I have flown with just about every major US airline with my 1.5 year old son. From JetBlue, to Southwest, United, and American, I have to say that Delta has been one of the best (domestic) experiences.
Each airline is a little bit different with what their infant and child policies are. So make sure that you’re familiar with the rules before you book that ticket, and definitely before you fly. Here’s everything to know about flying with Delta Airlines.
Booking on Delta Airlines with a Baby
As is standard in the industry, children can fly on the laps of parents until the age of two, after which point they have to be in their own seat. However, unless we are on a super short flight, we have tended to get our son his own seat since about 12 months of age. It saves everyone’s sanity!
As is also standard, lap infants fly free domestically and will have to pay taxes, fees, and a portion of the fare (10%) internationally.
When booking on Delta or through their app, it’s easy to add the lap infant without having to call. Annoyingly, however, if you’re going international, you will have to call to add the lap infant. This is where things can go wrong, as I experienced on United and others have complained about on American. Make sure you are charged the taxes and fees and are issued a ticket for your lap infant for international flights, or you will likely be denied boarding.
I have to shout out Delta customer service when during a very frazzled turn of events I had to book a same-day ticket to get home when I was traveling solo with my baby. I accidentally booked it in the wrong direction and they changed it for me free of charge at the ticketing counter.
The Delta lounge receptionist also took pity on me and let me enter far earlier than the standard two hours. Both of these experiences were SO MUCH better than the time a United agent left me crying at the counter when they hadn’t handled the international taxes and fees properly over the phone.
Delta Airlines Strollers, Baggage, and Gate Check Policies
For breast-feeding or pumping moms, Delta specifically mentions on their website that they are in full support of lactating moms, and breast pumps are allowed on board, whether you physically have the child with you or are traveling, pumping, and storing breastmilk without your baby.
Delta doesn’t specifically mention diaper bags, and only lists FAA-approved car seats (that will be used in seat), CARES harnesses, and breast pumps and cooler bags as items that don’t count against carry-on allowance. Therefore, like Alaska, it seems diaper bags DO count against carry on allowance. These are the only two airlines I’ve flown with this policy.
However strollers and car seats can be checked as hold luggage for free, or both can be brough to the gate to gate check for free. This is standard with most airlines, however American only allows one to be brought all the way to the gate.
If you’re traveling with bigger and bulkier items like a pack n play (I recommend the Guava Lotus, which can be carried on) or wagon, you’ll have to check them as hold luggage at the same rate as a standard bag.
However when traveling internationally, even lap infants get a checked bag up to 20lbs. I haven’t seen this with most US carriers, though Emirates, Singapore, and Japan Airlines all have the same policy.
If you do bring the car seat onboard, it should be used in the window seat and cannot be used in Delta One, aisle seats, emergency exit rows, or bulkhead seats when the safety seat is a combination car seat and stroller. Keep in mind bulkhead seats are usually the only ones that can accommodate a bassinet.
Flying with Delta Airlines- Family Boarding, Meals, and Bassinets
Speaking of bassinets, Delta airline does offer them for infants weighing up to 20 pounds. Like every other US based airline I know of, Delta recommends calling ahead of time, but still says that you will have to ask at the gate and that they are not guaranteed.
You also need to sit in a bulkhead seat in order to have the wall in front of you, which is necessary for attaching the bassinet. These are usually seats that are in high demand and unfortunately Delta does not reserve them for parents. I have seen Emirates and Singapore reserve them, though!
Delta does offer children’s meals on their international routes, however they’re meant for children over two. Book ahead of time if they’re of interest.
Boarding-wise, Delta offers family boarding, which doesn’t specify an age cutoff but mentions those traveling ‘with car seats and strollers,’ after first class, diamond medallion, and premium select customers.
Overall, I have found Delta to be a decent domestic option when flying with a baby. It’s a bit strange that they count diaper bags against carry-on allowance, but they are more generous than other airlines when it comes to gate checking car seats and strollers. Plus, my good customer service experiences with them have them on my nice list.