/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Flying with a baby? Don’t fall for headline prices

Baby on flight

Everything from choosing your seat to checking in luggage can ramp up the price of your flight with a low-cost airline. Less well known are the extra costs involved when flying with a baby.

Most airlines charge an ‘infant fee’, which allows you to carry a baby (up to two years of age) on your lap. This usually costs around £20, either as a flat fee or as a percentage of the adult ticket (plus taxes).

Pretty simple, right? But start factoring in luggage – both checked and hold – and it all starts to get a bit more complicated and expensive.

On a trip to Malaga

Flight costs infographicTake one of the UK’s busiest flight routes as an example – London to Malaga. All of the airlines offering this flight route will allow you to take a pushchair or stroller at no extra cost, regardless of whether you’re checking in luggage or not. This is a good start, but in most cases that’s where the freebies end.

Flying from London to Malaga on 28 August with Monarch costs £65.99 for one adult, plus a £20 infant fee. It’s more expensive to fly with BA, at £99.66 plus a £19.66 infant fee. But the price of the ticket alone isn’t the only thing you need to bear in mind….

Carrying baby bags

It’s pretty much impossible to travel light when you’re travelling with a baby, but did you know that many airlines don’t allow for a baby bag in the cabin? Yep – if you’re flying with easyJet, for example, you’ll need to carry all of your baby’s gear – and your own – in a single bag.

It’s a similar story for Monarch – there’s no allowance for an infant cabin bag and you’ll need to pay a minimum of £24.99 per checked-in bag. The BA flight includes 10kg checked-in luggage for a baby, checked-in luggage for the parent and you can take an extra bag for your baby’s belongings.

Do you look beyond the advertised price when you’re booking a flight? What would you expect to be included if you were flying with a baby?

Comments
Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I can’t imagine what additional expense or trouble the airline is put to for a baby to travel on a passenger’s lap.

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Member

My imagination must be bette than yours JW.

Clearing up and cleaning possible baby sick for starters. Perhaps more interesting is the concept that babies are allowed to travel on parents laps but not if in a car.

” “Our data reveal a previously unrecognized vulnerability group: lap infants with deaths occurring during long-haul flights unrelated to a crash or severe turbulence,” the study’s authors wrote.

Turbulence is a persistent problem. Each year, flight attendants and passengers not belted into seats are injured by unexpected clear-air turbulence. In some cases, babies have been thrown several rows from mothers or fathers who stand no chance of holding on to infants against severe gravitational forces.

“We’ve got to get kids restrained on airplanes,” said former NTSB investigator Greg Feith, who now works as a safety consultant. “Everyone is so emphatic that your laptop be restrained and your tray table stowed. But not a child?”

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Member

OOps the link to the article

http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-study-focuses-on-in-flight-risk-to-infants-1408574702

It might be unpopular but an airline should supply proper seats for babies which can be stored at the end of each flight. In the nature of things the same babies will fly back more or less.

An expense of an additional seat for parents but safety always has a cost and particularly pertinent for babies. A new Which? campaign in the making : )

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Thank you Diesel – good points about the restraint of infants but there must be ways in which some kind of papoose can be provided for use during seat-belt periods [for which a £20 charge might be justifiable]. Babies are tomorrow’s adult passengers, and although we do not enjoy their company up-close on aeroplanes they are an inescapable fact of life and airlines should not make a song-and-dance about it.

What airlines should do is make sure that parents understand the risks and obligations in taking very young children on planes and how to prepare them for it, or even reconsider the desire to do so. A contented baby on its mother’s lap is probably a less concerning issue than over-excited juniors being a nuisance.
.
In my experience the vomit potential has no age limits.

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Member

It does remind me of a flight in an eleven seater last year where we had to fly under storms for a couple of hours and were bouncing around – and we were LOW [1000ft] which was great for sightseeing. One passenger had braced themselves against the low ceiling and was very green. Once we reached clear air they started vomiting at great length and we were passing extra sick-bags up.

I think the passenger probably suffered greatly then and for days after so not good.

The unexplained baby deaths on long-distance flights are probably most concerning as I suspect they are not a widely known risk-factor.

Profile photo of alfa
Member

You have to log in to read the whole article (which I didn’t do) but when you think what a bottle of water looks like at the end of a flight, you have to wonder what effect cabin pressure has on a baby.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

It would seem reasonable to make a charge for cabin luggage for a baby it it is an addition to the parents allowance.

Profile photo of Patrick Taylor
Member

” One ex-flight attendant for America’s Southwest Airlines wrote on Reddit: ‘If you have ever spread your peanuts on your tray and eaten, or really just touched your tray at all, you have more than likely ingested baby poo. I saw more dirty diapers laid out on those trays than food.’

Reports of passengers using the table to change their child’s nappies should at least make a bacterial wipe a necessity. …………….

…A study by Auburn University found that the tray table was the second highest carrier of E.coli in the plane cabin, with the disease festering for 72 hours.

‘I would always encourage passengers to sanitise their tray tables and other surfaces before take off, said a member of cabin crew who preferred to remain anonymous. ‘I have seen passengers change their baby’s nappy on the tray table, and cut their fingernails on board.’

DM 24/8/2015