Flying with a Baby: To Book or Not Book an Extra Seat

Flying is often a stressful event, especially when flying with a baby. To make it a little easier, many airlines offer free seating for babies under the age of two years. However, the free seating only allows for babies to be seated on adults’ laps. While many parents choose to have their babies fly for free by lap-sitting, is that a reasonable option for every parent? Here are some things to consider before making that decision.

Flying with a Baby: Benefits of Booking the Extra Seat

-Safety: Even though the thought of saving a couple hundred dollars is enticing, selecting to have a baby lap-sit while flying is not the safest route to go. There have been infant injuries and even deaths associated with infants sitting on laps while flying. As stated in an article on the FAA website, the main reason the FAA has not mandated separate seats for infants is because they assume that the rule would cause more people to drive instead of fly. Statistically, driving is more dangerous than flying, so implementing that rule could potentially cause more hazardous situations.

-Convenience: Stating from experience, there is such a relief in the ability to set a squirming baby down. Without the extra seat, that ability is snatched away. If traveling with another adult, there is the option to pass Baby to him/her. However, even then, there is an uncomfortable dependence on another person in regards to personal comfort. Convenience is exponentially greater when a separate seat is booked for Baby.

-More Carry-on Bags and Checked Baggage: With baggage costs ever increasing, Baby’s extra seat will allow for more carry-on bags and checked baggage. Though many airlines charge for first checked baggage, the costs are generally not as high as the costs of replacing items at the final destination.

Flying with a Baby: Benefits of Not Booking the Extra Seat

-Money: Tight budgets call for strict spending. Sometimes that means cutting costs in entertainment, vacations, and traveling. Saved money from an entire airline ticket can be quite a bit, which allows for extra budget expenditure elsewhere.

-Less Carry-on Bags and Checked Baggage: Extra carry-on bags and/or baggage can be a positive thing, but it can also be a negative. When flying with a baby, having to worry about extra luggage is just an added hassle.

-No Car Seat Needed: Car seats are bulky and sometimes difficult to carry around, especially in an airport. Without a separate seat for Baby, there is no need to bring along an airline approved car seat.

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