tomamylancaster

Airlines & Children

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    We've just had a request for medicals & police checks, which is great & means we're on track with our plan for a validation/research trip next school summer holidays (or at least, i hope!)

     

    With that in mind, I was sure I had read a thread somewhere about peoples opinions on the different airlines & stop-over destinations and peoples opinions on how the airlines were with the children etc - but now I can't find it anywhere! Typical!

     

    I realise what is great for one may have been a terrible experience for another, but wondered if people had any advice/opinions they wouldn't mind sharing?

     

    Also - best place to book? Direct, travel agent (I'm guessing not because of the commission), price comparisons sites?

     

    Eeeeek, one small step closer =) =)

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    Well done Tomyamyl it's great to see how far you have gone in your process of making your way to Oz..

    As regards airlines,we came with Singapore airlines,booked by a travel agent,she secured good seats for both of us and 3 kids under 6

    And helped to book a transit accommodation at Singapore transit hotel right within the airport,we had 6-7 hrs before our connecting flight,which enabled the kids to have a shower, had a change of clothes,stretched Thier feet,grabbed a nap on proper beds,the rates for the rooms were reasonable . The travel agent route leaves the entire flight responsibility to them while you focus on other matters

    they also negotiated a lower fare for us

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    Singapore Airlines would get my vote every time (and I flown to Australia 5 times with them). Excellent service, great with kids too.

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    We fly to the UK every year, sometimes this is done via a round the world trip to incorporate more of a holiday on our way. Singapore is always our first have a look at for price and timings, before looking at other preferred airlines like Malaysia, Emirates, Etihad, Cathay, if the prices are similar then we opt for the best timings even if it means we pay a little more. We do not go near Qantas/British airways

    There is heaps to do at Singapore airport, they have different gardens at various terminals, decent shops, bars, cafes etc, free massage chairs for the legs, the hotel swimming pool, they also do a free city sightseeing tour, this can all be checked out on their website.

    You need to book with the method you feel most at ease with, I generally book direct (but not always) then I am not paying the credit card fee, it also means I am talking direct with the airline regarding times and seat availability and allocation, whereas a travel agent may have to get back to you and then you could still have more questions to ask, the airlines also keep me informed if any changes to schedule etc, this has sometimes got lost/forgotten in the past when using agents.

    We are flying with Malaysia next month, they were the cheapest and in this instance, had the overall best timings, we paid extra to book seats on the upper deck of the A380 airbus ($200 in total) but were still the cheapest, Singapore, though only slightly more expensive lost out mainly on timings which I found unusual for them.

    Good luck and enjoy the journey, both plane and life!

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    Singapore airlines are lovely. We flew with them last week, fab flight.

     

    Kids meals are good, son had kids meal, pasta dish, choc mousse, fruit and more. Usual in flight fare for TV/film watching. Good breakfast served and lots of snacks. Also good adult menu.

     

    I also like using Sjngapore airlines as Changi airport is great for transit (we don't use the hotel to sleep though as not enough time between flights) but make use if the rooftop swimming pool. Son loved having an evening dip. Then we made use of one of the soft plays and he tore round that for an hour. IMHO best airport for stopover with kids if you want facilities.

     

    We booked through a travel agent. Got same price as online via the airlines official site. The deal sites didn't really give us any savings so didn't bother booking via them. We made sure to pre book our seats for both legs as soon as we got home from booking.

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    I can also vouch for Singapore airlines very good for stopovers etc and bassinet seats (u must req this if u need one) they also do child meals on the flight and plenty of legroom etc they also double your luggage allowance if u r migrating to Australia for the first time and have not yet validated your visa (ie entered Australia)

     

    Malaysian aren't bad but not as much to do in kl airport and not sure how they are with kids!!

