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Flying Delta Airlines with a Baby or Toddler

Flying Delta Airlines with a Baby or Toddler

Delta Airlines is our preferred airline when flying with our kids around the US and occasionally internationally as well if schedule and prices allow it.

While Delta doesn’t provide anything extraordinary, the biggest perk of flying Delta is that you can change your schedule or even a destination last minute – by simply clicking online. No need to hold onto the phone for hours waiting for a representative with your kids getting frustrated (looking at your American Airlines) – it’s easy and simple!

It’s something we had to do on various occassions and might be crucial when kids get sick or something else happens.

Delta Flying with Infant

Delta accepts newborns as young as 7 days old however if your baby is even younger, you can still fly as long as you have a doctor’s note of approval. 

For infants under 2 years old, standard U.S rules apply on domestic flights which means they can fly for free while sitting on your lap. Alternatively, Delta offers a limited number of bassinets (called SkyCots) on each flight, or if you prefer them to travel in an infant car seat you can choose to pay for a child’s seat for your baby. 

SUPER IMPORTANT: Nobody talks about it, but if you’re flying with two parents and two children under 2 years old (whether twins or siblings), Delta won’t let you sit next to each in the same row on one side unless one baby is in a car seat sitting on its own.

If you manage to book your seats and then add your infants at the gate you will be reseated! It’s due to the availability of air masks in a row, so you will need to either sit next to each other separated by the aisle, or behind each other.

Infant food on Delta 

Some long-haul flights offer baby food for kids under 1 year old but it must be requested more than 24 hours in advance by putting a special request with your booking or contacting reservations.

Bottle warmers are also sometimes available for use, but I wouldn’t rely solely on this option unless you have confirmed it directly with Delta before your flight. Since Delta doesn’t have too many baby facilities below, it might be a good idea to bring some travel baby gadgets like a portable bottle warmer if you are traveling for long trips. You are also free to breastfeed your little one onboard at any time. 

Delta Lap Infant

Flying with a lap infant on Delta is pretty flexible. You can add a ticket for your infant in arms on Delta when booking your flights online, or also at the check-in counter when you arrive at the airport if you didn’t have a chance to do it earlier (only if flying domestic though!).

To add an infant in arms ticket, you will need to open the “special service requests” section of your booking and click “request Infant in Arms” for the flight. 

Any children under 2 years old can fly for free on your lap with Delta inside the U.S. but reduced charges may apply for some international destinations depending on your flight path (generally about 10% of the adult ticket price). 

If you are flying alone or with more than one infant per adult, you will need to book a full-priced ticket and bring a car seat or harness so one of your children can sit in their own seat. 

Baby Facilities on Delta

Some lavatories on Delta flights have changing tables while others do not. Often, only certain bathrooms at the front and back of the plane will have a changing table so it’s worth asking the staff which lavatory is best for this when boarding. 

Delta Car Seat Policy

Any child under 2 years old who is traveling in their own seat must have an approved car seat to fly on Delta. 

When picking your seats, it’s important to know that kids under 2 years old can’t sit in seats that have airbag seat belts and car seats are not compatible with flatbed seats. 

Car seats are best installed in window seats as they cannot be between any other passengers and the aisle. They also cannot be placed in emergency exit rows or bulkhead seats on most planes. 

You can easily bring your car seat to the gate when flying Delta if you want to enquire about any available free seats for your infant.

Accepted Car Seats on Delta

Certain car seats can be used onboard Delta flights for children of all ages, as long as they are FAA-approved and installed correctly, however, booster seats of any kind are prohibited.

As long as your car seat meets FAA-approved child safety seat specifications it can be used on Delta flights within the U.S. 

That being said, many American car seats cannot be used outside of the USA so it’s important to read the regulations for your destination and all airlines thoroughly. Otherwise bringing your own car seat might be a big hassle for nothing. 

I have lots of experience traveling with and without a car seat for my boys all around the world, so check out this post for more tips to help you decide if it’s worth it for your trip. 

