To Canada by wing and by vessel

We want to visit my brother in Vancouver at Christmas. My partner and I have twin boys who will be 17 months old when we fly. Which is the best airline when you're flying with infants? Will we be separated due to the oxygen mask set-up? My parents also plan to come along but medical reasons limit my dad's flight time to a maximum of four hours. He is happy to cruise to the US-Canadian coast. Any ideas to get him there before Christmas would be appreciated.

- A. Shaw, Melbourne.

When travelling with infants, you want to get it over as quickly as possible, so Air Canada (aircanada.com) would be my pick because this is the only airline with direct flights between Australia and Vancouver. The only drawback is that the flight operates from Sydney.

You will be seated in the central section of this Boeing 777 behind a bulkhead, where the bassinets are, and you will be separated. As a safety issue, Air Canada does not allow two infants to be seated together. Because you will need bassinets, you need to make a booking for preferred seats, at a cost of $C100 ($102) each.

You should start the booking process as soon as possible and it would be a good idea to discuss your requirements with an Air Canada travel consultant (phone 1300 655 767). Under the tab "Information and Services", the Air Canada website has a section on travelling with infants.

Regarding your father's medical condition, one possibility is Holland America's (hollandamerica.com) MS Amsterdam, which leaves Melbourne on November 13 and makes a leisurely voyage across the Pacific to reach Los Angeles on December 5.

Los Angeles to Vancouver is a two-hour, 40-minute flight. He will have to put up with stops at Noumea, Suva, Pago Pago and Honolulu but, given time, anyone can adapt to the rigors of cruising.

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