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Baby Related Policies for US Airlines

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

When flying with your little one, it is so important to check with each airline’s policies so that you don’t show up on travel day and have an “oh no” moment.


It happens… believe me. But if you can prepare as much beforehand then you're far less likely to find out that your stroller is too large to be gate checked and now you have to carry all of your bags, plus the car seat, PLUS baby to the gate by yourself.


To help with this, I have compiled a list of US Airlines and their baby related policies so you have a quick and easy guide. All of this information is copied directly from their website so if you notice missing information, it was either not noted, changed, or added after publishing.


To scroll to your preferred airline, choose a quick link below:


American Airlines

Infants (under 2 years): AA accepts 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. Infants must be accompanied by a person 16 years or older or by the infant's parent (any age) in the same cabin.

  • Changing tables are available in the lavatories of all wide-body aircraft.

  • Bassinets are available on a first come, first serve basis at the gate for travel only on 777-200, 777-300 and 787 aircraft.*

  • Infants using bassinets must be younger than 2 years old and weigh no more than 20lbs (9kg)

Seating Options:

  • Infant in lap: A parent or any person 16 years or older may hold the infant in their lap, and must be included in the reservation. You can add the infant to your reservation at aa.com once it is ticketed and if you’re traveling within the U.S. For international trips, be sure to call Reservations as taxes and fees will apply. Keep in mind that the infant must be under 2 years of age for the duration of the trip. If they turn 2 during a trip, the infant will need their own seat for any return flight.

  • Reserved seat: The infant must either travel in a safety seat approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or be able to sit upright in their seat without assistance and have their seatbelt securely fastened during taxi, takeoff, landing and whenever the 'fasten seatbelt' sign is on.

Carry on and checked bags: Playpens, wagons, cribs, and 'pack and play' count as regular bags. If any of these exceed carry-on limits they’ll be checked and incur regular fees.


Diaper bags (1 per child), soft-sided cooler bags with breast milk, and medical or mobility devices including a pumping device in its own bag don't count as your personal item or carry-on.


Strollers: Each ticketed customer is allowed 1 stroller and 1 car seat to be checked free of charge. Strollers over 20 lbs / 9 kgs must be checked at the ticket counter. All other strollers should be checked at the gate before boarding. If you have a stroller and a car seat only 1 can be checked at the gate.


Safety Seat Requirements:

  • The safety seat can't be used in an exit row or in the rows on either side of an exit row; window seats are preferred.

  • Install the seat in the direction appropriate for the size of the child and according to the instructions on the label.

  • The child must remain in the safety seat with the harness fastened during taxi, takeoff, landing and whenever the 'fasten seatbelt' sign is on.

  • To carry on a safety seat, you must have bought a seat for the child, or if a seat is available next to you. If an unoccupied, adjoining seat is not available, the gate agent will check the safety seat to your final destination.

Flying Internationally: If you’re flying internationally with an infant on your lap, AA will issue the infant a ticket. You may check 1 bag for the infant at the same rate as the adult’s first checked bag.



United Airlines

Infants (under 2 years): Children under the age of 2 traveling with a parent or with a customer 15 years or older within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands can travel on the adult's lap free of charge.


If there are two or more children under the age of 2 traveling with the same adult, only one of the children may travel as a lap child.


Seating Options: Children who are not held by an adult and are unable to sit upright with the seat belt fastened must be carried in an FAA-approved safety seat.


The child seat must be secured in an aircraft seat and cannot be held on an adult's lap. It must remain properly secured to the aircraft seat at all times. An infant seat cannot be used in an exit row or in the row immediately before or after an exit row.

  • A limited number of complimentary bassinets are available for use on international aircraft only. Bassinets are 29 inches long by 11 inches wide (74 cm by 28 cm) and can hold an infant weighing 22 pounds (10 kg) or less. They may not be used during taxi, takeoff, landing, or when the seatbelt sign is illuminated. Customers can request a bassinet by calling the United Customer Contact Center. Bassinet availability is limited, and these arrangements are not guaranteed, so we recommend requesting a bassinet early for your flight.

