Every parent who has travelled with an infant is well aware of the challenges. Solid planning and preparation are essential to a parent’s ability to not only retain their sanity during air travel but maybe even to enjoy the experience.

A little bundle of joy doesn’t have to mean the end of your dreams to use your points for premium class travel, though. The difficulty, however, is deciding which airline, flight, or even type of aircraft is best for infants – and subsequently finding the right seats for the best price.

This guide covers travelling with children and infants domestically. For international travel, check our dedicated guide here.

What do airlines mean by infants?

Infants have a specific definition in the world of airline tickets – in short, they are children under two years old. They don’t get their own seat, but share one with their accompanying adult and a special infant extension seatbelt. Priority access to bassinets can be requested where available. Infant fares are often complimentary or just 10% of a paid ticket.

Kids over the age of two are classed as ‘children’ and require their own seats. In terms of pricing, child tickets are virtually identical to standard adult ticket pricing with cash and points. Specifically for reward seat redemptions, children over two will need availability for their seat and pay full points and taxes.

Some ambiguity can occur where the child is less than two when their trip starts but turns two while they are away. That scenario is treated differently by different airlines. However, it’s safest to assume that if an infant turns two during their trip, they will be treated as a child on the return journey and will require a full ticket as such.

This guide will cover all commonly asked questions you might have about the infant and child policies for the four major Australian domestic airlines.

Qantas

Qantas defines an infant as any child under two years of age. Onboard, they provide a limited range of “top-brand baby food,” milk, baby bottles, cereals and rusks, but recommend that you bring your own.

Qantas - travelling with infants

What is Qantas’ domestic infant fare? No fare or additional taxes required for lap infants, who can also travel on their parent’s ticket domestically. Infants occupying a separate seat need their own ticket.

Does Qantas have bassinets?  Bassinets are only available on Qantas Airbus A330 aircraft (mainly flights to/from Perth). There are two in business class and two in the economy cabin. They are not available on Boeing 737 aircraft, which make up the bulk of domestic flights.

What is Qantas’ infant baggage allowance? There is no extra general luggage allowance, but infants are permitted up to three ‘infant items’ up to 32kg each (i.e. collapsible stroller, cot or car seat). No extra carry-on allowance is given either, but parents can carry enough nappies and other baby supplies onboard in addition to their usual allowance.


What is Qantas’ child fare? Children above the age of two years must pay the same full adult fare, whether that be in cash or using Qantas Points.

What is Qantas’ child baggage allowance? Since children over the age of two pay the full adult fare, they also get the full standard adult allowance. In addition, children can also check-in up to two ‘child items’ up to 32kg each (i.e. car seat or collapsible stroller).

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia defines an infant as any child 23 months of age or younger. They also clearly state what happens if an infant turns two years of age during the journey:

“If booking for an infant who will turn 2 years of age during the journey, the flights must be booked as a child for the entire journey. Please contact our Guest Contact Centre on 13 67 89 to complete this booking.”

Virgin Australia children sleeping devices
If a seat is purchased, infants and children can use approved ‘sleeping devices’ onboard.

What is Virgin Australia’s domestic infant fare? No fare or additional taxes required for lap infants, who can also travel on their parent’s ticket domestically. Infants occupying a separate seat need their own ticket which is charged at the full fare.

Does Virgin Australia have bassinets?  Bassinets are only available on Virgin Australia Airbus A330 aircraft (mainly flights to/from Perth). There are two in business class and four in the economy cabin. They are not available on Boeing 737 aircraft, which make up the bulk of domestic flights.

Virgin Australia infant bassinet
The infant bassinet on board Virgin Australia’s coast to coast A330 in Economy. This seat/bassinet can be redeemed for no extra charge by contacting Velocity’s call centre.

What is Virgin Australia’s infant baggage allowance? Virgin Australia gives parents with infants an extra 1x 23kg bag, plus up to two ‘infant items’ up to 23kg each (i.e. collapsible stroller, cot or car seat). They can also bring an extra 7kg of hand-carry baggage for the baby’s needs.


What is Virgin Australia’s domestic child fare? Children above the age of two years must pay the same full adult fare, whether that be in cash or using Velocity Points.

What is Virgin Australia’s child baggage allowance? Since children over the age of two pay the full adult fare, they also get the full standard adult allowance. In addition, children can also check-in up to two ‘child items’ up to 23kg each (i.e. car seat or collapsible stroller).

