Saturday, 12 March 2016

Choosing An Airline When Travelling With Kids

I actually had this post sitting as a draft for a long time. Back when Little An was under two, I realised that different airlines had different rules for bassinet use.

One airline allowed the baby to be on the bassinet even during turbulence. Throughout our flight with that airline, we had no disruptions at all and Little An slept peacefully.

On another flight, we asked for the bassinet three times. When an attendant finally gave us personal attention, the response was that Little An might be too big for a bassinet. Then she was thirteen months old. Someone reluctantly brought a bassinet over and asked me to put her in it. She was sleeping and the seatbelt sign was on. I did as I was told and lo and behold, the attendant pulled An's legs to straighten them and showed me that her foot stuck out a little. She told me to take An out, packed up the bassinet and walked away without a word. I was flabbergasted. When I returned home, I checked the dimensions of the bassinet on the airline's website. An's height was definitely within the stated length of the bassinet and babies normally do not stretch out their legs completely when they sleep anyway.

Our best experience with bassinet use was with Singapore Airlines. By the time of the trip on which we flew on SQ, An was already 20 months old. The moment we boarded the aircraft, an attendant told us cheerfully that the bassinet would be brought to us after takeoff. They also told us politely that the baby would have to be taken off the bassinet whenever the seatbelt sign was on. That happened twice during the flight but we were happy to comply as long as the expectations were made known to us. When food was served, the attendants asked Lyn and I which parent would like to be given food first so that one parent could attend to An while the other was eating. I thought that was very considerate.

Since I am writing about airlines, I may as well take the opportunity to thank Singapore Airlines for other thoughtful gestures. On one flight, I was informed before boarding that my console was spoilt. The crew had tried to solve the technical problem but could not. They offered me an inflight voucher of SGD75 and I could use it for inflight shopping. When I boarded the plane, at least three attendants came and apologise for the spoilt console! I did not think I would have used the console much with a toddler in tow, but was very grateful for the service I experienced.

On our recent Hong Kong trip, my mother was supposed to go along but due to my father's health, it was not possible for her to continue with the travel. I was asked for some documents to prove the circumstances and we got a full refund for her ticket promptly. I was very impressed by the service.

Lastly, my luggage was damaged on the recent trip and within 4 working days, I received a new luggage of the same brand. To top it all, my flight ticket to Hong Kong only cost SGD268.80. We have got very sweet deals with Singapore Airlines so far when we booked our tickets early.

I realised that most of this post was in praise of our national carrier. The initial intention was to remind readers to check out the regulations on the use of the bassinet on each airline's website when travelling with kids under two, but I got carried away. Anyway, kudos to Singapore Airlines for its good service and I shall be looking out for more sweet deals in future. :)


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