Planning your Australia holiday: Booking flights to Australia with babies and children

If you are traveling with infants, toddlers or children to Australia, chances are your criteria for choosing a flight are going to be a little bit different to, say, a backpacker. But if you are after the cheapest fare you can get, you might want to have a quick think about what that might mean… a longer stopover en route, a less comfortable airline, a lower standard of facilities on board, less choice of flight times…, etc.

Flying as a family to Australia is no mean feat and it’s a very good idea to book your flight wisely!

Choose a good quality airline; this is no time to be thinking just with your wallet. The higher quality airlines are not always more expensive; just wait for the right time to travel or keep an eye out for deals (I can help you there — sign up to the announcements!).

According to Skytrax these are all 5-star airlines (I’ve picked out the ones on the list that fly to Australia):

  • Asiana
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore

I’ve flown Singapore Airlines to Australia several times, and I have to say that in my experience they are excellent (both with and without small people). I am sure the same goes for all the other 5-star airlines too (and I’m about to find out in the case of Cathay Pacific…!).

Also worth looking at are the 4-star airlines (again I’ve just listed here the ones that fly to Australia):

  • British Airways
  • China Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Ethiad
  • Korean
  • Qantas
  • Thai
  • Virgin Atlantic

We’ve flown Emirates to Australia a few times (with and without small people) and they are very good. Can also recommend Virgin Atlantic as a good child-friendly long-haul airline (flew them to Mauritius — a 13-hour flight — with small person).

Now think about how you want to fly; do you want to ‘get it over with’ (in which case choose short connection times and as direct a route as possible), or do you want a stopover?

There is actually an in-between type of stop I like to call a ‘sleepover’ (!) — that is a good option when flying with babies and children. You book your flights on purpose with connection times of 6-12 hours between them and take advantage of in-airport or next-to-airport hotels for a snooze, a snack and a splash (bath, shower or even a swim!). We’ve taken the ‘sleepover’ option flying via Singapore where the Ambassador Transit Hotel is airside (you don’t collect your luggage), and you can have a swim and a nice sleep before your onward flight. The Transit Hotel can set up cots and offers family rooms too, and it can really make a difference to your sanity on the long flight.

When we fly Cathay Pacific later this week, we’ve intentionally booked a long ‘gap’ between our connecting flights at Hong Kong and will be checking into the Regal Airport hotel for a few hours of sleep, a swim, dinner and, in my case, a spa treatment (he he!). We’ll be doing the same on the way home too. With small people in tow it’s often more about how much sleep YOU can get than they can (so you can cope with them!) 🙂

And one last thing… and it’s about ‘cheap flights’ again, do your sums. Sometimes the airlines that have the cheapest advertised fares for adults work out more expensive for children and infant fares when you add it all up. I’ve written about this before.

It may seem daunting taking babies and children all that way to Australia, but remember… babies get to fly first class (they get a bassinet which is a ‘lay-flat bed’), and most kids I know would love the excuse to watch TV and play a games console for hours on end without being told off! See… not so bad afterall…!!

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