Jetstar

Jetstar defines an infant as any child under two years of age. Their policy is actually more lenient than Virgin Australia’s when it comes to a child turning two during a trip – they can still be treated as an infant on the return flight provided both flights are on the same booking. If the bookings were separate, then the child would require a full fare for the return flight.

Jetstar information for families

What is Jetstar’s domestic infant fare? Jetstar charge a $30 fee for infants per flight, which covers a special check-in allowance. Infants occupying a separate seat need their own full fare ticket, which can be arranged by calling them.

Does Jetstar have bassinets?  Bassinets are not available on Jetstar domestic flights, only some international flights on Boeing 787 aircraft.

What is Jetstar’s infant baggage allowance? The infant fee covers any or all of the following items for check-in: a pram, a stroller, a portable cot and/or a highchair. Oversize fees will be waived, and these items are included above your normal check-in allowance. 

Unfortunately, having an infant does not entitle you to any addition carry-on allowance. Jetstar don’t supply infant food or drinks onboard either.


What is Jetstar’s child fare? Children above the age of two years must pay the same full adult fare, whether that be in cash or using Qantas Points.

What is Jetstar’s child baggage allowance? Since children over the age of two pay the full adult fare, they also get the standard adult allowance if applicable (remembering that Starter Fares don’t ordinarily come with baggage allowance unless purchased or a bundle is added).

Tigerair

Tigerair defines an infant as any child under two years of age.

Tigerair family and pregnancy travel

What is Tigerair’s domestic infant fare? Tigerair charge a $30 fee for infants per flight, which covers a special check-in allowance. Infants occupying a separate seat need their own full fare ticket, which can be arranged by calling them.

Does Tigerair have bassinets?  Bassinets are not available on Tigerair domestic flights.

What is Tigerair’s infant baggage allowance? The infant fee covers one free check-in item which only includes strollers, cots, infant car seats and portable high chairs. Additional items need to be purchased as check-in allowance. Tigerair carries these on a ‘limited release’ basis, meaning it’s best to have your own insurance in case of delays or damage.


What is Tigerair’s child fare? Children above the age of two years must pay the same full adult fare when flying on Tigerair.

What is Tigerair’s child baggage allowance? Children aged between 2 to 6 travelling on a full fare get a bonus check-in allowance of one child item for free (same items as the infant list above). Other items need to have a paid allowance to be checked-in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a birth certificate to travel with a baby?

For Australian domestic flights, there is no law saying you need to carry a birth certificate. However, all airlines require you to bring proof of age and identification for the infant. This can include birth certificate extracts and immunisation records. For international travel, proper documentation including passports and visas are required as normal.


What do you need to fly with a baby?

It’s recommended you carry everything your child needs for the duration of the flight plus a bit more, in case there are delays or cancellations to your trip. Personal items and medications that can’t be easily replaced are best carried in hand luggage. Bulkier items like strollers need to be checked in, and it’s advisable to have them covered by travel insurance.


Can I book a child seat for an infant?

Airlines do not supply child seats for infants. If your child is booked in their own seat but cannot sit upright, then they will need to be fitted into an appropriate car seat. All airlines have differing policies in this regard – it is best to call them and book well in advance. Your infant will require a separate seat and will likely have to pay full fare.


What age can babies fly for free?

In general, infants under 24 months of age can fly for free on Qantas and Virgin Australia for domestic flights, with an accompanying full fare adult (regardless of cash or frequent flyer points). Jetstar and Tigerair charge a $30 infant fee per sector, but there is no requirement to purchase a full-price ticket for the infant.


Do infants earn frequent flyer points?

Infants travelling for free on Qantas or Virgin Australia do not earn frequent flyer points as they don’t have a fare. Points can only be earned if your infant has their own full-fare seat.

Summing up

It’s great to see that all four Australian airlines have special concessions and policies regarding infants and children flying. It certainly takes the edge off the stress of flying, with all the extra gear to carry.

Unsurprisingly, Qantas and Virgin Australia have better infant and children policies for domestic flights, particularly with check-in luggage limits. They also carry lap infants for free, compared to Jetstar and Tigerair which charge a $30 fee per flight.

Up next is our guide to travelling with children and infants internationally, covering some of the major airlines flying out of Australia.

This article was co-written with Chris Appleton.

Our guide to travelling with children and infants domestically was last modified: August 18th, 2020 by Evin Tan Khiew