Two weeks ago, reader Lillian emailed me to ask if I would consider doing an article on different airline policies for booking lap infants. I agreed it was a great idea – especially as my youngest is still only 2 years old – but I was a bit nervous about the time commitment required to research it.
And then, as luck would have it, it turned out that someone else had been working on exactly the same project.
If you have – or are considering getting – a child under 2 years of age, I strongly recommend that you bookmark this article by Jason Steele from the US Mommy Points site (EDIT: link removed as the article is no longer there). It is a fantastic resource.
To be honest, I was pretty shocked to realise that some US schemes force you to buy a cash ticket for a lap infant, even if the parents are travelling on miles tickets. 10% of a $10,000 business class ticket is a lot of money. It seems that the British Airways policy of charging lap infants 10% of the miles and 10% of the taxes is generous.
Once they turn 2, of course, you are on the hook for the full flight cost and, like my youngest above, they must have their own seat (or, ahem, Emirates A380 flat bed!)
There used to be a workaround you could do, until British Airways closed the loophole. You would book Manchester – London (long stopover, covering the 2nd birthday) – holiday destination – London – Manchester. As the long as the child was under 2 when the first leg was flown, BA would allocate a seat for free on the other legs.
This is not now possible, and BA will not allow a booking where a child turns 2 during the outbound. You will still receive a free seat on the return if you are away during your childs 2nd birthday, however!