Benefits of Business or First Class With a Baby or Toddler
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We all know the benefits of travelling in a premium cabin as a solo adult or couple — the food, the service and uninterrupted sleep at 35,000 feet are some of the many luxuries. However, what do you get out of it when you have a baby or toddler with you? Turns out, you can still maximise a flight in a long-haul premium cabin while travelling with your toddler or baby.
When choosing your seats, you can look to our guide to the best first class seats with a baby or book the middle Club World seats on British Airways. When looking on other airlines, consider your proximity to the lavatories and whether you want to sit next to your partner in the middle or enjoy a window seat on the side.
Premium Class Check-In Benefits
The benefits of a premium cabin with young children start before you even take off. The additional baggage allowance means you can bring less on board, which makes juggling kids and bags easier.
When you arrive at the airport, bypass the family check-in and take advantage of the first class or business check-in, which typically have shorter queues.
Fast-track security or a separate first class security queue usually mean you can spread out a bit more and take your time. Just remember to let the speedier passengers rushing to the lounge go past you.
While maybe not serving the same purpose that it once did when your travels were child-free, the lounges can be a great place to relax before the flight — even with a baby or toddler. Sometimes there is a quiet kids area to feed your baby, such as the Qantas Lounge kids area in Terminal 3 at Heathrow (LHR). Otherwise, you can grab a quiet corner. In the Concorde Room, make sure to reserve a cabana in advance.
I focus on using the ample buffet choices in the lounge to feed my toddlers before boarding so that they can ideally head straight to sleep. We use the spacious restrooms to change them into pajamas. This is also an opportune time for mum or dad to grab a cheeky drink.
When boarding, you can put your pushchair and other larger supplies in the overhead bins. While in the past you may have stored your laptop and personal items in your in-seat storage, that extra space is now all for your baby or toddler kit.
A huge advantage of first or business class when you’re travelling with a baby or toddler is the availability of lavatories. One of those lavs usually has a changing table. I find that no matter the seat, I can get to a lavatory fast and rarely have to wait.
While the crew is not there to assist you with your child, you will likely find that they have more time to handle special requests compared to other cabins, such as heating milk. A first class crew once offered to hold my baby while I ate or went to the loo.
Babywearing takes on a new purpose in a long-haul premium cabin. Nadine Jolie Courtney, luxury family travel advisor for Elite Travel International, told TPG UK, “I’ve found babywearing particularly helpful on planes to nestle sleeping babies — and bonus, then your hands are free to (mostly) enjoy the amenities”.
If you have an older child, you may find the additional plates and cutlery to be more of a hazard than a luxury. Ask the crew if they can hold off on serving your meal until your child is asleep or keep your meal on your partner’s table.
Who doesn’t love a gorgeous lie-flat bed for sleeping in the sky? Luckily, there is typically enough room for an adult and baby or toddler to co-sleep. You may have more trouble if you have not co-slept with your child previously and may need to sit up in one part of the bed and create a make-shift cot in the other. You can also book the bassinet if available.
If you want to spend your hard-earned miles or pounds on a premium cabin experience, you’ll want to maximise it — even if you’re travelling with a child. Like most things post-children, it’s a different experience but there are plenty of benefits still to be had.
It’s worth noting that not everyone agrees that children should be allowed in premium cabins in an airplane, and parents have a responsibility to be responsive and take an active role parenting no matter what class they sit in.
Featured photo by Kathleen Porter Kristiansen/The Points Guy.