When shopping for plane tickets when traveling with a baby, it is important to be aware of different airline policies that could possibly impact your trip.
When traveling with an infant, you need to know a lot more than just the price. Trust me, you’ll want to be sure you are traveling with an airline who is very family friendly. Airlines get different reputations which are accurate at times, but they can also be inaccurate. However, one good indicator is their airline policies regarding infants.
We’ve traveled with an infant all around the world and we’ve learned to ask about these four important factors before booking plane tickets.
4 Details to Investigate Before Buying Plane Tickets When Traveling with an Infant
Fees and surcharges
Certain airlines have different policies about when baby does and does not pay. Essentially, when you are travelling in North America, you will not pay anything for infants who are under 24 months if you travel with the baby as a lap baby. If, however, you want baby to have his or her own seat, you’ll need to pay the child’s fare to guarantee a seat.
However, when travelling overseas, different airlines have different prices and policies for traveling with infants. For example, one of the local airlines (Airlines PNG) here in PNG does not charge anything if you travel with infants. The other will charge you a fee if the baby travels on a Folker 100, but not a Dash 8 aircraft. They say it’s an insurance fee they are required to pay on the Folker 100.
One way vs. Roundtrip
Does the baby need to be under two at the time of the first leg of the flight or the final leg of the flight?
Some airlines will allow a baby to fly as an infant in seat if the family departs before the infant turns two. Then, even on the return trip home ,the baby can fly as a lap baby. However, other airlines require the baby to have a seat if the baby is over two years old. If your baby is turning two around the time of your travel, investigate airline policies.
Of course, on option is to complete all your travel before baby turns two.
Baby Bassinet Policy
Airlines also have different policies about how they distribute or allocate bassinet seats. Some airlines allow you to book/hold a bassinet at the time when you make your travel reservations. Others will assign seats only at the gate according to the age of the infants on board. As an example, Air New Zealand gives priority to younger children regardless of when tickets were purchased.
Airlines typically vary in what they will allow for infant baggage (assuming you do not buy them a seat). Southwest, for example, will count an infant stroller as one piece of checked baggage, while Air New Zealand will allow an infant to have either a free stroller allowance or free car seat allowance, but not both.