This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Traveling with kids can be stressful. But, before you can even get in the air, there’s the issue of what documents you need in order to take your infant on board. Each airline’s policy on this seems to differ from the next, but generally speaking, you should always have your child’s birth certificate with you. Take, for example, this little traveler:

The mother didn’t have the child’s birth certificate with her to prove that the baby (who was clearly a newborn) was younger than two years old. So while it may seem unreasonable for the infant to need her own seat, Southwest’s terms state that the parent must provide proof of age if requested. Here’s a breakdown of what each of the major airlines requires for infant travel in order to be considered a lap baby:

American

  • “Once a child has reached their second birthday, the child is required to have a purchased seat at an adult fare.”
  • “You may be required to present proof of age (such as a birth certificate) for any children under the age of 18.”

Delta

  • “You may travel with one infant in your lap without purchasing a ticket if the infant is less than two years old, and you are at least 18 years old or the infant’s legal guardian, and your travel is within the US.”
  • No details on showing proof of age.

JetBlue

  • “A child between the ages of three days old until their second birthday is considered a lap child and does not need to pay for a seat.”
  • “Customers traveling with a lap child will be asked for proof of age, such as a passport, birth certificate (copies are acceptable for domestic travel) or an immunization record when the infant’s age is questionable.”

Southwest

  • “One child over 14 days old and under two (2) years of age, not occupying a seat, may be carried free of charge when traveling with an adult (12 years of age or older).”
  • “A birth certificate is required to validate the age of all infants under age two.”

United

  • “Children under the age of two traveling within the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands with a parent or with an adult 18 years or older can travel on the adult’s lap free of charge.”
  • “Once infants turn two years old, they are required to have a purchased ticket and occupy a seat.”

While each of the major carriers has different policies, you’re best off to always carry your infant’s birth certificate with you.

Featured image courtesy of Marc Romanelli via Getty Images.

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.