Young girl looking out of a plane window

Traveling with children

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.

Planning your trip

Here's what to keep in mind when booking your tickets and deciding what to bring with you.

Ticketing options for children

Infants on lap

Children under two can sit on a parent’s lap during flights to any destination.

Infant seats

Alternatively, infants can have their own seat if you bring an approved car seat.

All other kids

Children older than two will need a ticket and their own seat on the plane.

We do allow pre-boarding for families traveling with children less than two years old. A gate agent will announce when it’s time for you to board.

If you’re flying with children under 12, we have new tools that make it easier for them to sit next to an adult in your party for free. This includes families who have Basic Economy tickets. If seats next to each other aren’t available on your flight because of last minute bookings or unscheduled aircraft changes, you can switch to another flight with availability in the same cabin for free and won’t be charged for the difference in fare.

Lightbulb inside a circle

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.

Passport, breastmilk and formula.

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.

Baby stroller.

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.

Person holding infant in a sling

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.

Child watching seat back screen on plane
Infant asleep in onboard bassinet

alertBooster seats and harnesses that hold an infant to your chest, such as a papoose, cannot be used onboard your flight.

Nursing while flying

We do...

  • Let you breastfeed or pump from your seat or the bathroom.
  • Bring you ice to keep milk and formula cool.
  • Allow breast milk, formula and breast pumps onboard for free.

We don't...

  • 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.

Child watching seat back screen on plane

Traveling with children FAQs