Flying with Children – FAQ Fridays

Flying with Children can be really tricky, but there are ways of making it a lot easier! This week’s FAQ Friday helps you do just that.

Video Transcription

Welcome to another episode of FAQ Fridays from Travelstart with me Nick Paul. Today we are going to be talking about flying with kids. We are going to look at:

  • How ticket prices are worked out
  • Who gets a seat
  • How many children you can travel with
  • How kids can travel unaccompanied
  • The best ways to fly with children

How are ticket prices worked out?

Airlines break kids into 3 groups: 0-24 months | 2-11 years | 12 & older. Infants pay 10% of the fare and a small portion of the taxes as well. Children usually pay 75% of the fare and all of the taxes. Anyone older than a child (anyone older than 12 years) will pay full fare and taxes.

Who gets a seat?

Infants don’t get a seat when they travel, but if your infant is a big child and needs its own seat you can pay the child fare and have your infant sit on a seat. Infants may also get a bassinette. This is a small cot that is clipped onto the wall that divides the front of economy class cabin with the kitchen area. You will need to request this with the airline as soon as you have booked your tickets. Please note that the infant must be 6 months or younger and weigh less than 10kg. It is on a request basis and is not guaranteed.

Children 2 years and older will get there own seat.

How many children can you travel with?

You are only allowed one infant per adult. With children, you are allowed up to 8 per adult. I don’t know who would be crazy enough to travel with 8 kids on a flight but you are allowed to.

Unaccompanied Minors (Kids not accompanied by adults)

There are occasions when an adult is not able to accompany a child on a flight. It is basically someone travelling without somebody who is 16 years and older. Usually any child from 5 to 15 years qualifies but it varies per airline, so you will need to check with your airline first.

Unaccompanied minors usually pay the full economy class ticket price (not a child fare or infant fare) and they might be charged a fee by the airline as well. There is limited space for unaccompanied minors on the plane so you need to request from the airline if there is enough space. The airline will need both the details of the parent/guardian dropping off the child and those collecting the child on the other end. The child will then be assisted and escorted from one guardian to the other guardian through airport, onto the plane, off the plane and back through the airport again. You are going to need to contact the airline directly to book this. There are some travel agents who will do it, but generally they refer you to the airline because they are only acting as middle men in that situation, collecting the information from you and passing it directly to the airline. It often works out faster and easier if you just deal with the airline directly.

The best ways to fly with kids

 I would suggest that you book the most direct flights. No long layovers; you don’t want to be entertaining a small child in an airport for a very long time. Also, no extremely short layovers; If you are running through the airport desperately trying to make a flight you are going to lose a kid along the way. I would suggest that you give yourself enough time but not too much time in an airport.

Many airlines provide goodie bags for kids, but I suggest bring some of you own familiar toys for the child on the flight. Something that is going to calm them down and make them feel at home. You will have to look after your own kids on the flight, although there is one airline which does provide a nanny service on-board; Etihad Airways. This member of the cabin crew is able to entertain children from moment to moment, they can’t take care of your child for the entire flight but they will assist you in getting a bit of shuteye, and a bit of peace and quiet.

If you have any tips that you have picked up whilst travelling with children, please share them in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!

If you’ve got any other travel related questions also ask them in the comments. Please remember to subscribe to our channel if you want to hear more.

That is it from me this week.


Our Readers Comments

  1. I need to bring my infant grandson back to South Africa from London on our return flight. Booking ref ZA00923199
    Airline ref 5PTVE
    Ticket number 083-5852608007, 083-5852608008
    How do I arrange this?

    • Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I am not sure on the exact history of the booking. Is your grandson currently living in the UK and you are briniging him to live or stay in South Africa. Or is he living in South Africa went on holiday and he is coming back home with you.

      It all really depends on if he is a South African passport holder living in South Africa or living in the UK and a British passport holder. Certain documents will be required either way as you are not the biological parents.

      You would need to contact the Embassy or Home Affairs (which ever passport your grandson is holding) give them the full story and they will be able to shed more light and give you the most up to date information on what all is required.

  2. Hi….I booked a flight ticket from Cape Town to PE with British Airways. 16 years old….can I travel alone?

    • Hi Ruaan,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      In the airline industry, an adult is any passenger aged 16 and older.

  3. my husband and I are traveling with our 15 year old son to Germany. He has an unabridged birth certificate and passport. Do we still need an unabridged marriage certificate too??

    • Hi Lana,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      To my knowledge it is not required the unabridged marriage certificate however I do suggest you contact Home Affairs to confirm this.

  4. Hi,

    I was not sure where to post a question, so not relating to this artcle, …but would like advise on a reasonably priced hotel in Hong Kong for 2 adults and 2children (6 and 9 yrs) en route to Thailand for 3 nights at the end of June .??

    • Hi Claudia,

      Please contact our Travelbar team on 0861 878 278 & select option 2 or They will be able to assist you with booking accommodation.

      I just asked a colleague of mine who has been there. She recommends that you stay in an area called Kowloon – it is a nice area with many restaurants, shops, bars and is close to the ferry.

      – Liam

  5. Remember to request a child meal at the time of booking. Or book it online using your booking code. This cannot be done when you check in and definitately not when you are already on the plane.

  6. Try to feed a baby during takeoff and landing, the sucking relieves the inner ear pressure and prevents ear pain which in turn helps to prevent screaming

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