The arrival of a child changes a lot of things, but fortunately, you will have a grace period of 2 years (minus 1 day) to learn to adapt to family travel with your baby. Indeed, this article will be about booking an award ticket for baby sitting on your lap.
While there are many expenses that come along with having a baby, the good news is that the costs of going on vacation with a toddler will be minimal.
The basics on booking a baby award ticket
The definition of a lap infant
First of all, most airlines have the following definition for a “baby”: a child under 2 years of age who is traveling without a seat with a paying adult (in cash or points). If your infant turns 2 years old during the trip, he/she must have his/her own seat on the return trip (with some exceptions – see below).
Next, babies need to have a reservation and a boarding pass; you cannot show up at the door with your baby even if he or she is traveling without an assigned seat. Most of the time, you have to go to the counter to get it but priority lines for families are usually available.
Then, there is a maximum of one baby on the lap per adult; if you are a large family with two sets of twins under 2 years old, you will have to pay for extra seats or… bring the grandparents!
Reservation of a seat for the baby
You may also decide to purchase an assigned seat with both a baby award ticket and cash; this is more expensive (same price as the adult), but it will be up to you to determine if his or her comfort and yours is worth the cost or not.
As a matter of fact, having a 22 month old on your lap for 20 hours of travel to Australia is quite different from having a 3-month-old on your lap. Also, a baby is safer from turbulence when fasten into a car seat than into mom’s arms or in a baby carrier. It’s up to you.
Also, a baby with his own seat must travel with a car seat or a belt approved for air travel; on many airlines, it is not possible to install a car seat in business class or first class.
The crib: pros and cons
During a long flight, access to a crib can be very convenient. However, it’s not guaranteed to get one especially if the flight is full with many other babies on board; it can be smart to figure out where those seats are on SeatGuru and make a seat selection ahead of time if you really want to.
Then, there is a maximum weight limit and you can’t use it if baby is able to sit up on his own. Furthermore, every time the seatbelt warning light comes on, you have to drive your little one from it to hold him or her in your arms, even if he or she is sound asleep.
Hence the use of the crib can be convenient, but you shouldn’t rely entirely on it. It also should be noted that there may be a fee to access the crib and it is not automatically assigned when booking a baby award ticket or cash. Thus take advantage of your travel credits to get reimbursed for these expenses if necessary.
Sweetspots for traveling with a baby
There is no cost to book a baby award ticket when traveling within Canada or the United States, just like tickets paid in cash. This can be seen in this example going to San Diego:
However, when you cross international borders, the costs go up.
Fares for a baby award ticket
Generally, one should expect to pay about 10% of the base adult fare when purchasing in cash. Also, the baby must be in the same class of service as the adult, so you can’t book a business class ticket and expect your toddler to pay 10% of the economy fare to sit on top of you.
Fortunately, this is not the case when paying in points for major loyalty programs for Canadians! Indeed, Aeroplan has a fixed price per direction when booking a baby award ticket. With Avios, you can get away with 10% of the fare in points, not cash.
Here is a summary of the charges for booking a baby award ticket for major programs in Canada:
|Air Canada Aeroplan||– 25 or 2,500 points per direction|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||
– 10% of the adult ticket price + taxes and fees on Air France-KLM
– For other companies, you must contact them (rates in effect for each of them)
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™||
– Only taxes for flights operated by Alaska Airlines (North America)
– For other companies, you must contact them (rates in effect for each of them)
|American Airlines AAdvantage®||– 10% of the adult ticket price + taxes and fees|
|British Airways Avios||– 10% of the adult premium ticket price + taxes and fees|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||– 10% to 25% of the adult ticket price + taxes and fees|
|Delta Airlines SkyMiles®||– 10% of the adult ticket price + taxes and fees|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||– 10% of the adult ticket price + taxes and fees|
|United Airlines MileagePlus||
– Toll free (Canada and U.S.)
