Flying With Kids: Infant Flight Awards

While some airlines offer discounts on cash fares for children, this is generally not the case for award tickets. Thus, flight awards for older children are pretty straightforward – if they’re over the age of two, you’ll be redeeming the same amount of points for them as you would for an adult.

However, if you’re travelling with a child under the age of two, the situation is quite different, and in fact, he or she may be able to fly almost for free.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how different award programs price infant award tickets, as well as some additional considerations.

The Basics

Let’s start with the definition of an infant in the aviation world. For most airlines, an infant is any child under the age of two at the time of departure.

If your child happens to turn two between flights during your trip, then they’ll no longer be considered an infant for the remaining segments of the itinerary that occur after their second birthday, and will require a seat. In fact, some airlines will even consider them a child for the entire booking, thus requiring you to redeem a full award ticket for your child.

If you find yourself in this situation, it may be better to book two separate one-way bookings so that you get the infant fare on departure, and a child or full fare on return. Some airlines will manually price the outbound flight as an infant and the inbound as a child in these situations.

Seating Options with Infants

When travelling on an airplane with an infant, you have one of two options:

  • Infants can occupy their own seat, which in most cases they’ll be charged the full adult award fare (although there are exceptions, like with Emirates). If they occupy their own seat, then you’re required to bring along a car seat or an approved child aviation restraint system.
  • Infants can also remain an infant on lap, in which case they’re seated in the lap of an adult. Some airlines provide a lap belt extension for the infant to use. If your infant is young and small enough, airlines may be able to provide bassinets for use in designated bulkhead seats.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking specifically at travelling with an infant on lap.

The Cost

In general, airlines have adopted one of five approaches for charging lap infants:

  • No fare
  • A percentage of the adult revenue fare
  • A percentage of the standard award fare
  • A fixed revenue fare
  • A fixed award fare

Keep in mind that most airlines still charge the applicable taxes, fees, and surcharges on top of the aforementioned fares (even in cases where no fare is charged), so take that into consideration when looking at the overall cost for your infant.

Other General Caveats

  • Booking: Some airlines allow booking online, while other require you to call in.
  • Minimum age of infant: With a few exceptions, most airlines require infants to be a minimum of one week old before they can fly.
  • Adult-to-infant ratio: Most airlines only allow one lap infant per adult. If you have additional children, they’ll be required to have tickets for their own seats.
  • Minimum age of adult: Be sure to check the age threshold to be considered an adult, as it varies by airline. Some allow as young as the age of 12, up to the age of 18.
  • Domestic / international / partner flights: Some airlines have differing policies for domestic and international itineraries, and also those on their own routes and partner routes. We’ve tried to list most of these differences in the chart below, but be sure to check with the airline program for the most up-to-date information before booking.
  • Boarding pass: Generally speaking, infants need a paper boarding pass, so you’ll have to visit the airline’s kiosk at the airport for this (i.e. online check-in not available).

Lap Infant Charges for Popular Airline Programs for Canadians

Program / Airline



No fare


Domestic (including to the US): No fee

International: $25 (CAD) or 2,500 Aeroplan points per direction of travel


Domestic (including to/from Canada and Mexico): No fare

International: $20–250 (USD) per direction of travel, depending on destination and class of travel


No fare if travel is solely on Alaska Airlines

Cannot book lap infants on international partner award tickets; rather, infants must book a standard award ticket for their own seat


10% of adult revenue fare, plus taxes and fees

(may not be able to book lap infants on all international partner award tickets)

Domestic: online

International: 1-800-433-7300

As per an an agent, it is roughly:

25% the adult revenue fare for flights to/from US

10% the adult revenue fare for non-US flights

Cannot book lap infants on partner award tickets; rather, call to add their name on the booking and then contact the partner airline to purchase an infant ticket, if it’s permitted by the partner airline


British Airways Executive Club

10% of flight award mileage + 10% of taxes and fees for long-haul flights, or £10 for short-haul flights

If your child turns 2 during your trip, they will provide an assigned seat on the return flight for no additional charge


Iberia Plus

10–30% of adult revenue fare


Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

10% of adult revenue fare, plus taxes and fees


Domestic: No fare (infants defined as less than 3 years of age, only on domestic flights)

International: 10% of flight award mileage


Domestic: No fare (infants defined as less than 3 years of age, only on domestic flights)

International: 10% of adult revenue fare


10% of flight award mileage for economy

Upgrade rewards available for infants in other classes of service

Economy: online

Business / First: 1-800-777-3999

1,000 points in economy

2,000 points in premium economy

5,000 points in Upper Class


10% of adult cash fare, plus full taxes/fees


Strategic Booking

As you can see from the chart above, it costs a lot less for infants to fly with some airlines and programs compared to others. WestJet Rewards, Aeroplan, and United MileagePlus come out on top with no or low fixed fares for infants, even for redemptions in premium cabins. 

If you’re looking to book in a premium cabin, you’ll likely want to avoid programs that charge a percentage of the revenue fare. Considering a one-way international business class ticket can cost you several thousand dollars or more, an infant ticket could cost you several hundred dollars. 

