Children on the Plane: With and Without Parents

Traveling with children is not always an exciting adventure. When preparing for a flight to Europe, it is essential to consider not only the individual characteristics of the child but also adhere to the safety regulations set by airlines.

In this article, we will explore how to transport children of different ages on a plane, whether a child under one year old needs a ticket, and how to make the journey comfortable for both you and them.

Previously we covered useful apps for life in Europe.


When booking a flight, indicate the child’s age so that the system correctly selects the fare. According to European Union rules, an underage passenger must have a photo ID: a passport, identity card, or birth certificate (to confirm maternity/paternity/guardianship). If a visa or authorization/permission to take children out of the country from the second parent is required, bring them along to present at the check-in counter or on the plane.

Ensure that your little one stays entertained during the flight. Onboard, there are often children’s activities such as coloring books and picture books. Pack a snack in case the child refuses the offered food. Don’t buy water; it’s complimentary onboard.

Footrests cannot be used on airplanes and suitcases cannot be used for this purpose.

Can you take a newborn on a trip? Flying with children is permitted from 7 days old unless health conditions prohibit air travel. Exceptions may arise in cases where a baby urgently needs to be taken to a hospital abroad, and the risk of transportation is lower than the current life-threatening situation.

Tips for Flying with Infants

Airlines recommend planning night flights for infants — a child under one year old will maintain their sleep and wake schedule, making them more relaxed during the flight.

Neutralize pressure changes during takeoff and landing by offering the baby a pacifier or a bottle.

Ensure the baby is well-bundled in several layers of clothing. Dress and undress as needed to regulate body temperature.

Onboard amenities include changing tables (in the restroom or at the rear), water suitable for newborn consumption.

Pack enough diapers. Airlines also usually carry a small stock onboard for emergencies.

Bring baby food and formula with you. Limited baby food is available on the plane, and bottles with formula will be heated upon request.

Flying with a 1-2 Year-Old

Children under 2 can sit on a parent’s lap. The flight for children of this age is either free (often only within the country) or with a significant discount (e.g., 90% off with S7 and Lufthansa). In this case, a separate seat is not allocated. Emirates specifies that one parent can hold one child on their lap, and separate seats are allocated for other children.

If you transport a small child in a special seat, you will need to pay for seat reservation. Check the airline’s child fare (e.g., the infant’s flight may cost 50% of an adult ticket with S7, and 75% with Lufthansa).

If you want to save money, plan the trip so that your child does not turn 2 during the flight. Otherwise, the child discount will not apply. According to airline rules, a two-year-old child must already have their own seat, even if the parent plans to hold them on their lap.

Important: Adults traveling with infants are not allowed to sit in the exit row.

As carry-on luggage, a bassinet or a child seat is allowed. Infants under 2 years old are entitled to free baggage. The permissible weight and size of the baggage differ depending on the airline you are flying with. S7 and Emirates allow 10 kg, Lufthansa — 23 kg, Ryanair — only 5 kg.

The permissible quantity of liquid baby food (e.g., fruit puree) you can bring is 100 ml. It is recommended to pack powdered formula (up to 10 kg) and mix it on board.

Check in advance if strollers are allowed. Foldable strollers must be checked in as luggage. It will be returned to you at the aircraft door after the trip. Emirates provides a free stroller at the check-in counter, allowing you to take your child to the boarding gate and leave it at the airport before departure.

You can bring your own bassinet or reserve one (no later than 52 hours before departure). Almost all airlines provide bassinets for free.

You need to bring your child’s car seat. Check in advance the size of the seats in the cabin. Child restraint systems are transported for free.

Children aged 2 to 12 must have their own seat on the plane. The age of the child no longer matters: whether they are 3, 5, 7, or 12 years old, the rules are the same.

Children of this age travel at 75% of the adult ticket cost (on most routes). Children aged 3-5 years can be placed in a child seat if the passenger is older, secure them in a regular seat.

