All About United Airlines: Airline Policies & More Important Information For Kids

Two kids in brightly colored clothing stand together looking out of a airport window at a United Airlines plane.

If you’re planning a trip on United Airlines with your children, it’s important to do some research on the airline and its policies for kids. This will help ensure that your family has a comfortable and enjoyable experience while flying. Luckily, United Airlines also has several policies in place specifically for families traveling with young children, from bassinets to early boarding. This guide will cover everything you need to know about United Airlines with kids, from check-in procedures to baggage allowances. We’ll also cover some of the more unique aspects of flying United. By the end of this article, you’ll know everything you need to make your next flight on United Airlines a smooth and stress-free experience. Keep reading to learn more! 

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Why Fly United Airlines with Kids?

A hand reached out to navigate the United Airlines app on a smart phone.

Wondering why you should fly United Airlines with kids? While every family’s airline experience is subjective, many travelers consider United Airlines to be a kid-friendly option. The airline has a great reputation for safety and customer service, and they offer a variety of amenities and services that are perfect for families traveling with young children. For starters, United offers a pre-boarding program for families with young children. This allows you to board the plane early so that you can get your little ones settled in before the rest of the passengers come on board. Finally, all United aircraft are equipped with in-seat entertainment systems featuring a variety of kid-friendly movies, TV shows, and games to help keep your little ones entertained throughout the flight.

READ NEXTAll About Delta Airlines: Airline Policies & More Important Information For Kids

Where Does United Airlines Fly Directly?

A family of four sits on a bed packing a suitcase.

Pack your bags, United offers service to destinations all over the globe, including many popular locations in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. They also fly to several destinations within the United States, so we likely have a non-stop flight to get you there no matter where you’re trying to go.

  • United offers non-stop service to major cities in the United States, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and New York.
  • Some popular international destinations include Beijing, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro.

For more information, check their website for a complete list of all the places they fly to in the US and abroad. 

Booking a flight for your family? Check out these 11 Best Airlines For Kids For International Family Travel – And What You Need To Know!!

United Airlines Policy for Kids

The silhouette of a woman holding her baby watching planes take off at an airport.

When it comes to flying with children, United Airlines has a few different airline policies depending on the age of your kids. Keep reading to learn all about the United Airlines policy for kids! 

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Early Boarding for Families

If your kids are under the age of 2, you can take advantage of early boarding. This way, you can settle and store your luggage comfortably before takeoff.

Delta Airlines Policies Specific to Infants, Toddlers, and Young Kids

There are a few United Airlines policies specific to families traveling with babies, toddlers, and small children. Here is what you should know if you are flying with tiny travelers.

Lap Seat

Wondering about the United Airlines infant policy for lap seat kids? Infants under the age of 2 can also fly as lap-held infants to any destination with United Airlines. On domestic flights, this is free, and no ticket is needed. If you’re wondering, “do babies fly free internationally on United Airlines”, the answer is no, but lap-seat infants are discounted. For international flights, some fees apply, and a separate ticket needs to be issued.

Baby Care

To warm bottles, families can request hot water from a flight attendant. Alternatively, flight attendants will also bring you ice to keep milk and formula cool. This is helpful to know in advance if you are trying to learn everything you can about the United Airlines infant policy.


You can request a bassinet pre-flight for some international flights in United Polaris® business class and in Economy. They’re subject to availability. Contact United to request one in advance of your flight.

United Airlines Car Seat Policy

Infants and toddlers can fly in an FAA-approved car seat. Children in car seats should sit in a window seat. The car seat can be secured to the seat itself. To make sure your car seat qualifies, look for the sticker attached to the side for confirmation. We hope this helps you better understand the United car seat policy!

United Airlines Child Fare

If you choose to have your infant in their own seat, they will need to purchase a ticket at full fare. There is no United Airlines child fare. Kids over the age of 2 will need to pay the full fare for a ticket. 

Baggage/Carry-On Luggage

A mom and her two kids stand with their carry-on luggage at the airport, knowing the baggage allowance for children is important to understanding the United Airlines policies for kids.

In addition to carry-on bags and personal items, you can bring a diaper bag and a breast pump, milk, or formula. FAA-approved car seats and compact folding strollers are also allowed onboard. Then, you can check strollers and car seats free of charge, either at the ticketing desk or at the gate. If you plan to bring a Pack ‘n Play®, collapsible cribs, or other similar items, they must be checked at the ticket counter (and will be charged at the baggage rate for your ticket).

Lap children are not given their own baggage allowance (carry-ons or checked bags) in addition to anything listed above. Children with their own ticketed seats, however, are allowed the same baggage as an adult at the baggage rate for the purchased ticket. When flying with children on United Airlines, be sure to triple check what baggage is allowed before going to the airport.

Unaccompanied Minors

Additionally, if your child is between the ages of 5 and 14, they may be eligible to travel as an unaccompanied minor. This service must be arranged in advance and comes with certain rules and restrictions.

