How Old Does A Baby Have To Be To Fly?
Whilst waiting for your little one to arrive, you may be dreaming of warm holidays to relax and enjoy your new bundle of joy but the first question to enter your mind is: when can a newborn fly and what do I need to do in advance to ensure they are kept safe?
When flying with a newborn, it is important to consider how to keep them safe and healthy as their immune system is still developing. Antibacterial wipes can be used to clean surfaces and pacifiers/dummies or breastfeeding can help to protect their ears. If your child has a cold or any other illness before flying, it is important to contact your doctor for further advice.
Vaccinations are often needed to travel to various countries and can be needed to be administered one month prior to travel. These are dependant on the location you are visiting and some vaccinations will be part of the usual given to children at specified stages of their early childhood.
Sometimes these schedules can be sped up if urgent travel must be made and your doctor must be contacted to ensure that your child is covered completely for your journey. Vaccinations and schedules can differ in different countries, private provision can provide these for you and the World Health Organisation can offer additional advice for you.
Each airline, and even Health Professional may have differing views when answering the question of how soon can a baby fly after being born so below is some helpful guidance, depending on which airline you are using.
It is important to check any documentation needed for each flight, bring prescription medicine with you and any medical certificates depending on destination.
This can vary dependant on the airline. If your baby is nearing 2 years of age prior to travel, you must check with your airline about pricing and seating arrangements if they will turn two during part of the journey or before the return flight.
Babies can fly from 7 days old with Air Canada. The airline only permits one child to fly per adult and the infant can travel for free for domestic flights within Canada and to/from the United States if this child sits on the lap of said adult.
You are able to purchase a seat for the child if there is an adequate child restraint device, however these are not permitted in Executive First Class. For flights outside of the US, the fare for an infant on a lap is 10% of an adult fare and a child fare applies for the infant to have their own seat.
Air Canada allow two pieces of baggage to be checked in plus one carry on bag and one stroller which can be checked in at the gate. Air Canada suggest checking any bookings to ensure that seat reservations and assignments to ensure that you are provided with a seat in proximity to any children.
Alaska Airlines have no minimum age requirement for a baby to fly on one of their flights, however they do suggest checking with the child’s doctor to ensure that the journey is safe for your newborn.
Children must occupy their own seat on the airline once they reach 2 years of age and until then, can be placed on an adult’s lap – you must inform the airline of this and the adult must be at least 16 years of age.
You can purchase a seat for your infant if you have an appropriate restraint device. There are no applicable taxes for lap infants for domestic flights but there is an immigration tax when a lap infant is travelling from Canada or Mexico. Lap infant fares will be charged at 10% of an adult fare when travelling outside of North America and it does not guarantee them a seat but they can occupy a free seat if available.
When travelling with American Airlines, you may be asked to show proof of age (a birth certificate) for any child under 18 years old. The airline permits children as young as 2 days old to travel however if the infant is under 7 days old, your doctor must fill in a form prior to the flight.
A person aged 16 and over may sit the infant on their lap and the airline must be informed. Taxes and fares of a percentage of the adult seat may occur. Changing tables and bassinets are available on a first come, first serve basis (your child must weigh no more than 9kg/20lbs to use one of these).
Safety seats are permitted but a chair must be bought for the child in order for this to be installed correctly as per the details of the device itself. Bassinets are not available and safety seats are not permitted in First or Business Class. More information on flying with a baby on American Airlines here.
On British Airways, newborn babies must be at least 48 hours old and have been born without any complications before they can travel with them. They advise you to check with your treating doctor that they agree to both you and your baby travelling.
If you have had a Caesarean section or if other surgery was needed during or after the birth, then you can travel after 10 days, with medical clearance from British Airway’s Health Services. We would advise that your treating doctor approve your travel first.
British Airways also suggest checking which travel documents you need prior to travel dependant on the country you are visiting as some immigration departments require additional documentation. Each county’s embassy website can provide you with this information.
Infants are permitted to sit on the lap of anyone over the age of 15 or in their own seat and the price will be dependant on this (an infant fare is a percentage of an adult fare when seated on your lap but a child fare applies for an infant with their own seat). There must be one adult per infant; however if you are travelling with two infants and at least one is aged between 6 months and 23 months, you are able to travel with one child on your lap and the other in an approved car seat on their own seat.