Carry on and checked bags: United Airlines checked bag policy and allowance applies to children with purchased tickets. If a lap child's allowance is exceeded, the extra items will become a part of the fare-paying adult's allowance. All standard restrictions for checked bags and service charges apply.


United Airlines does not consider pack 'n' plays, collapsible cribs and similar products as transportation devices. Therefore, you won't be able to check these items at the gate. Customers who bring these items to the airport will need to check them as part of their checked bag allowance before going through security.


If you're traveling with an infant or child, you can bring the following items on board in addition to your carry-on bag and personal item:

  • Diaper bag

  • Breast pump and milk

  • Government-approved child seat (infant carrying seat or car seat)

  • A compact folding stroller that meets the size guidelines for carry-on bags (9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches or 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches)

Before you board the aircraft, you should collapse your compact folding stroller — you won't be able to open it while onboard. Once you board, you can place the compact folding stroller either in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.


If you are traveling with a cooler with breast milk, the cooler should be subject to carryon or personal item size limits. There is no available information that it would be allowed in addition to your carry on allowance, so it will need to be considered as a personal item or carry on.


Strollers: United will accept one stroller or folding wagon free of charge for each child in addition to a car seat. This includes children under the age of two traveling on an adult's lap and infants traveling internationally. You'll have to check most strollers or folding wagons at the gate before you depart. You can still use them around the airport, though. Large, non-collapsible strollers or non-folding wagons can't be checked at the gate, so please see a United representative at the airport check-in counter to check these items.


Safety Seat Requirements: UA will accept one car seat free of charge for each child in addition to a stroller or folding wagon. This includes children under the age of two traveling on an adult's lap and infants traveling internationally. If you have a child seat, it must conform to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle standards.


They don't reserve space for child seats, unless you've purchased a ticket for that seat. If space is available after boarding is completed, customers may use adjacent unused seats to secure the government-approved child seat. If space isn't available after boarding is completed, the item must be stowed in an approved storage space.


Flying Internationally: Lap infants traveling internationally are required to have a purchased ticket and are subject to infant fares and taxes. When making your reservation, you should indicate that you are traveling with an infant, regardless of your destination.


Lap infants traveling internationally will be charged 10 percent of an adult fare, charged at the time of infant ticketing. United Airlines checked bag policy and allowance applies to children with purchased tickets, including lap infants traveling internationally.



Southwest Airlines

Infants (under 2 years): One child over 14 days and under two (2) years of age, not occupying a seat, may be carried free of charge when traveling with an adult (12 years of age or older). Although a boarding pass is not required for the infant, you will need a Boarding Verification Document.


Southwest Employees may ask for age verification at any point within the Customer journey, so Customers should travel with a copy or original of any government-issued ID, such as a birth certificate or passport, for your Lap Child.


Seating Options: ​​Southwest-operated flights have open seating. Once onboard, simply choose any available seat and stow your carry-on items in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.


Two adults traveling with a child six years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding. If the child and the adult are both holding an “A” boarding pass, they should board in their assigned boarding position.


Carry on and checked bags: Southwest Airlines already has a pretty lenient checked bag policy. Your first two checked bags fly free at Southwest (weight and size limits apply). Skis and golf bags may also fly free, and surfboards fly free in Hawaii. Each additional bag and any oversized bag (more than 50 pounds or larger than 62 inches) is $75 per item, one-way.


Southwest Airlines assumes no responsibility and will not be liable for loss or damage arising from normal wear and tear, such as cuts, scratches, scuffs, stains, dents, punctures, marks, and dirt. They also assume no liability for defects in baggage manufacture.


Unless a Southwest Airlines Employee determines that damage is due to normal wear and tear, Southwest Airlines is liable for the loss or damage of protruding parts of luggage and other articles of checked baggage (e.g., wheels, feet, pockets, hanger hooks, pull handles, straps, zippers, locks, security straps).


