Can I Book A Bassinet Seat Without A Baby

An airplane bassinet sounds ideal for long flights, but we know you have questions…

  • Are airplane bassinets safe?
  • Do airplane bassinets cost extra?
  • How do you book an airplane bassinet?
  • Which airlines have bassinets for infants?

We answer these questions (and more!) below. Then, scroll down for a complete list of which airlines offer bassinets for infants on their planes and their policies.

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Image courtesy Garuda Indonesia

What Is an Airplane Bassinet?

An airplane bassinet is a detachable cot that is sometimes available for those flying with a lap infant. Airplane bassinets are set up on the bulkhead seats. They are reserved in advance. Different airlines have different policies regarding booking and/or using bassinets (see below). However, most will suggest they are for infants that are six-months-old or younger, have a weight limit of under 20lbs, and can only be used for babies who are not yet able to sit upright unassisted.

Do Bassinet Seats Have More Leg Room?

Bassinet seats are usually ‘bulkhead seats’ and come with extra legroom. If bassinet seats are not available, then the passenger will be given a choice to select other seats.

Do Airlines Charge For Bassinet?

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Bassinets are often free. But, sometimes you must pay extra to secure the bulkhead. Prior to booking, familiarize yourself with the policies of the airlines you will likely fly on. And the earlier you book your flights, the better.

Is it Safe to Use an Airplane Bassinet?

Without question, the safest place for a baby to sit on an airplane is in their own seat, in a FAA-approved car seat. But, this is not a legal requirement. On most airlines, children under 24-months are fly for free or for a small service fee if they fly as a lap infant.

Having a baby on your lap for a long flight can definitely become tiresome. Flying with a newborn or young infant is stressful enough as it is, so having a space where baby (and your arms!) can have a rest may definitely be welcomed.

Safety restraints in airplane bassinets…

Most bassinets do not have any safety restraints beyond a velcro strap. That’s the main reason they are not advised for older babies who can sit up or pull up. During take-off, taxi, landing, and during bouts of turbulence when the seat belt sign is turned on, you must take your baby out of the bassinet and hold them in your arms. Most recommend that baby’s feet are towards the aisle, probably so flight attendants can see baby’s face when walking past and to prevent baby’s head from being knocked if someone stumbles in the aisle.

Having said that, most pictures on the internet show smiling babies sitting up in the bassinets or various arms and legs hanging out. It’s clear that not all airlines enforce what appear to be universal guidelines.

Should you just buy baby a seat?

Not everyone can afford or wants to purchase a seat for a baby on a plane if they don’t have to. And flying with car seats can definitely be a pain. An airplane bassinet is not any safer than your lap or arms but is not unsafe under most flying conditions.

Sometimes the bassinets are already set up when you board. And sometimes the flight attendants distribute them after take off. Clarify with the gate agent prior to boarding for peace of mind.

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Image courtesy CoziGo

Do I Need to Use an Airplane Bassinet Cover?

Obviously you would want to give the bassinet a wipe down before putting your baby in it. But knowing the messes babies can make, I’d feel more confident with a barrier of some sort. A playpen sheet or large-ish receiving blanket would likely be sufficient.

The bulkheads are pretty busy places on a plane. Keeping stimulation to a minimum is key to help babies and toddlers sleep on planes.  The CoziGo travel cover was created for that very purpose. British Airways even suggests using it on their website!

How to Book an Airplane Bassinet:

On any given flight, there is only a limited number of bassinets available. Bassinets are often free. But, sometimes you must pay extra to secure the bulkhead. Prior to booking, familiarize yourself with the policies of the airlines you will likely fly on. And the earlier you book your flights, the better.

Travel Agents…

If you’re booking using a travel agent, ensure said agent is familiar with the process of securing an airplane bassinet and remind them of the importance of having one. Here you are putting the responsibility of this in someone else’s hands. However, you’ll have someone to blame if things don’t work out.

Direct with the airline…

If you’re booking directly on the airline’s website, you will need to call them immediately after making your reservations to reserve your seats and the bassinet. and since many airlines don’t charge extra for pre-booking seats if you are flying with children (in order to keep everyone together) you would have to do this anyway. Plan to remain on hold for a very long time. Lastly, have all your documentation handy, your reservation and confirmation numbers, as well as paper and a pen to jot down important details.

Using Online Travel Agents…

Booking flights using Expedia or similar means you will have to follow the above and call the airlines directly. Keep in mind your flights may not all be on the same airlines. Pay special attention to connections and if the flights you’ve chosen are being operating as a code share, meaning partner airlines are booking seats on other airlines’ aircraft. Doing all of this will add to the time you spend on the phone. But, it’s worth it to have your ducks in a row pre-flight.

Lastly, Following Up…

If you’re booking and reserving several months out, follow up with your airline in the weeks and days leading up to your trip. Yes, this means more time on hold and on the phone. Again, it’s worth it for peace of mind.

Which Airlines Offer Bassinets for Infants?

Not all airlines offer bassinets, and not all airlines’ policies on booking and using an airplane bassinet are the same. Below is a complete list of which airlines offer bassinets for infants, and what their policies are.

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