Lastly, don’t forget to compare the infant fares on a particular airline across different programs within an alliance.

For example, if you’d like to book a business class ticket on Japan Airlines, you could book directly with Japan Airlines and pay 10% of the revenue fare for an infant.

Alternatively, you could book it through British Airways Executive Club and only pay 10% of the cost in miles. In the example below, I’d certainly rather pay the miles. 

Note the $400 (CAD) cost for the infant when booking through Japan Airlines (10% of the adult revenue fare), compared to the cost of 10,125 Avios when booked through British Airways Executive Club.

In this example, you’d get a value of just about 4 cents per Avios compared to the cash alternative.

Booking a Separate Seat

If you’re into maximizing the value from your points, you’ll probably opt to book a lap infant. However, there may be some circumstances in which you want to fork out the points for an extra award redemption to have an extra seat. 

It all comes down to comfort. If you’re flying in economy, holding an infant for a few hours is manageable, but if you’re flying a long-haul flight, you may want to opt for a separate seat altogether.

This may be an important consideration if you’re travelling alone with an infant and there is no one that can help with the infant holding.

The same logic applies if your infant is on the higher end of the growth curve or nearing two years of age. They won’t fit in any airline-approved bassinet so it’s going to be all on you. 

An active infant is also problematic, and an extra seat can give them a little more room to move around. Being able to bring a carseat in which they can be buckled in for short periods may be a lifesaver not only for you, but those around you.

Keep in mind that most airlines will not allow car seats in business or First Class, so a lap infant is the only way to go in the premium cabins. However, given that these seats come with a lot more space and can even lie-flat, having a lap infant doesn’t seem all too bad.

(In fact, for long-haul flights with a lap infant, my personal preference would be to fly in a premium cabin.)

Finally, if you’re travelling alone with more than one infant, most airlines require you to book a seat for the second infant anyway. 


Travelling with an infant can be challenging, but at the same time, it can amount to some great savings if you’re prepared to travel with them as a lap infant.

Rather than paying for an extra standard award redemption, it’ll either be free or cost you a fraction of the price of the adult revenue fare, whether you pay with money or miles. 

Don’t forget to compare the cost between different airlines and programs for your flights, as an infant ticket will cost less with some programs than others. Hopefully the chart above can serve as a quick reference to help jumpstart your travels with the little one!

  1. Ella

    Hi Amy, I recently booked business class award to Taiwan on EVA air with aeroplan and got charged $25+taxes to add a lap infant. The total came out to about $155. Is this right or did the agent not know what they were doing? Seems like it should be a flat $25 based on your post?

    1. Amy YYZ

      Hi Ella, are you sure that doesn’t include the taxes for your own adult ticket?

      1. Ella

        Hi Amy, thanks for the reply and I’m positive the $155 was all for the baby because I booked my own ticket separately online. I paid my taxes online and I called into Aeroplan the next day to add the baby. That’s when they separately charged my card the $155

        1. Amy YYZ

          When I do a search on Aeroplan for a single
          adult ticket YYZ-TPE and then do a single adult plus lap infant I’m seeing the same amount in taxes and only an additional 2,500 Aeroplan points. Maybe call Aeroplan to clarify why you have the extra charge.

          1. Ella

            I phoned Aeroplan and they said they couldn’t get a break down of the amount I paid and said that the cost depends on the route. Some international routes have taxes added on.

  2. Joe Kim

    Hi Amy,

    For Alaska miles on partner airlines such as japan airlines, all infants under 2 will effectively need to pay an adult fare, is that correct?


    1. Amy YYZ

      It varies depending on the partner airline. Some airline partners they can’t even add an infant. With JL, the cost is 10% the revenue fare.

      1. Travis

        Hi Amy,

        I’ve been doing some research on this. Do you know which Oneworld partners can add an infant on the ticket after you’ve booked with AS? As you just mentioned, JL seems to be able to.

  3. Angela

    Hi Amy,
    thank you for your post. I am looking to redeem Aeroplan pts and use eUpgrade credits to upgrade to business class. Do I book for 2 adults and use eUpgrades first, then call in to add a lap infant? Or do I have to call in to book all 3 passengers?


    1. Amy YYZ

      Hi Angela, I think either way should work, but I would probably book and eup the adults first (I’m assuming you’re eup’ing from lat fare) to secure the eup space, then add the infant… less chance for IT mishaps this way.

  4. DM

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you for the detailed information and insights. Really helpful. One quick correction – United Mileage Plus does not charge lap infant fee only within US/Puerto Rico and US VI. Canada, Mexico, and all other international destinations are still subject to a fee of up to $250 depending upon destination and class of service. Here is a excerpt from United’s website (“Infants traveling internationally (including to Canada, Guam and Mexico) without a seat are required to have a purchased ticket and are subject to infant fares and taxes”) and I confirmed this when I was searching for award tickets to Hawaii – searches originating or ending in Canada had $100 fee per infant for business class awards + taxes.

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