Baggage containing a breast pump and/or breast milk (meaning a cooler) may be brought onboard in addition to the standard carry-on limit of one bag plus one small, personal item, provided baggage contains no other personal items.


Car Seats & Strollers: Southwest allows customers traveling with children to check one stroller and one Child Restraint System (CRS) or car seat per child without charge. This is in addition to the regular free baggage allowance.


The stroller and car seat allowance applies to any type of stroller (umbrella, full size, jogging stroller, etc.) and CRS or car seat.


You may check the stroller and CRS or car seat at the curb, ticket counter, or gate. Southwest Airlines will not assume liability for damage to strollers or car seats.


Safety Seat Requirements: Southwest believes that proper use of a Child Restraint System (CRS) enhances child safety onboard the aircraft. For this reason, Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommend securing infants and small children in a CRS that is government-approved for use onboard.


Once onboard the aircraft, the CRS should be secured in a middle or window seat. If placed in a middle seat, the CRS may not impede the exit path of a Passenger in the window seat. CRSs may not be placed in an exit seat or in a row directly forward or aft of an exit row of seats.


Flying Internationally: If you plan to travel with an infant as a lap child internationally, you will be required to pay the taxes and fees that apply to the international portion of the infant’s itinerary.


Nursing Moms: Southwest welcomes Customers who are nursing and who wish to breastfeed on the aircraft and/or within our facilities. Baggage containing a breast pump and/or breast milk may be brought onboard in addition to the standard carry-on limit of one bag plus one small, personal item, provided baggage contains no other personal items.


You may be asked about the nature of the additional carry-on bag(s) at any point throughout travel. Southwest Airlines does not have electrical outlets onboard the aircraft for personal use.



Delta Air Lines

Infants (under 2 years): Infants may travel in the lap of a parent, guardian, or adult over 18 years of age. Infants under the age of 7 days old may not fly unless accompanied by an approval letter from a physician.


Seating Options: When you travel with a child under 2 years old, you may choose to travel with the child on your lap (infant-in-arms) or travel with your child in an FAA-approved child safety seat. To use a FAA-approved safety seat, you must purchase a ticket for your child so they have a reserved seat.


Delta offers onboard baby bassinets. They’re ideal for babies weighing up to 20 lbs. (9 kg) and up to 26 inches (66 cm) long. Onboard bassinets, also known as SkyCots, are available free of charge for passengers in select seats on equip

ped aircraft for some international flights. SkyCots can be requested by contacting Reservations before arriving at the airport and then speaking with the gate agent at the boarding gate, but cannot be guaranteed due to a limit of two SkyCots per aircraft and weight restrictions


Please note that all infants must be held during takeoff, landing and whenever the seat belt light is on.


Carry on and checked bags: Delta allows, in addition to one bag carry-on allowance, that you may bring a booster seat, other infant seat, or bassinet on the plane as an additional free item, which is still subject to carry-on size restrictions. You may also bring a Breast pump and associated cooler bag.


If you carry on an infant seat or bassinet, it must be secured tightly by a seatbelt to be stored on an aircraft seat.


Delta Airlines does not consider pack 'n' plays, collapsible cribs and similar products as transportation devices. Therefore, you won't be able to check these items at the gate. Customers who bring these items to the airport will need to check them as part of their checked bag allowance before going through security.


Car Seats & Strollers: Children’s strollers and child safety seats are not counted as part of the standard baggage and therefore can be easily checked for free. For your convenience, they allow that these items may be checked at the curbside, the ticket counter, or at the gate.


Child safety seats may be brought on board the plane in certain circumstances. If you booked a seat for your child or if there is an open passenger seat in your row, you may place your child in an FAA-approved child safety seat during take-off and landing.


If you have not purchased a seat for your child or an extra passenger seat is not available, the item must be checked at the gate by a Delta representative.