Food Policy

Kid-friendly snacks and meals are available when flying with children on United Airlines. TSA allows several baby items to go through security, you can check that list here. For in-flight snack and meal options, check here. Kids’ meals for long flights must be requested in advance.

Special Toys and Games/Entertainment Options

United Airlines also offers a special inflight entertainment system for kids, called “UNI”. This system includes age-appropriate movies, TV shows, games, and more.

What Documents Do I Need to Fly with Kids?

A young girl stands on the jet bridge with her suitcase and travel documents, knowing what documents to bring is also helpful when learning about United Airlines policies for kids..
Photo Courtesy: Gustavo Fring

Now that you know the United Airlines child policy for flying with kids, you may be wondering, do you need identification for a child or a baby to fly? There are a few different documents your children may need, as U.S. citizens, to travel (if your kids have different citizenship, please refer to the rules and regulations for their country of citizenship). Then, other types of documents may also be needed for United Airlines child identification, depending on the flight, destination country, transit country, etc.

What Documents Do I Need for US Domestic Travel with Kids

  • Generally, no ID is needed: Babies and kids (or, those under the age of 18) do not need to present any identification for domestic travel within the United States (or its territories, like Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands).
  • Birth Certificates: Some airlines, however, may require proof of age for lap-seat infants. In this case, we recommend packing a birth certificate for your children just in case.
  • Child Travel Consent: If you are traveling without your child’s other parent, a letter of consent providing proof of permission to travel alone with your child may be useful. While this is not strictly needed for domestic travel, it may provide peace of mind for traveling parents in the event you are questioned by government or airline staff.

What Documents Do I Need for International Travel with Kids

Basically, babies and children need the same documents for international travel adults do, including:

  • Valid US Passport: Regardless of age, children with U.S. citizenship need a valid passport for air travel to another country (even babies!). The application process for children under 16 needs to be completed in person. Both parents are required to be present. Children’s passports are valid for five years.
  • Proof of Relationship to Child: While you may not be asked for it, we highly recommend that you travel with some type of document proving your relationship to your child (e.g., birth certificate, adoption certificate, etc.). Please note, some countries or airlines will require this type of document. It is your responsibility to know the documents needed before you depart for your trip.
  • Child Travel Consent: If you are traveling without your child’s other parent, plan on bringing a letter of consent from the other parent to travel alone with your child. Some countries require letters to be notarized. This letter should contain the child’s basic information (e.g., name, gender, birthday, place of birth, passport number, etc.), both parents’ names and contact information, the traveling arrangements (flights, accommodations, other adults traveling in your party), and the destination.

Additional Documents You Might Need or Want for International Travel with Kids:

RELATED ARTICLE: The Best Travel Accessories Families Can’t Live Without

Tips for Taking a Long Flight with Kids on United Airlines

A mom holds her infant son on an airplane, knowing tips for long-haul flights with also helpful when learning the United Airlines policies for kids.
Photo Courtesy: Paul Hanaoka

If you’re flying United Airlines with children, you should keep a few things in mind to make the experience as smooth as possible.

  • First, arrive at the airport early to allow plenty of time for check-in and security.
  • Have your carry-on bags packed and ready to go so you don’t have to hold up the line searching for items.
  • Once you’re on the plane, take advantage of the in-flight entertainment options to keep your kids occupied.
  • If your child gets restless, take a walk up and down the aisle or visit the lavatory together.
  • Also, try to schedule your flight around their natural sleep schedule.
  • Finally, remember to hydrate during the flight by drinking plenty of water or juice.
  • And bring along a travel pillow and blanket for each child to keep them comfortable! 

If you’re traveling with a baby for the first time, check out our ten tips to prepare for your baby’s first flight.

Best Snacks to Carry on a United Airlines Flight with Kids

No one wants to be hangry, especially when stuck on a long flight. Keep your energy up and stave off any meltdowns by packing some snacks for you and your kiddos. United Airlines understands that sometimes flying with little ones can be challenging, so they allow families to bring snacks.

Get creative and pack some new and exciting snacks your kids may like, as well as some reliable favorites. Healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables, trail mix, whole grain crackers, and yogurt are all great options. If you’re looking for something a little more indulgent, we recommend packing some mini cookies or pretzels. And don’t forget the drinks! Water is always a good choice, but you might also want to pack some juice boxes or milk for the littlest ones.

Best Products for Taking a Long Flight on United Airlines

There are a few essential products to bring along if you want to survive a long flight on United Airlines with kids. Here are a few to consider as you prepare for your flight:

Then, read more hacks and products for sleeping on long flights with kids in our article! 

Happy Travels!

A mom and her young son touch a large stone wall in Barcelona.

We hope you liked this Guide To United Airlines Airline Policies For Kids! Whether you’re planning a short weekend away or an extended trip, it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with these airline policies for children. Hopefully, learning about the United Airlines child policy has helped you prepare for and get excited about your trip! Enjoy your next flight with the kids! 

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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.