United used to charge 10% of the paid fare for lap children on award tickets. That meant it could be very pricey to take a lap child on a one-way award ticket as even 10% of the cash price could be astronomical.
American and Delta still charge 10% of the fare.
Speaking personally, I join United flight 232 survivor and lead flight attendant Jan Brown in strongly advocating against bringing lap children on a plane. If at all possible, buy a seat and bring along a carseat for your child. It’s much safer in the case of turbulence and it means you’ll be able to enjoy your flight when your child sleeps in a carseat instead of your arms or in a precarious bassinet.
I asked United’s media relations team for guidance on where the $20+taxes will apply and where the $250+taxes will apply, but they said they didn’t have a break down.
So, as I did with United’s hidden award chart, I figured out the hidden infant fee chart for myself. Of course as it’s hidden, it’s subject to change, though at least there’s a $250 cap for each direction.
And as best as I can see after searching for a number of sample flights, it’s really quite simple.
- Flights between the US and the Western Hemisphere (in other words, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America) cost $20 in coach, $35 in premium plus, and $50 in business class, plus taxes, each way.
- Flights between the US and the Eastern Hemisphere cost $45 in coach, $90 in premium plus, and $250 in business class, plus taxes, each way.
The same rates apply when redeeming United miles for travel on United or on partner airlines.
I couldn’t find any exceptions to that pricing on United.com, but if you do, please post a comment.
Here are some examples of what the lap child cost will look like:
|Coach||Premium Plus||Polaris Business|
|US to Western Hemisphere, one-way.|
Example: Newark to Sao Paulo
|Newark to Sao Paulo round-trip||$40+tax=$100.75||$70+tax=$130.75||$100+tax=$160.75|
|US to Eastern Hemisphere, one-way.|
Example: Newark to London, Tel Aviv, or Hong Kong
|Newark to Tel Aviv round-trip||$90+tax=$150.75||$180+tax=$240.75||$500+tax=$560.75|
|Newark to London round-trip||$90+tax=$218.35||$180+tax=$308.35||$500+tax=$628.35|
There are better ways to book lap child awards. For example, Air Canada Aeroplan charges just C$25 for a lap child, including for travel on United.
British Airways charges 10% of the miles instead of 10% of the fare while Lufthansa and Qantas only charge minimal taxes for a lap child.
But overall this is probably an improvement in most cases over the previous 10% of the paid fare policy. Though it’s not nearly as good as what some foreign competitors charge for lap children.
What do you think of this change? Will American and Delta match?