Ticket for Toddler - Book as Adult or Child?

Old Apr 4, 17, 1:04 pm
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Ticket for Toddler - Book as Adult or Child?

I've seen reference to this in at least a couple of threads, but can't find it, so hoping I can hear people's experience.

We are looking to book our first ticket with our toddler - we've flown lots with her as a lap child, but now at over 2 years old, she needs her own paid ticket/seat (and MP account). On the one hand, nice because when traveling on mainline, we'll always get a row of 3 to ourselves.

I've seen posts referencing people booking children as regular adult tickets (rather then selecting child when doing the search). I get a couple of potential advantages (being able to buy paid tickets for us/award for her, if a ticket gets split, the ability to still check in on the app, etc.). But are there any disadvantages to booking a child/toddler as an 'adult? Any other advantages to doing so? Anything better about booking them as a child (assuming its not a market with child discounts - I know there are some internationally) - or disdvantages to doing so?

Just looking to see the opinions in here to decide which way to go.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 1:22 pm
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There are only two types of airfares -- adult and infant (international). The child option is used for calculating weight-and-balance.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by sinoflyer View Post
There are only two types of airfares -- adult and infant (international). The child option is used for calculating weight-and-balance.
That is incorrect.

I have a child fare active right now (roughly a 30% discount off the adult fare AND exempt from some taxes) from SFO-MAN. Below, I show the base fare which show the difference for the same far basis code:

For adult:
Fare 2: Carrier VS XHP75US MAN to SFO (rules)
Passenger type ADT, round trip fare, booking code X
Covers MAN-SFO (Economy)
$284.50

For child:
Fare 2: Carrier VS XHP75US MAN to SFO (rules)
Passenger type CNN, round trip fare, booking code X
Covers MAN-SFO (Economy)
$213.38
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Old Apr 4, 17, 2:09 pm
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It's been years since I've noticed a difference, and when I did it was in the taxes.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 3:09 pm
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
I've seen posts referencing people booking children as regular adult tickets (rather then selecting child when doing the search). I get a couple of potential advantages (being able to buy paid tickets for us/award for her, if a ticket gets split, the ability to still check in on the app, etc.).
IME, booking as a toddler also messes up refunds on .bomb. If I book an itinerary with two adults and a child (as opposed to three adults), I always have to call the Premier line to get the refund processed correctly.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 3:11 pm
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Originally Posted by ryman554 View Post
I have a child fare active right now (roughly a 30% discount off the adult fare AND exempt from some taxes) from SFO-MAN. Below, I show the base fare which show the difference for the same far basis code...
Those are VS fares, not UA. Besides, the omission of some taxes suggests that it's some type of adult companion ticket with a discount that may or may not be offered only to children. Whichever way, companion fares are not really what we are talking about here.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by sinoflyer View Post
Those are VS fares, not UA. Besides, the omission of some taxes suggests that it's some type of adult companion ticket with a discount that may or may not be offered only to children. Whichever way, companion fares are not really what we are talking about here.
Internationally they do exist even on UA as long as child is accompanied by paying adult. "companion child discount" if you wish...

I always book kids as kids if on the same PNR - hopefully it can help to stay together in case of irrops or for seat assignment purposes... and sometimes it does offer a meaningful discount

...
Fare rules & restrictions
United (UA) KLE0IMC5 BJS to SFO
...
Category 19: Discounts
ACCOMPANIED CHILD 2-11 - CHARGE 75 PERCENT OF THE FARE.
TICKET DESIGNATOR - CH.
MUST BE ACCOMPANIED ON ALL FLIGHTS IN SAME COMPARTMENT
BY ADULT 18 OR OLDER
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Old Apr 4, 17, 8:13 pm
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Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
Internationally they do exist even on UA as long as child is accompanied by paying adult. "companion child discount" if you wish...

...
Fare rules & restrictions
United (UA) KLE0IMC5 BJS to SFO
Interesting. I thought child fares were a thing of the past. I presume that you've found child fares ex-US, even though the fare rule above is ex-PEK. Regardless, I stand corrected.

