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We are two adults and two 2-year-old toddlers planning to fly a long flight with KLM 787-9. This will be our first flight with the kids, so we are trying to make it as easy on them as possible. We found reasonably priced tickets for business class, but are wondering which seats would work best. We found this layout on KLM page:

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We are considering either the 4 seats in the middle (e.g. 3D, 3G, 4D, 4G) or the 4 seats across the hallway (e.g. 3A, 3D, 4A, 4D). The goal is to have easy access to the toddlers.

I found for example this picture online: https://www.airteamimages.com/boeing-787_PH-BHD_klm---royal-dutch-airlines_247481.html And from that it looks like it is not possible to cross easily between the seats in the middle.

Does anybody have experience with this kind of seating?

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    I don't have experience so can't answer, but: Since you said your aim is making the trip as easy as possible for the kids, this might be a case where economy is preferable to business class. The seats themselves are certainly more comfortable in business, but they're designed for privacy. As you've noticed, you don't have much access to whoever occupies the seat next to you. That's desirable for most business travellers, but not desirable when travelling with young children. Economy seats (less comfortable, but keep you nice and close) might be easier for both you and the kids. – Chris H Jun 11 at 11:46
  • It's difficult to judge from the few pictures I found which actually show that part (people posting pictures all seem to travel in the window seats...), but it looks like there's a small passage between the two seats, with however a low partition. So it's probably possible to get from one seat to the other, however it does not seem practical at all, especially in a hurry. But I'm not sure across the aisle is that much better with 2-year olds. Too bad Economy comfort only has an increased pitch, it could have been a better compromise in your case. – jcaron Jun 11 at 12:18
  • I'd expect a toddler to spend more time in parent's seat than their own. If that is the case, 4 seats across aisle may be preferable. – RedBaron Jun 11 at 13:27
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    @ChrisH has it right. Modern business class layouts are the wrong place for toddlers. I’ve flown with young children, and economy (possibly premium economy) is much easier. My children would not have tolerated this layout - they’d have been all over the plane looking for me or their mother - including at points such as take off or landing when they have to be belted in. – rhialto Jun 13 at 19:55
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It's not an ideal layout and I don't think there is a single right answer.

I would probably go with two rows in the middle and seat kids and parents diagonally. So you have one parent sitting next to the kid (although with limited physical access) and the other before or behind, i.e. they can quickly have full access to the child through the same isle if needed.

"Interacting" across the isle is not great: you can't even help them change the movie when the seat belts are on and sometimes the isle is blocked during service.

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Just looking at the diagram and photo, I'd say across-the-aisle is what you want.

Consider this: If you're seated in the middle next to a child also in the middle, and that child decides to get up and run around, how are you going to get over to the other aisle to handle it?

If I were you, I'd pick two rows with seats across the aisle from each other, and perhaps put parents at the corners and toddlers at the other corners, so each parent has a toddler in front or behind and a toddler across the aisle.

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  • The seats face away from the aisle. – DJClayworth Jun 11 at 13:08
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    What's your point? – Kyralessa Jun 11 at 13:35
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    I believe the point being made is, let's say you are in 4D and your child is in 4K, not only is there an aisle worth of space between you, your seat is also facing generally away from their seat, which is also facing mostly away from yours. To watch your child, or interact with them in anyway, while you are not allowed out of your seat (take off/landing/heavy turbulence) there's no way you can easily OR comfortably monitor/watch them. You facing away with a shell of the seat blocking most of your view to them. If you were in 4D/4G, and your toddle gets out of their seat, there is simply no – CGCampbell Jun 11 at 14:55
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    crossing over to catch them. You would have to go all the way around the section... inviting a game of tag at which point your not only aggravated all other business-class people, but your child might simply be uncatchable. Also, check out this article upgradedpoints.com/travel/flying-business-class-with-a-baby – CGCampbell Jun 11 at 14:56
  • Which goes to the point some are making above that business class might be counterproductive in this scenario. From the question, though, it sounds as if the tickets are already purchased. – Kyralessa Jun 11 at 15:18

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