J.S. asks from Leesburg, VA on June 12, 2009
Sky Cots on British Air / Virgin Atlantic?
My husband and I are planning a trip to Jordan in September. It will be our first time flying internationally with our daughter who will be 16 months old. We are currently looking at either driving up to NY and catching a direct 11 hour red-eye flight on Royal Jordanian Airlines or flying from DC to London, staying in London for a day and then catching the red eye from London to Jordan.
First off, would you recommend doing the straight 11 hour flight or having the stop over (we have friends in London and would probably get a hotel room, crash for a few hours and then meet friends for an early dinner so it is not like we would just be sitting in the airport)...
Second - have any of you used the sky cot for your little ones on either Virgin Atlantic or British Airways? How old was your child? Did you feel like it was a safe option? Do you know what the weight limit is on the sky cot? Did you have to do anything special to reserve the sky cot?
Any and all information will be greatly appreciated. We flew to CA with our daughter when she was 5 months old and she slept the whole time. THe thought of an international flight with an active and walking 16 month old - wow - I have a feeling it is a whole other ballgame.
By the way we can not yet confirm whether or not the sky cots are available on the direct flight.
1 mom found this helpful
K.H. answers from Washington DC on June 13, 2009
I couldn't say whether it will be best doing the 11hr flight or stopping over but I do know that on both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways to use the sky cot the child has to be no older than 12 months and weigh less than 18lbs. These rules changed recently as my then 10 month old was over the weight limit.
Hope this helps
R.H. answers from Norfolk on June 13, 2009
I would recommend stopping over in London it will give everyone a break. But I would also recommend bring your daughters car seat and treating it just like a car seat. Young children have a much higher tolerance of setting that was give them credit for. You daughter knows just what is expected when she sees her car seat. She knows as long as it's around she's supposed to be seated and in it with her seat belt on. I personally wouldn't do it any other way. She knows what is expected and will treat the plan just as a car and you will have MUCH less to deal with. Goo luck
B.W. answers from Norfolk on June 13, 2009
Your daughter will probably be too heavy and long for the sky cot at this point. Typically, they are for 27 inches and 20 lbs only. So, you can ask, but you will probably have to have her be a total lap baby. I would ask, when you are booking your flights, which flights seem to be the least occupied. In good situations, you can get a whole row for your family or at least an extra seat between you and your hubby. Then, you can lay her down and not have to hold her the whole time. Bulk head seating is also a good idea because you can put her on the floor to play in front of you with toys while you sit in your seats.
My best advice would be to travel when she is sleeping as much as you can. If she is the kind of kid that is stimulated by people, then you may want to travel while she is awake more... A lay over for an overnight never hurts. It gives her a break from your arms and the plane.
Also, pack lots to do, lots to eat and a favorite sleepy object. I started sleeping my daughter with a certain bear every night. and I only let her see it when she is supposed to go to sleep. It call it her "sleepy bear"... I know, really original. LOL. Anyways, she now associates it with sleep. I hand it to her and put her in a sleeping position. This helps her to get the clue and settle down.
I hope this information helps. Oh, and don't forget that the steward(ess)es can be your biggest help. Win them over quickly and they wil help make your journey more successful and easy.
Don't forget about air pressure... have along something she can suck.. a bottle, a sippy, a paccie... something.
L.R. answers from Washington DC on June 12, 2009
I can't speak for sky cots as we haven't used them, but please be certain to get a seat for your child - safer and everyone arrives more relaxed!! A child this age also should fly in her car seat (turbulence can pull a child right out of a parents' arms), but you need to check with the airline that the model car seat you use will fit in the aircraft seat and can be secured with the seatbelt --not every model is "approved for use on aircraft" so be sure to check.
Absolutely request the bulkhead seating as the other person suggested -- more room for you all. But be aware that, I've found, you can request it but that doesn't mean you're guaranteed to get it on the day you fly, at least on BA. I've flown BA many, many times and despite requests never got that seat when my child was an infant and toddler (and I saw able-bodied adults without kids in the bulkhead rows). Now that my child is older, I still see plenty of adult travelers in those seats stretching their legs and snoozing while families with squirmy infants and restless toddlers are crammed in the regular rows. BA seems to give bulkhead priority to solo business flyers, even in "economy" class, over families, unfortunately. Otherwise it's been a good airline for travel with a child.
S.M. answers from Washington DC on June 12, 2009
I suggest the London route. Haven't made this specific trip, but it will be helpful to let her get off and run around for a while. What if she doesn't sleep on the flight?? Eleven hours is a long time. Me, I'd rather get it over in one shot, but for a little one, I would think the break would be better for her and healtheir for her little system. Also, going to NY means a long car ride which will be unpleasent for her too. At least on the planes she can move around some. Enjoy your trip!!
