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.

To make sure your family can sit together, try to book your trip as early as possible and select your seats during booking. You can do this on or the United app. If you and your family aren’t seated together, let an agent know when you arrive at the airport. We’ll do our best to help, but we can’t promise seats next to each other. Also, please note children under 15 cannot sit in an exit row.

Traveler pro tips

We have a few tips to make sure you’re prepared for the most 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.

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.

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 created a Children’s Travel Kit in partnership with Ranger Rick so they stay engaged and inspired while they fly. It includes an activity book with crayons and a toy. Ask your flight attendant to see if they’re 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