Upgrades On American When Traveling With A Baby Just Got Cheaper

When parents travel with a child under two years old, the child doesn’t need their own seat. A so-called ‘lap infant’ travels free when flying domestically. In general for international travel the lap infant will need a ticket, and so the parents have to purchase an ‘infant fare’.

  • This is usually 10% of the parent’s paid fare, plus taxes

  • For award travel some frequent flyer programs offer infant tickets for just taxes (like Qantas frequent flyer), others allow you to redeem a small number of miles or a flat charge. United Airlines has a sliding scale of amounts.

    But many airlines charge 10% of the paid fare on an award ticket, which for business class and first class travel can become exorbitant.

When you upgrade from coach to business class, the infant ticket can get more expensive too. And it can be challenging getting an agent to find the right fare to use to price the infant ticket against when you didn’t buy the adult ticket with cash.

Fortunately as of April 23, 2021 American Airlines no longer requires customers to pay more for their infant ticket when they upgrade.

When a customer who is traveling with an infant and upgrades to a destination where an infant ticket is required, it is no longer required for them to pay the difference between the ticketed fare and the higher cabin. The infant tikcet will not be reissued to reflect the higher cabin.

It’s a minor item for most members, but for frequent flyers with small children looking forward to international travel this is a nice change that can save hundreds of dollars.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Great, so as if the service and the travel experience weren’t bad enough, those of us up front now have to deal with more of these screaming little creatures. I remember years ago flying on Thai Air when the F/A told the mother of a screaming child that she would have to take the child in the very back away from the passengers which it was disturbing to quiet it, and this was in the coach cabin. Fast forward a number of years when flying AA in first with a couple of loud, disturbing children kicking the back of my seat and the F/A saying there was nothing she could do. It just gets worse and worse. Why should they allow people w/children to not pay for those who can be most disturbing up front? Certainly a disincentive to those of us who are paying the prices to travel on AA.

  2. Should charge double. Nobody flying in J trying to sleep in their flatbed wants to listen to a screaming baby.

  3. @EllliotS sounds like just the sort of cantankerous, crotchety curmudgeon that deserves to have his seat kicked, repeatedly

  4. @mybabyhasflown – so glad that your baby has flown many times w/o issue. Sadly, I have had to experience too many ill behaved children (and yes, on rare occasion, ill behaved adults) but why, when I’m paying the money to fly up front should I have to tolerate children who have been upgraded w/o paying the fare?? Guess if I have to deal w/people like you, it’s time to start looking at traveling on private aircraft.

  5. Glad to see AA go with this approach. Now let’s see how smoothly this new policy gets executed by AA.

  6. I also thought so
    But the reservation agent spoke to rates and than to a supervisor and both confirmed the same
    Do you have the internal Memo document number that I could refer them to

  7. I ended up agreeing to pay the difference for the Infant with a condition that I will follow up later if I find it to be wrong
    I provided the credit card for the add collect
    I am the travel agent so I could display the eticket in the GDS its seems that they exchanged the adult but not the infant ticket
    the copay with the add collect was not charged to the credit card
    They deducted Miles twice (which is wrong the infant shouldn’t pay miles)
    After all that My customer received a eticket by error from AA from a prominent senator

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