Flying Aer Lingus with a Baby or Toddler: Tips, Tricks, and Airline Rules

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I received no compensation for this review.  This is an honest review of flying Aer Lingus with a baby or toddler, based on my real-life experiences. 

So You Want to Visit Ireland with a Baby or a Toddler?

My husband is from Ireland, so I have a lot of experience visiting the Emerald Isle.  By the time my son was two years old, I had taken him to Ireland five times; each trip I flew Aer Lingus.  We are based out of Chicago and at the time Aer Lingus was one of two airlines with direct flights to Dublin, and Aer Lingus always the cheapest, so we flew with them. 

If you are thinking of visiting Ireland with a baby or toddler, I would recommend checking out Aer Lingus to see if they fly from your airport. The information below focuses on Aer Lingus’ international flights, to and from Ireland and the United States. If you’d like more information on flying internationally with a infant or toddler, check out this post.

Aer Lingus: The Basics for Flying with a Baby or Toddler

As of writing, I have flown on Aer Lingus with my son on eight round trip flights, from when he was seven months to 3.5 years old.  We have flown as a lap infant, in a regular seat, car seat, no car seat, infant meal, child meal, solo, with my husband, with my mother, I’ve tried it all. 

Does a Child need a Passport to fly with Aer Lingus?

Yes, if you are flying internationally, to and from the United States, your child will need their own passport to fly on Aer Lingus.  

Do I need a seat for my baby on Aer Lingus?

See below for Aer Lingus’ policy, but here are some considerations:

The simple answer is no, but the real answer is, it depends. You have two seating options when flying Aer Lingus with a baby or a toddler: your kiddo can fly as a lap infant, or you can purchase them a seat. From 0-6 months, your baby has to fly on your lap. From 6-24 months you can choose, and from 24 months + you must purchase a seat for them.

Lap Infant

The benefit of flying with a lap infant is the cost savings.   A lap infant is charged 10% of the adult fare to/from North America; they’ll be charged €25 per leg on European routes.  Before my son turned two, I flew with him on five round trip flights on Aer Lingus, and he always flew as a lap infant. 

Another lap infant consideration is that you must have one adult per lap infant.  One adult can be responsible for no more than two infants.  In situations where one adult is responsible for two infants, one must be over six months old (because under six months must be a lap infant) and in a car seat with its own seat. 

Besides the savings, the biggest benefit to flying as a lap infant is the bassinette seat. 

Aer Lingus Bassinet Seat

If your baby flies as a lap infant, you MUST inquire about the bassinet seat.  The bassinet seat makes flying Aer Lingus (or any airline) with a baby a lot more palatable.The bassinet seats are along the bulkhead of the airplane, and they are exactly what they sound like- seats with an optional bassinet.  You’ll have a ton more legroom than other seats, and even if your kiddo doesn’t sleep in the bassinet, you can use it to store your bags, toys, dinner, whatever.  The extra legroom is nice, but it also gives your kid a place to play.  I used to bring a little quilt, lay it on the floor, and make a small playpen.  My son liked that, and it also helped to keep him contained.

Put a blanket down and make a little play area

The bassinet row is typically four seats across, with two bassinets that can affix to the wall.  If you are flying by yourself the seat beside you will likely be empty, and you can use that for your kid.  Check out seatguru.com to see the plane layout and location of the bassinet rows.

Here are two layout variations of the AirBus 330-200; one plane can accommodate four bassinets, and the other accommodates only 3.  

Flying Aer Lingus with a baby or toddler, Airbus-A330-200 bassinet seat locations
Airbus 330-200 Bassinet Seat Locations
Flying Aer Lingus with a baby or toddler, Airbus-A330-200-B bassinet seat locations
Airbus 330-200-B Bassinet Seat Locations

Once your child reaches a certain weight and length s/he won’t be permitted to sit or sleep in the bassinette (although you can still book it), but it’s handy to have as it provides you more space to put your things.

When the kid is too big to sleep in the bassinet load it up with your stuff!

