The hidden costs of flying with your baby

New research suggests that it might be cheaper to buy a full adult seat for your child

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Flying abroad with your baby with you on holiday can cost far more than you may expect, a new study has shown.

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The research by Travelsupermarket.com found that although infant flight tickets may be quite cheap, there are a number of additional costs which most parents will have to pay. For example, infants often have no luggage allowance so parents are faced with costly surcharges for baby baggage and pushchairs. Often it means parents are effectively paying the coast of an extra adult ticket when flying with a budget airline.

“It’s no secret that budget airlines are trying to maximise profits in any way possible, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to parents that a supposedly ‘discounted’ infant ticket is likely to end up being anything but,” says Bob Atkinson, from travelsupermarket.com.

“On low cost carriers it may actually be cheaper to book your infant in a seat and simply have them on your lap during take off and landing. They then can have the relevant hand luggage allowance, which is very generous on easyJet for example.”

We conducted our own research into these claims and this is what we found:

Ryanair: We found the cheapest flight to Alicante, Spain available for a family of 2 adults and 1 baby, and discovered that by booking online we would be charged the following:

2    x    Adult    £89.98    Baggage allowance 10kg each free
1    x    Infant   £20.00    Baggage allowance 1 pushchair allowed free. Any extras incur excess charges

So you’ve got all of your baby equipment in tow, and it weighs a combined 40kg. That would add an extra £40 on your flight charges – almost the same as a full adult ticket. 

EasyJet: We searched for the cheapest flight we could to Spain (the equivalent to the journey we searched for with Ryanair) and we discovered:

2    x    Adult    £39.99    Baggage allowance 1 standard item of hand baggage per person
1    x    Infant   £15.00    Baggage allowance 1 standard item of hand baggage per person

Estimating your baby gear and clothes at 40kg, this would add an extra £36 on the cost of your flight – only £3 cheaper than buying another adult seat! 

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You’re most likely to be affected by these extra costs on low cost airlines. Major airlines such as British Airways and Virgin allow parents to take baby changing bags on board without extra cost. British Airways afford infants the same baggage allowances as adults while Virgin Atlantic permit 10kg of baggage per child, although the child’s buggy or car seat can be bought along for free.

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