Parenting & Family

Lap infant v/s Seat infant (long haul flights)

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  • Aug 31st, 2021 4:49 pm
Feb 18, 2019
426 posts

Lap infant v/s Seat infant (long haul flights)

I am planning a long international trip across continents. Was contemplating, will a lap infant seat be ok for a 1 year old baby (9 kgs). Buying a whole ticket in December season is expensive obviously. What are people experiences, tips?
9 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 24, 2010
2550 posts
I've never lap carried. A seat is magnitudes safer and, for a long flight, so much more convenient. It's safer for takeoff, landing, and during turbulence. And it gives you somewhere to put baby down while feeding (assuming not breastfed) or napping.

I couldn't imagine lap carrying for a transcontinental flight. I'm uncomfortable enough myself without an additional 20lb weight attached to me.
Aug 31, 2014
358 posts
Toronto, ON
We lap carried our little one for a trip to HK at 6months, a trip to Greece at 10months, and a trip to Hawaii at 22months. Was it the most comfortable for us? No… but… my little one is a high needs high touch baby - he wouldn’t have slept or sat by himself much even if he had a seat. I think for a few of the legs we did have an empty seat next to us, and the most helpful thing was during meal times. But then going into the trips we knew this, coz he never used his stroller and wanted us to carry him etc.

I think for one of the 7hr flights I ended up carrying him the whole flight coz he wouldn’t stop crying anyways…. Loudly Crying Face

So long post to say it depends on your situation. But if you have a cooperative kid then yes buy an extra seat for safety
Deal Addict
Mar 24, 2015
1311 posts
Ottawa, ON
My first was a high need baby. We did a 15hrs flight from Toronto to HK when he was 18 months and it was brutal! My husband and I hardly stayed in our seat, we had to walk and hold. I doubt he would have stayed in his own seat. When we travelled to Singapore a few months later, we made a stopover in Vancouver to break the flight time and to rest in between and it was easier.

If you're lucky you might get a empty seat beside you. The check in or booking agents always tried to get empty rows or seat for us. Depending on airlines, they would block the seats next to infants or lap child.

Travelling between Ottawa and UK or Paris, We were always lucky to get an entire row. When we chose our seats, we always pick the last few rows and the last rows are the ones that get assigned last or end up being empty. Between Canada and Asia, planes were always full so no luck there.
Last edited by ckay1980 on Aug 24th, 2021 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Jul 16, 2019
1539 posts
I guess lap carried seat is ok IF you prebook and double check that the airline gives you a seat at the bulkhead with a bassinet. Assuming your baby will sleep on their own - if they do so at home and are not fussy this would work. Otherwise pay for an additional seat.
Jr. Member
Apr 24, 2017
134 posts
We did lap carry at 8 months and at 18 months.

8 Months was alright as we got to seats at the front of the cabin and they gave us a wall mount cot to use. We were just small enough to fit in it that could be used to sleep for the long haul.

18 months, was a nightmare. no one is comfortable, no sleep. Best to get a 2nd seat
Deal Addict
Aug 19, 2002
3504 posts
Lapped carried YYZ to HKG at 14 months. It was a party of 6 with the baby, so he was passed around during the flight. Eating was a bit tricky. Otherwise, we did have a set of three seats and were able to sit 4 across when needed.

Have also lap carried another at 16 months YYZ to HKG. On the plane near the back there were 2 seaters by the window where the plane tapers instead of 3 seats and used the additional space for the kid to walk around a bit. However, sleep time I literally sat on the arm rest or stood to let the kid lie down.

Up to you how much comfort is worth.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 17, 2004
5429 posts
We did lap with a 17 month old YYZ to HKG on Cathay Premium economy bulkhead. Would not do it again. Was most uncomfortable for my wife to hold him and he was too big to really want to stay in the bassinet.

Luckily for the other legs of the flight from HKG to KIX and then for our flights back home it wasn't on premium economy but we were LUCKY to have an empty seat between us every single time. Would have much rather have done that.
May 21, 2012
321 posts
It is significantly safer to have the baby strapped into a properly-installed car seat. Everything on an airplane is strapped down for take off/landing/turbulence (even the coffee pot!). A human cannot physically hold onto a child in the case of an aborted landing. severe turbulance, etc. There was a small charter plane that missed the runway in Nunavut and crashed. All the seat belted adults survived, but the lap baby did not.
Feb 27, 2011
221 posts
We travelled on an intercontinental trip (9+ hour flights x2 each way) with my son when he was 12 months old. It was, er, brutal. Kid refused to sleep for 3/4 of the journey, and finally slept a few hours at the end of the journey, due to sheer exhaustion. Wasn't much better on the way back.

But, as you mention, the alternative was to pay through the nose for a third Christmas-time plane ticket. To save nearly a couple of grand, I probably would have done the exact same thing in the exact same circumstances. Alternatively, I probably would have postponed our trip by a year (although travel really didn't get much easier until he was 3-4).


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