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Flying with 20 month old - separate seat or put him on our laps?

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#1 Elfie34

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:07 AM

Hi all,

we are flying to europe next year when DS will be 20 months old. Too old for the bassinet but still under 2. If we have him on our laps it is 10% the cost of an adult ticket, if we want his own seat it will cost 75% (which ends up being alot of $$). What do you travellers recomend we do? If he gets his own seat do we have to get special seat belts or put him in a carseat or something? He is a pretty active boy already so not sure how we will go with him on our lap for 24 hours, but not sure if we will get a full benefit from having him in his own seat anyway. Help?!


#2 boatiebabe

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:13 AM

I my opinion you should get him a seat.

A 20 month old is a big kid and to have them on your lap for 24 hours would be my idea of torture.

I sat next to a lady on a trip from Sydney to LA. Her child was about the same age and she had him on her lap the WHOLE time. It was excruciating for her and the rest of us. In particular the lady in the seat in front of them was literally kicked the whole way. The child basically encroached on everyone's space (which is limited at the best of times!).

For a short three hour flight etc I wouldn't but for that long haul I definately would. For your own sanity mainly!

#3 Escapin

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:13 AM

We're going (only to fiji so shorter trip) with the 'pay for 2, hope like hell that the flight isn't full and we get a spare seat' approach. I think we'd probably do the same with the longer flight.

#4 bandbub

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:18 AM

we are flying to bali with our dd who will be 16mths old we are paying for a seat for her i couldnt have her on my lap for 6 hours  let alone 24hrs  id say get him a seat

Edited by bandbub, 19 November 2012 - 11:19 AM.

#5 kh79

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:20 AM

We flew a lot (including twice to Europe) when our son was under 2.  I'd recommend Booking a mid week flight where it's likely to be less busy and get to the airport very early.  Ask the check in staff to block the seat next to you.  

I have had this done many many times and they have always obliged provided there is a spare seat.  

I'd never pay for an extra seat because unless the flight is completely full (which sometimes does happen) you are likely to have a seat assigned on the day

Best of luck

#6 bakesgirls

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:20 AM

We flew to Singapore and Malaysia when DD2 was 18 months old. Shs sat on DH's lap or mine the whole way and it was absolute torture. Never again will I ever do that.

Our trip was no where near as far as you are planning, and not as long a trip, but was still awful. On the return trip the seat next to me was vacant so she sat there on the way home. It was wonderful for us all to have our own space and she could sleep on her seat without being disturbed if one of us had to go to the toilet, when meals came around, and so on.

Get the extra seat.

#7 bikingbubs

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:25 AM

To europe - a seat.  We went to Thailand with a 15mth old and even that was hard enough! Honestly, I would prefer not to go at all than have to go all the way to Europe without a seat for him (even at 15mths...).  He is now 20mths and flying on our lap around xmas and even dreading that 2 1/2 hrs *shudder*

#8 Anemonefish

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:29 AM

I would buy an extra seat. We did this when we flew to Europe when DD was 22 months. It seems a shame to pay a couple of thousand dollars when you can get it for a couple of hundred, but we felt it was worth it for our sanity. We ended up with an extra seat on only one of the 4 long flights of the trip, which was great as DD was able to lie down across 2 seats to sleep, but the other 3 flights were all full.

For take-off, landing and turbulence, I had DD on my lap with an infant seat belt, and she sat in her seat the rest of the time.

#9 PizzaSteve

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:29 AM

I did 4 x 7 hr flights with a very active 18 month old, but none were consecutive. All on our lap - and it was hard - we spent most of the flight chasing him around the plane probably to the horror of everyone else. I also did a 2x7 hour flights when he was 30 months old with a separate seat. I have to say he was on my lap mostly anyway but it was easier for him to sleep across the seat and my lap. I also think the space is completely necessary, especially if you have people next to you.

If it was me, the short flight i could do on lap, and if he sleeps for the long flight you could just manage on lap too - i would get an afternoon flight to asia and then the connecting night fight to Europe and it might - might - just work. You will arrive shattered though without having slept though! Good luck.

#10 Isolabella

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:32 AM

We went with 20 mo DD. we didn't get a seat for her. We were lucky and had a spare seat on 3/4 flights.

When we went back 5 days before she turned 2 we purchased a seat as Singapore alrlines required us to purchase a seat for her for return journey so return flight was better then a one way flight.

#11 Feraldadathome

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:33 AM

Up to maybe 2.5hours I'd possibly suffer with a child that age on a lap.

Over, I always booked a seat.

And even then it's bad enough .... original.gif

#12 ComradeBob

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:36 AM

Pay for the extra seat. It's a long trip to Europe at the best of times, and it will be a nightmare beyond belief if you have a wriggly and active child on your lap for the best part of a day. It will be impossible to sleep, read or eat a meal in (relative) peace. It is much harder to entertain a child on your lap as there is nowhere for them to even draw or colour easily. You will all arrive incredibly tired and stressed, which is not a good start to the trip.

Even if they spend a lot of time on your lap, as my DD did when we took her to Europe at 23 months, you've still got space to stretch your legs and wriggle a bit. For a domestic length flight I wouldn't bother, but for flights to Europe, which will be a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 14 hours, I most certainly would.

#13 tanyak1

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:37 AM

My DS was bad enough on my lap from Sydney to Qld at that age - I'd be booking the seat for a trip that long. If you get a spare seat next to you I'd see that as a bonus but I wouldn't chance it.

#14 whale-woman

Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:38 AM

We did this with Dd when she was almost 2. We had her on our laps. It was hellish. That said if we'd bought her a seat I doubt it would have been much better. There is no way DD would sleep or sit for any length of time in her own seat. She would always want to be on us (me) and wakes if you move her. so an extra seat would have given us some sprawl room and a place to for example stack extra meal trays  but not much else.