     

    Cathay aren't bad but we have just heard that they are changing their flights to 4 times a week out of adelaide but it will be direct whereas before it was every day but u had to go via Melbourne so depends whether this suits but I really recommend hong kong for a stoper as well there is loads to do

     

    emirates aren't bad but couple of people have had service issues with them and the seats are a bit tight but they fly every day sometimes come in at good fares and they will also do stopover hotels for free if u have a layover of more than 8 hours

     

    if u want a weight off your mind check the price online and then call the travel agent and get them to match it and then let them do the rest or alternatively as some others have said you can do it yourself and be a bit more in control of things if u r that way inclined - sometimes u have enough on your plate without trawling through all the airline sites for hours looking for the best price.

     

    either way singapore airlines are probably your best option for families and luggage etc and if u r in the uk the earlier u book the better or they do some good specials in January if u get in quick after xmas

     

    good luck

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    Guest jo and james a'bear

    hi tom and amy just read your thread im a new member we are arriving in adelaide in aug 2014 and have 1 son agec 4 lucas my husband and i lived in adelaide from 2006/2009 but returned to uk to have our son we would like to make friends for lucas as think his going to find it very hard as a only child, as he has 2 cousins that his very close to. we will be living in brighton we are dual citizens. hope the process is going well and would be nice to hear from othher people with young children.

    jo and james

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    hi tom and amy just read your thread im a new member we are arriving in adelaide in aug 2014 and have 1 son agec 4 lucas my husband and i lived in adelaide from 2006/2009 but returned to uk to have our son we would like to make friends for lucas as think his going to find it very hard as a only child' date=' as he has 2 cousins that his very close to. we will be living in brighton we are dual citizens. hope the process is going well and would be nice to hear from othher people with young children.

    jo and james[/quote']

     

    Hey Jo and James

     

    We are down the road in Glenelg, our son is 5 and goes to school locally. He is always happy to meet other kids and make friends. He's our only one, is loving it here and making friends at school. Give us a shout anytime :)

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    Not sure if Emirates have changed since the posts about them, but their seats to/from Dubai to UK are the biggest I have ever had. And the ones to/from Adelaide to Dubai are ok too.

     

    They are my first choice from Adelaide.

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    If you go to seatguru.com you can get all the info on seats and more for nearly every airlines complete fleet . We just flew with Malaysia (from Brisbane) and was on their A380 from KL to LHR and back we were in the upstairs section and I have to say they were the roomiest seats we have ever had on any airline, and the two seats on the window sides seem even roomier due to the extra elbow room between the seat and the window.

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    Guest sithewindows

    We booked Emirates through Qantas as it was cheaper, made no sense, but saved money. Flights with them have always been good for us.

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    Hello

     

    We too have been to Australia many times and travelled with Emirites the first time with our little ones to which I could not fault on service but the plane did have a lot of problems lol, nothing engine related thankfully plus I did not really like Dubai airport. Singapore airlines gets my vote too it was probably down as one of my favourite flights, the airport is spectacular at singapore and if you have a bit stopover theres plenty to look at indoor butterflies, a lounger resting area, free tours of the city, its fab, we too stayed in the Transit lounge this time and it was super, we all had some endless food and non alcoholic drinks and showers, it was heaven after the first leg of the flight, and the staff were so nice in there think it was called the Ambassodor transit lounge, and you could come and go as you pleased, highly recommended, I booked my flight direct with the airline as wanted to get a specific day / time and it worked well I found what I wanted online emailed and then rang them up, they had great response via emails as well as the phone, they held the flight for me for almost a week and did not charge me (usually its $50 each seat to hold it)

     

     

    We've just had a request for medicals & police checks, which is great & means we're on track with our plan for a validation/research trip next school summer holidays (or at least, i hope!)

     

    With that in mind, I was sure I had read a thread somewhere about peoples opinions on the different airlines & stop-over destinations and peoples opinions on how the airlines were with the children etc - but now I can't find it anywhere! Typical!

     

    I realise what is great for one may have been a terrible experience for another, but wondered if people had any advice/opinions they wouldn't mind sharing?

     

    Also - best place to book? Direct, travel agent (I'm guessing not because of the commission), price comparisons sites?

