What are my rights when flying with a baby?

Travelling with a young baby can seem like a daunting task. It’s best to check with your airline before you travel so you're as prepared as you can be for the journey.

When can babies travel?

There is no minimum age in the UK at which babies are legally allowed to travel, so you'll need to check with your airline before booking a flight with your infant.

As a general guide, most airlines ask that babies are at least two weeks old before they travel - though some allow seven day old infants on board.

The booking policy for infants differs from one airline to another particularly if you're booking a flight before your child is born.

It’s always advisable to contact the airline in advance of your booking so you know what to expect and what, if any, charges apply.

Booking flights before the birth

If you're booking a flight before the birth of your child, you should remember to factor in a potential late delivery as this could affect when you will be allowed to travel with your baby.

You should also bear in mind that you will need longer to recover in the event of a caesarean delivery.  

For international travel, make sure you allow enough time to apply for and receive a passport for your baby as all infants and children need their own passport.

In summary

  • Usually infants must be at least two weeks old before they can fly
  • All airlines charge to have an infant travel on a parent's lap
  • Some airlines offer free extra luggage for an infant on a parent's lap
  • Most airlines allow a pushchair or stroller at no extra cost

Do I need to pay for my baby?

Yes. When you travel with an infant (up to two years of age), you have the choice of purchasing a seat for them or having them on your lap.

However, even if you choose to have your child on your lap, most airlines require you to pay an infant fee which will differ from one airline to another.

The option you choose could also affect your baggage allowance - worth bearing in mind especially if you're going away for a longer period and need more luggage. 

You should check with the airline before booking to see the cost of the infant fee as you may find that it's more cost-effective to book your child a seat of their own.

Some airlines, such as Ryanair and Easyjet, charge a flat fee for infants – usually around £20 - regardless of the length or cost of the flight.

Other airlines, such as British Airways and Flybe, charge a percentage of the cost of an adult ticket.

You may also find your airline doesn't charge for an infant sitting on your lap - KLM is an airline that doesn't charge.

Baggage allowance for infants

The baggage allowance you can expect when travelling with an infant differs from one airline to another.

Most airlines will allow you to take a pushchair or stroller with you at no extra cost, but additional baggage may end up costing you more.

Some airlines give infants their own baggage allowance of 5-10kg - over and above items such as a car seat or travel cot - even if they don't have a seat.

But this isn’t a standard policy so you should always check with your airline when you make your booking. 

The below table gives a snapshot of the cost of travelling with an infant from London to Malaga on a selection of airlines. 

 Flight costs with a baby  

What can I take on the plane?

Though there are strict regulations on carrying liquids on aeroplanes, these don't apply to baby milk or baby food.

This means you can take breast milk or formula onto the plane without needing to worry about the usual 100ml liquid restriction.

You can also take baby food and boiled water in a baby bottle to make a feed.

The 100ml restriction still applies to baby products like nappy cream or lotion so you'll need to carry them in a clear bag and make sure they don't exceed 100ml.

There's so much to remember when travelling with a baby or young child, so it's a good idea to follow a checklist to make sure you have not forgotten anything. 

You can find helpful tips and information about what baby products to take on holiday to make the travelling experience as stress-free as possible. 

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