Traveling with children

We know that traveling with children can be an exciting but unpredictable experience, and United is committed to making this process easier for your family. Before traveling with your children, be sure to review our policies and tips to help make your journey as safe, comfortable and smooth as possible.

  • Infants under the age of 2 traveling without a seat within the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands do not require a ticket. Infants traveling internationally (including to Canada, Guam and Mexico) without a seat are required to have a purchased ticket and are subject to infant fares and taxes. When making your reservation, you should indicate that you are traveling with an infant, regardless of your destination.

    Infants traveling between the U.S. and Canada, or from Mexico to the U.S. or Canada, only pay taxes on the ticket. Infants traveling without a seat to other international destinations, including Guam, are charged 10 percent of the adult fare at the time of infant ticketing (it is usually less expensive to purchase the infant ticket in advance). Infants traveling on an adult's lap using front cabin awards or upgrades must pay 10 percent of the front cabin fare in applicable markets.

    Once infants turn 2, they are required to have a purchased ticket and occupy a seat. Infants who reach their second birthday after their outbound flight must have a purchased ticket and occupy a seat for their return flight(s).

  • United strives to seat children under age 15 with an accompanying adult family member.

    To have the best likelihood of children being seated with an accompanying adult, we recommend booking early and selecting seat assignments when you book. You can select seats through united.com, the United app or your travel agent. There may be additional charges for seat assignments depending on which cabin you select. Customers with Basic Economy tickets cannot make complimentary seat selections but may be able to purchase advance seat assignments. If it’s important for your family to sit together, you may want to consider purchasing advance seat assignments, if available, or selecting a different fare option.

    If you don’t select your seats in advance, we’ll do our best to find adjoining seats for your family on the same reservation in the cabin you booked a few days before your flight departs. However, available seats may be limited at that time and your family or group may be split. While we strive to seat your family together, seat selections are not guaranteed and may be changed, including in the event of an aircraft substitution.

    If a child in your group was booked on a separate reservation and you would like to sit together, please call the United Customer Contact Center (1-800-864-8331) and we’ll do our best to find adjoining seats.

  • Lap children

    Children under the age of 2 traveling with a parent or with a customer 15 years or older within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands can travel on the adult's lap free of charge. If there are two or more children under the age of 2 traveling with the same adult, only one of the children may travel as a lap child. Any additional children are required to have tickets for their own seats. Children under 2 traveling internationally (including to Canada, Guam and Mexico) without a seat are required to have a purchased ticket and are subject to infant fares and taxes. When making your reservation, you should indicate that you are traveling with an infant, regardless of your destination.

    If you would like to board early with your children, pre-boarding is available for families traveling with children under the age of 2. Please listen for gate agents to announce pre-boarding groups when you’re at your gate.

    Infant seating

    On some aircraft, only one lap child is allowed per seat section due to oxygen mask allocation, and passengers with a lap child may not be seated in certain rows.

    Children who are not held by an adult and are unable to sit upright with the seat belt fastened must be carried in an FAA-approved infant seat. The infant seat must be secured in an aircraft seat and cannot be held on an adult's lap. It must remain properly secured to the aircraft seat at all times. An infant seat cannot be used in an exit row or in the row immediately before or after an exit row.

    Incubation and infants younger than 7 days old

    United does not accept infants in incubators or infants younger than 7 days old.

  • You may use an FAA-approved child restraint system (CRS) or child safety seat in certain seats on board the aircraft if you have purchased a seat for your child, including customers who have purchased a Basic Economy ticket. United does not provide child restraint systems or child safety seats.

    The FAA has approved the use of the child safety restraint system CARES (Child Aviation Restraint System) for travel. This system uses an additional belt and shoulder harness that goes around the back of the seat and attaches to the lap belt. Children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds may use this device. More information about CARES and other child restraint requirements is available at faa.gov/travelers/fly_children/.

    Child safety seats or restraint systems must be placed in window seats on single-aisle aircraft, and in window seats or in the middle seats of a center section on two-aisle aircraft. To ensure the child’s safety, the use of child restraint systems is not permitted in rear-facing seats or seats directly in front of, behind or in the exit row on any aircraft. Child safety seats or restraint systems are also not permitted in first class on three-cabin 767 or 777-200 aircraft, on 757-200 aircraft with rear-facing seats, or in United Polaris® first class on 767, 777 and 787 aircraft.

