Travelling can be stressful enough on your own, and once you add an infant, it can take it to the next level. You have rights when you are flying with your infant, and it’s important to know what they are so you’re equipped if something happens. Here are seven facts to help you travel with infants.
- Parents traveling with infants can carry larger quantities of formula, breast milk, and baby food on the plane, exempt from the standard liquid restrictions. Cooling accessories for preservation are also allowed.
- Children under 2 years old can fly on their parent’s lap without needing their own seat. However, parents should inform the airline in advance and can choose to purchase a seat for the infant if desired.
- If there are empty seats on the plane, parents can use them for their infant, providing more comfort during the journey. Safety requirements must be adhered to when the child is in their own seat.
- While domestic flights often allow infants to travel for free on the parent’s lap, international flights may require purchasing a fare for the infant, even if they travel on the parent’s lap.
- Infants traveling on the parent’s lap have no additional baggage allowance, so their essentials should be included with the parents’ luggage. Strollers and car seats are allowed but must be checked at the gate and will not be usable during the flight. Check with the airline for in-flight harness options.
Baby Essentials Are Exempt from Liquid Restrictions
Typically, your liquids cannot exceed 3 oz, and all must sit in a quart-sized bag if you are carrying them on. Thankfully for those traveling with infants, that is not the case. You can carry on larger quantities of formula, breast milk, and other food on the plane with you because they qualify as medically necessary liquids.
This also applies to cooling accessories like ice packs, freezer packs, and gel packs that allow you to preserve the milk or formula for longer. Before you go through the screening process, inform security that you have these items in your bag. You will need to remove them from your bag, and they will need to undergo a special screening process. In some cases, you may need to open them.
The liquid limitations may vary from airport to airport, but you never have to worry about your baby going hungry while flying. That’s not a good experience for everyone.
Not all Infants Need Their Own Seats
If your child is under 2 years old, they do not need their own seat. They can fly on your lap if you want them to. This is especially helpful for children who are too small to sit on their own. Car seats and other harnesses are not available on flights.
Keep in mind that only one infant is allowed per lap, so if you have more than one child traveling with you, any children in excess of one will need their own seat unless you are traveling with multiple passengers.
Make sure to notify the airline that you are planning on traveling with a lap infant during your booking or by contacting customer service.
Empty Seats Can Be Your Friend
If there are empty seats on your plane, you can use that seat for your child. This can help both of you feel more comfortable. Keep in mind that the child must have a seatbelt on if the sign is on and they are in their own seat. They must adhere to all safety requirements.
If there are no empty seats on the plane, you will need to hold your infant the entire time. If you want them to have their own seat, you must pay for it.
International Fares with Infants
Domestic flights are typically free if you are flying with an infant under the age of two. However, that’s not always the case if you are flying internationally. Depending on the airline, you may need to purchase a fare for your infant – even if you plan to travel with them on your lap.
Keep in mind that these fares will be reduced; however, you’ll want to check with your airline prior to booking to prevent surprises. You always need to notify the airline when you plan to travel with infants, regardless of if you are traveling domestically or internationally.
You and Your Children Have the Right to Sit Next to Each Other
If you purchase your infant their own seat, you have the right to be seated next to each other. When you book, make sure to select seats together. You can add an extra layer of precaution by notifying the airline that you are traveling with an infant or children to make sure they seat you together, even if they change planes.
If you’re not able to select seats, you can contact customer service. They may be able to put a note on your booking to seat you together when seats are assigned. If there are no assigned seats, you will be able to book early to ensure that you are seated together. If there are no seats together, you or the cabin crew may ask another passenger to switch seats.
Airlines prioritize seating families together, so don’t panic if you aren’t initially seated together. It’s in everyone’s best interest to seat parents with their children to care for them throughout the flight.
Infants Have No Baggage Allowance – Unless They Have Their Own Seats
If you are traveling with a lap infant, they have no additional luggage allowance. Their clothes and essentials should be included with their parents. There is no extra weight given or other exceptions made outside of the right to carry food and drink for them that exceed the traditional allotted amount.
If the infant has its own seat, then you may be able to bring additional luggage for them, including additional carry-on bags and personal items. Check with the airline for their official policy. Otherwise, you may run the risk of having to pay for the additional bag.
You Can Bring Strollers and Car Seats – But You’ll Check Them at the Gate
Items that make traveling with infants a lot easier, like strollers and car seats, are allowed, but you need to check them on the gate. These items will be available once you reach your destination; however, they will not be able to be used during the flight. There are no exceptions.
If your child is in need of an in-flight harness, the airline may be able to provide one; however, you’ll want to check with them before the flight so you understand what they can provide and what you need to bring.
You have rights when you are travelling with an infant, including the right to have them sit on your lap if they are under the age of two. As you book, you will need to notify the airline that you will be traveling with an infant, and they will let you know of any additional requirements needed to do so. In some cases, you may need to book an additional fare, but this depends on the airline and the type of trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring baby formula or breast milk on the plane if I’m traveling with an infant?
Yes, you can bring baby formula, breast milk, and other baby food on the plane when traveling with an infant. These items are exempt from the usual liquid restrictions and can be carried in larger quantities. Cooling accessories like ice packs are also allowed to preserve the milk or formula.
Do I need to purchase a separate seat for my infant, or can they sit on my lap during the flight?
If your child is under 2 years old, they do not need their own seat and can fly on your lap. However, only one infant is allowed per lap. If you prefer your infant to have their own seat, you can purchase a seat for them, but it will come at an additional cost.
What should I do if there are no empty seats on the plane, and I want my infant to have their own seat?
If there are no empty seats on the plane and you want your infant to have their own seat, you will need to pay for the extra seat. Airlines prioritize seating families together, so you can notify the airline in advance about your preference for an extra seat, but it will come at a cost.
Are there any additional fees or charges for traveling with an infant on international flights?
While domestic flights often allow infants to travel for free on the parent’s lap, international flights may require purchasing a fare for the infant, even if they travel on the parent’s lap. These fares are typically reduced, but you should check with the airline for their specific policy to avoid any surprises.
Can I bring a stroller or car seat for my infant, and how will they be handled during the flight?
Yes, you can bring a stroller and car seat for your infant. However, you will need to check them at the gate, and they will not be usable during the flight. The airline will provide the stroller and car seat back to you upon reaching your destination. Some airlines may also offer in-flight harnesses for infants, but it’s best to check with them in advance to know what is available and what you need to bring.