L.B. answers from Washington DC on June 12, 2009
I flew to London with my son when he was exactly 1 year old and we made sure to request bulkhead seating on British Airways and reserved a sky cot. It was great and I highly recommend it. I also brought lots of little toys, books and a couple of bottles. He was great on the flight over and back, unlike the 16 month old sitting next to us. The older baby's parents had not brought any carry on items to entertain him (what were they thinking!) and nothing for him to suck on while the plane was departing and landing...I actually shared some of the toys I brought so that their son would have something to do during the long flight.
My sister flew to Australia with stop overs in Cambodia and Thailand on the way over and back. Even though my niece was three, they took advantage of the bulkhead seating and cots so that she could sleep during the looong flights. It's been a while since I have had a baby, but at the time I flew with my infant you had to request bulkhead seating and sky cots. A lot of people want those seats so make sure you do it ASAP. Have a great trip!
M.B. answers from Norfolk on June 13, 2009
HI! I actually have done this with my now 11yr old daughter who was 1.5yrs old when we flew from LA to London & then to Israel. So here are my suggestions: The skycot was nice because it makes sure you are in the front of the plane (hence more foot/leg room). I did purchase the seat for my daughter as well. At the time it was only 10% of the ticket price. Anyway, the problem with the sky cots is that the flight attendance didn't really tell me how to put it up. And on the flight home (with no layover) they didn't even do it right at all. The lady next to me on the flight home showed me how to do it correctly. That being said, the box (they have these retangle shaped boxes too) was too small--the length of my daughter was too long and it just didn't work (boy I was glad I had the seat next to me to use!). The skycot thing is like a bouncy seat chair. It is nice and it works but in order for it to REALLY work for you, your child needs to like to be in the seat. A child with movement/real energy won't go for this seat and it won't work.
As for the layover portion of your question. I chose and will always do so, to take the layover in London --over 6hrs. I go out in town and walk around the park or go to the British Eye. It helps to create a distraction. I will tell you that the they are not very carriage friendly for the subway/metro. So if you have another set of hands to help you with the stroller, you should do fine. Otherwise you will be like me and need the help of a stranger to help you get the stroller up & down the stairs.
On the way home from that trip described above, I had no real layover in London and it was MISERABLE because there was 2hrs in between flight change and by the end of the "direct" (which wasn't so) flight I was exhausted with no energy and my child was overly tired with tons of energy.
I hope this was helpful. And I wish you the best! Both airlines are WONDERFUL.
A.O. answers from Washington DC on June 13, 2009
We took our son to Turkey last year on British Airways when he was 11 months old. We had a stopover in London. Even at 11 months old he was too big for the cot and had to sit in what basically looked like a cheap bouncy seat on the fold-down shelf in the bulkhead row. We had an overnight flight, but because he was right up front and center everyone who walked by was smiling/talking to him and he loved the attention...he didn't want to sleep. He only slept for about 2 hours of the entire flight. I was really, really wishing we had spent the extra money to have him sit in his own seat (in the carseat). I'm sure the seat was more or less safe (he was strapped in) but would have been better off in his car seat. I had reserved our tickets by calling British Airways directly to get the cot.
I can say that there are probably pros and cons to either option (taking the long direct flight or doing a stop over in London). While the long flight would be really, really long, I feel like it might be better to get it all over with in one shot. For our flight at least, even though our son did not have his own seat, they charged almost $500 in taxes for him to fly to London!! The other thing is if you do have a stopover, be sure you pack a very small umbrella stroller. We had our large jogging stroller since we wanted to be prepared for the uneven streets and terrain in Turkey (it was worth bringing) but British Airways made us check it in DC at the gate and would not let us get it out in London. They said it would have to be small enough to fit into one of the closet-type bins at the front of the plane - a small umbrella stroller should fit. You can imagine how fun it was to carry not only our carry on bags but a very wiggly and heavy child for three hours through Heathrow airport! Other than the stroller snafu I can say I was very happy with British Airways.
If your child likes cartoons, I highly recommend investing in a portable DVD player and a few cartoon DVDs. I found one on Amazon for under $100 with the car attachment - worth every penny. I will definitely be taking it next time we go on a plane. He was too young for it when we went to Turkey but it worked wonders on a recent 9 hour car trip. Granted, your child is too little for headphones, but my son didn't seem to mind that he couldn't hear all the sounds as long as he could see the picture. I had it turned down low enough that I couldn't really hear it in the front seat.
I hope this info helps. If you'd like to discuss further please feel free to contact me. The long overseas trips are hard but it is so worth it when your far away relatives get to meet your little one!
A.F. answers from Norfolk on June 12, 2009
I just took my kids alone to germany and i wish i would have had a direct flight. 11 hours sounds long but you will be able to walk up and down the airplane and hopefully your child will be sleeping most of the way. So my opinion is to take the trip in one flight. I also would recommend on booking her a seat. It will be more relaxed for all of you. If that Sky Cot is a Bassinet Seat than she will be to old for it. Those Bassinet are only for infants and trust me you don't want her on your lap for that long. I definetly recommend a night flight and stuff to color and play doh. Good luck!!!!