– 10% of the adult ticket price + taxes and fees
|WestJet Rewards||– No charge|
The best programs for booking a baby award ticket
You can notice that most programs listed above require a 10% cash payment for an adult even if you want a baby award ticket. Indeed, even if you pay for your ticket in points, you will have to pay extra money to travel with it.
Fortunately, there are sweetspots and these are our favorite programs in Canada!
Aeroplan is one of the best programs to book a baby award ticket as the fare is fixed at $25 or 2,500 Aeroplan points per one-way ticket on Air Canada or their partners. This cost applies regardless of the class of service you book!
Then, the rules for booking a baby award tickets also applies on a more complex route with a stop Aeroplan if you feel like taking a big trip to Morocco, Portugal, Italy and Croatia during your maternity or paternity leave; mini can follow you at no additional cost.
The icing on the cake? The booking of a baby award ticket can be done entirely online (on the website), with or without an Aeroplan stopover.
For example, the American Express CobaltMD Card earns Membership Rewards points that are transferable to Aeroplan at a 1:1 rate. Thus, you can earn 5 Aeroplan points per dollar on everyday purchases such asgroceries, restaurants and a multiple of other businesses likegas, Amazon, Walmart, SAQ, etc. through the gift card strategy.
Avios is also very easy to earn in Canada through a multitude of credit cards, including HSBC, RBC and American Express; you can even collect Avios miles directly with the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card.
Secondly, HSBC Rewards points and RBC Avion Rewards points are also transferable to Avios in the same way as Membership Rewards points. So the previous example about the American Express Cobalt® Card card also allows you to earn very flexible points! So there’s plenty of choice when it comes to booking!
Then, unlike other programs that charges 10% of the cost of the ticket in cash for the adult, the award will be 10% of the cost in Avios miles in the British Airways Executive Club.
Another great feature about booking an award ticket for baby with them is that if your toddler is celebrating his or her second birthday during the trip, British Airways will assign a seat to your 2 year old for the return flight at no charge. The only other company that allows this is Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
Like Aeroplan, you can purchase an award ticket for your baby online.
So booking a baby award ticket is free no matter where you want to go, whether it’s Los Angeles, Western Canada or Ireland, just pay with WestJet dollars the same way you would if you were paying in cash. Everything can be done on the website.
Booking an award ticket for baby before he or she is born
Before the arrival of your baby, there is much more time to do travel planning and to look for the best deals for vacations. However, it is not possible to book an award ticket for a baby before he/she is born, as you need to have all his/her information in hand.
But, your baby can be added to an existing reservation without any problem. So, you can go ahead and play with Google Flights, Flight Connections and ExpertFlyer in your spare time or during your sleepless moments of pregnancy.
In this way, you can take the time to find the best deals on Aeroplan to secure that fare and those seats since the addition of your baby will always be at the fixed cost of 2,500 points per direction.
Travelers at heart will remain so when they become parents. At least point hunters can still enjoy business class flights without having to pay for a 3rd ticket for a while with the baby award booking rates.
Actually, “enjoy” is a big word, we should say “be more comfortable”, because you don’t necessarily enjoy it with a little baby monkey climbing around.
How much does a plane ticket cost for a baby sitting on your lap?
Most airlines charge 10% of the adult fare + taxes and fees for an infant on an international flight (it is free on flights within Canada and the United States). The trick to saving money is to book a baby award ticket since some reward programs will charge much less in points.
Can I use Aeroplan points when traveling with a baby?
Yes In addition, the fare is fixed at 2,500 Aeroplan points per direction for a baby award ticket.
Is it worth it to reserve a baby seat?
It depends on your comfort level and the age of your baby; on a long flight, having a baby on you can be very tiring. Similarly, as baby approaches 2 years of age, he or she is very mobile and an extra seat can make the trip much more comfortable for everyone.
Can we bring a baby in business class?
Yes The advantage of Reward Points is that you can take a toddler with you to premium cabins with minimal cost with a baby award ticket.