Flying American Airlines With a Baby: How to Travel Smartly? (Best 2022 Tips)

Flying requires a lengthy list of things to do, pack, and not forget before you embark on the getaway. When you also add your kiddos, the to-do list increases even further.

Here's the deal: you can book an American Airlines flight with your little one, but there are things to consider.

We discuss the airline's rules, policies, and child benefits. Stay with us to find all the exciting details about flying American Airlines with a baby and learn all the changes regarding the policy - if any.


American Airlines Infant and Children Policies: All Airline Rules in One Place

Refer to the procedures below to best prepare yourself for the flight with your baby.

When can a baby fly with American Airlines?

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Your infant must be two days old to fly with American Airlines. American Airlines prohibits newborns under two days old from traveling on their flights.

In addition, all infants two to seven days old must have the appropriate Passenger Medical Form of a qualified physician that they are fit to travel. A special assistance coordinator sends the form directly to your physician to fill it out.

Infants younger than two must be accompanied by another passenger at least 16 years of age, traveling in the same cabin. Your infant's age will be determined at the gate before boarding.

Families with children younger than two can require to board early at the gate.

Fare type eligibility on American Airlines: Domestic and international flights

An infant can travel as a lap child for free when flying domestically. Remember:

  • Only one infant can sit in the lap of each ticketed adult. You must include the infant in the reservation.
  • Other infants younger than two must have a ticket and use an aircraft seat or an infant safety seat.
  • Infants must be under two during the trip. If they turn two, they need their own seat for the remaining trip time.

All children of two or older must have their own seat, a ticketed adult fare. Children under five are not permitted to travel alone under any circumstances.

If you don't choose seats in Main Cabin or Basic Economy, the airline books a seat a few days after you buy tickets. This way, children younger than 15 sit next to at least one adult they're traveling with.

American Airlines doesn't provide discounted fares for any age traveling on domestic flights. However, all accompanied infants under two years of age who do not use a car seat (lap children) pay 10% of the adult fare on international flights. So, for children traveling internationally, the availability of fares and taxes vary according to your destination. Find the taxes here.

American Airlines provides a 25% discount to all infants and children using seats and traveling in the Main Cabin on trans-pacific and transatlantic flights.

When must I purchase a ticket for my infant?

The airline requires you to buy a ticket for your baby when:

  • The baby is two years old before the start of the journey.
  • You're traveling with two babies under two - for the baby who's not a lap child.
  • You're traveling internationally (transpacific/transatlantic to/from Latin America regardless of your child's age and whether or not they're sitting on your lap.

However, you are not required to buy a ticket for your baby when traveling as an infant on a lap within the USA, Canada, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. As an exception, the ticket & payment of applicable taxes might apply for lap children when the flight involves the US Virgin Islands.

American Airlines baggage allowance

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Your items, like a small purse or a handbag, must fit under the seat in front of you. Proportions should not overpass 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm).

Diaper bags (one diaper bag per child is allowed), child safety seats, strollers, and soft-sided cooler bags with breastmilk, medical, and mobility devices do not count as your personal item or carry-on bag.

However, American Airlines permits you to exceed the baggage allowance with the following items: an approved car seat, a stroller, and a diaper bag to be checked.

A lap child (infant on lap) doesn't have a checked or carry-on baggage allowance on domestic flights. However, American Airlines accepts an approved child car seat if there's a vacant seat next to you. The gate agent checks the car seat at your final destination if there isn't a vacant, adjoining seat.

All ticketed infants without a safety seat traveling on international flights have a baggage allowance. The allowance depends on the fare type. You can find more information here.

For instance, if the ticket price is 50% or more of the adult fare, the baggage allowance will equal the allowance of the accompanying adult.

On the other hand, when the price is 49% or less than the adult fare, the bag allowance will be one checked bag on top of the adult's first checked bag allowance. It includes any overweight, checked bag charge, or oversized charge.

Finally, if the baggage allowance of the lap baby exceeds the permitted limit, the excess becomes a part of the adult's baggage allowance. This way, all taxes, and additional costs will apply to adults traveling with infants.

American Airlines car seat and stroller policy

Each ticketed customer can check car seats and small, compact, collapsible, and lightweight strollers not exceeding 20 pounds (9 kg) of maximum weight limit at the gate, free of charge.

However, you can check only one at the gate. So, if you have a stroller and car seat, you must gate-check one system at the gate and the other one at the ticket counter.

You must gate-check all large, non-collapsible, jogging, and heavy strollers exceeding the weight limit of 20 pounds (9 kg) only at the ticket counter. In addition, you must label (tag) all baby items with your name and contact number.

American Airlines strongly urges you to reserve a seat for your infant for safety reasons. When you book a car seat, you must use the FAA-approved child restraint system. It must contain the FAA rules on the label. It would be best to use the seat in: taxi; during the taking off and landing; turbulences; when the FastenTheSeatbelt sign is on.

Most child restraint devices used for motor vehicles are also verified for aircraft. The FAA-approved child safety seat has a solid back and restraint straps installed to hold the child securely. To be acceptable for use on aircraft, the child restraint system must have one of the following labels:

- "The child restraint system conforms to applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards,"

- "The child restraint device is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft" (red letters).

To use the child restraint devices outside the USA, the safety seats must have: either a label showing approval of the foreign government, or the title states the safety seats are made under the United Nations standards.

You are not allowed to bring safety seats in the First or Business Class cabins on the aircraft below due to the seat angles:

- First: Airbus A321 Transcontinental

- Business: Boeing B777 200, B777 300, B787 8, B787 9.

How to book American Airlines' bassinets?

The bassinets are only by request. Infants using bassinets must be younger than two, weighing no more than 20 pounds/9 kilograms.

Due to their limited numbers, you should come to board early on a first-serve basis. Bassinets are available on: 767-300, 777-200, 777-300, 787 aircraft.

Bassinets are not allowed in First/Business Class cabins.

Benefits for young children

flying american airlines with an infant

The airline provides baby food and children meals for young children. You can bring your food for infants unless they enjoy pureed food. Please pre-request the food 24 hours in advance.

Requirements for children and infants traveling with American Airlines

The airline might require you to present proof of age (a birth certificate) for all the children under the age of eighteen traveling with you. When traveling internationally, all passengers under 18 must provide the same documentation as adults.

Airline rules on seating

When using your seat, you must follow specific rules concerning their locations:

  • To carry on the seat, a plane seat must be available next to you
  • The seat must face towards the rear or the front of the plane, according to the label
  • It should not occupy the seat in the row in front/behind an exit seat or an exit seat
  • It should not occupy the space between the other passengers and an aisle
  • Install seats on the middle seat or the window seats
  • No lap children are allowed to sit in the exit row
  • Children or adults traveling with children under 15 should not sit in the exit seat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of ID is required for a child to fly American Airlines?

You need to provide a birth certificate for your children for domestic air travel. In addition, you must deliver the same documents as adults and a letter of consent if your child travels alone on international air travel.

How strict is American on stroller weight?

American Airlines is very strict, as their maximum allowance is 20 pounds/9 kilograms for the stroller.

Final Verdict

Flying American Airlines with a baby might require more attention, but when you have ready travel tips, the procedures are not complex. So please don’t skip the parts to best prepare for your next journey.

The guide will help you learn all the airline rules for the best family trip.

Avatar of Kathy Warner

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

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