Kids Airfares

Q. When is my 12 year old not a child?

A. When they are on a plane.

It sounds harsh ... but it could be worse (and probably will be one day).

Any person over 2 years of age who is not yet 12 years of age is classed as a child and must occupy a seat with their own ticket. If you turn 12 while you are on your holiday then the flights must be booked as an adult for the entire journey.

For Australian domestic travel a child seat is charged at full price. This is also the case for travel to and from New Zealand and in places like the US and Europe.

However, for international flights to and from Australia, airlines offer a discount for children aged from 2 to 11 years. This is generally between 50% to 80% of the full adult fare.

The longer the flight the more the discount can be. Also from time to time you may find deals where the discount is less than half the normal airfare and sometimes (rarely) children travel free.

Children below 2 years of age, or infants who are not occupying a paid seat, only have to pay 10% of the full adult fare on most airlines for domestic and international flights.

Jetstar allow children under 2 to travel free on domestic and New Zealand flights and charges $30 for other destinations. Tigerair charge a flat $30 fee for domestic flights.

The trend is for the airlines to move away from discounted airfares.

Qantas only removed discounted domestic children's airfares in 2014 and many countries like the US and throughout Europe charge just one fare per seat regardless of the age of the person occupying the seat.

So these discounted children's airfares, however unfair they seem, may not last forever.

All you can do is make sure you take advantage while your kids are young.


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