Flying with a newborn baby, toddler or young children?
Flying with kids can be an exciting airborne adventure, especially if you’re flying with a baby or toddler for the first time.
We’ve all seen children standing in wonder looking at planes through the glass in the departure lounge. For kids it’s still magical. For parents, it might be more stressful. But it can still be fun.
The trick is to be prepared. Our guide is full of helpful hints and tips to check out before you check in.
When can you fly with a baby?
There aren’t any specific regulations or legal requirements around what age a baby must be to fly on a plane.
Some airlines will allow children to fly when they’re just two days old; others won’t let them fly until they’re at least two weeks.
According to the NHS, if you’ve given birth by caesarean section, you may not be allowed to fly until after your 6-week check-up.
Before you book your flights, check your airline’s policy on babies and small children.
Do babies fly free?
No, not always. Some airlines allow infants, defined as younger than 2 years old, to travel for free if they sit in their parent’s lap. Other airlines will charge an infant fee. This fee varies between airlines and could either be a flat fee or a percentage of the cost of an adult ticket.
Check each airline before you book to find which airline offers the best options for flying with a baby.
Can I bring my baby’s car seat?
It depends on the airline. There are reasons for and against taking your own baby or child’s car seat on a plane. And it will cost you more. If the airline allows car seats, you’ll have to book an extra seat instead of having your baby on your lap.
Some child car seats are TUV approved and will have a sticker that says ‘Certified For Use in Aircraft’. However, that does not guarantee you can take it on the airplane.
A car seat can be more comfortable for both you and your child. They will be more secure for take-off and landing, and more comfortable in the event of turbulence. Experts suggest not leaving a child, up to four weeks old, in a car seat for longer than 30 minutes . Keep that in mind if you do decide to use a car seat.
Each airline has specific guidelines on the width of their seats so you can check before you book if your car seat is compatible. Which? has a great guide on fitting your car seat on a plane and some more tips.
What can I take on a plane for my baby?
Luggage allowances vary from airline to airline. It’s a good idea to contact the company you’re flying with beforehand to find out exactly what you can take on the plane.
Typically, babies up to two years old, on your lap, can have a bag for their flight. A child over two, in their own seat, would be entitled to the same hand luggage allowance. Some airlines will also allow you to take a pushchair and car seat on board free of charge.