Earlier this week we talked about carrying surfboards on UK airlines. So, with half term coming up, we thought it might be a good time to talk about travelling with young kids â€“ and all the paraphernalia that goes with them â€“ on those same airlines.
Family travel essentials
There are always going to be things that you must have when travelling. Passport, tickets, money, the usual. Family travel insurance is also one of them. You could call it an essential. But did you know that having a car booster seat is essential â€“ as it is in the UK – if you intent to drive anywhere in Europe? It is law in Europe for children between the ages of 3 and 12 (unless they are taller than 135cm) to have an age-appropriate car seat. So if you fly-drive itâ€™s something youâ€™ve either got to take with you or hire when you get there.
Carry-on or fly and hire?
We took a look at what the airlines will (or wonâ€™t) charge you to carry booster seats versus what car hire companies will charge to rent them at the other end. The results were great for the airlines but not so good for the car hire companies. Many of the UK airlines will carry pushchairs and booster seats for free. However others wonâ€™t and will charge per item per flight. So if all you want to do is take a couple of booster seats on a half term break to Spain choose your carrier carefully. Ryanair and BMI Baby will charge you Â£40 for the privilege. And if thatâ€™s a shocker, try leaving yours at home and renting one! Europcar will charge you Â£11.00 per day over the half term for renting a booster seat in Alicante. Hertz will charge you Â£22 per day. For a family of four staying for a week thatâ€™s an awful lot of cash considering the cost of an average high backed booster is about Â£40 and a seat booster is about Â£10. To be fair though, many of the airlines we asked will take boosters and pushchairsÂ for free. Good for them!
Using your own seats
It seems obvious that taking your own seats is going to be the cheapest option â€“ and perhaps the best. After all, you know how to fit your seats and car hire companies often operate a first come first served system, so even if youâ€™ve booked the seats in advance, there may not be any available. Also, thereâ€™s no guarantee that a hired car seat hasnâ€™t been involved in a accident previously. If the extra hassle of taking car seats into the airport is going to cause you stress you can always take the opportunity to relax airside with a great value holiday extra - a VIP lounge pass.
The cost of not complying with the law
But what happens if you decide that itâ€™s not worth the hassle or the cost of hiring a car seat? Firstly you could get an on the spot fine for breaking the law. Secondly it just isnâ€™t worth the risk to your children. And whilst underwriters might not see it as a serious offence â€“ like driving whilst on the phone, under the influence or without a seatbelt â€“ good sense must always prevail. Don’t risk invalidating your holiday insurance. Â The story as always is this: â€˜donâ€™t take chances, either with the law or your familyâ€™sâ€™ safetyâ€™.
Kid friendly? The UK’s popular airlines and their booster policies…
- BA: Booster seats go free
- Virgin Atlantic: Pushchairs and boosters: free
- Easyjet: 2 kids items (booster or pushchair) free
- Air South West: Booster seats go free
- BMI: Booster seats go free
- BMI Baby: Â£10 per booster per flight
- Ryanair: Booster seats Â£10 per item each way.