Note that vest and harness-type restraints other than “CARES harness” are not allowed on Delta flights and all car seats must have a label showing the seat is approved for air travel by a recognized organization such as foreign governments or manufacturers that comply with UN standards.

Baggage Allowance for Babies and Kids on Delta

The Delta baby policy doesn’t allow you to bring any additional luggage for your baby if they are booked as a lap infant. Their luggage should be included in your personal allowance. 

However, for all ticketed children with an assigned seat, you can bring one checked bag up to 20 lbs (10 kg) and a collapsible stroller (checked). 

Any other toddler items such as portable cribs and playpens will count as part of your checked baggage allowance.

Bassinet on Delta

Bassinets (called SkyCots on Delta) give you another great option for seating babies up to ​​20 lbs (9kg)/ 26 inches (66cm) in length.

While they are free to use, generally there are just two SkyCots available per flight as they must be installed in the bulkhead seats. 

What’s more, you are not eligible to use a SkyCot if you have already purchased a seat for your infant, it is only available to lap babies. 

How to reserve a SkyCot on Delta

You can request a SkyCot in advance by contacting Delta Reservations or simply as the gate agent before boarding. However, as there is such limited availability, it’s not guaranteed that you will receive a bassinet. 

They generally prioritize the youngest babies first but in the situation where there is more than one baby of the same age, it will be first come first served.  

Since the SkyCots are generally only available in the bulkhead rows, it’s important to consider all your seating arrangements if you are flying with other young children as most car seats cannot be used in the same rows as SkyCots. 

Delta Stroller Policy

As I already mentioned, if you are traveling with a child you can check a folding stroller for free in addition to your regular luggage that goes in the plane’s hold. 

However, Delta’s gate-check policy is also quite generous and also allows you to check both your stroller and car seat at the gate if you prefer. 

Delta did break my stroller on two occassions, but both times I had zero issues when filing a claim with them.

Since we got our airline stroller Delta never forced us to gate-check it and we had it in the overhead bin.

Gate-checking Baby Items

Delta allows you to bring several additional baby items on board in addition to your personal cabin bag free of charge

You can bring: 

  • Strollers 
  • Car seats
  • Breast pump & cooler bag 
  • Booster seat/infant seat (booster seat can’t be used onboard).

Flying with a Toddler on Delta (Over 2 Years Old)

Children over 2 years old must have their own pre-purchased ticket which entitles them to their own seat onboard as well as a 20 lbs (10 kg) checked bag. 

Delta also tries to seat families together wherever possible so if you don’t see enough available seats together while booking, you can contact customer service to find a solution.

When we had to switch to a different plane last minute which caused our seat selection to reset everyone – gate agents and flight attendants were understanding and sorted it out.

One thing I will mention is that seat reservations aren’t necessarily guaranteed on Delta it seems like. On our super long flight to South Africa from the US (16h) I picked the seats almost 6 months in advance and I repetitively kept checking on them as I was wondering if there were any spare seats even a few hours before departure.

Imagine my surprise when I boarded the plane, sat in our seats, and then found out that we somehow lost the window seat I booked for my toddler and we got separated (without anyone telling us and our boarding passes stating we still had our seats!) until another passenger arrived claiming we were in her seat. Flight attendants sorted it out and we only got split by a row, but still… it seemed crazy.

Another time we boarded Delta plane with a baby to find out that we got switched to bulkhead bassinet seats as a favor supposedly, which I wasn’t a fan of but more importantly we weren’t legally allowed to be there as we had our cat with us and pets cannot sit in bulkhead row seats – which again, caused flight attendants to go back to the gate to sort our seats out and switch us.

Kids Meal Options on Delta

There are several kids’ meals available on Delta that have been designed to satisfy both the dietary interests of youngsters and their nutritional needs. 

You can book a kid’s meal online in advance through the “special meals” option when managing your booking. 

Are Airplane Beds for Baby or Toddler Allowed?

Delta allows the Jet Kids BedBox ride-on suitcase, Plane Pal, and Fly Tot onboard which means it should be okay to bring other similar airplane beds on your flight. However, it’s always best to check directly with Delta customer service in advance to be sure. 

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