Travelling with children in Business Class is an excellent choice. Packing light is generally not an option with a little one - or two - in tow, and parents are always looking for stress-free travel both at the airport and in the air.
With that in mind, BusinessClass.com has come up with some suggestions, tips, and general information to help parents argue the case for a Business Class ticket for their infant or child - and indeed how to enjoy the whole experience!
Some of the immediate advantages of premium cabin travel include more space, faster check-in, quicker security lines, priority baggage, increased baggage allowance, use of a Business Class Lounge priority boarding, attentive service, children’s meals, and a chance for everyone to actually get some sleep – invariably on a “proper” lie-flat bed.
Are children allowed in Business Class:
Yes, children are allowed to fly in Business Class. However, that will not stop some fellow passengers from disagreeing with your choice of cabin, and some airlines are more geared towards child passengers than others. So, read on to see what you can do to help your little ones, you and your fellow passengers enjoy a smooth flight.
Cost of Business Class infant tickets:
The first consideration is the age of the child. Lap infants (under 24 months), who share the same seat as a parent, will incur a nominal charge for international flights. These are typically 10 per cent of the adult fare plus additional taxes depending on the airline and outbound destination.
Most airlines consider a ‘child’ to be aged between two and 11. Children within this age category must have their own ticket and seat. In these instances, international tickets can cost between 50 and 80 per cent of the adult fare, depending on the airline and route.
Children aged 12 and over will pay a full adult ticket price.
Other considerations before children fly internationally:
Children under 16 require a child passport, valid for five years in the UK. Children over 16 will need an adult passport.
A good tip will be to carry a copy of the birth certificate if proof of age is challenged or required.
Also, you may need to show a letter of permission that the child is allowed to fly with you if they have a different surname to you on their passport.
Children under the age of 5 are not permitted to fly alone. However, children aged between 5 and 12 can travel independently as unaccompanied minors (UNMR). Each airline will have restrictions and specific booking requirements, with advanced booking strongly recommended. Airfares for UNMRs are generally priced as adult tickets, with additional administrative fees likely.
Baggage allowance, carry cots and strollers:
Travelling with children can require much additional paraphernalia such as car seats and strollers, but what will an airline accept and do children have their own hold baggage allowance?
Depending on the airline and the stroller size, children may be able to use the stroller up to the gate, which is then placed in the hold along with car seats, often for no extra cost.
Some airlines allow collapsible strollers of specific dimensions stored inside the aircraft cabin overhead lockers. Business Class travel with a child will generally result in priority boarding, allowing extra time to fold and pack cumbersome items safely away.
If travelling with another adult, a tip is to send one adult ahead with the equipment while the other parent remains at the gate with the child. The child’s transition to the aircraft seat is seamless without the hassle of placing items into the overhead lockers and juggling the child as other passengers try to get to their seats.
Emirates Airlines provides its customers with complimentary strollers to use at Dubai International Airport to alleviate the stress of carrying personal equipment. Once a family is ready to board, the stroller is left at a handy stroller park.
Children between the ages of two and 11 generally have a reduced baggage allowance of around 10 kilogrammes, although some airlines offer the same allowance as adults. Infants under two tend not to have a baggage allowance, but many airlines allow parents to bring an extra in-flight bag for baby essentials.
As with all these tips, the advice is to check with your airline first, as some will have specific guidelines and restrictions regarding cabin luggage and weights.
Great options are available for luggage specifically geared towards children. These range from ride-on suitcases for toddlers (excellent for tired legs and storing those essentials like a change of clothes in case of accidents) and backpacks that double as booster seats. Others include scooter luggage – yes, a suitcase designed around a foldable scooter – and hard and soft case roller luggage in fun designs to make the little ones feel more like grown-ups. There are plenty of fun options for younger family members; they may even pack their bags themselves!
Business Class lounges for families:
Your Business Class ticket usually grants you access to exclusive lounge facilities at the airport of departure or transfer. These lounges are not only a place to sit in comfort and eat high-quality à la carte or buffet food, but many are also great at keeping children occupied for extended periods. Of course, many Business Class lounges also provide excellent shower and changing facilities while others offer nap rooms and day beds.
The Best Business Class lounges offering child-friendly facilities:
Qatar Airways – Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
Possibly one of the finest Business Class lounges in the world. It is enormous, exquisitely finished with metals, glass and marble and provides guests with extensive seating, eating, washing, and changing facilities. It also has an exclusive games room for children, complete with a Formula 1 simulator, table foosball and games consoles.
Singapore Airlines – SilverKris Business Lounge Changi International Airport, Singapore.
The SilverKris Business Lounge was recently enhanced and offers family travellers superb facilities, including a family playroom and baby care facilities, excellent food choices, comfortable seating and changing/shower facilities.
Emirates – Business Class Lounge, Dubai International Airport, Dubai
Emirates is another airline that offers an excellent ground experience for Business Class customers and their families with dedicated children’s play areas offering computer games, toys, playhouses and more. The airport also provides a trampoline playground for children of all ages.
Turkish Airlines – Business Class Lounge, Istanbul Airport, Turkey.