     

    Eeeeek, one small step closer =) =)

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    Interesting everybody mentions Singapore airlines! We used them last year and had an amazing flight to and from Heathrow to Singapore including top deck seats on the way out. However the flight out from Singapore to Adelaide was lousy in fact one of the worst flights we had ever had. Fortunately I tend to pass out as soon as I sit in an airplane seat so missed the worst of it however my wife said it was a real 2nd class experience and believed our previous flights on Cathey were much better.

     

    Emerates does seem to have the best reputation at the moment however does require a not very inspiring stop off!

     

    S

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    Singapore Airlines is my preferred. They offered 40kgs baggage allowance for migration (if first time activating visa), they have also increased their economy allowance to 30kgs to match Emirates. Emirates was also good but airport not so kid friendly. If your budget allows we stopped in Singapore for 4 days to try and get a bit of a break post UK departure before the arrival frenzy. We stayed on Sentosa Island, I hadn't been there for years but its been upgraded to include waterparks etc, ave recommended to Adelaide based friends looking for a holiday in the sun with their kids. Good luck

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    We have decided to book direct with Singapore and decided even if it was slightly more expensive - the variety of things to do at Singapore airport made it worth it!

     

    We opened a Krisflyer air miles account too, so we can build up some miles and hopefully get a bit of money off in the future as we build it up!

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    We have decided to book direct with Singapore and decided even if it was slightly more expensive - the variety of things to do at Singapore airport made it worth it!

     

    We opened a Krisflyer air miles account too, so we can build up some miles and hopefully get a bit of money off in the future as we build it up!

     

    We gave up on the Krisflyer miles, three round trips from OZ to UK, still only enough miles to get me nowhere, would still have to pay taxes and other fees, could buy extra airmiles to make up the shortfall, that just about doubled what the cost of the normal fare was, I could also pay to extend the validity of the airmiles we 1st accrued but only for 6months, not long enough and we fly just about every year! So we have gone back to finding the best deals and flight times from our preferred airlines, (not Qantas or BA) the money I can save by finding the best deal is, in my opinion, better value than any airmiles earned.

    Happy flying.

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    Guest Flo

    Can't help with child friendliness of airlines, but two other things

     

    regarding booking, personally I prefer booking transcontinental flights with travel agents, due to being able to talk to a person face to face rather than over the phone and I can drop the whole issue of making changes onto them if problems arise (it did help that I always interacted with the same travel agency employee so she knew how I like to do things..). Also most agencies will match prices, so they aren't more expensive, but it requires to do a little bit of research beforehand.

    - if you are price sensitive, use Skyscanner, Kayak, or some deal website like that

    - if you are timing sensitive, use ITAsoftware search (it's now owned by Google), it is pretty easy to enter your exact requirements and find all flights that fit. The site lists the standard airline prices (I think it includes airline specials but not those from other places) and you can't book through them, but it gives exact information the travel agent can use to build the itinerary (till now the agent never charged me more than the listed price)

     

    Also regarding frequent flyer miles, some of the airlines are organized into groups, Singapore is in Star Alliance, Quantas (& Cathay and BA) is in Oneworld, Emirates unfortunately goes it alone... The nice thing is you can get miles for (almost) all flights of group airlines (i.e. if you have a Qantas account you get miles for flights with BA). The bad thing is that the exact rules are a major mess and headache, for example for Star alliance flights it matters what airline physically conducts the flight (for example you might have a Singapore airline ticket, but the actual flight is done by Lufthansa or Air New Zealand), for Oneworld it matters who is listed on the ticket (i.e. you might sit in a Quantas plane but your ticket is from BA....). And since Emirates and Qantas cooperate for flights to Australia, you will sit in an Emirates plane but if your ticket says Qantas you get only miles for the Qantas program (and if it says Emirates you only get Emirates points...)

     

    My recommendation is to open an account with one program within each group (i.e. pick one in Star alliance, Oneworld, and Emirates). For Oneworld I would go with Qantas (since they have also points programs for shopping in australia and in Oneworld the rates for flying with your program airline are much better than for partners). Just make sure you open the account while still in the UK, there are some cases in Australia where they will charge you for it.

