Not all airlines are equal when it comes to services provided for families. While one may allow a family to board before the rest of the passengers, others charge for that helpful honor. Some airlines have entertainment to keep the kids busy, while you'll need to bring your own for others. Here's a roundup of popular U.S. airlines and what they offer families.

Mom and Son Looking at Airplane

AirTran
Pre-boarding: Yes, Family Boarding is available to those with a child who is 4 years old or younger. Families can board after group A has boarded.
Lap Seat Ages: Any child under age 2 may be carried free of charge when traveling domestically with an adult. If traveling internationally, 10 percent of adult fare (plus tax) is typically charged.
Diaper Changers: Yes, changing stations are available on many planes.
Discounted Child Fares: No.
Kids' Meals: None, but complimentary snacks are available.
Bottle Warming: No.
Kid-Friendly Entertainment: None.
Wi-Fi: Yes, it's available on all flights.
Stroller and Car Seat Gate Check: Yes. Car seats and strollers can be checked for free.
Bassinets: No.

American Airlines
Pre-boarding: No. Passengers may elect to pay $10 per person to join the first boarding group in coach.
Lap Seat Ages: Infants at least 2 days old or under age 2 may be carried free of charge when traveling within the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and the USVI) and Canada. For all other travels, 10 percent of adult fare (plus tax) will apply.
Diaper Changers: Changing tables are available on all wide-body aircraft.
Discounted Child Fares: Yes.
Bottle Warmers: Yes, on all flights except for American Eagle.
Kids' Meals: None, but snacks and sandwiches are available.
Kid-Friendly Entertainment: Flights longer than four hours provide free movies on overhead TVs, (they may not provide the best views or interest children though). New and refurbished planes have in-seat entertainment with movies, TV shows, music and games.
Wi-Fi: Yes, Wi-Fi is available on nearly all flights within the U.S.; it is available on select international flights.
Stroller and Car Seat Gate Check: Yes, fully collapsible strollers under 20 pounds can be checked at the gate, along with car seats. Umbrella strollers may be carried on as long as they fit in an overhead bin.
Bassinets: Yes, bassinets may be available on a first-come, first-served basis, though they cannot be reserved in advance. The 777-300 aircraft offers three.

Delta
Pre-boarding: No.
Lap Seat Ages: Children must be more than 7 days old and under age 2 to fly free.
Diaper Changers: No.
Discounted Child Fares: No.
Bottle Warmers: Yes.
Kids' Meals: Yes. Jarred food (strained fruit, vegetables, meats and desserts) is available for babies, and special meals are available for children ages 2 to 12.
Kid-Friendly Entertainment: Free entertainment is offered on all domestic and international flights via Delta Studio. TV shows, movies, music and games can be streamed on seat-back screens or personal electronic devices with Wi-Fi capabilities -- free of charge.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is available on all flights within the U.S.
Stroller and Car Seat Gate Check: Yes, strollers can be checked free of charge. In addition to one carry-on bag allowance, you may also bring a booster seat, other infant seat or bassinet for free.
Bassinets: Yes. Called SkyCots, they are available on some international flights, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Frontier Airlines
Pre-boarding: Yes, it's available to families with children under age 3.
Lap Seat Ages: Children at least 7 days old and under age 2 fly free within the U.S. Taxes apply for international travel.
Diaper Changers: No.
Discounted Child Fares: No.
Bottle Warmers: No.
Kids' Meals: No, but snacks and sandwiches are available.
Kid-Friendly Entertainment: Most planes feature seat-back monitors with two dozen television channels and a few movie channels provided by DirecTV.
Wi-Fi: Yes, though it's only available on Embraer 190 aircraft.
Stroller and Car Seat Gate Check: Yes, a stroller and car seat may be checked free of charge.
Bassinets: Yes, bassinets are available on some flights.

