My youngest daughter sure is earning her wings this summer.

You: What do you mean?

In the last month, she’s flown to Florida and Arizona.

You: And how old is she?

One and a half.

You: Isn’t it crazy expensive to be flying your daughter around the country?

Crazy?  Somewhat, although she was pretty well-behaved for me.  Expensive? Actually. it’s free.

You: Oh, does your wife work for an airline?


You: Is your baby cashing in on your frequent flyer miles?


You: So what gives?

Airlines allow lap children to fly for free.

You: What’s a lap child?

Like it sounds, a lap child is a child that flies on the lap of an adult.

You: Rather obvious now.

No worries.  As long as the child is under two years old, airlines (at least all the major ones) don’t requite you to buy another ticket for your baby.

You: Sounds like a deal.

It’s a huge deal.  But it’s not for everyone.

You: You said that already.  The child has to be less than two years old.

Yes, but furthermore, the parent(s) have to be willing to keep their child on their lap for the duration of the flight (not to mention taxi, take-off, landing, and waiting for a gate to become available).

For us, it’s a no-brainer.  But I do know of some parents who won’t do the lap child thing and pay for the extra ticket. To each their own.

My Family

Since the baby still flies for free, my wife and I decided to take advantage.  So when I realized I had a frequent flyer ticket about to expire last month, I used the points for my ticket to visit my folks. For no extra charge, I brought the baby and, just like that, the 1 ½ year old thrilled her grandparents and great-grandparents with a rousing rendition of “Bwok-ee!”

You: What’s ““Bwok-ee?”


You: Cute.

Yes, but if you’re related to the baby making the sounds, it’s not only cute, it’s better than Cats.

Wife’s Family

In addition, when Southwest Airlines posted their $99 maximum fare anywhere in the US several weeks ago, we purchased a ticket for my wife to visit her relatives in Arizona – a trip she had been contemplating for a while.  Guess who’s riding on her lap all the way to Phoenix?  You bet, my squishy 1.5 year old.

Nobody’s Family

If we can work it out, we like to get away once during the winter.

You: Away?

Out of the very cold temperatures that characterize northern New England.  Typically, we do this in February, since that seems to be that halfway point of winter.  But not this year.

You: Why not?

The youngest turns two in mid-January.  By moving up our trip several weeks, we will only need to buy (or use frequent flyer miles for) three tickets rather than four.  That’s a 25% savings on air travel.

Just by playing by the rules – and using them to our advantage – we’re saving big money on air travel.  Furthermore, our youngest is getting to visit (let alone be hugged and kissed by) relatives around the country.  Meanwhile, our oldest daughter, now 4 and a quarter –

You: “And a quarter?”

Yes, and if you forget that part she will remind you. Anyway, my oldest had a wonderful weekend with her mother when I went to Florida with the baby.  This weekend, she and I will have some incredible bonding experiences.  What’s not to like?

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How do you take advantage of the rules to save money while still enjoying yourself?

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One Comment to “Taking Advantage of the Rules to Save a Few Bucks: Airline Edition”

  1. Always good to remember!

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