    For Star Alliance I personally use a small Greek program (never flown with the airline, but it's really easy to get status), but if you only fly very occasionally have a look at the program of United airlines. Singapore's Krisflyer is known for really catering to extreme frequent flyer in business/first class...

     

    And although I wrote that much about it, my recommendation is to pick two or three programs and when you book flights don't really use miles to decide which flight to take, it's too much effort and not enough reward (and let me warn you, collecting miles can become addictive...)

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    Plenty of info there Flo, couple of questions though if you can answer them, 1) what do you spend your airmiles on if not flights? 2) which programme's airmiles do not have an expiry date?

    Regarding question 2, with Singapore they expire after 3 years, and I worked out that I would have to fly long-haul (OZ to UK return) 5 times in that period to get the same trip on air miles and still have to pay taxes and fees! and boy do the taxes vary with airlines, I once checked on this with 2 airlines for the same trip Brisbane to London return and it was approx. $1200 fare $700 tax with one airline and almost the exact reverse with the other!!! If you live in OZ then maybe the Qantas or virgin may be useful for converting to domestic travel, but their prices for long-haul are usually way way more than others, and you could easily buy a couple of domestic flights with the difference! To summarize I believe that you get better savings and value by shopping around for the best deals.

     

    Much to okmorris's (pia member and travel agent) disgust with me for doing so, I tend to book direct with the airlines for my OZ-UK trips and have used their websites and over the phone, found this really useful when booking seats upstairs on the A380, as they seem to be able to check availability os seats/flights better than I have experienced with travel agents, (sorry okmorris, I know not all agents are the same!). I also use Web based travel agent 'Best Flights' for when I want/need to do a round the world trip I have found no one yet who can come up with any better deals than them on this, I even had a well known price promise travel agent tell me one of best flights deals did not even exist. Some of these round the world deals can be cheaper than flying direct especially in peak season like Christmas, yet you fly on the same flights which could have come up as fully booked when trying direct.

    Research, research, ask and ask are the keys to getting the best deals and flights, whether it be direct, web or travel agent, it can be part of the fun of the holiday!

    Happy travels.

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    Guest Flo
    1) what do you spend your airmiles on if not flights?

    At the moment I have enough miles for a one-way Australia-Europe in one account (which I will likely take as a flight) and a whole bunch of miles in a number of other programs I am not sure yet what exactly I will do with it. In the past I have used miles to buy world maps, a lamp, a trolley, a transcontinental US train trip, a bunch of American Express gift cards (essentially turned it into cash at a really good rate, unfortunately Aeroplan changed that option), and some of the miles went to charity.

     

    It varies form program to program what you can do with them, usually non-flight rewards (if available) are atrocious with regard to the miles to value ratio, flights are not too bad (some programs offer the option that you pay part of the fare with miles, might be a good idea if you don't think you will get enough for a full flight), and in purely financial terms upgrades are best (I think, never done it since I don't really see the big value in business class).

     

    At the moment I am collecting mostly with Qantas which actually has a store where you can redeem for goods. I'll likely get a gift card (they have stores like Myer, David Jones, Big W, etc), the rate is 100$ for about 15000 Miles, which means it's about a 125$ rebate on a return Europe-Australia

     

    2) which programme's airmiles do not have an expiry date?

     

    this is rather complicated since each program does something different, sometimes miles expire, sometimes they only expire if you don't collect additional ones, some don't expire if you hold a particular credit card, and then there is the whole status thing, so it's incredibly hard to generalize.

     

    I spent a little bit of time on the whole thing, but given the amount I fly I didn't get into the full minutiae.... but a good place to start if you have specific questions is the Miles&Points forum on the Flyertalk website, there are people who know programs in all their details...

     

    Actually Flyertalk is a good website if you have travel specific questions in general (random things about Airports, airlines, etc), might also be a good resource for children related questions

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