Seating Options when Flying

What works best with Kids?

There are many different things to consider with seating options when flying with kids.

Children under the age of 2 are not generally issued with a seat; rather they will be seated on your lap.

Flying with Infants and Toddlers

If so, try and secure bulkhead seats at the time of booking your flight.

These have more leg room (ideal for all the additional paraphernalia required for young children) and, depending on the amount of room (which does vary greatly.

The bulkhead seats in the middle section of the plane seem to be the most generous, or by the emergency doors) gives your toddler somewhere to stand or indeed sit instead of squirming on your lap.

The other benefit of the bulkhead seats, particularly if you have a baby, is that you can request a bassinette, which is then secured onto the wall in front of you after take off and only removed just before landing.

airplane seating

Check the weight restrictions, as some toddlers may be light enough to sleep in one.

However, they tend to find the bassinet too confining and short, but you may be able to use it for one good sleep or some short naps (and that’s better than nothing).

Even if you doubt your toddler will use one, consider asking for it anyway as they make additional storage space, and a very useful place to put your child’s finished meal when your own meal comes along.

Note that, for safety reasons, the airlines do not generally accept your seatless toddler sleeping on the floor in front of you.

If your toddler does not have a seat, and even if he or she is happy milling around in front of you, be aware that each time the "fasten seatbelts" sign lights up, you will be expected to place your toddler on your lap and fasten the seatbelt extension (which loops round your seatbelt) around your toddler’s waist. Expect some resistance at times!

If you do not get a bulkhead seat, and you have a seatless baby or toddler, do check with the cabin crew whether there are any spare seats on the flight and, if possible, if one of your neighbours could be relocated so that you can have a spare seat beside you.

Some cabin crew will even initiate this for you without your making a request. However, it is always best to ask!

Obviously your seating options when flying with older children will be diferent but the above is just some food for thought if you have younger children and babies.

Seating Options When Flying
Divide and Conquer?

If you are a sole adult traveling with more than one child, the following will not be relevant. However, if you are traveling with another adult and with two or more children, consider in advance how well the children are likely to travel together.

Are they likely to become antagonistic towards one another within a short period of time or will one sibling wake the other one up when he or she is asleep.

If so, when thinking about seating options when flying consider seating yourselves in separate rows behind one another rather than all next to one another – ie. an adult and child in one row and an adult and child/children in another row.

It does allow for a little bit of novelty as when a child is sick of sitting with one parent (or vice versa!) a swap can be made. It also increases the likelihood of a parent getting some sleep, as they can take the advantage of dozing off when their accompanying child falls asleep instead of being kept awake by the other child who is not feeling sleepy.

Sometimes when considering seating options when flying it can even work well if one parent and a child go on one flight and the other parent and the other child or children follow on a subsequent flight. However, that doesn't suit everyone.


Return to Air Travel with Children from Seating Options when Flying