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I want to book a transatlantic flight and reserve a bassinet for my newborn. I've noticed that I can get a significantly lower price if I buy the tickets online, from a website like Expedia or Orbitz. However, when I called one of the airlines I was considering (British Airways), they said that if I get the tickets indirectly (not from British Airways' site) they cannot help me reserve the bassinet; that in such a case I need to reserve it through the "third party" (in this case, probably Expedia or Orbitz). When I talked to Expedia (I haven't talked to Orbitz yet) they said that things like bassinet reservations should go through the airline, after buying the ticket.

This seems strange to me. Has anyone bought tickets like I describe and then talked to the airline to reserve the bassinet? Were there problems?

In case it's relevant, my plan when booking is to book a "lap ticket" for my baby.

UPDATE:

What I did was book the flight on Expedia, and go to the British Airways website. I could see there that my seat was facing the bulkhead, with a bassinet icon next to it. I confirmed that these were the seats I wanted; here's hoping nothing will change till the flight :-)

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    The answer that the airline got you is correct: if you want to rebook the flight, alter the flight, or make any non-trivial changes, then you need to contact your travel agency. In case of flights directly bought from the airline, the airline - in a sense - is your travel agency. – DCTLib May 8 '15 at 13:18
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    British Airways have a Price Promise, so as long as all the details match (check the rules carefully!), I'd suggest booking with BA then putting in a claim for them to match the lower rate. You'd then have a BA booking to add the bassinet to – Gagravarr May 8 '15 at 13:26
  • some travel agents (I don't know about Expedia) offer such options in their booking, or at least, a free text field to add your request. They do not promise it will be read at the booking time but the airline should be aware. – Vince May 8 '15 at 13:46
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Short answer: it's ok to book through Expedia/Orbitz as long as the airline is the operating airline, and you have to call the right airline.

For example, if you book the British Airways's ticket on Expedia, and they're the marketing as well as operating airline for this flight, you will have no problem calling British Airways to add the bassinet request to your booking, assuming they're still available.

Here is the tricky part: say you see a flight on Expedia, marketed as British Airways, but operated by American Airlines. After you booked the flight, you will get a reservation number for British Airways, but not American Airlines. If you call British Airways, they cannot request the bassinet for you as American Airline has the control for that. What you can do is to ask about your "American Airlines" reservation number. With this 6-character code (different from your original one), you can then call American Airlines to request the bassinet. However, it's based on availability as well as the priority. So it's not guaranteed.

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Requesting a bassinent is normally done directly with the airline. It is not an alteration of your booking (as DCTLib aluded to) rather it is a special request that is tied to the seat you are assigned. Bassinents are ONLY available in bulkhead rows and most airplanes only carry a couple.

So to request one, you need to first request bulkhead seats, then request the bassinent. BUT seat requests are just that, requests, so there is no guarantee you will have that seat on the flight and hence no guarantee of a bassinent.

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