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Happy New Year. I wish all of you success where ever 2012 takes you. This year I’ll venture into fatherhood as a frequent traveler. I’m prepared to learn everything I need to know to be super Dad on the road and at home. One of the important things (I’ve got a lot to learn about traveling as a father) is a firm understanding of how to travel with an infant. With one award trip on the books for next year, and two in the planning stages, I explored Delta’s requirements to travel with an infant.
Flying With An Infant – Common Questions And Answers
- What are the requirements to fly with an infant?
- How do you book a ticket to secure an infant in arms?
- Are there additional costs?
- How will I get all of the additional luggage to my destination (car seat, diaper bag, stroller, etc)?
- Are there any other considerations?
1. What Are The Requirements To Fly With Infant
Traveling with an infant is age restricted so check below for the details on how old or young your infant can be to travel as an infant in arms.
- You can travel with one infant in your lap without a purchasing a ticket if:
- The infant is less than two years old, AND
- You are at least 18 years old or the infant’s legal guardian, AND
- Your travel is within the U.S.
- You’ll need to purchase a ticket for your child when you:
- Have a child that is age two or older
- Prefer the child to sit in a seat in order to travel in an approved restraint
- Have a second child, regardless of age, and you already have a child who will be sitting in your lap
- Want your child to earn miles in his SkyMiles account.
- Will be traveling between countries regardless of whether or not the child occupies a seat.
- Infants and small children must be accompanied by someone who is at least 18 years old, or is the child’s parent or legal guardian
- The adult and the child must travel in the same cabin
- If you’re traveling with a newborn, Delta and Delta Connection® Carrier flights do need an approval letter from a physician saying it’s all right for the newborn to fly
- The following infant age restrictions apply to all Delta and Connection Carrier flights:
- Delta – if the baby is less than 7 days a Physician travel approval letter is required
- Comair® – if the baby is less than 12 days a Physician travel approval letter is required
- Pinnacle® – if the baby is less than 7 days a Physician travel approval letter is required
- SkyWest® – if the baby is less than 8 days the Infant will not be allowed on board
2. How To Book With Delta
You can book your ticket through your normal process and then call Delta to add an infant in arms to your reservation.
- You can book online or over the phone
- If you book online you will need to call Delta to give them the name and DOB
Be aware that traveling internationally with an infant will require an additional fee. Flying domestic does not require an additional fee.
- Infants and children less than 2 years old may travel for free within the U.S. if:
- An adult (12 years or older) holds the infant in arms or
- places the infant in an FAA-approved child restraint during take-off and landing
- Domestic Award Travel costs:
- Domestic awards have no additional costs
- International Award Travel costs:
- International tickets require about 10% of the normal fare
- Example: Business Class to Europe at 100k miles would require an available fare to be priced on your flight of which you would pay 10%. Say the ticket priced out at $4,500, then the additional cost would be $450
- International Business tickets are issued as a paper ticket which is either mailed or ticketed at airport
4. Carry On Allowance
Mrs Weekly Flyer has me outfitted with a “diaper dude” bag so I think I’m ready to go for our first trip with our new baby. But it was interesting to see how strollers or seat restraints can be checked for free.
- Children’s strollers and seat restraints are not counted as part of the standard baggage and therefore can easily be checked for free. These items may be checked at curbside, the ticket counter, or at the gate and can be put into a gate check bag.
- Child restraint seats may be brought on board the plane in certain circumstances. For instance, if there is an open passenger seat in your row, you may place your child in an FAA-approved child restraint in that seat during take-off and landing. If an empty passenger seat is not available for your child restraint, the item must be checked at the gate by a Delta representative and can be put into a gate check bag to keep it clean.
- In addition to the one bag carry-on allowance, passengers may bring the following infant items onto the plane as an additional free item:
- Please be aware that if you are bringing your baby’s bassinet or infant seat as carry-on baggage, it must be secured tightly by a seat belt to be stored on an aircraft seat. The item must also meet carry-on size restrictions. You could also consider an airplane travel harness instead.
4a. Carry On Allowance – Unticketed Infant/Child
- If children are traveling for free, they don’t have a baggage allowance
- So any baggage for the child counts as part of the adult’s baggage allowance
4b. Carry On Allowance – Ticketed Infant/Child
- Children traveling on an international ticket that is 10% of the adult fare are allowed one checked bag up to 20lbs. (10kg) with a maximum outside dimension (length+width+height) of 45 inches, plus one checked fully collapsible stroller or push-chair
- Children traveling on a ticket that is 50% or more of the adult fare, children are entitled to the standard baggage allowance
5. Trade Offs / Additional Considerations
- An additional oxygen mask is required for the infant in arms. The additional masks are usually located on the starboard side (right side) of the plane
- Booking an international ticket requires a paper ticket. Paper tickets will require check in at the airport desk. You cannot check in online or at an automated kiosk
- The international ticketing fees can get expensive. If the fees are high consider buying your baby a mile earning ticket or redeeming your miles for a baby award seat
- If we fly in coach I”ll take precautions by:
- Booking less crowded flights
- Will sweeten up the gate agents to see if a seat next to us can be blocked
- Book a window and isle hoping no one selects the middle seat
- Some people snarl when they see babies in premium cabins (I don’t, I just put on my noise canceling headset), so we’ll have to do a test run and assess viability before we take our baby in a premium cabin
- Test runs will likely be shorter domestic routes
- I’ll sign our baby up for frequent flyer programs selectively when sign up promotions / referral bonuses are offered
The requirements are pretty straight forward to travel with an infant in arms. Make sure you carefully weigh the cost of the infant in arms fee as sometimes it could be better to purchase a mile earning ticket or just redeem extra miles for another seat.
I’ve heard horror stories about flying with an infant for longer flights, so I’ll be sure and weigh the pro and cons.
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