In the United States, most airlines will not ask for evidence of age while travelling with a lap baby nine times out of ten. That being said, there is one notable exception to the overall norm. Southwest Airlines nearly always requests evidence of age, even if your child obviously appears to be under the age of two. Their policy is still seen as controversial by some, but it's important to note that other than refusing children under two years old, there are no restrictions on travel on the part of most airlines in the U.S.
If you have a young child who cannot sit up or walk, but can talk, then most airlines will allow you to bring a seat for him or her to sleep in during flights over three hours long. However, if the flight is more than six hours long, you will need to provide a crib for your infant to sleep in during take-off and landing. You should also know that most airlines require that you either buy an extra-cost infant carrier or prove that your child is wearing a properly fitted helmet when riding in a parent's lap before they will permit him or her to fly seated.
In addition to airline policies, there are state laws governing the transport of infants. Most states allow babies to be flown free of charge as long as they are under two years old and able to sit up or be held by another person.
While children do not require an ID for TSA, you must be prepared to fly as lap babies and verify to the airline that they are actually under the age of two. Some carriers may have additional requirements for infants in carriers or on board with parents.
The only time I've had problems boarding lap babies is when there is a problem with the infant carrier's handle. In this case, the airline needs to see that you have the proper equipment for traveling with a lap child. They can't assume that because you say it's okay, then it is. You need to show them that your carrier is appropriate for the age of your child.
Most carriers are designed to fit a child between 12 months and four years old. Even if your child is older or younger than that, they may have special features on some models such as stretch straps or removable padding for sore muscles. You should always check the specifications of your carrier before buying so there aren't any surprises once your child gets on board.
The airline staff will usually tell you what they need to see to allow your child on board. Usually, they will just want to make sure that your child is young enough to be transported in a carrier. If you tell them that your child is older, they may ask you for documentation such as a birth certificate or driver's license.
When a kid reaches the age of two, they are no longer considered a lap child. Both airlines cover what happens if a child turns two while traveling. Most often, children under 12 travel for free when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Some carriers have a limit on the number of free flights that can be used during one year; others don't have a limit. For example, American Airlines allows two free flights per person per year. If you need to make more than two trips in the space of a year, you will need to purchase tickets.
If your child becomes ill in flight and requires medical attention, it is important to notify the airline as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Most carriers require that you tell them within twenty-four hours of booking your flight but some countries may have laws regarding the repatriation of dead bodies, so always check with your carrier first.
The decision to allow a three-year-old to sit in your lap on a long-haul flight needs to be made on a case-by-case basis. The youngest baby we would allow to travel this way is four months old.
Once your child reaches the age of two, they will be expected to pay the full cost and will no longer be permitted to fly as a lap child—-*cue the sad music*. This also implies that kids will no longer be required to establish their age, so you won't have to bother about packing extra ID for them.
The only advantage of being a lap child is that you can sit with your kid throughout the entire flight. Otherwise, there are other options like carry-on baggage or infant carriers.
The majority of airlines allow parents to bring their children on board provided they are under 12 years old. They usually offer some kind of package where you can buy a special seat just for your kid. This would include extra legroom and perhaps a tray table. Some carriers even have family rooms with big comfortable seats where you can squeeze in a couple of more adults.
As long as your child fits in the seat, you're good to go. The airline staff will ask you your child's age and if she/he qualifies to ride as a lap child, you'll be given a sticker to put on your ticket. Usually, kids under six months don't qualify but sometimes an infant carrier is allowed on board. Even if it isn't, most people think that carrying a baby this young is not safe. Before you protest, remember that the safety of your child is the most important thing to consider here.
Say it aloud: "Pause." It's difficult to decide whether to purchase a seat for the family's youngest passengers. The FAA and airlines do not mandate babies and toddlers under the age of two to sit in a separate seat. As a result, many families use their newborns as "lap children" to save money. Others will buy an extra seat just for the baby.
The answer is yes, a child under 2 can have their own seat on a plane if they don't weigh enough for a seat belt. Most planes were originally designed to carry adults, so most seats on airplanes are large enough to fit an adult. Some young children might be able to fit in these seats, but the safety of them traveling alone without a seat belt is questionable. For tips on how to keep your infant safe on flights, see our article on this topic.