Airlines Dropping Child Discounts

Major airlines are dropping child discounts faster than you can say “screaming toddler.” The discounts, which generally apply to children younger than 2, were “rarely used” according to a spokesperson from American Airlines.

“We found out that this was very rarely used, frankly. Most people just carry their young children in their lap.”

American stopped offering the child discounts Jan 13. Children under 2 can still fly for free on a parent’s lap, but will need to pay full fare if they’d like to buy the child a seat.

“Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and others also have phased out similar baby discounts.

Continental Airlines still offers some children’s fares, but not in all markets. Southwest offers infant fares for parents who wish to use an FAA-approved child airplane seat.

“If they want to occupy a seat, they’ll pay the lowest applicable fare,” said Betsy Talton, a spokeswoman for Delta, which ended its baby savings Dec. 26. “And we still have the option that they can fly for free in an adult’s lap.”

Ugh, how about a child-free section on the plane? Are we evil just for thinking this? —MEGHANN MARCO

Airlines Dropping Child Discounts


Edit Your Comment

  1. VA_White says:

    Our children both flew frequently as infants and we always bought them a seat. It is much safer.
    If the plane encounters severe turbulence, it is very difficult to hold a squirmy baby safely in your lap. My childrens’ lives are worth an extra $200 plane ticket.

  2. TJF says:

    Hmmm…I don’t have a child, so I don’t have experience flying with a baby, but I am a big advocate of having a child in its own seat.

    Rather than have a mom with a screaming baby on her lap for 4-5 hours (I fly cross country frequently), it works out better for everyone involved if the baby has its own seat. The baby tends to nap more (which I like, no screaming baby syndrome), and I don’t get stuck next to a woman with a crying baby in her lap.

    So now without the discount, and rather than pay $300-$400 for the baby to have its own seat, the babies are going to be in the parents lap. AWESOME!!! Thanks again airlines!!

    If it was being used rarely, as the spokesperson said, it doesn’t sound like it was costing the airlines much money. Why get rid of it?? The discount must have been used more than they are willing to admit, and the airlines figure they can make more money this way…

  3. adamondi says:

    A child-free section is not an evil idea. It is a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, the child-free section is usually called “First Class” and costs three to four times as much as the “Steerage” or “Screaming Baby” section.

    At least, I have never seen a child or a baby in First Class as I shuffle past to the Poor section of the plane.

  4. KesCaesar says:

    This seems like a safety issue- have any studies been done on this issue?
    Other than the movie “Fearless” (that’s the one where Rosie Perez, right?)

  5. e-gadgetjunkie says:

    I don’t think it’s that there are no babies in First Class, just that those who are in first class are much better behaved.

  6. Beelzebub says:

    I flew at least 6 times with my under 2, and my wife is about to pop, and we’ll be going another 2 years. So this sucks for me. Always get the seat for safety’s sake.

    BUT–I never really understood the child discount, anyways. I mean, a seat is a seat, right?

    If anything, the airlines are just giving up an incentive for families to fly, because it’s going to be too expensive.

  7. timmus says:

    I read that title as airlines’ “Dropping Child” discounts.

  8. magic8ball says:

    I’ve never used that discount because I’ve never heard of it. We buy our plane tickets online, and we always buy separate seats for the kids, because if nothing else it allows us to take their carseats on the plane with us. But I’ve never noticed a place for us to indicate that any of the travelers are under two years old – the airline only cares how old they are if they are flying alone.

  9. juri squared says:

    I think it’s kind of crappy of them to remove the discount – just seems a way to cram more passengers on a plane (if parents lap-travel), or squeeze more money out of families (if they buy a seat).

    I did just read about the Baby B’air, a sort of safety vest for lap babies. I haven’t seen any reviews on it or anything, but it’s an interesting idea.

    I won’t face this problem for a while yet (my first is coming in March) but it seems safer to buy a seat, regardless.

  10. Joe says:

    “At least, I have never seen a child or a baby in First Class as I shuffle past to the Poor section of the plane.”

    How often do you fly? Quite a few kids up front on the last few flights I took (including my own..)In either case “MOST” kids are well behaved. The majority of the kids that end up being problems are the result of rube parents who don’t know how to maintain their kids inflight..

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    How MUCH of a discount for dropping a child? More or less than slapping them? Does it HAVE to be your child? If someone else’s child is noisesome and obnoxious, and you slap/drop, do they give frequent flier miles?