Booking the Bassinet Seat

If you’d like the bassinette seat, then you have to book your baby as a lap infant. (If you purchase a seat for your baby or toddler you will not be able to book the bassinette seat).  When you book a lap infant, the system will not allow you to select seats.  After you book your flight you’ll have to call Aer Lingus and request the bassinette seat, or else they’ll assign you regular seats.  The seat next to you in the bassinette row is called a ‘companion’ seat.  You can request that seat for your companion, even if they are not on the same booking as you.  If a flight looks full, you can call Aer Lingus before booking flights and see if there are bassinette seats still available.  If your dates are flexible, I’d choose a date on which you can get the bassinette seat.    

Child NOT sleeping in the bassinet

Purchasing your Baby or Toddler a Seat

The upside to buying a seat for your kiddo is the extra space, and you can also bring a car seat on board.  The extra space is great, especially for older, fidgety children; I flew to Ireland with my son at 21 and 23 months, and it was pretty tight space-wise, and although he flew as a lap infant I see the benefit to purchasing a seat.  After he turned two, we had to buy him a seat. I found having a car seat helpful as my son is used to sleeping in a car seat (as opposed to a plane seat).

Baby and Kids Meals on Aer Lingus

When you call to book the bassinette seat, you can also request a ‘baby meal’ or a ‘kid’s meal.’  A baby meal consists of organic pouches, formula, and fruit.  It has changed over the years, but there was usually at least one thing in there that I could use.  The kid’s meal is typically chicken fingers or some other ‘kiddie’ food.  Don’t be fooled when the operator tells you that there is no such thing as a ‘baby meal.’ There is, they just don’t know it.  If someone tells you that there is no baby or kid’s meal, kindly request that they ask a colleague or a supervisor and that typically solves the problem. 

Even if your kid does not fly as a lap infant, you can still request a baby or a kid’s meal.  I’m a vegetarian, and my son isn’t about plane food, so I usually order the baby meal for the pouches and the piece of fruit. 

Aer Lingus Baby Gear Policy

You are allowed one stroller per booking, plus “one of the following items: car seat, booster seat or travel cot.”

Stroller Policy

You can bring one collapsible stroller per infant or child.  I would recommend gate checking your stroller and then picking it up from the gate when you disembark in Dublin.  Occasionally, the stroller will not be at the gate in Dublin, in which case you’ll pick it up from oversized baggage, near baggage claim.  I use this bag for gate checking my stroller.

Car Seat Policy

Checking a Car Seat

You can check a car seat, at no additional cost.  Gate checking the car seat, or if you’ve purchased a seat bringing it on the plane. I am not a fan of regular checking car seats because of the potential for damage to the seat. This is the bag that I use when gate checking my car seat.

            Using a Car Seat on the Plane

If you have purchased a seat, you can bring your car seat onboard the aircraft. (This applies to children aged six months-three years old. If you’d like to use a car seat for a child over the age of three you must get special Irish Aviation Authority approval.)  (Note: If your child is flying as a lap infant you can always ask if there are extra seats on the plane; the cabin crew may allow you to bring the seat on board and install it in an empty seat).

Once on the airplane, you must use your car seat forward-facing. You have to be able to restrain the car seat with the standard Aer Lingus seat belt.  The seat must have a 5-point harness, be approved for motor vehicles, and display the FAA sticker.  European car seats must bear the CE sticker.  See below for in which seats you’re permitted to install a car seat.  Aer Lingus recommends that your car seat not exceed 17 inches wide; however, a slightly wider seat will fit.       

Can I sit in an exit row with my baby?

No. Lap children and children in car seats cannot occupy an exit row, nor can they sit directly in front of or behind an exit row. You must be 15 years old to occupy an exit row.

Where can I sit on the plane with a car seat?

You have to install car seats in the window seat or a middle seat (for a row of four across).  In case of emergency, they don’t want people having to climb over a car seat.

Pack n’ Play

You can bring one ‘travel cot’ per baby.  

Boarding

Families with children get to board right after business class.  If you need assistance, you can ask one of the crew to help you board.  When I arrive at the gate, I like to ask when families get to board, as sometimes things have changed. 

