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Here's exactly how to get the baby bassinet on a plane, according to an airline.

Every parent knows that travelling with an infant can be challenging, to say the least. Especially if that travel occurs in the air, where space is limited and you aren’t in control of the transport.

This is why many parents who are brave enough to travel with a baby try to get the baby bassinet on a plane.

A plane bassinet seat is a small bed for babies which is usually fixed to the bulkhead wall (the wall behind the galley, or toilets or another cabin) and directly in front of a row of seats.

Two Mamamia parents described their experience with the bassinet seat on a plane, and whether they thought it was worth the trouble of requesting it – which you have to do, as they are usually in demand.

Here are their tips:

Lauren, flying with three-month-old daughter, Sydney – Hawaii.

“One tip from my friend absolutely made all the difference,” Lauren said. “She told me to take large bulldog clips so I can create darkness for the baby over the bassinet. My daughter was easily distractible as she was falling asleep, so a cover that could let air through was so helpful.”

Lauren added that the bassinet seat is also often near the galley (kitchen) or bathroom – high traffic areas, and places where the light is often turned on and off – another reason why a cover was so useful.

“Taking bulldog clips with you also means that if the baby is seated next to you, you clip a cover between the seats.”

One thing Lauren said surprised her was that she used the bassinet less than expected.

“I hadn’t thought about how when there’s turbulence, you need to hold the baby when the seatbelt sign is on because there’s no restraint in the bassinet.”

But Lauren said that it was absolutely worth requesting, because the extra space (due to the location on the plane), and place to put baby-related gear, was a luxury in such a tight space.

“It was nice to be able to be hands-free during meals, too,” she added.

Emilie, travelling with four-month-old twins, Sydney – Abu Dhabi.

“I was travelling with twins, so we needed two bassinets,” Emilie said. “The main problem was the turbulence, because every time we hit a bad patch, we had to take the babies out of the bassinets, even if they were sleeping. The airline enforces that quite strictly, even if the baby is asleep, and you’re asleep. They had to wake us up.”

Emilie also found the cabin was not dark enough, and thought that the idea some of her friends have have since to fashion a ‘tent’ over the bassinet is the best way to do it.

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“Also, the bassinets are quite small, so they’re not suitable for large babies,” she warned. “Even though we did have to hold our twins quite a lot, it was great to have somewhere to put them down, and have all the extra leg room for baby bags and other stuff you need during the flight.”

Is it okay to splash out on business class and leave the kids back in economy? We discuss, on our podcast for imperfect parents.

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Tips from Qantas about the bassinet seat and travel with infants.

Qantas provided us with further information about their bassinet seats, which are only available to “infants” – any child under two years of age. Their policy also stipulates that healthy newborn babies may travel after seven days of delivery without medical clearance.

How many bassinet seats are available on an aircraft?

Each of our aircraft are configured differently. Our long-haul aircraft and most of our international aircraft have bassinets – check the aircraft seat map to confirm before booking. Please see below number for each type.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: 7
A380: 9
A330: 6-7 (for International configured A330-200s only)
Boeing 747: 8-11

Where are the bassinet seats located on a plane?

Spread throughout aircraft across each class of travel.

How popular are the bassinet seats?

As they are limited and often booked well in advance, it’s recommended parents travelling with infants book as early as possible to secure a bassinet.

Is there a weight limit? What is the size of a bassinet?

Bassinets on Qantas flights are approximately 71cm long, 31cm wide, 26cm deep, and have a weight limitation of 11kg.

How do passengers secure a bassinet seat?

On domestic services, infants under the age of two can travel on their parent’s tickets.

For international services, infants must have their own ticket.

Infants booked online aren’t allocated a seat – they either travel in the lap of the adult travelling with them or in the bassinet.

As bassinets are limited, please ensure you request one at the time of booking. We reserve the seats near bassinets for customers travelling with infants, so if you book online, you’ll need to call us so that we can assign you a bassinet seat.

Each airline will have different policies, so it’s always best to check with the airline you’re travelling with.

Have you ever used the bassinet seat on a plane? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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