Rules For Flying With A Baby
Rules for flying with a baby can often be confusing and occasionally vary from airline to airline. However, the answers below will provide you with a useful knowledge base of what to ask your airline and to double check specific rules.
What age can my baby fly?
Flying with a newborn baby rules can vary. Many airlines state a baby can fly from 48 hours old – but there maybe certain conditions such as a no complications or that a doctor’s letter is needed. If the mother is travelling she may have to wait a few days if it was a Caesarean section. Other airlines stipulate 14 days as the minimum age a baby can travel. If you are not flying domestically in the USA or Canada you will need a passport so factor in the time it takes to apply and receive that important travel document.
American Airlines state: “We accept infants as young as 2 days old. However, if you’re traveling with an infant less than 7 days old, your physician will be required to fill out a passenger medical form before your flight. (A special assistance coordinator will send the form directly to your physician.)”
British Airways state, “Newborn babies must be at least 48 hours old and have been born without any complications before they can travel with.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 our Health Services. We would advise that your treating doctor approve your travel first.”
Easyjet say babies must be at least 15 days old.
Singapore Airlines state: “Unfortunately, we are unable to accept infant passengers within the first 48 hours of their birth. Air travel is also not recommended for infants seven days of age or under.”
Can I make a booking for a baby who isn’t born yet?
Again, this policy varies from airline to airline:
With British Airways, if you know you want to travel shortly after you’re due to give birth, you can make your own booking as usual. Please contact them after your baby is born to arrange for your baby’s ticket to be issued.
Thomas Cook: “If you are expecting a baby, please enter the last name and the expected date of birth on the passenger details page. If you do not know the title or first name then please enter ‘Mr’ and INFANT for now and enter any date of birth. When your baby is born, please contact our Customer Services team or click on the chat button to let us know your baby’s name and title.
What happens if my infant turns two during our trip? Do I need to pay a different fare?
Flying with a baby rules on this do vary from airline to airline and usually cannot be booked online – so you will need to speak to your airline. Some airlines will provide a seat without charging a fare, while others require you to pay for a seat for the child after he has turned 2. Some airlines might require you to pay for an entire trip if your toddler turns two at any point during the trip. Whatever happens, they will need their own seat for the return journey. Here are some examples of varying policies.
- With British Airways, if you’re travelling with an infant who reaches the age of 2 during their journey, your child will need their own seat for any flights on and after their 2nd birthday. British Airways won’t charge you extra for this; you’ll only pay the infant fare for the entire journey.
- EasyJet: If your child is under 2 years old, they can sit on your lap for a fee of £20. As soon as your child reaches their second birthday, you’ll need to book them their own seat at the normal price.
- Emirates: “Where a passenger travels as an infant on the outward journey and as a child on the onward/ return journey, applicable infant fare will apply for the outward journey and child fare for the onward/return flights. This cannot be booked online and should be booked through your local Emirates office.
- Qatar airlines allow you to buy a child ticket fo the return or two single tickets; one infant and one child.
Can I bring baby food, milk, water on board the flight?
Yes baby food, milk and water can be over 100ml if you are flying with a baby. Medicines usually must fit the 100ml rule unless previously agreed with the airline and accompanied with a Doctor’s letter. Airport security in each country are responsible for these rules – not the airline.
Do I need ID for my baby?
Generally, yes. Most countries specify a passport even if travelling domestically – such as the UK. The USA and Canada do not require if travelling domestically. However, it is always beneficial to have some form of ID. Some countries require specialist forms signed by a lawyer and additional ID as condition of entry to their country. Please see my post on Travel Documents for Children for further information.
Does my baby need a lap belt or car seat or any sort of restraint device?
It depends on which airline you are flying with and where it is based. USA and Canadian airlines do not provide lap-belts but EU, Australian airlines and many others do. This is answered in a lot of detail in my post Child Restraint Devices and Car Seats.
Can I bring a changing bag/diaper bag on board additionally to my hand luggage allowance?
Again, this varies from airline to airline. Most long haul airlines allow you to bring a baby bag for free, whereas others give no allowance for an infant.
Can I bring a stroller for free?
Yes you can. It does not form part of your baggage allowance so you can take your normal allowance PLUS a stroller and usually a car seat too. For more information, read, What to Expect When Flying with a Baby.
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