Do I need an extra seat on the plane for my baby?
By Jonathan Clarke
One significant decision you will face when booking your flight is whether to book an additional seat for your baby.
Most airlines will allow you to carry a young baby in your lap for the entire journey, but will also give you the option to book an extra seat. We always recommend booking an additional seat for your baby and using an approved car seat. It's much safer during turbulence to have your baby strapped safely into a seat.
Most airlines will allow you to carry a young baby in your lap for the entire journey, but will also give you the option to book an extra seat.
See if your airline is one of the best for travelling with a baby.
Aer Lingus and British Airways, rated the two best airlines for travelling with a baby at the HolidayExtras.com Customers' Awards 2009, offer similar policies for seating infants on planes. We provide details on their procedures as examples, but for other carriers we recommend finding out about baby seats well in advance of your flight so you can plan accordingly.
Children under six months of age will need to sit on the accompanying adult's knee for the duration of the flight. For babies between six months and two years, you are presented with a choice between sitting your baby on your knee or paying for an additional seat. If booking an extra seat, your baby can use an approved, forward facing car seat. You'll need to provide the seat and your baby must be strapped in securely. Aer Lingus do not permit rear-facing baby seats.
Children under six months must sit on the adult's lap for the duration of the flight. Children from six months of age up to two years can either sit on your lap or book an additional seat. Again, babies must use a forward facing car seat.
British Airways can supply you with carrycots on the plane that will allow your baby to sleep during the flight. These are allocated on a first come, first served basis, so make sure you ask as soon as you're on board. The airline can also provide infant seats for your baby to use.
It's worth bearing in mind that if you're looking to use your own seat for your child, you'll need to ensure it's no more than 17 inches wide. Aircraft seats can be smaller than car seats, and the last thing you'll want is to bring a child seat on board only to find it doesn't fit.
Uncertain whether to head overseas with your baby? Visit our guide on whether it's safe to fly with babies.