Safety Seat Requirements:The window seat is the preferred location for an approved child safety seat (child restraint system or car seat). Other locations may be acceptable provided the seat is not installed between other passengers and the aisle. An accompanying adult must sit next to the child. More than one car seat may be in use in the same row and section of seats.


When using a child safety seat, don’t select seats in the following areas:

  • Aisle seats

  • Emergency exit rows

  • Any seat one row forward or one row back from an emergency exit row

  • Bulkhead seats when the safety seat is a combination car seat and stroller

  • Flatbed seats in the Delta One™ area of the following aircraft: Airbus A330-200 or A330-300; Boeing 777, 767 or 747 aircraft*

Flying Internationally: Lap infants traveling internationally will likely be charged 10% of the adult fare + international taxes and fees. The airline must be notified of their reservation.



Frontier Airlines

Infants (under 2 years): Infants can travel for free, sitting on your lap from seven days old up to their second birthday. A birth certificate may be requested for age verification purposes if the infants' age appears questionable.


Two adults with two lap children cannot sit on the same side of a row because there are only four oxygen masks per every three seats. Only one child is allowed per adult lap. If you are traveling with two infants and you are the only adult in your party, you will need to purchase a ticket for them and have an approved car seat for the second child.


Seating Options: You may choose to purchase your little one their own seat and use an approved car seat on the plane. Seat widths vary depending on the size of the aircraft. Minimum seat widths on the A319 and A320 are 17.4” and on our A321 minimum seat widths are 16.5”.


Car seats cannot be placed in emergency exit rows, in the rows directly in front of or behind emergency exit rows, or in the very first row. Frontier also suggests placing car seats in window seats so they do not impede access to the aisle by other passengers.


Carry on and checked bags: Frontier considers Diaper Bags, Strollers and Car Seats as essential baby items. These items are allowed on your flight for free. Breast pumps are considered medical devices but are also allowed on board for free. Except where required under the Montreal Convention, Frontier is not liable for the above mentioned items if you pack them and they are damaged unless packaged in a hard-sided case.


Play pens or Pack n Plays are considered non-essential baby items. Checked or carry-on bag fees will apply. Overweight and oversize baggage fees will be charged if applicable. These items should be checked unless they fit under the carry on baggage size limitations.


If you are traveling with a cooler with breast milk, the cooler should be subject to carryon or personal item size limits. There is no available information that it would be allowed in addition to your carry on allowance, so it will need to be considered as a personal item or carry on.


Strollers: You can bring a stroller, but once you take it to the gate, it must be checked from there. The stroller will be returned to you by a ramp agent at your destination so you can use it while in the airport. You will not be charged a fee for checking a stroller or a car seat.



Alaska Airlines

Infants (under 2 years): There is no minimum age for infants to travel on Alaska Airlines. As of their second birthday, children are no longer considered infants. The Federal Aviation Administration requires all children who have reached their second birthday to occupy their own seat and travel on their own ticket.


Alaska Airlines reserves the right to require proof of age for any child passenger. Please be prepared to provide a birth certificate, passport, or other documentation upon request.


Seating Options: Each ticketed adult may travel with one lap infant. To add a lap infant request to your reservation, call Alaska Airlines reservations at 1-800-252-7522 with your confirmation code. Lap infants are not guaranteed a seat, but if there is an empty seat available on a flight, the infant may occupy that seat for no extra charge.


Because of the location of extra oxygen masks:

  • Alaska Airlines flights 1-1999 - only one lap infant is permitted per row (including both sides of aisle)

  • Alaska Airlines flights 2000-2999 - only one lap infant may sit on each side of rows 3-20.

  • Bombardier Q400 aircraft: up to four lap infants may be seated per row in rows 3-20.

  • Embraer E175 aircraft: one lap infant is permitted on each side in rows 6-21.

  • Alaska Airlines flights 3300-3499 - one lap infant is allowed per row on the right side of the aircraft only.

  • CRJ aircraft: one lap infant is allowed per row on the right side of the aircraft only.

  • Embraer E175 aircraft: one lap infant is permitted on each side in rows 6-21.

