Do You Have to Buy a Plane Ticket for an Infant Traveling Internationally?

Parents may need to pay a portion of adult fare when flying internationally with infants.

The whole family is packed and ready to take on a European tour, but parents traveling with infants may find that airfare rules for infants can vary. Each airline will have its own rules about when and how infants can fly, and at what rate. Nevertheless, parents eager to take to the skies may still get significant discounts when flying with a baby.

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.

Flying Concerns

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.

Additional Help

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.