How Soon Can A Newborn Baby Fly?

Last Updated on April 15, 2020

There are no standard regulations about how old a baby needs to be before they are permitted to fly.

Each airline has its own policies about what age a baby must be before it is allowed on its aircraft, you can see these policies in the table below.

Airline Rules About Traveling With Babies

AirlineFlying With A Baby Rules
Alaska Air” there is no minimum age for infants traveling with us, check with your doctor if you’re unsure your infant should be traveling via plane”
Allegiant“Infants younger than 15 days are not permitted to travel on Allegiant Air flights, unless an attending physician approves such infant for air travel in writing.”
American Airlines“We accept infants as young as 2 days old. However, if you’re traveling with an infant less than 7 days old, your physician will be required to fill out a passenger medical form before your flight. A special assistance coordinator will send the form directly to your physician.”
Delta“May not travel unless accompanied by an approval letter from a physician that gives permission for newborn to fly”
Frontier“Frontier Airlines allows infants from seven days old up to the child’s second birthday to fly free of charge in an adult’s lap.”
Hawaiian Airlines” No infant under seven (7) days of age will be accepted for transportation without a signed physician’s letter stating that the infant is approved for travel.”
JetBlue“A child can travel as a lap infant from 3 days old until the day they turn 2 years old. There’s no charge for lap infants (taxes may be due outside the U.S.) but you will be asked for proof of age, such as a birth certificate, passport or immunization record. “
Southwest“One child over 14 days old and under two (2) years of age, not occupying a seat, may be carried free of charge when traveling with an adult (12 years of age or older).”
Spirit“From 7 days old until his/her second birthday (age 7 days to 23 months), a child is considered a lap child and does not need a paid seat; however, guests may opt to buy a seat for the infant if they prefer.”
Sun Country Airlines” Children under 2 years of age and at least 8 days old can travel as a lap-held child on Sun Country at no extra charge. Check-in at the airport and bring a copy of their birth certificate so their age can be verified.”
United Airlines“United does not accept infants in incubators or infants younger than 7 days old.”

When is it safe for a baby to fly?

Some airlines have no minimum age and others require approval from a physician before they will allow very young newborns onboard.

Babies can fly shortly after birth, but your airline allowing you to travel with a baby does not mean it’s a good idea.

Parents should think carefully about health and safety concerns and seek professional advice.

There is no age that it automatically becomes safe for traveling with a newborn. It very much depends on individual circumstances.

For example premature infants will not be ready to fly as quickly as full-term babies.

The mother also needs to be in good health. If you had your child by cesarean section you would need longer to be able to fly yourself.

Risks Involved In Traveling With A Newborn

  • Immunity – A newborn child has not yet developed a strong immune system. Airplanes are notorious places for picking up infections. You can try to sanitize your seat area using disinfecting wipes but the risk remains.
  • Turbulence – Many parents fly with a child on their lap. This avoids buying a separate seat for the child. While accidents are rare it’s fundamentally unsafe to fly with a baby in your lap, especially a newborn. To quote the FAA… “Your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.”. You can reduce the risk of injury through turbulence by purchasing a seat and using an approved child safety restraint system but the risk is not fully mitigated.

The Verdict

Seek professional medical advice before traveling with a baby, especially before flying with a newborn.

Newborn babies should only take plane trips that are absolutely necessary. If you can, postpone the trip until later.

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