  • Lap infants are not permitted in the emergency exit rows, in the rows immediately in front of or behind any exit row on Alaska Airlines flights 001-1999.

Carry on and checked bags: When traveling with a lap infant, a diaper bag will count toward the standard carry-on limit of the ticketed adult passenger. Lap infants are not entitled to their own carry-on allowance.


There is no mention of things like pack n plays or other play pens on the website so the assumption is that these would be considered normal baggage and may incur a fee.


If you are traveling with a cooler with breast milk, the cooler should be subject to carryon or personal item size limits. There is no available information that it would be allowed in addition to your carry on allowance, so it will need to be considered as a personal item or carry on.


Car Seats & Strollers: Alaska Airlines will transport your child's car seat and stroller free of charge as checked baggage. You can check these items with your other baggage, or wait until you reach the gate area.


Safety Seat Requirements: Alaska Airlines strongly recommends that children, as well as infants traveling on a regular fare, be secured in an appropriate child-restraint system, such as a car seat.


To be used onboard, your child-restraint system must bear both of the following labels:

  • This restraint system conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards

  • This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft (in red lettering)

  • Labels that indicate US or foreign government approval or show the seat was manufactured under the standards of the United Nations are also valid.

Child-restraint systems are not permitted in:

  • Any aisle seat

  • Emergency exit rows

  • Rows immediately in front of or behind the exit rows

  • "A" seats in rows 1-4 on flights operated with Embraer E175 aircraft

  • The window seat is the best location for a child restraint system, although it may be placed in the middle seat if the window seat is vacant, or if the restraint system does not block access to the aisle. If you are uncertain, the flight attendant can assist in determining if middle seat is acceptable.

In addition to the standard CRS, children who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds and are 40 inches or less may use an Aviation Child Safety Device (ACSD) for added security. Currently the AmSafe CARES Restraint is the only approved ACSD and must bear a label that reads:


FAA APPROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH

14 CFR 21.302(d) APPROVED FOR

AIRCRAFT USE ONLY


Flying Internationally: Lap infants travel free of charge within the United States, but are subject to select taxes and fees when traveling from an international location into the United States. Fees vary based on destination so be sure to check the airlines website for more information.



JetBlue

Infants (under 2 years): A child can travel as a lap infant from 3 days old until the day they turn 2 years old. There’s no charge for lap infants (taxes may be due if traveling outside the U.S.) but you will be asked for proof of age, such as a birth certificate, passport or immunization record. Infants between three and 14 days old must also have, in the form of a letter, their doctor's approval to travel.


Customers traveling with a lap infant may add this information to their reservation when booking online at jetblue.com. If you would like to add a lap infant to an existing reservation, you should contact JetBlue.


Seating Options: Infants must be traveling with an adult customer at least 14 years or older. The infant must sit on the adult's lap during takeoff and landing. One lap infant per adult is allowed.


Lap infants may not be seated in emergency exit rows. Each row has a group of seats on either side of the aisle. Only one lap infant is allowed per group of seats due to the number of available oxygen masks.


Adults traveling with two lap infants could be seated in the same row as long as they are on opposite sides of the aisle. In cases of flights that are extended over-water flights, due to the number of spare life vests, JetBlue may have to limit the number of lap infants on the flight.


Carry on and checked bags: If you’re traveling with a lap infant, you can bring aboard a diaper bag and it will not count as your carry on bag. Lap infants do not qualify for any checked baggage allowance.


Checking a child safety seat will not count towards your checked baggage allowance and there is no fee assessed; however, playpens, wagons, and other infant beds will count as a checked bag and must meet size and weight requirements.


Breast pumps are considered an assistive device and do not count as a carry-on bag. According to their policy, the breast pump must be battery powered in order to be used during flight.


If you are traveling with a cooler with breast milk, the cooler should be subject to carryon or personal item size limits. There is no available information that it would be allowed in addition to your carry on allowance, so it will need to be considered as a personal item or carry on.


