My kids have been on an airplane about once a year since they’ve been born. They are now four and seven. I always purchased an airline seat for my kids when they were younger than two. It just didn’t make sense to me – all the other passengers are required to buckle up so why wouldn’t I buckle up my baby in a car seat while flying. Plus I love my kids, but I would rather not have to hold them the duration of the flight.
Even though we’ve always paid for a seat on an airplane, I’ve always brought my kids birth certificates. I figure they don’t take up much space and who knows if you’ll need to prove the kids age to anyone. Once some friends of ours called us because they were at the airport and flying with their one year old. They did not bring the birth certificate and the airline required it for lap babies. They were eventually able to obtain some identification for the baby but it was a frustrating experience for them.
I know that Southwest requires documentation for any one under the age of two not flying in their own seat. I’m not sure what other airlines policies are. Even if you are not flying on an airline that requires you to be able to prove your child’s age there is a possibility that you could end up on an airline that requires the documentation. What happens if there is a problem with your original flight and you are put on another airline? That airline might need that information. I’m not sure – but in my opinion it is better to be safe than sorry.
I still travel with my kids birth certificates even though they are over the age of two. I’ve just gotten in the habit of doing it. If I consistently do it, then when they reach that magic age when they do require documentation then I will have that documentation on me.