BedBox and the Airlines
Quite often, we get enquiries about which airline approves the BedBox onboard their aircrafts. In order for us to give a good answer to this, it is important to know what the BedBox is. The BedBox is primarily a premium ride-on suitcase with carry-on dimensions. In addition to be the coolest ride-on suitcase ever made, it has a very smart and patented feature, enabling it to be used as a seat extender. On long haul flights, children will eventually become tired and need their sleep. This feature is the solution that transforms a nightmare flight into a comfortable experience.
When traveling by air, you will most likely meet similar procedures whether you fly with an airline from the US or from Europe or Asia. Although there are slight variations, the regulations are in fact quite similar. The main reason for this is because most regulations are based on the works of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). ICAO works towards harmonized standards and procedures globally.
One of the most important elements when designing the BedBox was for it to conform to these standard guidelines and recommended practices. However, even though the BedBox is widely accepted by most airlines, there are some airlines which unfortunately don’t allow it. This is of course frustrating for us, but even more frustrating for you as a parent, as you really want your child to be able to obtain some sleep for your upcoming flight.
The reason why some airlines are not currently allowing the BedBox onboard, usually boils down to clear misconceptions about the product. A decision made without even seeing the BedBox or reaching out to us for more in-depth information.
With the increasingly number of comfort devices available today, we are aware that some airlines have a «no» mentality. They are simply overwhelmed by people requesting a formal approval for different kind of comfort devices brought on board. This ranges from different kind of travel pillows and inflatable supports to lithium battery powered equipment etc. Therefore, the easiest answer for them is a «no», which of course is very unfortunate in this case.
Here at JetKids, we are working with different airlines and membership organizations in order to obtain a more universal approach to different kind of comfort devices on the market, including the BedBox. Our experience is that airlines that has been in doubt, and reached out to us for a sample along with some more in-depth information, quickly understands the many benefits of its use, and changes their policy to allow its use. We can all agree that the alternative on a long haul flight with kids is not pleasant.
On long haul flights, whether we like it or not, children will eventually become tired and will need their sleep. And as we all know, the pre-BedBox-era saw children sleeping in various positions onboard aircrafts, like e.g across seat rows (or even on the floor in front of the seat!). Sleeping across a seat row has been a widely been accepted solution during the cruise portion of the flight, and does not cause conflict with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices as long as the child is seated properly when/if the seat belt sign is turned on.
However, this is not an optimum solution in case of unexpected turbulence as standard seat belt design does not allow a child to lay across the seats whilst using the seat belt. Using the BedBox properly will allow a resting position along the longitudinal axis of the airplane, enabling use of the aircraft seat belt. This, in combination with a secured BedBox will give better protection towards unexpected turbulence in addition to a more comfortable resting position which does not require an extra seat.
In case of an expected period of turbulence (seat belt sign ON), the BedBox will be easy to stow away under the seat in front, and should not be used. This is the same general limitation which applies to most items onboard, and also many of the baby bassinets currently available in the industry.
Using the BedBox
On a regular economy class seat, normal use of the BedBox will not be affected by the recline of the seat in front. The platform height is so low and close to the rotation/hinge point of the backrest. And unlike heavy cabin trolleys, laptops and many other items in an aircraft cabin, the BedBox can easily be secured in place in front of a seat for additional security. This, along with the factors below, are some examples of considerations we have taken into account during our development of the BedBox:
- Making a stylish & aviation-inspired ride-on suitcase for children
- Not using any inflatable parts/pillows
- Avoiding wear or tear to aircraft interior
- Setting out guidelines for recommended seating positions, which ensures aisles and exits are not blocked
- Making it easy and quick to stow away whenever needed
- Making a practical comfort product, with safety benefits
- Make it possible to, and also encourage, using the seat belt at all times. Even when sleeping
A Game Changer
It is also worth mentioning the situation seen on many haul flights, with many restless passengers walking up and down or standing in the aisle. If a child gets overtired and not able to sleep, it is quite common to allow them out in the aisles and adding to the total number of passengers there. From an airline and safety point of view, this is not ideal for several reasons, and especially not in a situation of turbulence, where the need to stow away the heavy cabin trolleys arises.
The feedback we have from frequent flying families is that the BedBox has been a game changer. Children are now having sleep during a long flight. Another positive effect likely seen, is the contribution to a reduction of children sleeping on the floor, as well as an improvement to the overall well-being of surrounding passengers and crew.
The BedBox has been developed with inputs from pilots, aircraft engineers, cabin crew, travellers, parents and of course the kids. We love traveling with kids, and we want all families to have a comfortable, safe and enjoyable travel experience.
If you ever encounter an airline that denies the use of BedBox, feel free to refer them to this article. In most cases, it usually boils down to clear misconceptions about the product, which can easily be eliminated by seeing and testing it. Furthermore, tell them to contact us on email@example.com and request a sample along with some more in-depth information. Most likely, this will clear out the misconceptions they might have. It will require some sort of willingness from their side, but we are very happy to see that more and more airlines is now doing this properly.
Although the BedBox is accepted by most airlines as a comfortable seat extender, we do know of a few airlines that currently do not: Qantas, Emirates, Air France & Thai. In addition, we have Air New Zealand, which have already made their own version of the BedBox. ( Although they forgot the fantastic ride-on suitcase aspect. We wonder who was first? 🙂 )
We have reached out to most of these airlines, and have been able to identify the misconceptions they have. Some of them have promised to reconsider BedBox having been consulted on the product, and get a better understanding. And we have some who have not given us a reply. If you have planned with one of these airlines, you may be able to use it regardless but you may also be told to put it away. We know you are up for a challenge, but hopefully you will still be able to have a pleasant flight with your kids.
Even though sleep is a key factor when traveling far with kids, another important element is nutrition. Plan ahead, drink and eat well before and during the flight. And remember to bring some entertainment. The BedBox will still be the perfect travel companion and carry-on suitcase for your child. It will fit perfectly either under the seat in front or in the overhead bin. And with the mattress left back home, you will have even more volume available for your child’s favorite items.
Into The Future
Later this year, we have been invited to meet with IATA (International Air Transport Association), in order to get a more standardized approach towards the BedBox. IATA is the biggest airline membership organization, and represents more than 270 airlines globally. In addition, we have a new product on our drawing table which we also want to present, and that we know many of you will appreciate. This is still top secret but we are so excited to tell you more! 🙂