    Car seats manufactured after February 1985 should also be certified for use in aircraft. You should place your child in the child safety seat for takeoff, landing and during turbulence.

    Booster seats, belly belts attached to adult seat belts, and vests or harnesses that hold an infant to an adult’s chest cannot be used on board the aircraft.

    United is unable to seat customers under the age of 15 in exit rows due to federal regulation.

  • A limited number of complimentary bassinets are available for use on international aircraft only. Bassinets are large enough to hold an infant weighing 22 pounds (10 kg) or less. They may not be used during taxi, takeoff or landing, or when the seatbelt sign is illuminated. Bassinets are available for customers traveling international segments in United Polaris® business class on select 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft and in United Economy® on 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft. Bassinets are not available for customers traveling in United Polaris first class, United First® or United Business® at this time.

    Customers can request a bassinet by calling the United Customer Contact Center at 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) within the United States or the appropriate Worldwide Contact Center. We will provide accompanying seat assignments for an adult traveling with an infant and up to one travel companion. You can arrange these seat assignments with the United Customer Contact Center or with a United representative at the airport free of charge. Bassinet availability is limited, and these arrangements are not guaranteed, so we recommend requesting a bassinet early for your flight.

  • Strollers and folding wagons may be checked to your final destination free of charge, in addition to your normal baggage allowance. This also applies to customers who are traveling on a Basic Economy ticket.

    Feel free to use your child’s stroller or folding wagon throughout the airport, but please keep in mind that they must be checked at the gate and no strollers or folding wagons of any size are permitted as a carry-on item. Your child's stroller will be delivered to you at the aircraft door at your connecting city or destination. Large, non-collapsible strollers or non-folding wagons cannot be checked at the gate, so please see a United representative at the airport check-in counter to check these items.

    United is not responsible for damage that occurs to strollers that are not packed in a box and checked at the check-in counter.

    Please note: Pack ‘n’ plays, collapsible cribs and similar products are not considered transportation devices and are not considered gate-check items. Customers who bring them to the airport will need to check them as part of their checked baggage allowance before passing through security.

  • Nursing mothers are welcome to breastfeed or pump on our aircraft and in our facilities. Dedicated nursing spaces, including nursing mother rooms and Mamava nursing pods, are available in many of our airports and we are in the process of adding more. You can locate nursing spaces by using the airport maps feature in the United app or by visiting the airport’s website. In addition, some of our United Club℠ locations have family rooms available for our United Club members and customers who purchase a one-day pass.

    If you will need to pump, we recommend bringing a battery-operated or manual breast pump, since the availability of inflight seat power varies by aircraft fleet. Breast pumps may be carried on board in addition to the one carry-on bag and one personal item allowed.

    You are welcome to breastfeed from the comfort of your seat or in a lavatory, but due to the unpredictability of turbulence, nursing mothers are not allowed to pump in the aircraft galley areas or jump seats. Our flight attendants may be able to provide ice to keep pumped milk cool during a flight, but they are not permitted to store items such as milk or formula.

  • Food

    We offer a kids’ snackbox for purchase on most flights with a scheduled flight time over 1.5 hours within North America, including the Caribbean and select Latin American cities as well as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. However, we also recommend bringing snacks that your children enjoy and enough food and supplies for the duration of your flight. While our flights are not equipped to heat baby bottles, you may request hot water or ice from a flight attendant to keep items hot or cold during your flight.

    For information on available food and beverage choices, please see the Inflight dining page.

    Changing tables

    Changing tables are available on Boeing 757-300, 767, 777, 787 and select 757-200 aircraft. Your flight attendant will be able to direct you to the proper lavatory.

    • We recommend that you bring a selection of items, such as small toys, coloring books, storybooks or a tablet with downloaded videos or age-appropriate apps, to help keep your child entertained during the flight.
    • Giving your child something to eat or drink when the plane is taking off and landing may help alleviate ear pain caused by the cabin pressure adjusting to the altitude.
    • Make sure to bring enough food, diapers and other supplies to last through your time at the airport and in flight, and you may want to have extras on hand in case of any potential delays or travel disruptions.

Please note:

Your family’s safety is our top priority. Therefore, United strictly prohibits the use of any object or device to modify or alter the seat such as the Fly-Tot or JetKids bed box. If you see a customer using any such device or object, please inform United personnel immediately.

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