Infant Travel and Fares (AA)

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Infant Travel

The following are the ticketing rules that apply to infants (i.e children that are <2 years on the day of departure) on American Airlines. Fare purchased applies for the entire trip even if the child turns 2 during the trip; however, if the child that was ticketed as a lap infant turns 2 during the trip, you must notify AA as they will have to provide a seat at no additional charge for flights taken after he/she turns 2. Make sure that you carry proper age documentation for the infant (passport, birth certificate, etc.) with you at all times.

Infants one to seven days old must have a doctor's statement indicating the infant is medically stable for flight and their pulmonary system is sufficiently mature to withstand relative hypoxia and dry air at cabin altitude.

Infants must be accompanied by a passenger who is at least 16 years of age. Only one lap infant ("INF") is allowed per passenger; a seat will have to be purchased for each additional infant ("INS") traveling with the same passenger.

Safety and comfort

  • WARNING: American Airlines, unlike many airlines (especially non-U.S. ones), carries no supplies or emergency food for infants or children (not even fresh milk, unless catered for breakfast service) and in flight entertainment is extremely limited.
  • Bassinets are available only on 777 aircrafts (not on the long-haul 767 or 757s), and there's only one per plane, available on a first come first serve basis (cannot be reserved/requested in advance).
  • Where AA serves hot food, no infant or children meals are offered.
  • AA doesn't provide safety belts for lap children on its aircraft, although reservations staff may tell you otherwise.
  • AA does provide changing tables in all lavatories of mainline aircraft.

Fares

Within the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

"INF" (infant <2 years, on lap)

  • In economy class, there's no charge, no reservation, and no ticket. All taxes and fees are waived by Canada and for flights within the US, but the US charges USD 17.50 in fees for flights from Canada. These fees can be paid at check-in.
  • In premium classes, there's no charge only for flights within the US; otherwise see below "outside the above areas".
  • The "INF" must be declared at check-in, and you can use online or kiosk check-in (it will ask you).
  • The "INF" will not have a separate boarding pass, but the accompanying person's boarding pass will have a "plus infant" notation.
  • The "INF" on lap does not earn miles.

"INS" (infant <2 years with seat)

  • As of 12 January 2007, AA has discontinued the 50% discounts for "INS", who are now charged full fare.

Outside the Above Areas

"INF" (infant <2 years, on lap)

  • The cost is 10% of any applicable fare of the cabin where the accompanying person is seated plus applicable fees/taxes, unless a flat USD 30 fee plus applicable fees/taxes is published (from Mexico, to/from most of the Caribbean).
  • Note that the requirement about the lap infant being ticketed for the same cabin as the accompanying person, notwithstanding how the person got into that cabin (op-ups excluded), is not published on AA.com (it's a mystery to me why they wouldn't do so); I found out that many employees, including some EXP desk personnel and GAs, don't know it, but those who do will literally ruin your trip midway and try to do the same with your bank account.
  • AA's AAdvantage program does not have separate, lower cost mileage awards or upgrades for "INF" passengers; you must either pay cash (as an "INS", see below) or redeem an award for a seat.
  • The "INF" on lap does not earn miles even though they have purchased a ticket.

"INS" (infant <2 years with seat)

  • "INS" receive a 25% discount from the adult fare only on fares from the Americas to any other continent; they pay 100% of the fare. However "INS" are eligible for child fares (market-dependent) and therefore at times it's best to have the "INS" in a separate reservation so that it can be priced in a discountable fare that books into different inventory than the accompanying person's.
  • AA's AAdvantage program does not have separate, lower cost mileage awards or upgrades for "INS" passengers; you must redeem the full amount of miles for each seated infant, whether it's for travel or upgrading.

"INF" (infant <2 years, on lap) turning 2 during travel

  • The FAA requires children 2 years old to have a seat, and AA will give an infant who turns 2 before the return a seat at no additional charge. However, you need to contact AA to have them create a separate (seat) reservation for the segments of your itinerary where the infant has reached the age of 2.
  • For international travel, rules may vary, and certain fares spell them out: for example, oneworld round the world fares rules say that "If an infant reaches two years of age after travel has commenced but before travel is complete - a full child fare ticket must be purchased for the entire journey." Full information will generally be in fare rule category 19, children discounts.

Both Inside and Outside the Above Areas

"INF" (infant <2 years, on lap)

  • If your itinerary has a connection inside the "free" area and continues on to outside the area, you might want to "split" the ticketing. For example, if you are flying LAX-JFK-LHR, you might ask for pricing for the INF for LAX-LON and NYC-LON, and buy whichever is cheapest. Of course, if you're buying NYC-LON, you will be flying LAX-NYC under the free, no ticket-needed, rule for flights inside the US.

Seating Restriction

Mainline Flights

Child Restraint Devices/Car Seat - Seat Only In:

  • Any window seats of any aircraft - except for those window seats in designated exit seat or in the row forward/behind the exit seat.
  • Any non-aisle Coach Class seat of the center section of a wide-body aircraft.
  • Any seat in the center section of First Class on wide body aircraft.
  • Any seat in the center section of Business Class provided facing forward. Aft facing devices only in the center most seat on an aircraft with 3-center Business Class seats.
  • Adult Traveling With 2 Children/2 Child Restraints/Car Seats
  • On single aisle aircraft, when an adult is traveling with 2 children/2 child restraints/car seats, the adult must be seated on the aisle.
  • On two-aisle aircraft, restraints should be placed together in center section, adult seated on either side of children.

American Eagle Flights

Further seating restrictions (which may vary by individual aircraft type) exist for Eagle flights and are contained on AA.com, even for INF (due to the availability of oxygen masks).

Baggage Allowance

  • "INF" (infant <2 years, on lap):
    • Domestic: you will have no right of extra baggage for the "INF", with the exception of a car seat (which can be checked), an umbrella stroller, and a diaper bag.
    • International:
      • If you paid a fare discounted by 49% or more from the adult one, you will have the right of one small bag (linear dimension of 45in/115cm) of no more than 50lb/23kg for the "INF", plus a car seat (which can be checked) and a collapsible stroller.
      • If you paid 50% or more of the adult fare, you will have the same allowance as for an adult plus a car seat (which can be checked) and a collapsible stroller.
  • "INS" (infant <2 years with seat): same baggage allowance as adult, plus a car seat (which can be checked), an umbrella stroller, and a diaper bag.
  • Car seats to be used on board must be approved for airline use: see http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/ for additional details, and only those that are narrower than 17" (outside dimension) will fit on all AA and American Eagle seats.
  • Umbrella (collapsible) strollers can be checked at the gate, and these will be returned upon arrival at the jetway, except in those airports where this is not allowed (e.g. London Heathrow), where they will be returned at the luggage carousel (or at the final destination's luggage carousel if connecting).

Sources

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