Children under 12 can carry the same amount of luggage as adults. This applies to carry-on as well. Since each airline has its own tariffs and rates, inquire in advance or check when booking a ticket. For example, Emirates allows up to 20 kg.

Upon boarding, have a document confirming your responsibility for the child at hand. There have been cases where passengers with minors were refused boarding because adults did not have a birth certificate with them and could not prove their relationship with the child.

At the age of 13-17 (depending on the airline), the passenger is considered an adult and travels as an adult, meaning they can take responsibility for younger siblings.

Summary Table of Rules for Air Travel with Minors

Airline/Age0-2 years2-4 years5-12 years12+ years
ANA- Infants under 8 days not allowed to fly. — Infant fare. — Only with adults (12 years and older). — Baby carriage rental available. — Diapers and formula provided. — Special rate for infants.- Only with adults. — Kids’ menu available. — Child rate applies. — Please bring your own car seats.- Rental of bassinets, strollers, diapers, formula. — Only with adults.- Escort service provided; solo travel from 14.
EVA Air- Infants under 7 days not allowed to fly. — Only with adults. — Various sizes of bassinets available. — Advance meal and diaper reservations possible.- Only with adults. — Separate seating mandatory. — Сhild rates apply.- Available without parents, with airline escort. — Children’s fare.- N/A
Cathay Pacific- Infants from 7 days. — Separate seat is not provided. — Child-friendly meals provided. — Infant ticket available.- With a seat accompanied by an adult aged 18 and older. — Kids’ menu available. — Сhild tickets provided.- Available without parents, with airline escort.- Solo travel from 12 to 18, with optional escort.
Qatar Airways- Newborns up to 8 days with airline approval. — Infant fare when traveling on the lap. — Up to 2 children under 2 years old allowed per adult: one on the lap + one in a car seat.- Accompanied by an adult aged 16 and older. — Child rate applies.- Can travel as unaccompanied minors with airline assistance. — Adult fare applies.- Children aged 12 and older are considered adults. — Adult fare applies.
Shanghai Airlines- Infants up to 14 days not allowed to travel. — 10% of adult fare when traveling on lap. — Adult accompaniment mandatory. — One adult can travel with two infants: one on the lap + one in a car seat.- Mandatory parental supervision (adult). — Ticket discounts available.- Unaccompanied travel (without adults) allowed. — The ticket price may differ from the ticket price with a parent. — Staff assistance provided. — Advance application required.- Solo travel possible from 12.
S7- Only with parent/guardian or another adult. — Seat on the lap with a 90% discount. — Bassinet not provided, own bassinet allowed when paid for the occupied seat. — Stroller transported free of charge.- Only with a parent/guardian or another adult. — Seat paid at the child rate.- Only with a parent/guardian or another adult, including airline staff. — Unaccompanied ticket at the full fare.- Independently. — Seat paid at the full fare.
Emirates- Accompanied by a parent/guardian/passenger aged 16 and older. — Discount for lap travel. — Possible to bring own bassinet or reserve one. — Occupied separate seat at the child rate. — Possible to bring own stroller or use one provided at the airport; personal stroller transported free of charge.- Accompanied by a parent/guardian/passenger aged 16 and older. — Child fare.- Accompanied by a parent/ guardian/ passenger aged 16 and older or staff. — Unaccompanied ticket at the full fare.- Independently or accompanied by staff (up to 15 years old). — Full fare ticket.
Lufthansa- Accompanied by an adult. — 90% discount for lap travel. — Possible to bring own bassinet or reserve one. — Car seat and stroller transported for free. — Separate seat at the child rate.- Only accompanied by an adult. — Child ticket.- Accompanied by an adult, a child aged 12 or older, or staff. — Unaccompanied, full fare.- Independently or under the supervision of staff until 17 years old. — Full fare ticket.
Ryanair- Only with an adult. — Only at a seat next to the window. — Possible to bring own bassinet or car seat. — Ticket at the infant fare.- Only with an adult. — Ticket at the child fare.- Only with an adult. — Ticket at the child fare. — Escort service by staff not provided.- Up to 16 years old, only with an adult. — Independently after 16 years old. — Full fare ticket from 16 years old.
EasyJet- Only accompanied by an adult. — 90% discount for lap travel. — Separate seat paid at the child rate. — Possible to bring own bassinet or car seat. — Stroller transported free of charge.- Only accompanied by an adult. — Child ticket.- Only accompanied by an adult. — Child ticket. — Escort service by staff not provided.- Independent travel allowed from 16 years old. — Full fare ticket from 16 years old.

