In a very positive development, particularly in light of my recent struggles with American Airlines, United Airlines will now charge a reasonable flat rate for international infant award tickets depending upon region and cabin of service.
Flat Rate Pricing For International Infant Award Tickets On United Airlines
Traditionally, airlines have charged 10% of current revenue fare for adding an infant lap child on international award tickets. Since one-way international pricing is often more than round-trip, this created situations in which one-way tickets could run over $2,000 just for the pleasure of being able to hold your infant in your lap in a business or first class cabin.
Other carriers, like Aeroplan, have corrected this absurdity by offering infant tickets at a flat rate (in the case of Aeroplan, 40CAD regardless of route or class of service). While U.S. airlines have not followed until now, United Airlines recently introduced flat rate pricing based upon zone and class for infant awards.
Very quietly, United updated its infant ticketing guidelines for award reservations. United will now charge between $20 and $250 (plus tax) for infant fares, depending upon area of travel and class of service.
Infants traveling without a seat 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 required to have purchased an infant ticket and are subject to infant fares between $20 and $250 plus taxes depending on area of travel and cabin of service.
I asked United a week ago for a chart with pricing based upon routes and class of service and followed up twice, but received no further information. I did speak to a reservations agents who referenced a January 29th memo announcing flat pricing.
International lap infant award tickets booked before January 28th or reissued after January 28th and keeping same itinerary are not affected by this change. But award tickets requiring a reissue will follow the new fee structure.
The new process is also automated, saving a call to the rates desk in order to calculate and store the international infant fare. Infant tickets can be booked on united.com.
International infant ticket prices on award will now be capped at $250 plus tax. Infant fares on revenue tickets (including upgrades) will remain 10% of the current fare of the cabin seated in. This is a positive development and hopefully something American and Delta will follow. If you are holding an infant award ticket that costs more than $250, you may want to deliberately re-issue your award ticket. It could mean substantial savings…
Will you take advantage of United Airlines international infant award tickets with the new flat-rate pricing?
I wasn’t aware that Guam had become international destination. When did it cease to be a U.S. territory?
Didn’t you hear? Trump sold it to the Chinese for prime real estate in Shanghai, Beijing, and Chengdu to develop his next three hotels. He offered it to Denmark first in exchange for Greenland, but they said they preferred to keep Greenland.
Interesting. Sounds like Hunter has a real shot at becoming Governor there now.
I still don’t get why there is a fixed fee to fly an emotional companion animal anywhere in any class of service but a lap infant has different rates depending on destination and class of service. Go figure.
The Guam thing really is weird. Why single them out? Why did Puerto Rico not make the cut?
Guam is outside of the Customs area of the mainland US, whereas Puerto Rico is in the Customs area. Upon arrival from GUM at HNL, passengers must proceed through the Customs hall like most International Arrivals.
Very nice improvement. Shame ua awards are soooo expensive now.
As I mentioned before pro tip that worked for us. Take your child seat on board and strap them in. Especially atm with so many free exonomy seats.
That’s great news! Will it apply to partner award tickets? I paid $1000 last time for a partner award on LH using UA miles.
Yes indeed, it will apply to partner awards! I’m very excited since I still have 16 months!
A little late for me as my daughter is 23 months but great news nevertheless. You have 16 months to take advantage of this – looking forward to reading about your travels. 🙂
Why are the charging for infants at all? Domestic lap children fly free so why is their a need to charge for international flights bey9bd government mandated taxes and fees?
Crying Baby tax?
Hehehe. That’s a joke, but I think there’s some merit to it in that as more passengers are added, whether they take a seat or not, they add an overhead to the management of the flight and fellow passengers. Let’s try the 10% of a fare rule and take it to a logical extreme: If 10 infants are in a business class cabin, does that add about as much workload for the FA’s and stress on fellow passengers as a single passenger?
But then again… I chuckle in that FA’s aren’t paid terribly much and many flights have a 50:1 FA to passenger ratio. That means about 1/50th of an economy class ticket is for the FA which for my international flight, assuming they get $400 in benefits, is $4.00. Let’s double that for safety to $8.00.
Hey Matthew! Thanks for the info. Relating to this topic, would you know anything about adding infants to partner award tickets for LH flights? LH wouldn’t budge and spent hours on the phone with managers between KrisFlyer and LH. KrisFlyer said I must contact LH (the operating carrier) but the LH manager insisted “It’s a new policy—we do not issue infant tickets for partner award bookings. The partner (SQ) must issue the ticket” and I tried several LH reps who initially had no idea of this policy but then the ticketing department would reject it after them trying. This is a massive problem for many now I would think.
I’d rather pay for them as infants than to have to deal with United’s upgrade policies when you have your kids traveling with you. It was fine last year and this year they have really screwed it up so now you end up on a different reservation automatically and everyone is sitting all over the plane. I have talked to multiple people about this and no one seems to understand how it works and just push the issue down the road to the airport staff. It’s very frustrating.