If you are travelling with a child under 2 years of age on British Airways, you are allowed to bring an additional bag for them and they have their own checked in baggage allowance.
You are also allowed to take two of the following items free of charge on your flight: a fully collapsible pushchair/stroller, car or booster seat, travel cot, or baby back carrier. Dimensions and ability to fold the pushchair will determine whether the pushchair will be checked into the hold or can be stored in the overhead compartment on the plane.
Delta airlines will not permit a newborn under 7 days old to fly unless a note from the infant’s doctor is acquired prior to travel. Children aged between 0 and 2 years old, however, may fly on the lap of an adult over the age of 18.
These children will fly for free on domestic flights in the United States but Delta must be informed of the infant travelling prior to the flight.
Delta must also be informed if the child is flying on the lap of an adult on international flights and this will be charged at 10% of an adult fare, plus international taxes or fees. You are able to pay for a seat for your child but you must bring an FAA-approved child safety seat.
On board bassinets or SkyCots are available for children weighing up to 20lbs and are free of charge but even if you reserve one, it is not guaranteed due to there being a limit of two SkyCots per flight.
EasyJet aim to offer a stress-free flight and allow you to board early with children under 5 years old. Your newborn must be 14days old to fly and can sit in your lap; children over 2 years old must have their own seat.
You are also able to bring two free items with you, which can be: a travel cot, pushchair, double pushchair, buggy, car seat, collapsible or non-collapsible pram, booster seat, and/or baby back carrier. You are able to choose your seats for free in advance to ensure you sit together if you so wish to book a seat for your infant.
When flying with little ones, Emirates allow you to avoid any queues and use a separate family check in service which also allows you to board the plane first. The airline will also provide you with a complimentary changing kit with nappies, wipes and bibs which can be used on the planes changing tables.
You are also able to request a baby bassinet to use to keep your little one comfortable. Your infant under 2 years of age can sit on your lap with a seat belt extension but a seat can be purchased at a child’s fare if you use your child’s car seat.
The airline suggest you visit their website to fully understand how to fit your car seat on the flight. Babies must be 7 days old to fly on an Emirates flight and can only fly under this age for medical reasons or if the Mother is flying on compassionate grounds.
A newborn must be at least 7 days old to fly on an Etihad flight and this is applicable on the date of travel, not booking. One adult must accompany each infant and infants do not have their own seat unless a child’s fare seat is purchased. You are able to book a baby bassinet if your child weighs less than 11kg on the date of travel – these are given at a first come, first serve basis.
If you are travelling with a child under 11 years of age, you may check in one stroller, pushchair or car seat per infant and this is free of charge.
A child of only 3 days old can travel on a JetBlue flight on an adult’s lap of which there is no charge but taxes may be due outside of the US.
You must bring a proof of age such as: a birth certificate, passport or immunisation record. You are able to bring an additional changing bag free of charge and strollers and car seats also do not count towards your bag allowance.
JetBlue do not require a car seat for a child sitting in their own seat if they can sit up unassisted but you are able to use an FAA- approved seat if you purchase a seat for your infant or if there is a vacant one available. It is important to note that if you are travelling alone with an infant then you may need to fill in a ‘Minor Travel Consent Form’, which can be downloaded from the website.
There is also no minimum age for a child to be signed up for a TrueBlue account and earn points towards awards when they travel.
Children up to 2 years of age do not need their own seat to fly on a Lufthansa flight and they can travel for free on domestic German routes, but will be charged at 10% of an adult fare otherwise.
Only one infant is permitted to travel per adult unless a seat is booked for an additional child and a child safety restraint device is used. You can choose to purchase a seat for your infant, using the same device. There is no minimum age outlined on the Lufthansa website so it would be important to check this with the airline before booking any flights. Amenities also vary dependant on each flight.
Qantas allow healthy newborn babies at the age of 7 days to fly on their flights without medical clearance – they do not recommend travelling before this but if you have to, you must acquire Qantas medical clearance beforehand.
Baggage allowances can vary dependant on your destination but do include: a collapsible stroller or pushchair, collapsible cot or bassinet; or car seat or baby capsule. If you check in your stroller, Australian airports have pushchairs which you can use throughout. For more information on flying with a baby on Qantas see here.