Onboard Aer Lingus with a Baby or Toddler

  • Changing Facility: Each bathroom has a changing table that folds down; it’s located directly above the toilet.
  • Baby Food: The cabin crew will heat up baby food and bottles.
  • Infant Seat Belts: The cabin crew will provide you with a seatbelt for your baby that loops around yours.
  • Onboard Entertainment: Each seat has its own TV with shows and games. There’s not a lot of shows for small kids. The cartoons seem more geared towards older children, but there was always a show or two that my son liked.  I’m a strong proponent of the Amazon Kindle; before we fly, I load it up with games and shows that I know my son likes.  An added bonus is that there are outlets under each seat in case you need to charge your phone or Kindle.

The Rules: Flying Aer Lingus with a Baby or a Toddler

Below is an overview of Aer Lingus’ infant, toddler, child, and pregnancy policies. 

Infants & Toddlers (0-24 months):

Is there a minimum age for flying with a baby on Aer Lingus?

There is no minimum age to fly; however, Aer Lingus recommends that you clear travel for infants under two weeks old.

Premature Infants

An infant born three weeks or more prior to its due date is considered premature. Aer Lingus requires premature babies to have medical clearance to fly.  According to the Aer Lingus website, “they require this clearance up to the age of 6 months, plus the number of days that they were born prematurely.”

Does Aer Lingus Charge for Babies?

O-6 months

Infants 0 – 5 months have to fly as lap infants.  They will be assessed 10% of the adult fare on all transatlantic flights and €25 per leg on all European flights. 

6-24 months

From 6-24 months old, you can choose to have your child fly on your lap or purchase them a seat.  See above for a discussion on the pros and cons of each. 

Baggage Allowance for lap Infants?

Baggage Allowances-Generally:  For transatlantic flights the two economy class tickets are the ‘Saver’ and the ‘Smart.’ With the Saver, you get a 22lb carry-on and no checked bag.  With the Smart, you get a 22lb carry-on and one 50lb checked-bag.       

Lap infants: you can bring a diaper bag in addition to your carry-on.  Included in your ‘lap infant’ booking is a checked bag up to 22lbs.

Purchased Seat:  If you purchase your infant a seat then they’ll get the same baggage carry-on and checked-bag allowances as you do (depending on whether you booked a Saver or a Smart ticket). 

Children (Ages 2-11):

You must purchase a seat for any child over two.  On its website, Aer Lingus says that it gives a discount for this age group, although they do not say how much.  From what I can gather, based on tickets I’ve purchased, it’s approximately a 4%-5% discount on the regular fare- which translates to ~ $22.

What Happens if my Child Turns Two Mid-Trip?

If your child turns two mid-trip, you have two options.  The first is to purchase your child a seat for the outbound and the return flight; in this scenario, you can book a round trip ticket.  If you’d prefer to fly as a lap infant on the outbound flight and purchase a seat for the return flight you’ll have to book two one way tickets; the system will not allow you do book each leg differently. 

Check here for the most up to date infant, toddler, and child policies.

Expectant Mothers

Can you Fly Aer Lingus while Pregnant?

Before embarking on a transatlantic flight while pregnant, you should always check with your doctor, midwife, or OBGYN. 

Yes, you can fly Aer Lingus while pregnant, subject to the following rules (these rules apply to transatlantic flights):

  • Up to 27 weeks: there are no restrictions.
  • From 28-33 weeks (during any part of your trip): your doctor must complete an ‘Expectant Mother Travel Advice Form’ and submit it to Aer Lingus. You can find the form here and more information here.
  • 34 weeks or more: You cannot fly on Aer Lingus.

Can I Book Flights for an Unborn Baby?

Yes.  You should book the child as Baby (for the first name) and use the baby’s intended surname.  There is no charge to change the first name to the child’s given name, once the baby is born.  Aer Lingus cautions that they cannot perform name changes to codeshare or inter-airline tickets.  Alternatively, you can add an infant to an existing booking that was made before the child’s birth.

Check here for the most up to date pregnancy policies.

Takeaway

Would I recommend flying Aer Lingus with a baby or toddler?  Yes.  It’s not a luxury airline, but it’s a good, solid experience.  I’ve always felt welcomed and comfortable on Aer Lingus, and I’d fly them in a heartbeat with my baby or toddler.  If the only thing standing between you and Ireland is Aer Lingus, then don’t think twice about booking your tickets.  Ireland is a great country to visit with small kids, and I hope this review encourages you to visit!

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