than 26 inches in length can use bassinets. Infants must be held during takeoff and landing.
Emirates travelers can request a baby bassinet in the passenger details section when booking a flight on its website or by calling the local Emirates office. The bassinets are approximately 29.5 inches long and can hold babies weighing up to 24 pounds. Designed for babies up to two years old, according to the airline, it really depends on the size of the baby. Bassinets are limited in number and subject to availability.
Hawaiian Airlines offers bassinets to select cities on its international flights. Babies must be under 2 and cannot weigh more than 20 pounds. Travelers can reserve a bassinet on Airbus A330 flights to seven international cities:
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Beijing, China
- Brisbane, Australia
- Incheon, Korea
- Haneda-Tokyo, Japan
- Narita-Tokyo, Japan
- Osaka-Kansai, Japan
- Sydney, Australia
To complete a reservation, call Hawaiian Airlines Reservations and request a bassinet. The traveler must also buy an Extra Comfort seat in Row 14 (AB CD, EG, or HJ). Once the seat is purchased and the bassinet is reserved, a reservation is confirmed. For those who do not want to buy an Extra Comfort seat, they can see an airport customer service agent at check-in on the day of departure to see if a bassinet is available. The airline will accept up to two requests per flight.
For those traveling on the carrier's Boeing 767s, a bassinet cannot be reserved for flights to Sapporo, Japan, and bassinets are not available on flights to and from American Samoa and Tahiti. Travelers can request a bassinet from an airport customer service agent when checking in on the day of departure. The carrier will accept up to two requests per flight, and confirmed bassinets will be assigned at boarding.
United Airline's bassinets can hold an infant weighing 22 pounds or less. The bassinet cannot be used during taxi, takeoff, or landing, or when the seatbelt sign is illuminated.
A limited number of bassinets are available for use, free of charge, on international aircraft in United Polaris class on select Boeing 757, 767, 777, and 787 aircraft and in United Economy on Boeing 757, 767, 777, and 787 aircraft. Bassinets are not available for customers traveling in United Polaris first class, United First, or United Business.
Request a bassinet by calling the United Customer Contact Center at 800-864-8331 within the U.S. or the Worldwide Contact Center for other countries. The airline cannot guarantee a bassinet due to limited availability.