Flying with kids can be challenging. We’re with you every step of the way to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible. Or, if you have questions about children flying alone, we have the answers.
Children older than two will need a ticket and their own seat on the plane.
We allow families with children less than two years old to board with our pre-boarding group. A gate agent will announce when it’s time for you to get on the plane.
Families with children under 12 can book Economy and Basic Economy seats next to each other for free. Sometimes, seat assignments change because of last minute bookings or unscheduled aircraft changes. If this happens on your flight and your family is separated, you can switch to another flight with availability in the same cabin for free. We won't charge you for any fare differences.
Infant bag allowance
If you’re traveling with an infant who has a ticket, you can check bags in their name. These bags must follow the standard bag rules. Infant bags that are oversized or overweight will be checked in under the traveling adult's name. If this happens, you may have to pay additional bag fees at the airport. You cannot check bags in an infant’s name if they do not have a ticket.
Traveler pro tips
We have a few tips to make sure you’re ready for common situations that come up while traveling with kids:
If your little one is using a tablet to watch movies or play games, make sure the device is fully charged in case you aren’t sitting next to an outlet and bring headphones.
Easily relieve ear pressure during takeoff and landing by keeping snacks on hand.
In case your flight is delayed make sure you have extra diapers, formula, bottles and other essentials in the bag you bring onboard.
If your little one is anxious or excited for their trip, our flying social story can help them prepare.
At the airport
How you get through the airport depends on the age of your kids. Here’s what to keep in mind.
The security line
Children under 18 don’t need an ID to fly domestically but do need a passport for international flights. You can also bring breast milk or formula through security, even if your child isn’t with you. But, be sure you meet TSA guidelines.
Getting to the gate
Standard strollers, folding wagons, and car seats can be used to get to your gate and then checked for free. They’ll be returned to you on arrival. Collapsible strollers can be stored in-cabin. Car seats can be used onboard your flight too.
Nursing at the airport
You can nurse wherever is most comfortable to you. Many airports have nursing spaces with a table, bench and outlets to make breastfeeding easier. Use the airport maps feature on the United app to see where they’re located.
On the plane
You’re now in the last leg of your trip. Here’s the most important info you’re going to need.
Car seats made after 1985 are FAA-approved and will have a certification sticker attached to them. These car seats can be used on your flight, but there are exceptions. Children in car seats should sit in a window seat with the car seat secured to the seat itself. Your child should be in their seat during takeoff, landing and turbulence.
We provide free onboard bassinets in United Polaris® business class and in Economy on some international flights. They can be used anytime during the flight when the seatbelt sign is off. Contact us to request yours.
Booster seats and harnesses that hold an infant to your chest, such as a papoose, cannot be used onboard your flight.
Nursing while flying
Let you breastfeed or pump from your seat or the bathroom.
Bring you ice to keep milk and formula cool.
Allow breast pump, breastmilk, and formula onboard, along with a carry-on bag (even if you’re not traveling with your child).
Store breastmilk in United fridges or coolers.
Guarantee a seat with in-seat power.
Keeping your children occupied
We’ve partnered with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, to create a brand-new Children’s Travel Kit. The kit is made from recycled paper and includes an activity book, crayons and a puzzle. Plus, United is the first U.S. carrier to offer a Sensory Calming strip that has a textured surface to help soothe anxiety. Ask your flight attendant to find out if the kits are available on your next flight.
You can also view the snack options, including kids' meals, for your flight and cabin before your trip. We recommend bringing snacks from home too, so you can make sure you have food you know your child will enjoy.
Traveling with children FAQs
Lap children must be under the age of two. Whether they require a ticket and how much it will cost depends on where you’re traveling.
U.S. domestic flights1
Free, no ticket needed.
Flights between the U.S., Canada & Mexico
Ticket needed, but you only pay for the taxes on it.
Ticket needed, and charged a partial fare based on the destination.
1 Includes flights to and from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
2 Includes flights to and from Guam.
When flying with a lap child, you do still need to let us know you’ll have one with you whether you’re flying domestically or internationally. You can do this by selecting “Infant on lap” as a traveler during booking or at check-in. There can only be one infant on lap per adult on your reservation. You may also need to show a birth certificate to prove your child is under two.
If you’re traveling with a child of any age, you can bring the following on your flight for free in addition to your carry-on and personal items:
Car seats aren’t allowed in United Polaris® business class on Boeing 767, 777, or 787 planes. They also aren’t allowed in the emergency exit row on any plane. Pack ‘n Play®, collapsible cribs and other similar items must be checked at the ticket counter and will be charged at the bag rate for your ticket.
You can check one car seat and one stroller or folding wagon per child you’re traveling with, for free. This can be done at the gate or ticket counter. Large or non-collapsible strollers, and non-folding wagons must be checked at the ticket counter. However, they’re also free.
We cannot fly infants younger than seven days old. Children of any other age are welcome to fly with us.
There are changing tables in the lavatories on the following aircraft:
Select Boeing 757-200
Just ask your flight attendant and they can show you the right lavatory to use.