Booking flight for unborn lap infant (int'l)

Old May 20, 18, 8:20 pm
  #1  
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Booking flight for unborn lap infant (int'l)

We're traveling to South Africa from the USA over the December holidays. Since prices get crazy for that time, I want to book now before baby no. 2 is born in early August. We already know what his name will be but obviously not the birthdate, and KLM's online interface won't let us book for a birthdate in the future (which I can kind of understand). I know we can book for our existing family now and add the lap infant after birth, but the problem with that is lap infants are charged 10% of available seats whenever we call in (as opposed to 10% of the adult fare we booked). If flight prices go up between when we book and when the baby is born this means we could potentially pay hundreds of dollars more than if we were to book now for a baby that isn't even taking up a seat! I know because this is exactly what happened when we had our first son.

Bottom line, has anyone had recent experience with this through KLM or other airlines? Do they charge extra/is it hard to change the birthdate on a ticket after baby is born? I'd call the airline to ask, but I already know they'll just tell me to wait until birth to add an infant...
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Old May 21, 18, 1:51 am
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What's the price today and what kind of increase do you expect to see? Assuming a hike of 200$ for a ticket, that would amount to 20$ more for you. Is it worth the hassle?
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Old May 21, 18, 3:11 am
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And what if :
- the 1st name of your child to be born is finally different from the one you have in mind ? Yes, I know, you'll say "no no we are 100% sure", but this happens in real life
- if the gender at birth is not the one that was predicted from the pre-birth echographies. Again, this is happening in very rare cases and not only in movies. Would this happen, the consequence for you would not be limited to repaint the blue bedroom in pink or vice-versa

You have no other choice than waiting for the birth.
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Old May 21, 18, 6:30 am
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KLouis, last time we booked we got out flights for $900 each and then went we added our son prices were up to $2600. So that was $90 vs $260 in which case to me it would have been worth it to save $170 on a baby that wasn't even taking up a seat. It's also important to add that flight wasn't even over the Christmas holidays like this one is.

As for name and gender, let's just say we are 100% certain and that's a risk I'm willing to take. But I would like to know first if changing birthdate after booking will be a problem.
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Old May 21, 18, 9:10 am
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And if prices go down? Which they sometimes do, although not as often as up, you will hick yourself.

Fare buckets open and close dynamically as RM/IM adjust daily. It is one thing to be stuck with a walk-up fare if the child is both today and your flight is tomorrow. But, presuming that this is not the case, you may be risking something for very little and potentially giving up something as well.

An alternative is to simply book and use an approximate date of birth and then call it to correct it after the child is born. The information is only used at this stage for purposes of assuring that the passenger is eligible for the fare.
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Old May 21, 18, 9:28 am
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Often1, we've done this route a number of times and this is about as low as it goes. Also keeping in mind the time of our travel, I'd be surprised if it went anything but up. It is possible the flight MAY stay the same when baby is born, but I know I'd be kicking myself if they went up. Honestly it would be ideal if airlines just honored 10% of the original ticket of the adult who will be holding the child, then this whole predicament could be avoided.

I can't do approximate DOB since it won't let me put down a birthdate in the future but I could, for instance, put down yesterday. They ask for birthdates of all passengers (including adults), so I'm not sure why they would do that if the birthdate is just to confirm fare eligibility.
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Old May 21, 18, 9:35 am
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If you're sure that you can correct the birthdate later, just book the ticket with a birthdate of sometime last week.
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Old May 21, 18, 9:57 am
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Can you call and book with a note that the child isn't born yet and you'll probe DOB later? Or book via an OTA where you don't need to enter DOB, or a TA? IF it's worth the hassle to you, that is.

Alternatively call and ask if you can book with yesterday as a DOB and adjust it once born. How stringent are doc checks for 4 month olds anyway, they may never even check the correct DOB during checkin?
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Old May 21, 18, 1:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Slurpie View Post
They ask for birthdates of all passengers (including adults), so I'm not sure why they would do that if the birthdate is just to confirm fare eligibility.
Answer is : APIS (Advanced Passengers Information System). More and more countries require that airlines send passengers information (name, 1st name, gender, birth date, passport number, etc), for security reasons.
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Old May 22, 18, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
What's the price today and what kind of increase do you expect to see? Assuming a hike of 200$ for a ticket, that would amount to 20$ more for you. Is it worth the hassle?
I've seen some AF/KL and BA routes from the US to Africa go from about $1100 booking early in the year to about $2400 (sometimes $2700!) booking in october/november.. luckily this baby is due in August, but it's a valid question
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Old May 22, 18, 9:30 am
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Update: I booked online and put the date of booking as baby's birthday. Looks like I can go back and edit APIS info for all passengers (other than names) in the online interface at any time, so I think I should be good!
@rfrn, we got ours for even less ($920/adult). It means a couple hours driving to a further departure airport but it's worth it. Glad I booked last night since I already see prices rose a bit today. August is still early but I didn't want to take my chances.
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Old May 24, 18, 7:50 am
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One thing to watch for: Every time I've tried to change a birthday for my kids (I quite often transpose my son's and daughter's birthdates) after booking, the changes never stuck. The changes have always worked on online check-in for me though, so just double check when you go to check in. It's also never been an issue for me to fix it at the airport. Just more Air France IT fun
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