More flying with kids…

25 Jul

Photo by Zoagli

OK – I know we’ve already visited the “tips for flying with tots” subject, but I had to address one more thing before letting it go.  Lately, I’ve read several tips for parents stating that you should request bulkhead seating on a plane when traveling with kids, and I have to totally disagree.  We tried it once, and did NOT like it.  Maybe it was the airline we flew, and I know one data point does not a theory make, but here are the reasons we wouldn’t recommend it and won’t be doing it again:

  • Hubs and I are both tall, and there was no seat to stretch our legs under.  Just a wall.  Ugh.
  • No place to stow carry-on and feeding pump.  Again, since there was no seat in front of us, we were required to put all belongings in the overhead compartment.  This is a HUGE pain in the patoot when you are constantly needing toys, snacks, crayons, etc. from the carry-on.  They let us keep the feeding pump down, but it had to set in the seat beside her.  Not ideal.
  • Jenna only wanted to be on our laps the whole time.  This meant the floor space in front of us was totally wasted.  She was not even remotely interested in playing down there, let alone laying down to sleep on a blanket. 
  • I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with her sleeping down there anyway.  It doesn’t seem to be the most secure or safe spot.  MAYBE, for an overseas flight during sleep hours my opinion might be different, but I still think that Jenna would sleep just as well in the seat as she would on the floor, considering the motion and turbulence of the plane.

So there you have it – the reasons why we DON’T request bulkhead seating.  First Class?  That’s an entirely different story.  We can’t afford to pay for it, but if the heavens should smile down upon us and a wonderful ticketing agent should show mercy and bump us up, I won’t be complaining.  Although, I might worry (for a moment) about the stink-eye stares from the other First Class passengers not thrilled with sharing space with a moody toddler and her harried parents.


Posted by on July 25, 2008 in Parenting tips, Travel


8 responses to “More flying with kids…

  1. denise @ EatPlayLove

    July 25, 2008 at 1:16 am

    I had bulkhead seating once while flying alone, with my 11 month old (at the time), it worked out to be a great thing. And my seatmate was great with her.

    I’ve never been given the opportunity with both girls, but the room seems nice!

  2. psychmamma

    July 25, 2008 at 1:25 am

    Denise –

    This is why the world works. Because we all like different things. Thanks for sharing your positive experience. I truly am interested in others’ reasons for preferring the bulkhead. Maybe I’m missing something….. Maybe I’m just weird…

  3. anymommy

    July 25, 2008 at 4:46 am

    I’ve flown a lot with my three (all under three) and I’m not a big fan of the bulk head. It’s the lack of reachable stow space that drives me crazy.

    The other myth that I totally disagree with is to board first during the special assistance boarding call. Thumbs down. I let my critters run around and climb on chairs until the bitter end. We are usually the last to board. An entire flight is long enough to sit, in my opinion. The downside is that you have to make sure your carryons fit under the seat in front of you because the overheads are usually full by the time we board.

  4. psychmamma

    July 25, 2008 at 11:49 am

    AnyMommy –

    I’m totally with you on boarding last (or at least later) and letting the kiddos get as much energy burned off as possible. Just seems to make more sense. I suppose if you have a carseat(s) to get strapped in, the extra time before takeoff might be helpful, but we had Jenna on our lap as an infant and use the CARES harness now, so we don’t need that time. Thanks for sharing your bulkhead opinion too!

  5. Domestic Diva

    July 25, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    I flew first class to attend the Sony Mommy Blogger Event and all I can say is that it is not that much difference between coach and first class. Only difference is a slightly bigger seat and you get free crap like food and movies. In my opinion it still felt sort of cramped and you wouldn’t have to worry about the having kids thing because there were a couple crazy toddlers in first class with us but no one seemed to mind. First class is typically just a bunch of business folk anyway.

  6. psychmamma

    July 25, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Hmmm….maybe I’m just glorifying First Class since I’ve actually only flown there once by myself on an international flight after getting “bumped up.” My memories are that it was heavenly, but maybe SwissAir is an exception… Good to know that the parents with toddlers on your flight weren’t stoned or thrown overboard.

  7. Bren

    July 27, 2008 at 2:07 am

    I totally agree with the aversion to bulkhead seats with little ones. Last summer I flew with my then 6 month old and we had bulkhead seats for part of the journey. The bassinet could have been nice, but he was already too long and didn’t really sleep well in it. Plus, it made getting in and out of seats impossible for myself and our random seatmate. On one of the flights there was an empty seat beside us (we were lucky!), but he was too little to actually sit in it much and the thing that really irritated me was the armrest didn’t go up between the seats to make those two into one so he could lie down properly.

    We just got back from a trip this week and this time I didn’t even request bulkhead seats (18 months). Outgoing, the flights were overbooked so he was on my lap the whole time and actually that worked fine since he slept alot. Coming back, we had an extra seat beside us and just lifted the armrest so he could sleep with his head on my lap and strecth out. Most comfortable way to go!

  8. psychmamma

    July 27, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Bren –

    Thanks for sharing your bulkhead experience/displeasure and thanks especially for mentioning lifting the armrest for stretching out on the seats! Definitely a great idea.


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