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One of the messages I try to get out there about family travel is that flying with a lap infant can be very pricey, and it also isn’t even always the most practical or comfortable seating decision. I only flew with my 5 year old as a lap infant once on a short flight, though I will admit I may fly with my second daughter a few times as a lap infant while she is very small.
Technically you can fly with your child as a “lap baby” until they turn two years old. For domestic flights lap children are free and this works out well for many travelers for a period of time while the baby is young. Yes, there are some safety concerns and trade-offs to consider.
However, when you start talking about international flights and mobile toddlers as “lap infants” then there are some things you really need to be aware of…namely that lap infants can come with big sticker shock. For example, most airlines charge a 10% fee for lap infants on many international flights, and that amount can be in the four digits! I know many families that have redeemed airline miles to sit in business or first class seats only to be hit with over $1,000 in charges when they add their lap infant to the reservation.
I have a very detailed post on various airline lap infant policies and fees that might be helpful (some carriers charge much less than others), but I also recently participated in a story on lap infants that ran in the LA Times that is worth checking out in case you may have a lap infant in your future.
Have you ever run into lap baby sticker shock?