Younger Than 5
Children younger than age 5 usually cannot fly alone domestically or outside of the country. As of 2013, Delta requires that children younger than 5 must travel with an adult who is at least 18 years old. When flying on US Airways, children younger than 5 must travel with a parent or legal guardian, as of 2013. American Airlines requires that those accompanying children younger than 5 on flights must be at least 16 years old, while Southwest Airlines requires children younger than 5 to be in the company of someone who is at least 12, as of 2013.
Ages 5 to 14
As of 2013, children who are between 5 and 14 must use the unaccompanied minor services that Delta and US Airways offer, if kids this age fly unaccompanied. Airline employees will assist your child during boarding and deplaning. If your child is 12 and wishes to fly without assistance, he can do so by traveling with American and Southwest Airlines. Airlines may charge an additional fee for unaccompanied minor services.
Older Than 14
Teens who are age 14 or older usually do not need supervision to fly out of the country. Some airlines may automatically provide unaccompanied minor services to teens younger than 18, according to Delta Airlines. When you make your reservations with an agent, you can request that your teenager not receive these services. If your teen is 14 or older and needs additional assistance when flying, ask the airline about any available services.
Policies can change over time, so parents may want to call each airline before booking tickets. Mentioning your child's age when making reservations and asking about any restrictions or additional fees may prevent confusion and complications when it is time to depart. Ensure that your child has a valid passport before traveling outside the U.S.
Consult with your health care provider before making travel plans to ensure it is safe for you and the baby, and tell her you'll be caring for your toddler on your own, too. Depending on how far along you are in the pregnancy, whether your travel is international or domestic, and your mode of transportation, your provider might advise against travel or have specific directions for you to follow. It is also wise to find health care facilities at your destination and to plan extra stops or layovers when needed to keep everyone safe and content.
It is helpful to pack a lightweight umbrella stroller to transport your toddler as you move about in an airport or rest area. Avoid carrying the older child as much as possible so you don't strain yourself and put the baby or yourself in danger. Take frequent stops to walk around when driving and, if flying, walk about the airplane cabin at regular intervals. This prevent blood clots in your legs and it helps break up the travel time for the toddler as well and helps prevent a meltdown.
Pack small books and toys to entertain the toddler. Electronic games or a movie device can also be helpful. Small snacks and a sippy cup will keep him satiated and content, too. Pack healthful snacks for yourself as well, such as dried fruit, crackers or granola. Keep yourself hydrated, too, and ensure that you have enough diapers, wipes, and other toddler essentials. If flying, make your carry-on as lightweight as possible while still containing necessary items.
If flying, ask for assistance from flight attendants if you need to lift anything heavy or install the toddlers car seat on the plane. If you are feeling unwell and need help getting to a connecting flight or an extra snack, ask for help and most airline employees are happy to aid you. When driving, make stops when necessary and if you need to take extra time getting to your destination don't hesitate to make an overnight stop at a hotel if needed to ensure your safety. Planning that flexible time into your travel can help make the trip enjoyable and safe for everyone.
Flying At A Discount
If the family is traveling internationally, you will likely have to pay a portion of ticket fare for your infant. The Delta Reservations Office will determine your infant's international airfare based on the baby's age. United Airlines requires the purchase of an infant ticket if you are flying internationally with a child younger than 2 years old. If you are traveling to another country through American Airlines or U.S. Airways and your infant will be on your lap, you must buy a ticket at 10 percent of the adult ticket fare.
Flying For Free
If your family is flying to Canada, your infant can fly free on your lap through American Airlines. Other airlines, such as United Airlines, only require paying taxes on a ticket if your family is flying to Canada and your baby travels on your lap. Other than that exception, infants can only fly free through most major airlines by sitting on a parent's lap on a domestic flight.
Going on a trip with an infant can pose several concerns when flying. If you plan to bring breast milk or formula on your trip, you are exempt from the Transportation Security Administration's requirement that liquids be placed in a container no greater than 3.4 ounces. You may have to present bottles in your carry-on luggage for inspection, and you should declare the bottles at the checkpoint. If your infant is required to purchase a seat, or your baby will not be riding in your lap for the entirety of a flight, you must also bring an infant car seat for the flight, according to the TSA.
Rules on whether or not your infant will need a seat can vary by airline, destination and other factors. When making airline reservations, you should always mention that you will be traveling with an infant. This can also be a good opportunity to ask about any limitations, such as the fact that some airlines will only let one of your infants travel without a seat, while others may be required to have one, according to Delta.