Strollers: Strollers and car seats do not count toward your carry-on or checked bag allowance. You may check them through when you arrive at the airport or gate-check them at the jet bridge.



Flying Internationally: All customers, including lap infants, are required to have a valid passport for international travel. Customers will be required to present the infant's passport to a JetBlue crew member prior to boarding any international flight.


Customers traveling with lap infants and departing from an international destination (Exception: Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands) to the U.S. will be assessed an infant fee. Please note the infant fees vary based upon international point of origin. Should the customer be traveling roundtrip, the fee is only assessed when flying from the international city to the U.S.


If your child is traveling internationally with only one parent (or another adult), you may need a minor travel consent form. Children traveling with an adult other than a parent or legal guardian must have a notarized letter of authorization.


Every country requires special documentation. We recommend contacting the nearest embassy/consulate for more information.



Allegiant Air

Infants (under 2 years): A child under 24 months Adult passenger who is at least 15 years old.


When you enter the child’s date of birth on the home page search widget, you will be offered a choice of travel preference. Allegiant supports safe travel for children of all ages and recommends the purchase of an airline ticket and the use of an FAA- car seat although not required.


Proof of age is required for lap children ​​by a birth certificate or other identification with birthdate.


Seating Options: For children under twenty-four months of age on the date of travel, there are two booking options:

  • As a ticketed passenger seated in an FAA-approved car seat

  • As a lap child on the seat of an adult on the same reservation.


Due to FAA safety regulations, children may not be seated in an exit row, and only one lap child per row is allowed, due to the number of oxygen masks per row. Children seated in car seats must be placed in a window seat and may not be placed in an aisle seat, between a passenger and the aisle, or in the exit row or rows directly in front of or behind an exit row.


Carry on and checked bags: Each fare-paying passenger traveling with a child may travel with a diaper bag at no charge. The diaper bag will not count as the passenger’s personal item or carry-on.


Allegiant Air highly recommends seating your child in a car seat during flight; however, there is no charge for checking one car seat per fare-paying passenger.


If your child will not be seated in his or her car seat during the flight, you may either:

  • check the car seat as checked baggage at the time of check-in at the ticket counter and retrieve it at baggage claim upon arrival or;

  • gate check the car seat during boarding and retrieve it at the gate or passenger loading bridge upon arrival at your destination.


There is no mention of things like pack n plays or other play pens on the website so the assumption is that these would be considered normal baggage and may incur a fee.


If you are traveling with a cooler with breast milk, the cooler should be subject to carryon or personal item size limits. There is no available information that it would be allowed in addition to your carry on allowance, so it will need to be considered as a personal item or carry on.


Strollers: You may check a stroller as checked baggage at the time of check-in at the ticket counter or gate check it during boarding. There is no charge for checking or gate checking one stroller per fare-paying passenger.


Gate checked strollers will be stowed in the cargo hold of the aircraft during the flight and delivered to the gate or passenger loading bridge upon arrival at your destination.


Safety Seat Requirements: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that infants and small children who weigh under 40 pounds be secured in an FAA-approved car seat or harness-type device when traveling by air.


Approved car seat style child restraint systems will have one or more of the following labels:

  • The FMVSS.213 insignia

  • Language indicating that they are certified or approved for use in motor vehicles and on aircraft

  • Language indicating they conform to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards

Although the width of aircraft seats varies, a car seat style child restraint system wider than 17.88 inches is unlikely to fit and provide maximum protection for your child. Backless booster seats, safety belt extensions (commonly referred to as “belly belts”) and vest or harness devices that attach to an adult are banned for use on aircraft by the FAA.


The only harness-type device approved by the FAA is the AmSafe Aviation CARES. It is designed for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds and must include a label that says “FAA Approved in Accordance with 14CFR 21.305(d), Approved for Aircraft Use Only."


 

If you’d like to see another airline added to this list, please let us know by emailing travelingwithbabies@gmail.com


(Last Updated: 8/15/2022)


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That is a ton of great helpful information!

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