Your newborn baby must be 8 days old to travel on a Qatar flight and will only be accepted when younger under special circumstances of compassionate or medical grounds. You must contact the local Qatar Airways office if this is the case.
An adult of at least 18 years of age must travel with each infant. Infant fares of 10% of an adult fare (usually) are applicable for children aged under 2 years but a child fare is charged if you book a seat and would like to use a child restraint system or car seat.
You have the option to book a child’s seat if you so wish. Child restraint devices are provided by Qatar airlines and require their own seat. This is provided free of charge but must be booked 48 hours in advance.
You will be able to enjoy priority check in, the option of reserving a bassinet and a special kit which includes a bottle, baby food jars, diapers and soft toys. Different airports and planes have differing amenities so it would be beneficial to enquire before travelling.
Your newborn must be 7 days old or older to fly on Singapore Airlines and they will not permit children to fly within the first 48 hours after birth. Each child must be accompanied by an adult of 18 years of age and if one adult is travelling with two infants, they are advised to contact the airline for further advice.
Children under 2 require an infant ticket and bassinets can be reserved although these come on a first-come, first- served basis. Booster seats, vests and harness type child restraint devices are not permitted on flights but car seats and FAA child safety approved harnesses for children under 3 are.
Healthy 7 day old babies are allowed to fly with Thai Airways and bassinets can be reserved for children under 6 months of age, weighing less than 10kg and not exceeding length requirements. Children under 2 years of age can sit on the lap of an accompanying adult of 18 years of age but a seat can be purchased as a child’s fare and a car seat can be used to seat the infant safely.
Discounted fares apply for children aged between 8 days and 2 years and there are dedicated check-in counters to support a stress- free journey. One adult of 18 years of age must accompany each infant. Infants can travel on their guardian’s lap with a special infant lap belt but a seat can be purchased for them with the use of a car seat.
A newborn must not be in incubation and must be at least 7 days of age to travel on a United Airlines flight. When travelling within the United States, an infant, below the age of 2, can travel free of charge on the lap of an adult of 18 years of age. You must indicate that an infant is travelling with you upon booking however.
When travelling internationally, all children must have a ticket charged at infant fares and taxes whether a seat is purchased and they are travelling on someone’s lap. Infants travelling between the US and Canada only pay taxes and children travelling without a seat to international destinations will be charged a 10% charge of an adult fare.
Bassinets can be reserved free of charge but must be booked in advance. There are specific guidelines for child restraint safety devices which must be checked prior to travel.
If your infant is 14 days old, they are permitted to travel on Southwest Airlines. They suggest that all children weighing less than 40 pounds are secured in an FAA approved child restraint device when travelling.
If your infant is not occupying a seat on a domestic flight, they can travel free of charge on the lap of an adult (12 years of age and older). On international flights this also applies but you may have to pay taxes and fees which must be paid prior to travel.
Birth certificates must be provided to prove the age of the infant and a medical release must be obtained for any infant flying under the age of 14 days.
When travelling on a Virgin Atlantic your infant is permitted to fly from 48 hours old, if healthy, on lap for 10% of an adult fare. The adult must be at least 12 years of age and you can only accompany one baby at a time. Bassinets can be requested in advance but weight and length restrictions apply.
You must contact the airline if you would like to book a seat for a lap infant. SkyCots vary depending on class and measurements are available online. You are able to bring your car seat on board as long as a seat has been purchased and it meets requirements.
Infants on Virgin Australia must be over 7 days old. On domestic flights, infants travel for free on the lap of an adult or will be charged a full fare if occupying a seat. This is the same for Trans-Tasman flights but if seated on a lap, there will be a charge of 10% of an adult fare.
Both long-haul and short-haul international flights have a 10% of adult fare charge for a lap seated infant and 75% charge of a full fare if occupying their own seat. It is important to notes that taxes and fees are not included. Bassinets are available and baggage allowances can be checked depending on destination.
Infants can travel on WestJet Airlines between the ages of 8 days old and 2 years. The infant can sit on the lap of any person aged over 12. A ticket is required for all infants but lap-held infants travel free are not charged base fees or taxes but certain fees must be collected on flights to the US. Seats may be purchased if you would like to use an approved car seat.