Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer

Traveling with a Tiny – The Family Row

Family, Travel Tips


Early October

So, if you’ve flown with an infant before you are well aware of what the airlines dub, “the family row”. As a frequent flyer I have spun many a yarn at the gate desk trying to ensure I was seated in either the exit row or a bulkhead seat (bad back, fear of flying, etc.) but, until now, I never knew that the bulkhead in the center row of seats is actually reserved for passengers flying with children under 2 years of age. (looks like Exit Row seats just got even better) You see, there are four little grommet-like snaps on the center bulkhead wall that allow for two collapsible basinets to be snapped into the wall giving parents lap-relief for the majority of the flight.


Given that our angel slept the ENTIRE (yes, I’m gloating, though I’m aware this has little to do with me) flight, this snap-on-bassinet thingy was fantastic. I just brought extra blankets (even I won’t dare use an airline issued blanket, preferring to bring a shawl and big sweater) and cushioned the contraption to suitable plush baby standards. It was easy, hassle-free and best of all, allowed me to watch Invictus and the latest Twilight saga without having to worry about the baby being in my lap, I highly suggest to go and learn more about his product.  Now, ensuring you are seated in the family row requires some effort as it is NOT guaranteed nor reservable.

In order to be seated in the family row you must:

1. Arrive early to the airpot and request the family row with the ticketing agent – who, will likely tell you only the gate agent does that, but it’s free online casino slot games worth it to ask her to put it in the computer (Plus, sometimes, depending on the person, the ticketing agent will do it, because in fact, they can do it. For example, in JFK she couldn’t do it, but in Amsterdam, she could! As my old boss often said, ASK and then ASK again.

2. Get to the gate as soon as they open the desk (usually an 1 hour before the departure time) and play nice with gate agents to ensure you do indeed get seated in the family row. Showcasing your angelic child is often an aid in this argument (as does looking extra haggard!)

3. Pack for the family row. Be sure to have the extra blankets for the bassinet and an organized diaper bag that will allow you to take from it what you need easily since there is no under seat storage in bulkhead.

4. The middle seat of this center row (which in 747s is only three seats) is pretty miserable. Try and grab the aisle seat if you can, though don’t expect a sound night sleep of your own since the row is right next to the bathroom and traffic can be fairly heavy.

TIP: I felt far more comfortable having my child sleep with his head towards the center of the row – head away from the aisle. This way he wasn’t being gawked at from an awkwardly close proximity or worse, leaned into as people milled in the area awaiting their turn at the bathroom (yech is right!)

**This advice is deemed from my sole experience on a KLM flight, Roundtrip JFK to AMS

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Posted in: Family, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Thursday, October 21, 2010 No Comments

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About Meg


Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.