Answered prayers: Airline seat map now tells you where babies are seated

Sep 25, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Travelers, rejoice: The Japan Airlines seat-selection map now shows travelers where babies will be seated on upcoming flights.

This is great news for everyone who travels on JAL, including travelers who fly with children and who generally don’t mind being around them — and travelers who don’t. Parents with small children can easily “establish their territory,” so to speak, by booking themselves and their lap children in their seats of choice from the get-go, while people who prefer to keep their distance can (hopefully) select seats elsewhere.

TPG reader Kevin Yang forwarded us this tweet by JAL passenger Rahat Ahmed, and we checked to confirm that the airline had added baby icons on its long-haul flights. Based on anecdotal evidence, it appears that the seat-selection map is most accurate close to the departure date, which makes a lot of sense. For instance, a New York (JFK) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) flight for Friday, Sept. 27, three days from now, shows an icon for one baby on board in seat 46G.

Wanna be the first to hear about travel news? Sign up for the TPG email newsletter.

However, a flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo Narita on October 27 currently doesn’t display any tiny travelers.

No infants are currently displayed for JAL’s Vancouver to Tokyo flight on October 2, although the Tokyo to Sydney route shows one baby in 46F.


And there’s one infant in 46D for Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) on October 1:

Based on the original Twitter poster’s screenshot, as well as the Seatguru map of JAL’s Boeing 777-300 configuration, you’re most likely to be near children around the center seats in Row 46 and the center and right-side seats of Row 23, which can be set up with bassinets for infants and lap children.

Image courtesy of Seatguru.
Image courtesy of Seatguru.

Ahmed also shared with us a screenshot of JAL’s “baby on board” policy, which explains that seat selections may not accurately reflect seating arrangement for travelers with infants if tickets were booked through third-party agencies or as part of a tour package.

Image courtesy of Rahat Ahmed.
Image courtesy of Rahat Ahmed.

TPG reviewers have had good things to say about JAL in first, business, premium economy and coach class. Now with this seat selection tool, Japan Airlines may just have bumped itself to the top of our “favorites” list for families traveling internationally. Not only does JAL offer a rental service for children’s booster seats on select routes with advance notice, the airline also offers free airport strollers, diapers in sizes M and L, snacks and age-appropriate meals for babies up to age 2, and children between ages 2 to 12. Depending on availability, your little one may even receive a small complimentary gift from the airline.

Related: Best international airlines when flying with a family

While small children undeniably come with some extra requirements, plenty of TPG readers have found ways to continue their travels apace, even with kids in tow. In fact, many parents swear by traveling with them as early as possible, even if they won’t remember it: Practice makes perfect, and kids (as well as adults) do better with consistent exposure to new experiences.

Airlines don’t always get it right, either, when it comes to booking children. In 2018, Delta accidentally upgraded a three-year-old to first class, leaving her parents in coach. Some airlines have even been accused of splitting up families in order to earn additional revenue. It’s nice to see JAL doing things right, just like Southwest does in the United States.

So if you’re considering an overseas trip with your little one, go for it: At least on Japan Airlines, you’ll have a higher chance of either scoring an empty seat next to you, or sitting next to an empathetic seatmate. As for those travelers who want to avoid being seated next to infants at all costs: Your prayers have been answered.

Featured photo by Ryan Patterson/TPG.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.