The stylish and impressive Business Class Lounge at Istanbul ticks all the boxes for a short stay with the little ones. With great eating options from various cooking stations featuring local cuisine and a variety of comfy seating options and shower facilities. The dedicated kid’s play area with a mock interactive aircraft cabin, soft mini-theatre and play area, and an impressive electric car racetrack and golf simulator in the main lounge provide much to be enjoyed here.
If you have a long overnight flight ahead and are keen for young ones to sleep for as long as possible, the airport lounge is a good bet for filling tummies and using facilities beforehand in case they fall asleep before the onboard meal service.
Preparing your children for Business Class travel:
Start by selecting flight times that will complement the natural sleep pattern of your child. Pick overnight flights departing in the evening, allowing children to sleep naturally after their in-flight meal or having watched a little in-flight entertainment.
Most airlines offer baby meals of jarred baby food and dedicated child meals but check the airline’s pre-order meal deadlines to avoid disappointment and having to select something from the regular menu once onboard.
Plan well ahead by pre-booking in-flight meals. Look on the airline’s website and check out the special meal options to see if the airline offers a particular meal service for children. An example is Singapore Airlines’ “Book the Cook – Yummy” option, which is in addition to the standard child’s menu option.
Bring snacks and drinks that are familiar favourites in case the in-flight meal is turned down, but also look at main menu options if a specific child menu is not offered. There will likely be plenty of suitable options for children. Bring enough snacks to cover any periods of delay but ensure all drink containers are non-spill.
Lollipops are an excellent remedy (and distraction) for the inevitable changes in air pressure during ascent and descent. Swallowing helps to equalise the pressure in the ears.
Although soft bedding is provided on overnight long-haul flights, bring a familiar blanket, cushion, and any stuffed bedtime companions to help ease your little ones to sleep. Also, bring pyjamas and consider any sleep aids such as reading and activity books. Try to recreate the home bedtime routine as much as possible for the greatest success of sleep at thirty-nine thousand feet.
Most airlines feature specific in-flight entertainment packages for children with hundreds of kid’s movies, television shows and games, and most airlines provide child-sized headphones – however, the quality may not be up to that of the adult’s noise-cancelling headphones.
Many airlines provide toys and activity packs for children of various ages, but some go the extra mile.
Etihad Airways, for example, has partnered with Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi to provide children aged 3 to 8 with a Looney Tunes pack containing activity books, games, and crayons. While children aged 9 to 13 have a cool Scooby-Doo backpack and passport holder, plus crime-solving puzzles. The youngest flyers get to keep a soft fleece blanket featuring characters from Warner Bros. cartoons.
Turkish Airlines also offer children specially designed Business Class amenity kits with cute child-sized slippers, headphones, fun eye masks, super-soft socks and a tooth brushing kit.
Qatar Airways has a television channel aimed at babies, and parents receive a baby kit, including essentials like nappies and cuddly toys.
Best Business Class seats for families:
Airline and aircraft configurations differ but travelling with a child is generally best with adjoining central seats. The advantage of Business Class seating is that it will always be less crowded than an economy cabin with lots more space and, therefore, a more calming environment for children.
Parents travelling with infants under 24 months should look for central seats. Most Business Class cabins will have a bassinet attachment at the front bulkhead, with the front row of the cabin lending itself as the designated lap seat location. However, bassinets are used on a first-come, first-served basis and come with size or weight restrictions depending on the airline.
A rule of thumb is that babies up to approximately 70 centimetres in length or around 11 kilograms in weight are the limit for bassinets. However, this will vary according to the airline, and some bassinets, such as Singapore Airlines, can support a maximum weight of 14 kilogrammes and babies up to two years of age.
The seats in front of the bassinets may also have additional legroom, which can double as a safe play area for toddlers.
Note that different cabins may have alternative designated seats for children of infant age due to the seat configuration and extra oxygen mask positioning (not every seat in a premium cabin has an additional child’s oxygen mask – as seen in economy cabins).
Always get to know your aircraft. Thoroughly research before flying to avoid unwanted surprises, and always reserve seats when travelling with children to guarantee you will be seated together.
If no bassinet facility is available, lie-flat Business Class seats are large enough to create a comfortable and safe cocoon for young children, allowing parents to watch the in-flight entertainment or enjoy meal service and a glass of fizz alongside them.
A second parent can take the opportunity to nap in the adjoining seat or take time off parental duties and enjoy the trappings of Business Class travel before swapping around.
Children under two are secured by a lap belt that loops through the parent’s belt during take-off and landing. Children aged two and over have their own ticketed seats.
Many modern Business Class cabins have seats designed to provide separation and privacy from the passenger seated next to them, with central seats angled slightly away from one another. It is worth noting that young children may experience separation anxiety, even if mum or dad is in an adjoining seat, and this may cause disruption. Older children with more independence may prefer a window seat on their own.
Parents travelling with more than one child may consider separating the children over two rows to avoid unwanted sibling rivalries and the unwelcome attention this might bring from other cabin passengers.