JetBlue
Pre-boarding: Yes, it's available for families with children ages 2 and younger.
Lap Seat Ages: Yes, a child must be at least 3 days old and under age 2 to sit on an adult's lap.
Diaper Changers: Yes.
Discounted Child Fares: No.
Bottle Warmers: No.
Kids' Meals: Free snacks, such as animal crackers and cookies, are available.
Kid-Friendly Entertainment: DirecTV programming is offered on seat-back TVs, and includes newly released films (free of charge). SiriusXM is also available.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is available on most planes, except E190 aircraft.
Stroller and Car Seat Gate Check: Yes, strollers and car seats can be checked free of charge.
Bassinets: No.

Southwest Airlines
Pre-boarding: Yes, families with children under age 4 may board during Family Boarding, after group A has boarded.
Lap Seat Ages: Infants 14 days to under 2 years old may be carried free of charge. A Boarding Verification Document is needed to board.
Diaper Changers: Yes.
Discounted Child Fares: Yes.
Bottle Warmers: Yes.
Kids' Meals: No, but free peanuts and pretzels are served.
Kid-Friendly Entertainment: Yes, it offers a free, in-flight entertainment portal, which includes Cartoon Network.
Wi-Fi: Yes, Wi-Fi is available on most flights.
Stroller and Car Seat Gate Check: Yes. A car seat and stroller may be checked at no additional fee.
Bassinets: No.

United Airlines
Pre-boarding: No.
Lap Seat Ages: Children must be at least 7 days old and under 2 years old to be carried within the U.S., Puerto Rico and USVI. Outside of these regions, a ticket must be purchased for a lap seat child.
Diaper Changers: Changing tables are available on Boeing 747, 757-300, 767, 777, 787 and select 757-200 flights.
Discounted Child Fares: No.
Bottle Warmers: No, but you may request hot water from a flight attendant.
Kids' Meals: No, but snacks and sandwiches are available.
Kid-Friendly Entertainment: Satellite TV and in-flight movies are shown on overhead TVs. International flights feature seat-back movies, TV shows, games and music, including children's options.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is available on most aircraft.
Stroller and Car Seat Gate Check: Yes; collapsible strollers only. Others must be checked with baggage and are free of charge.
Bassinets: Yes, they are available on a first-come, first-served basis; they are only available on select flights.

U.S. Airways
Pre-boarding: No.
Lap Seat Ages: Yes, infants under age 2 can be carried free of charge on domestic flights. On international flights, a charge of 10 percent of adult fare (plus tax) may apply.
Diaper Changers: Yes, on some flights.
Discounted Child Fares: No.
Bottle Warmers: No, but you may request hot water from a flight attendant.
Kids' Meals: No, but snacks and sandwiches are available on domestic flights. International flights provide infant and kids' meal options.
Kid-Friendly Entertainment: Satellite TV and in-flight movies are shown on overhead TVs. International flights provide seat-back On Demand options with movies and TV programming available to children.
Wi-Fi: Yes.
Stroller and Car Seat Gate Check: Yes; collapsible strollers only. Others must be checked with baggage.
Bassinets: Yes, they're available on international flights.

Virgin America
Pre-boarding: Yes, for families with children under age 5.
Lap Seat Ages: Children must be under age 2 to be carried.
Diaper Changers: Yes. Diapers are also available.
Discounted Child Fares: No.
Bottle Warmers: Yes.
Kids' Meals: Kids' meals are available, but must be pre-purchased. Flights over two hours feature options like PB&J, chicken and turkey sandwiches, and hummus with vegetables. A Jet Set Kid Pack with animal crackers, goldfish, granola bar and other snacks is also available.
Kid-Friendly Entertainment: In-flight entertainment includes children's programming and games.
Wi-Fi: Yes, Wi-Fi is available on most flights.
Stroller and Car Seat Gate Check: Yes. One stroller and one child seat can be checked for each paying passenger at no additional charge.
Bassinets: No.

More From Family Vacation Critic:
10 Ways to Amuse Kids at the Airport
Unaccompanied Minors: Rules & Regulations

Written by Lissa Poirot


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