The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Babies on Planes

Taking Babies on Airplanes

Airline regulations allow flights for families with a baby (or young toddlers under the age of 2) but its best to review their guidelines.

BABIES ON AIRPLANES: Some parents are apprehensive about facing an airport and a flight so soon after giving birth.

Nonetheless, it is possible to fly with a newborn a few days old and young infants even though each airline sets its own requirements, especially regarding the minimum age for flight travel.

The minimum age range varies significantly from as early as two days old up to 14 days in some cases.

For example, some flight operators insist that mum's with newborn babies must provide a doctor's certificate attesting to your fitness to fly.

The following information covers the basic flight restrictions, what you need to provide, and the importance of planning ahead if you are taking an infant on a plane - approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board UK.

Flight Tickets for Babies

Your baby needs a separate flight ticket even if your infant does not have a separate designated seat on the plane. Therefore you must include accurate details about your baby or toddler when you make the booking.

Of course this is not always possible especially if you book your flight before your baby is born. In this case you need to confirm these details to the airline nearer to the flight date.

Passports for Flights with a Baby

One of the most frequently asked questions about taking infants on airplanes is whether your baby will need a passport? The simple answer is yes because babies need their own passport if they are with a family travelling abroad.

The paperwork process of getting a baby's passport may take a few weeks to complete so plan ahead and well in advance if are booking a long-haul trip.

Note: Most airlines require one adult to travel with each baby so you may not be able to travel alone if you have two or more babies younger than six months.

Baggage Allowances for Babies

It is important to check if your baby gets a baggage allowance because it is almost impossible to travel light with an infant.

You may have to sacrifice some of your personal hand luggage and carry a well-stocked changing bag.

Alternatively you could pay extra for additional luggage allowances.

Airplane Seating Policies for Babies

Some airlines allow very young children (less than two years) to fly for free, however, most airlines charge a percentage of the adult fare for an extra seat. Your baby is allowed to sit on your lap (sharing your seat) if they are less than two years old. Airlines will provide you with an extension seat belt and the cabin crew will explain how to use it.

Baby Carrycots

Fortunately your little one has two main activities - sleeping and eating. So when you confirm your reservation at the check-in, ask whether your airline provides carrycots? Some long-haul operators have a limited number of special sleep carrycots on board but they are mostly suited for babies up to 12.5kgs (27.5lbs).

Your infant can have their own separate seat from when they become about six months old. You will be charged a child’s fare and they will need to sit in a car seat assembly or child restraint system. Note that different airlines have their own requirements for baby car seats. Even though some airlines provide them for you, most budget airlines require you to bring your own.

Airline Baby Facilities

One of the most challenging aspects about long haul flights for mums and dads with toddlers is at feeding time and when you need to change their nappies. The vast majority of airlines have baby changing tables in the toilets - despite it being rather cramped inside the cubicle. As a consideration for other passengers (especially those who are sitting next to you) it is a better option than wiping your baby’s bottom in your seat.

As a rule, breastfeeding your baby on an airplane is relatively easy and can be carried out quite discreetly.

It is worth remembering that even though most airlines will heat your baby’s milk or food - some do not.

Tips for Keeping a Baby Calm on Board

Perhaps the best advice for keeping a baby calm during a flight is to stay as relaxed and comfortable as possible yourself. Most mums know well that babies are usually calmer when you are feeling in the same mood. Try to get yourself settled and place everything within easy reach once you sit on board and then try some (or all) of these tips for keeping your baby calm and settled in the skies;

Following the airline's rules for flights with babies and adopting a few of these tips makes for happy family plane trips. With a little forward planning and some solid preparation you will most likely avoid a miserable journey.

Babies on Airplanes; UK Rules Updated 2017