The Amazing Request You Didn’t Think You Could Ask Your Airline When Flying With a Baby

It’s a rite of passage all parents dread: the first flight. Whether it’s for vacation or to visit faraway relatives, it’s just a fact of life now that at some point, you’re probably going to have to board an airplane with a child in tow. The younger your child is, the more difficult it is— enough so to ruin what should be a convenient, quick way to travel long distances. Don’t you think airlines should do more to help? Well it turns out, some of them actually are, and Lifehacker is here to tell us about the incredible thing you can request on a flight to make the whole experience smoother and easier: a bassinet.

Yes, some airlines – including American, United, US Air, and Virgin America – actually offer bassinets to parents for your baby to rest in during the flight. These portable cradles attach to the bulkhead walls, giving your baby a place to rest in comfort and you relief from holding him on your lap for the entirety of the flight. Plus, it makes things safer for everybody involved!

The only downside to this offer is that the number of bassinets on each plane is severely limited— sometimes to as few as one cradle per plane. Here’s your step-by-step guide to making sure you get one:

  1. Book your flight as early as possible on one of the offering airlines. If you can’t reserve one simultaneously with buying your ticket, you’ll be able to do so once you have proof of reservation.
  2. Check the airline’s website for a plane layout, looking for seats that face a bulkhead wall or even one specifically labelled as “cradle-friendly.” If you can, reserve those seats!
  3. Confirm your cradle reservation with the airline before your flight, then confirm again. And again. And again.

It’s so wonderful to know that this service is available to parents. Every little bit helps when it comes to reducing travel stress! Did any of you know about this tip before? Check out Lifehacker’s original article for more info, then share your favorite traveling-with-kids tips in the comments!