Flying with young children is a bit of a minefield, here is an overview of what to expect at three of the main UK airlines as of January 2016. Please double check with the airline websites directly for up to date information.
British Airways fly to most major airports in France, Spain and the Balearics. On British Airways flights, tickets include a snack and drink, plus an item of luggage.
- Free seating when travelling with an infant: if you are travelling with an infant under 2 they can sit on your lap for free.
- Sitting together: you need to book in advance to guarantee sitting together. If you are unable to book in advance British Airways say that they will try and seat you all together. If this is not possible they say they will make sure each child is seated with an adult from your group.
- Child seats and carrycots: you can reserve a seat in advance for carrycot/child seat (long haul only) and the cots and seats are provided free of charge. For short haul flights, you can use an approved car seat with an AMsafe Child Restraint System for infants over six months old if they have a separate seat booked.
- Hand baggage: children with their own seats have the same allowance as adults. If travelling with an infant under 2 on your lap then you can bring one bag for the items you might require during the flight.
- Checked baggage: children have the same free checked baggage allowance. You are also able to bring a fully collapsible pushchair and one car seat, plus a bag to check in for the infant
For more detailed information visit the British Airways website family travel section
With a good coverage of Europe’s airports, Easyjet is one of the best low-cost airlines around. When travelling with young children, you are always guaranteed to be amongst the first to board the plane.
- Boarding: Easyjet say that if you are travelling with children under 5 they will always board you early.
- Seats for babies and infants under 2: will not be charged a full fair but will be charged a flat rate of £22 to sit on an adults lap. Booking infants their own seat can be done by contacting their customer service team and you must have an airline approved car seat.
- How early can a child fly: babies can fly from 14 days.
- Flying when pregnant: if you are pregnant, your return journey must be completed no later than week 35 for single pregnancies and 32 weeks for multiple.
- Sitting together: to guarantee being seated together it is advisable to check in online as early as you can. Easyjet say on their website that if you check in late and you cannot find allocated seats together they will try and move passengers when you board the plane.
- Baggage allowance on board: children over the age of 2 have the same allowance as adults- one piece of luggage max size 56 x 45 x 25 cm inc wheels. Flying with an infant under 2 – you can take an additional small baby changing bag no larger than 45x36x20cm which must be placed under the seat in front of you.
- Equipment: you can take two pieces of equipment such as pushchair and car seat. Pushchairs can be taken to the boarding gate (and car seats that are suitable for aircraft) or you can check this in with main luggage. Pushchairs will be collected at the arrival airport with your main luggage so if you have a baby sling it might help for long walks.
For more detailed information visit Easy Jet Flying with children http://www.easyjet.com/en/help/preparing-to-fly/flying-with-children
Ryanair often offers the cheapest fares available, especially during their sales. For families, they provide a “Family Extra” service with discounts on checked bags and allocated seating.
- Separate seats for under 2s: you can book these but you must use an Amsafe CARES child restrain or a car seat with 5 point harness appropriate for use on an airplane. If you choose this options for 12-23 months they are entitled to a free 10kg cabin bag allowance plus a small second bag.
- Car seats for older children: car seats can be used as long as it has been approved for aircraft use and has a 5 point harness. It must fit between the armrests (42.5cm) and be forward facing.
- Pushchairs: children’s pushchairs can be taken to aircraft steps and as long as the destination airport has provisions will be available at the aircraft steps after landing. If not the pushchair can be collected at the baggage hall of the arrival airport.
- Family Extra: Ryanair offer a family value package of 50% discounts off checked bags, allocated seating and Priority Boarding for families with children aged 2-15 when accompanied by an adult in the same booking.
- Infant equipment: Babes in arms do not get a baggage allowance however an accompanying adult can carry a second bag up to 5kg. You can also take two items of equipment such as pushchair and car seat or booster seat etc.
- What happens if you don’t buy allocated seating: Ryanair’s website say ‘We do our best to seat families together, however this will not always be possible. If you want to be guaranteed seats together we recommend that you purchase seats in advance’ They have a contact number or online chat if you find that your seats have not been allocated together and they will try to help.
For more detailed information visit the Ryan Air Website