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Confused about "free" flights for under-2s

(19 Posts)
InTheZenGarden Sun 23-Aug-09 10:14:42


Planning our first holiday abroad with DD, who will be 19 months when we go (November)

After some deliberation between Mauritius and South Africa, we have decided on SA - garden route

Just been looking at flights, at a couple of sites so far, and both Travelbag and BMI would charge for DD's flight - £500 at least!! And when I was looking at Mauritius package holidays (still a contender!), she would have been charged too

I thought under-2s went free? Or am I completely misguided in that belief?

Are there certain companies I should be looking at?

We would normally book flights and accom separately, but should we do a package deal to get the best prices?

Many thanks - and if anyone wants to recommend anywhere we must go, that would be much appreciated too

elvislives Sun 23-Aug-09 10:20:30

Although 2 yos don't pay for a seat they are charged taxes and a nominal fare. They aren't actually free.

tvfriend Sun 23-Aug-09 10:46:20

If they're quoting £500 I'm guessing you are booking a seat. An 'infant' is around £120 ish for Mauritius etc (I have been looking at the same sort of places recently).

FuckOffDailyMail Sun 23-Aug-09 10:52:51

Als elvislives has siad, there is a nominal fare charge plus taxes, but only if you have them on your knee for the flight. If you want them to have a separate seat, then you'll have to pay full child's fare.

RubyBlueberry Sun 23-Aug-09 10:55:56

Yep. Am a travel agent and if you are being charged more than about £120 your DD is being charged as a child, not an infant... though the upside is that she can take just as much hold luggage and hand baggage as you, plus pushchair (and possibly car seat too depending on airline)
Emirates have good rates ATM to go to Mauritius smile

mosschops30 Sun 23-Aug-09 11:01:02

Am baffled that you would want to go that distance with a 19 month old shock

That aside, under 2's never go 'free' there is usually a nominal charge, plus taxes. They should let you take the pushchair but any other baggage is rarely allowed for an infant (although suprisingly some holiday airlines are allowing 10kg next year for infants)

mosschops30 Sun 23-Aug-09 11:02:21

Oh and as a former travel agent, I would recommend buying your flights from someone like ebookers or trailfinders, as its often cheaper than buying direct from the airline. Accom you can book yourself

RubyBlueberry Sun 23-Aug-09 11:03:53

Just not expedia LOL - the price you see ain't the price you pay!!

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 23-Aug-09 11:06:38

We paid something like £25 for DDs ticket, then £170+ for insurances to USA. In USA itself she travelled across country for free but not into or out of the country.

We were allowed to take one piece of hand luggage for her as well as our own hand luggage allowances, plus a pushchair AND a car seat. Not sure about any other luggage, cannot remember as we just took one bag for us and one for DD.

That was flying with BA, Virgin and United Airlines, so should think it would not be too different with others.

mosschops30 Sun 23-Aug-09 12:44:17

yes ruby agree about the epedia thing - you'll also end up changing in about 5 different destinations grin

InTheZenGarden Sun 23-Aug-09 16:35:17

Thanks everyone

Mosschops - I understand your shock! We are quite [gulp] about it, and it only actually seriously crossed our minds last night.

Our holidays with DD to date have been Cornwall, Cornwall and, umm, Cornwall grin Never been brave enough to go abroad. But DH has been working like crazy all summer, will do until November, and is then in desperate need of a holiday. Going to take 3, maybe 4, weeks off, so thought a longhaul flight would be worth it if we could have that long a holiday

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 23-Aug-09 17:02:43

Under 2s will end up paying a nominal fare plus taxes for travel.

BTW November is the start of the cyclone season in Mauritius (this normally runs from November till May).

Foreign Office carries up to date travel advice.

InTheZenGarden Sun 23-Aug-09 17:16:09

Thanks Attila - we are now looking at South Africa more than Mauritius......

annamama Sun 23-Aug-09 17:24:34

We've never paid child fare for DD 16 months, but always been lucky enough to get a spare seat for her, usually together. As long as there's one spare seat on the plane, you or your DH go and sit there then you and DD have a seat each! Save the money while you still can...

Package holidays sometimes don't have the infant option online I've noticed, only child. So you might not be able to book online with some companies. We've never been charged extra for a hotel for DD.

Mauritius is lovely, people are so friendly and love children. But I'm sure SA is nice too. Oh and longhaul flight isn't too bad. Just take some toys, books, snacks etc.

Rebeccaj Mon 24-Aug-09 17:41:58

I think when we took ours to Sydney/Caribbean at under 2, BA/Virgin charged about 10% of the adult price then taxes.

South Africa is lovely - we went on Honeymoon to Cape Town/Garden Route/Kruger. And bonus of no jet lag!

Rebeccaj Mon 24-Aug-09 17:42:40

I think when we took ours to Sydney/Caribbean at under 2, BA/Virgin charged about 10% of the adult price then taxes.

South Africa is lovely - we went on Honeymoon to Cape Town/Garden Route/Kruger. And bonus of no jet lag!

squeaver Mon 24-Aug-09 17:49:27

My dd was 15 months when we first took her long haul. It's really not a problem and SA is a good idea because no jet-lag. Try to stop at Hermanus on the garden route - beautiful place and some very nice places to stay.

mumoverseas Mon 24-Aug-09 17:54:35

don't get anything for free anymore sad
last year and year before we went to Florida when DD was under 2 and paid around £500 for the privilage of her sitting on our lap. Apparently it was all 'taxes and nominal charges'. We were business class but even so, £500 to sit on our laps and not get a meal hmm

InTheZenGarden Mon 24-Aug-09 18:37:02

Thanks everyone

Have totally fallen in love with the idea of SA and the garden route. So am gutted to see that it's going to costs us £1500 or so just for flights.... that's way more than I was expecting

Hope we can find some cheap self-catering accom, or it might be Cornwall again

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