When flying with a baby, most parents are thrilled to learn that when you have a lap infant, they fly for free! What is a lap infant? A lap infant is a baby under two years old that can sit in your lap during the duration of the flight. For domestic flights, they don’t charge for baby to fly. However, for international flights, they may charge taxes and fees which is a small percentage of the ticket price itself.
Let’s say however, you do want your baby to have their own seat for the flight. This means that you would bring their own carseat on board. Do note, this carseat must be FAA approved to do so. Not only is this the safest way to fly, but it’s so nice to have extra space. I noticed that after three months old, Briggs slept so much better in a carseat than in my arms during a flight.
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If you want a guaranteed seat on a flight, you’ll have to pay for an airplane ticket for your infant. This will be the same cost as your ticket for domestic flights. You’ll go through the same booking process as you typically do when you book your own ticket.
Now, is there a way to get the best of both worlds? A seat for baby WITHOUT having to pay for it? There is! I’ll preface this baby hack by saying this is NEVER a guaranteed way to get a seat for your baby. I’ve had about a 60% success rate with this on the fifty flights we’ve taken though. So how do you get this free seat for your baby? Simply by asking.
Sound too good to be true, right? But serisouly, that’s all you need to do! Here’s how it’s done:
- Check into your flight, drop your checked bags off, go through security and walk to your gate.
- As soon as a gate agent shows up at your gate go chat with them.
- This is the exact line that I will ask them, “Is there an empty seat on this flight so I can bring my car seat on board?”
- If the flight is not full and it’s not against their airline policy, chances are they’ll give you the available seat!
Super simple, right!? I’ve saved so much money off of this hack! Some things to note, don’t expect them to reseat others around you in order for you to place baby in the seat next to you. Be willing to change your seat to move to an aisle that has two empty seats together. Second, don’t expect them to change your whole groups seating chart to accommodate this request. I’ve only had success with this hack when it was just me flying with my baby and my husband and I flying with the baby.
This has worked for us on Delta, Southwest, United and American. The airlines that we tried that have not worked for this is Alegiant (They said it was against their policy starting 2021).
Now let’s say this hack works for you and you’re able to bring your carseat onboard, fantastic! Be sure to grab the gate check tags from the gate agent for your stroller (if you have one) and simply bring your carseat on board. Don’t know what gate checking your stroller means, you’re going to want to check out this video!
Let’s chat about the flip side of the coin now. Perhaps you were hopeful that you could bring your carseat on board so you brought it with you to the gate only to be told that the flight was full. Dang! Now what do you do with your carseat? You gate check it. Ask the gate agent for gate check tags that they’ll put on the carseat itself of the carseat bag. You’ll drop it off on the jet bridge and then it will be available for you during your layover or at your final destination (you choose).
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Is it required to have a carseat bag? No. Do I highly recommend it? Yes! While the airport bag can’t protect against all potential damage, it can protect against germs, dirt, rain, scratching and more. This is why I use a padded carseat bag! Whether you get one that you wear as a backpack or one that you can wheel behind you, it’s always a good idea to have one.
I hope this blog post helps! Be sure to follow us on Instagram and send me a DM if you have any questions.