**
Yeah, I did some digging, and it looks like in international markets, kids 2-11 get 25% discount, but not kids 12-17.

Last edited by sinoflyer; Apr 4, 17 at 8:25 pm Reason: ** added
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Old Apr 4, 17, 8:49 pm
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Originally Posted by sinoflyer View Post
Yeah, I did some digging, and it looks like in international markets, kids 2-11 get 25% discount, but not kids 12-17.
Yeah it's a hot mess. Separate rules and fares on United may apply to
(1) lap infants (free domestic, 10% of fare intl, infant ticket required, special seating consideration required due to location of extra air masks)
(2) accompanied children age 2-11 (25% discount on some fares)
(3) accompanied children ages 12-17 (no discount on some fares),
(4) unaccompanied children under age 5 (not allowed),
(5) unaccompanied children age 5-15 (UM service charge available and
required, no fare discount even if aged 5-11),
(6) people age 16-17 (generally fared as adults, UM service not required or offered, may not be treated as the companion to someone aged 5-15 to avoid UM fee)
(7) all people under age 16 (UK Air Passenger Duty is 0, normally is not 0 for United flights ex-UK)

and that's just off the top of my head.

This is why United has so many different options for traveler age (lap infant, infant under 2 with seat, children 2-4, children 5-11, children 12-15, children 16-17). Not sure if there are published senior discount fares for age 65+ pax? (United's web site claims that there may be, but I don't know if I've seen any.)

And every airline is different of course. One of my favorites is the TK rule which is embedded in most of their fare rules "TURKISH VETERAN DISCOUNT - CHARGE 60 PERCENT OF THE FARE.BASE FARE CODE PLUS MG. AUTOMATIC PRICING IS NOT AVAILIBLE [sic] FOR VETERAN DISCOUNT".
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Old Apr 4, 17, 9:41 pm
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OP here. Thanks for the input.

For child fares, yes, I've seen them exist. Certainly not domestically. International carriers seem to mostly have them, so perhaps its a choice UA makes in which markets to match it. For example, CGK I've always seen the Child fare is 75% language in the child discounts section of the rules. I think I saw 80% somewhere, as well. Checking today, after I saw some of these responses - looked at a flight to BOM which didn't have it. Then checked SFO-SIN (since I know SQ does kids at 75%) - on random dates UA gave me a W fare on the outbound, with the rules saying child fare at 75%, and a V on the inbound where it showed child fare is 100%. So it seems to vary not just by market but by specific fare, as well. So I will definitely always check with international fares.

Originally Posted by milypan View Post
IME, booking as a toddler also messes up refunds on .bomb. If I book an itinerary with two adults and a child (as opposed to three adults), I always have to call the Premier line to get the refund processed correctly.
Are you sure its the booking as a child? I've found anything can mess up .bomb. In fact, last time i did a 24-hour cancellation, just me on the reservation, got a confirmation of it but nothing about a refund. So I called and they confirmed the cancelation but that I didn't request a refund (I sure did). So she said she would do it and warned me to always call since the website doesn't work for that a lot of time.

Lap children can definitely mess things up. I once tried to add the lap child on a domestic flight with the original booking, and it didn't ticket because apparently the system gets confused since lap child domestically doesn't get a ticket (per reservation agent). Then another time I tried to book an infant to Canada, so I could get charged the taxes with the rest of the transaction, and it didn't ticket either. Another time, I booked the outbound and return, again to Canada, on a separate reservation, and the agent claimed that even though the US to Canada itinerary was no charge (taxes only apply to ex-Canada segments), they still needed a credit card to get the lap child a ticket. that was an odd one.

Guess I'll just book as a child, and see how this goes. New experience for me.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 11:31 pm
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Are you sure its the booking as a child? I've found anything can mess up .bomb.
Pretty certain. The correlation coefficient between including a child and the refund not processing corrrectly is close to 1.00, and N is not tiny.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 11:33 pm
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This thread is blowing my mind! I never even thought about reduced fares for the youngins...And I have one booked! Daughter (3 y/o) and I on the same reservation to Hawaii in paid P class. I never noticed until now that her ticket was $25 cheaper than mine!

I figure there was no difference...Sometimes I'd select her an a child, other times I'd just default to 2 adults. Surely, going forward I'm age-appropriately checking/booking hers and her younger sister's flights for the next 17 years!
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Old Apr 8, 17, 12:47 am
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I think booking as a child on a long haul (one with meal service) gets the airline to load and reserve an age appropriate meal for your youngin.
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Old Apr 8, 17, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
I think booking as a child on a long haul (one with meal service) gets the airline to load and reserve an age appropriate meal for your youngin.
This hasn't been the case when I fly with my kids in PS in the forward cabin. Same meal service, unless we place special meal request.

Also, we have experienced (as recently as January) that if the PNR gets split, then the kids are now flagged a unaccompanied minors (even on an adult ticket) and they cannot checkin in advance. It has required an agent at the airport to check them in when flying with the parent(s)
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Old Apr 8, 17, 4:18 pm
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Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
I think booking as a child on a long haul (one with meal service) gets the airline to load and reserve an age appropriate meal for your youngin.
possibly but dont count on that - follow up with special meal request if important
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