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Is There Such a Thing as a Child Fare?

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Kids on a plane (Photo: IndexOpen)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on October 27, 2008. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, family travel, Kate Hamman.

With airfare prices reaching new heights, it only makes sense that parents are wondering if they can save a little extra cash when flying with children. One reader asks, "Is there such a thing as a child fare when purchasing flights? I am under the assumption that a kid pays the same as an adult unless they are an infant and can sit on a parent's lap. Am I correct?"

This reader is largely correct. Most domestic airlines no longer offer discounted fares for children. One exception is Southwest, which offers child fares but does not sell them online; call 1-800-435-9792 to reserve a child fare. Typically, Southwest's child fares are more expensive than its online specials, but may come with fewer restrictions. Certain international flights may offer a discount, but it's usually a percentage off of an adult fare and it's only available for kids under 12.

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If your child is under two years old, he or she can ride on your lap for free on domestic routes. However, you may have to pay a percentage of the adult fare to carry an infant on your lap for international flights. Senior Editor Zak Patten learned this the hard way when traveling with his young son to Nicaragua.

Have you snagged a bargain when flying with a child? Tell us how by submitting your comments below!

 
 
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