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Airfare for Children

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Authored by Karen Reams in Transportation
Published on 09-05-2009

In today’s economy finding reasonably priced flights is quite a challenge. Finding reasonable airfares for children can be even harder. Children may not take up as much space as an adult but on the whole get few breaks when it comes to airfares.

The rules regarding airfares for children vary depending on whether you are traveling within the 50 states, or traveling international.

If you are traveling within the United States then usually an infant under the age of 2 years can travel for free and prior arrangements do not have to be made. But that is only if the child is going to sit on a paying travelers lap and therefore not taking up a whole seat. Most airlines will allow two infants per paying adult.

Generally, if you wish your child to fly within the United States and have their own seat or if the children are over the age of 2 years you will have to pay a full adult fare. There are no special airfares for children.

Of course there are always exceptions to rules and Southwest Airlines is the exception here. The Southwest Airline website does state that they offer affordable airfares for children. These offers cannot be booked on-line but by calling their reservation center.

It is always advisable to check out the website of the airline that you are wanting to book with just to check if they also have special offers for infants. Either look under services or travel information, or type children in the sites search box. It never hurts to call the airline and ask them directly. You never know, you might get lucky and be offered a special airfare for the children.

Flying internationally is different from domestic travel. The same rule applies when traveling with an infant under the age of 2 years – they can be a lap child and not have their own seat. However, usually, you will have to pay up to 10% of the adult fare price plus all the insurance and taxes.

To book your child as a lap child you will have to call the airline direct to make the arrangements. If your infant is a baby that weighs approximately 24 pounds then be sure to ask for a bassinet. Each airplane has a limited number of bassinets so be sure to request yours as soon as you can.

There are no special airfares for children age 2 and over which means that even if your child has just turned 2 they will have to pay full fare. For young children in their own seats it is advisable to take a car seat with you as this will give them extra safety and comfort.

Simply put, infants under the age of 2 years, whether flying domestic or international do get some adjustments. Once a child reaches their second birthday it can be expected that they will pay full fare unless you find an airline such as Southwest that offers some special airfares for children.

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