To make the plane journey more comfortable for children, ensure access to entertainment. Pack a bag with their favorite toys and offer them throughout the flight. Also, download beloved cartoons on a smartphone or tablet and charge all gadgets to provide an additional source of entertainment.


During the flight, it’s recommended to take walks around the cabin to stretch the legs and divert the child’s attention.

Ideally, reserve a window seat and let the little passenger gaze out of the window. Share information about the destination and explore brochures together. If traveling with a teenager, try booking a flight with Wi-Fi, allowing them to chat with peers and explore YouTube during the journey.

Sometimes there’s a need to send an underage child on a plane without a parent, and certain airlines offer such a service.

Many airlines provide assistance for unaccompanied minors. Passengers aged 7 to 12 are supervised by crew members on board until they reach the destination airport. The child needs:

  • A ticket.
  • A statement from parents or guardians at the airline’s office or check-in counter.
  • An ID document for the minor.
  • Notarized consent from both parents/guardians for the child to travel outside the country.

The child’s escort service on the plane must be booked and paid for in advance.

For example, Lufthansa allows solo travel for children aged 5 to 17. Conditions are the same — you hand over the child to the care service, and upon arrival, an employee returns them to the designated person meeting the young passenger. The document list is more extensive:

  • passport/ID,
  • visa to the destination country,
  • prepayment receipt,
  • documented consent from parents/guardians,
  • care service application (downloadable for completion at home, with three recommended copies).

Qatar Airways and Emirates also escort unaccompanied minors, aged 5 to 16. The ticket is paid at the full rate plus an additional $50 in the case of Emirates.

Not all airlines offer child escort services during the flight. EasyJet does not allow children aged 2 to 15 to travel alone and does not provide paid assistance for them.

Another non-trivial question that often arises in discussions about flying with children is what citizenship a newborn will have if born on an airplane.

The answer to this depends on the policy of the country to which the airline belongs or the country over which the aircraft was flying at the time of the child’s birth (jus soli or jus sanguinis).

“Jus soli” means that the child becomes a citizen of the country on whose territory (or airspace) they were born. “Jus sanguinis” determines the child’s citizenship based on the citizenship of the parents.

In addition to giving the child their own citizenship, parents may choose from three options:

  • Citizenship of the country to which the aircraft belongs.
  • Citizenship of the country where the birth occurred.
  • Citizenship of the country the aircraft was flying to.

This is applicable if the chosen country adheres to “jus soli.”

On the other hand, many airlines try to avoid legal conflicts on this matter and explicitly prohibit pregnant women from flying at late stages of pregnancy. This is justified for the safety of both the child and the mother. For instance, Air France and Lufthansa do not carry pregnant women beyond 36 weeks.

Doctors also do not recommend such flights, but if it is necessary to fly, it’s advisable to have a doctor’s certificate stating no contraindications. It’s also recommended to carry sterile gloves, a changing mat, and other necessities, along with a medical card.

A flight to Europe is not always a tourist trip; sometimes, it’s a relocation for permanent residence. In such cases, it’s crucial to know about services that help maintain connections with family and friends back home.

The Korona mobile app allows sending money transfers from Europe to 50+ countries. It is available for download on both App Store and Google Play.


Advantages of the Korona app include:

  • Simple and user-friendly interface.
  • 0% commission for converted transfers.
  • Favorable currency exchange rates.
  • 24/7 support via chat and phone.

Explore life and work in Europe on the blog. If this topic interests you, head to the catalog and read more.