children travel

Save on Children and Infants Airline Travel Worldwide!

Air travel is often expensive, with many airlines charging fees for checked baggage, meals and extra legroom. In some instances, travelers with children are able to catch a break on airline fees by qualifying for a reduced fare child’s ticket or even receiving a free ticket for a lap baby.

Infant Travel

Airlines typically offer parents of children under 2 years of age the opportunity to hold the child on their lap. Tickets for lap babies are generally free or require payment of airline fees and taxes only on domestic flights, though a small ticket fee is commonly included on international flights. In addition, some airlines, such as Southwest, give a ticket discount to infants traveling in an FAA-approved child restraint, such as a car seat, while other airlines, such as United offer complementary bassinets for use on international flights with an infant under 6 months of age.

Children on Domestic Flights

Parents of children over the age of 2 are typically required to pay the full adult fare for their kids. Select airlines offer reduced fares for children, such as Southwest, though the discount offers vary by flight. Though a few discounts are available for children flying domestically, most airlines allow a stroller and a car seat to be included in a child’s baggage allowance for no cost. For example, United Airlines allows customers to carry a diaper bag, breast pump and government approved child seat in addition to the maximum carry on allowance.

Children on International Flights

While discounted fares are available for children flying internationally, the discounts vary from airline to airline and are not offered on all flights. Reduced-price fares are typically limited to children under the age of 11 and not all fares are advertised online. The BabyCenter website notes that it is often best to contact the airline directly to ask about any current discounts for children on international flights.

Other Considerations

Remember that all airlines require children, especially those traveling on a discounted ticket, to present proof of age when checking in for a flight. A birth certificate or passport are commonly accepted forms of age verification. Airlines often limit baggage allowances for children traveling on a discounted fare. For example, lap children traveling for free on Delta flights do not have their own baggage allowance though children traveling on a fare that is at least 50 percent of the full adult fare receive the full baggage allowance.

How much are airfares for children?

All airlines are different, but most generally consider a “child” to be aged between 2 and 11. Children who fall into this bracket must have their own ticket and occupy their own seat. For domestic flights there is usually no difference between an adult fare and a child fare, however certain fees or taxes might be lower. On international flights, child airfares may be charged at 50% to 80% of the full fare depending on the airline and route.

What ID do my kids need to travel?

Children usually don’t need ID to fly domestically when they are accompanied by a parent or guardian, but they do need some paperwork when it comes to international flights. Children under the age of 18 travelling overseas must have a child’s passport. Currently, child passports in US are valid for five years from the date of issue and children are not able to be included on their parents’ passport, although this is an option in some other countries.

Carrying a copy of your child’s birth certificate with you is a good idea in case you need proof of age when it comes to booking flights or applying for child discounts at attractions as you travel.

What is the baggage allowance for children?

As children (aged 2 to 11) have their own ticket and seat, they are subject to the same baggage restrictions as adults. For carry-on, this generally means 7kg and 23kg for checked baggage. These baggage limits can vary depending on the airline, class of travel and loyalty program membership level so it’s best to check with your chosen airline before heading to the airport.

What entertainment options are there for kids?

If your domestic flight offers onboard entertainment via seatback screens or tablet devices for hire, there will usually be a small selection of kid-friendly movies, TV shows and music. Many airlines still offer the good old-fashioned kid’s activity packs on-board, especially if you’re flying internationally, which include colouring pencils, travel games and toys to take with them after landing.

Keeping the kids entertained during the flight is one thing, but don’t forget about waiting times before flights and during stopovers too. Ensuring your young jetsetters have plenty of fun things to keep them busy in their carry-on will mean a much more enjoyable journey for all. Encouraging kids to keep a travel journal is also a great way to keep them occupied while creating a wonderful keepsake.  

 What are the children’s food options on-board?

Most airlines have kid-friendly meals available. If your child’s airfare includes a meal, you can request a child or toddler meal when you make the booking and also specify any allergies or dietary requirements. It’s important for all travellers to keep hydrated while flying so bringing a bottle of water is recommended, although it is usually offer on-board too.

Domestic flights usually have snack items available for purchase and in-flight menus often include juice, soft drink, cookies, chips, savoury biscuits and fresh sandwiches. Keep in mind that sugary food and drinks can sometimes cause travel sickness so it’s better to stick to the healthy stuff. 

What should I do if my child cries on the plane?

Most of the time when children cry during a flight, it’s because the cabin pressure during take-off and landing is wreaking havoc on their ears (anyone with sinus issues can empathise – it’s not a pleasant experience). However, crying is a natural reaction as kids don’t know how else to make their discomfort heard.

As soon as the captain announces they will be descending shortly, keep your child entertained and comfortable. Some things that can help ease ear discomfort when flying include sucking on lollies (especially eucalyptus sweets or anything that clears the sinuses), chewing gum and using a Vicks Inhaler or VapoRub. 

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