If I did it again I'd not buy an extra seat. What you do depends on your finances and the kids personality.

We had seats next to the bulkheads so there was space for DD to play with toys on the floor.

Edited by whale-woman, 19 November 2012 - 11:45 AM.

#15 Elfie34

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:12 PM

we have done melb-sydney several times so i know how crappy that can be. i guess part of me wants to hope that the plane wont be full so we can get away with it but not sure if we should risk it!!

So not looking forward to it! thanks for your advise guys

#16 MrsLexiK

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:19 PM

QUOTE (ran27 @ 19/11/2012, 02:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
we have done melb-sydney several times so i know how crappy that can be. i guess part of me wants to hope that the plane wont be full so we can get away with it but not sure if we should risk it!!

So not looking forward to it! thanks for your advise guys

For sth pacific, some of Asia and domestically I wouldn't buy the extra seat, however for anything over 7-8 hours I probably would.  That is based on my experience of never getting empty seats or flights to Europe or Australia, and most times to the Fiji or Vanatu.  There is always someone next to me.  I have had next to no people on domestic flights in other countries or through Europe before which has been great!

#17 Bel Rowley

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:24 PM

I could suck it up and cope with a 3-4 hour trip with my son on my lap, but Europe or America? No way in hell. He's 20 months now and he is heavy, he's a squirmer, he does not like being held still on someone's lap. It would be awful.

#18 Hooray Henry

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:27 PM

We didn't buy a seat for DD when she was 22 months (Aus - Europe return)
I'd rather put up with the pain and have an extra $2k to play with at the other end.  Long haul flights aren't much fun anyway.

#19 Lilymoon

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:33 PM

I have flown twice once with an 8 month old Melb to Los Cabos (22 hours)and then Melb to Cape Town )23 hours) DD 17 months but she is quite large and I would not buy a seat!

I know she wouldn't sit in it! As long as I was flying with another able bodied adult who could take turns etc it is fine.

Flying with kids that age is always bad and you can always request they block a seat.

I guess for me it was worth it to save the money, for that price you could stay for 3 nights at the Ritz!

#20 Lagom

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:33 PM

I'd rather pay the extra money.  Even if your little one wants to sit on you you will have more room to spread out.  Eating will be easier, you can put their tray down and let them scribble or play on their own tray with a little tub of play dough or something.   Sounds like torture to have them on your lap the whole way IMO.  I'd NEVER do it.  But that's just me.  wink.gif

#21 Bluenomi

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:36 PM

For an hour or 2 I'd put him on your lap but for a flight that long I'd get him a seat. We took DD to the UK at 15 months and while we had a bassinet, it was best when we had a spare seat to put her on!

#22 Ice Queen

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:36 PM

God no I would hate them on the lap.  Buy a seat.  Whenever i am on a flight and a child is flipping out it is 90% of the time a child in the 18mo -2 yo age bracket being contained on a lap.  We went to Vietnam with DD at 22mo and bought her a seat and it was great.  The internal flights she was on our lap and it was hell and we wanted to buy the extra seat but the travel agent stuffed up.  Kids that age do not sit still, hate being on a lap and want their own seat, it is a very hard age to travel with as they wont even be amused by a TV for very long.  Also they kick the seats in front which is hell for the other passengers.  As a passenger I have no tolerance for this and once told a mother off.  I was not paying good money to have my back kicked constantly for an 8hr flight to HK.

#23 iavy

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:53 PM

We've done it without a seat for our 20 month old. I was not paying for an extra seat just for 24 hours of comfort but money was an issue for us.

We always get there early and get the bulk head seats where there is extra leg room and she could play at our feet. My 20 month old didn't really like to sit still anyway. I always get them to bring the kids meals first so she would sit in one of our seats for meals and one of us would stretch our legs. She slept across both of us when necessary. It was exhausting but not worth an extra $1500 for us.

I found jet lagged 20month old way worse than the actually travelling.......

I have travelled with toddlers a bit and I always expect it to be worse than it is. My DH always reminds me to lower my standards of the kids just for the trip and everyone will be relaxed. It's good advice.

#24 Coffeegirl

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

We've flown a lot with my kids and as soon as they grew out of the bassinet, we bough them a seat.

If you take your own carseat on the plane you have the added bonus of somewhere the child is already comfortable and familiar with being strapped into.   Plus you then have a seat available for use at the other end.

The car seats are also good for naps if you are in transit at the airport or waiting for flights, rather than laying them across your lap or carrying them around the whole time.  

I'll never forget the first 'hire' carseat we had in the US.  Was just the bassinet part of the convertible pram/carriers and the seat belt just wrapped around it.  I was paranoid the entire time we drove.

Oh and make sure that the airline has seated you all together.   American Airlines have, not once, not twice but 5 times tried to seat our family of 4 in separate corners of the plane, even though we were all travelling on the same itinerary.   The check in people fobbed us off to the gate people and gate people said they couldn't help until we got on the plane!!! Once on the flight I approached the attendant on the plane with a screaming 3 yo and said "here you go.  His seat is here, mine is 15 rows further back.  I'll see you when we land."  Needless to say they moved some other passengers quick smart.

Edited by Coffeegirl, 19 November 2012 - 01:59 PM.

#25 Pixar

Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:58 PM

If itis just the 3 of you, when chsking in, ask for the bulkheadrow next to the window. It is usually 3 seats across and 99% of the time, no-one will be booked into the seat next to you. If there are 4 of you, ask for bulkhead, middle row!

We did it to Canada and back with a not quite 2 year old and just over 4 year old!

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