Breastfeeding mothers and breastmilk security policies:
Breastfeeding mothers should check with their airline before flying to establish if there are any breastfeeding policies regarding the transportation and storage of expressed breast milk.
Most airlines have no specific in-flight rules for breastfeeding mothers, and cabin crew are empowered to use common sense.
If a mother wishes to feed her baby or pump milk at their seat, that is their right and personal choice. If a mother wishes to feed her baby or pump milk from the privacy of the lavatory, then the best practice would be to inform the cabin crew so that mum and baby won’t be interrupted during extended use of the lavatory facilities.
Notably, most airlines will not store expressed breast milk or other baby foods in their refrigerators, nor do they have heating facilities. However, they will provide ice for cooling or hot water for warming bottles upon request. Some airlines will also allow the carrying of dry ice, though quantity restrictions and regulations may apply, so check with the airline first.
Important to note that for most airlines, passengers wishing to carry expressed breast milk on board who are not travelling with an infant will be restricted to the liquid limits of 100 millilitres per passenger. Additional expressed breast milk will be stored in the hold.
Dealing with negative passengers:
Parents with young children have every right to be in Business Class cabins. That’s not to say that everyone will see it this way. After all, some passengers in Business Class will be travelling for business purposes and may be using their time in confinement to work. Others may have saved for a special occasion, and the last thing they want to see is children in the seat near them.
Either way, by following the guidelines above, applying common sense and managing the expectations of the little travellers, it is infinitely more likely to have a problem-free flight in Business Class than the same journey in the rear of the aircraft.
Also, remember that cabin crew are specially trained to help parents with infants and children. They deal with them all the time and will possess some impressive tricks of the trade to help your little ones drift off to sleep and enable you to sit back, relax, and savour that Business Class experience.
Best airlines for flying Business Class with children:
You and your family will receive a flight to remember from the ground to the air. With dedicated family-only check-in desks to reduce wait times, airport lounges with dedicated family rooms, showers and priority boarding for families, the pre-flight experience has everything covered. Parents can take a complimentary pushchair to the aircraft’s door and leave it with the cabin crew.
Your little ones will receive meals featuring kids’ favourites. The complimentary Warner Bros. activity packs and bespoke in-flight entertainment packages will entertain them for hours. Parents can take advantage of the Dine Anytime menu, meaning they don’t miss out on meal service even if the little one isn’t settling.
The Dubai-based airline scores highly for its Business Class product, and the experience for children is no different. Touches like complimentary strollers at Dubai International Airport take the stress out of waiting for your flight, along with excellent Business Class Lounge facilities.
There is non-stop entertainment onboard, with a large variety of kid-friendly viewing from the in-flight entertainment. Toddlers receive soft toys, and older children get travel-themed activity packs. Excellent child meals can be ordered in advance, and babies can have formula, bottles, or organic food.
The Australian flag carrier generally offers the same baggage allowance for children as adults — a bonus for carrying those extra parental necessities. Depending on the destination, some variation may occur for infants, so it is always worth checking first. Most airports provide complimentary strollers that are taken back at the boarding gates.
Airport lounges offer dedicated Joey Club kids zones complete with computers, PlayStations, toys, books and novelty passports. Children can also dress up like pilots or cabin crew in mini-uniforms. Onboard, children aged 3 to 6 receive a complimentary kid’s kit containing an aircraft window-shaped etch-a-sketch, activity book and cool zip bag. Children with their own seats can also join the frequent flyer club and earn Qantas points as they travel.
World-class airport lounges provide child-friendly spaces to relax, sit back and enjoy tasty child-friendly meals. The Singapore Airlines Business Class Lounges offer nursing and baby care rooms and shower facilities. Options of rest areas and television stations keep the little ones asleep or entertained.
Children under 12 receive an exclusive Dora the Explorer pack containing activity sets, Dora-themed watches, slippers and plush toys. Child menus are bookable in advance and geared towards babies with a three-jar meal, post-weaning ages with soft and easily consumed dishes, and children aged two to 11 with Western, Asian and vegetarian options available. Children in Business can also enjoy a broader range of meals from the Book the Cook – Yummy! menu, with 15 dishes to choose from.
Hamad International Airport provides children with eight bespoke play-on bronze sculptures situated throughout the concourse and dedicated kid’s areas with interactive entertainment. Families with a more extended transit stop-over can take advantage of a 25-metre swimming pool located in a nearby hotel. The Al Mourjan Business Lounge has everything parents and children could wish to keep them entertained and wined and dined in sublime luxury.
Families receive priority boarding, children receive an interactive collectable traveller pack full of crayons, stickers and activity books, while infants are offered a soft-plush toy. A dedicated IFE kid’s channel will keep them occupied for hours while the pre-ordered meal box provides children with delicious and fun food options. Parents with infants can access a special kit of baby essentials.
Business Class is for everyone from singles to families … don't let anyone tell you different!
BusinessClass.com searches hundreds of travel sites at once to help you find the best premium travel offers for both flights and the finest hotels. Find the best prices for Business Class flights by making a search on BusinessClass.com