Flying with an infant is a stressful experience. First, you need to worry about any in-flight emergencies and how to overcome them, like a sudden fever or ear pain, then you need to figure out how you’ll keep them busy during the flight. What you shouldn’t be worrying about is airline policies on flying with infants.
American Airlines allows you to fly with an infant under two on your lap. Children over the age of two, from the moment of their 2nd birthday, need a ticket and their own seat to fly with this airline. Parents can bring breast milk and formula that won’t count toward their baggage allowance.
In this comprehensive and easy-to-understand summary, we’ll outline the different aspects of American Airlines’ infant policy. You’ll learn what you can take as accessories and baggage for your baby and what documents you may need to bring your infant on one of this airline’s aircrafts.
Flying with an infant
Ticketing and fares
If you’re flying domestically and to or from Puerto Rico, children under the age of two do not need a ticket to fly on your lap. However, when your flight is international, you’ll be charged 10% of the standard adult fare for each lap infant. Taxes will also apply.
As long as you add your infant to your reservation, you’ll be able to bring one infant per ticketed adult. If you’re traveling with more than one infant and only one adult, additional infants need a ticket. They’ll require a separate aircraft seat, where they need to be strapped into an approved safety seat if they can’t sit upright without support.
If you’re traveling with an infant under the age of 2, you can ask to board the plane early when you get to the gate. This will allow you to fix your safety seat or to get comfortable before the influx of passengers board the plane.
Restraint systems and strollers
American Airlines’ car seat policy states that passengers traveling with infants can bring a safety seat for free. The seat must meet FAA standards and it won’t reduce your checked baggage limit. The following rules apply when flying with an infant in a safety seat:
- The seat can’t be used in an exit row or in the rows on either side of an exit row.
- Your infant must stay in the seat during taxi, takeoff, landing, and when the seatbelt sign is on.
If you don’t have a ticket for your infant, you can check if the seat next to you is available, in which case you can let your infant fly in their safety seat. If you don’t have a ticket and the seat isn’t available, the gate agent will check your seat until you land.
Restricted restraint systems
Due to the seat angles, safety seats can’t be used on the following aircrafts:
- Airbus 321T – First
- Boeing 777-200 – Business
- Boeing 777-300 – Business
- Boeing 787-800 – Business
- Boeing 787-900 – Business
AA also has a list of restraint systems that aren’t approved for use on their aircrafts. This means that you can bring these items along but you won’t be able to use them on the plane. This includes:
- Systems without an approval label
- Booster seats without labels or shoulder harnesses
- Vest and/or harness-type devices (this does not include Aviation Child Safety Devices with FAA aircraft approval labels)
- Belt extensions that attach to you or your restraint
- Any device that positions the infant on your lap or chest
The airline’s stroller policy allows you to bring one stroller per ticketed customer for free. Strollers under 20 lbs (9 kg) can be brought to the gate, while heavier strollers need ro be checked with the rest of your luggage. .
Infants turning 2
It’s important to note that infants who turn 2 during the trip aren’t considered under the age of two, which means that they’ll need their own ticket and their own seat. Children over the age of two are required to have their own ticket, which is purchased at standard adult ticket fares.
Infant accessories and bags
Carry-on and checked bags
Infants without tickets on international flights will be issued a ticket, which will give them a baggage allowance of 1 checked bag at the same rate as the adult’s first bag.
You are allowed to bring one carry-on diaper bag per child. Additional bags need to be checked with the rest of your baggage allowance, which is determined according to AA’s baggage policy.
Breast pumps and milk
All passengers, even those traveling without children, can bring a soft-sided cooler bag with breast milk and a breast pump in addition to their baggage allowance. These items don’t count as carry-on bags or personal items.
Other large items, like wagons, cribs, pack and plays, and play pens count as regular bags. They can be brought as carry-on items but if they exceed the airline’s baggage weight and size limits, they need to be checked and standard fees may apply.
If you’re nursing, most airports have convenient nursing rooms and stations that you can use before and after your flight. In addition to these amenities, all wide-body aircrafts have changing tables in the lavatories.
If your infant weighs less than 20 lbs and you need a bassinet, you can ask at the gate but they are given on a first come, first serve basis. They can’t be used in First or Business class and they are only available on the following aircrafts; 777-200, 777-300 and 787.
To fly with a child under the age of 18, you need to present a valid birth certificate to verify their age. American Airlines allows infants from the age of 2 days old, but you need a doctor’s letter stating that your baby is medically cleared to travel if they are under 7 days old.
Adding an infant to a flight
You need to contact Reservations if you’re traveling with an infant under 7 days old or traveling internationally, in which case taxes and a percentage of the adult fare may apply.
On travels within the US, including Puerto Rico, adding your infant to your trip is simple. You can select the ‘add infant’ option when booking online, or indicate that you’ll be traveling with an infant once it is ticketed.