In a move that has sparked debate, Jetstar has introduced a fee for babies travelling on their parent’s lap.
The new fees, a $30 surcharge for domestic and $50 for international journeys, were introduced yesterday. They apply to all children aged under two being carried by an adult. The surcharges are per flight and will apply to future bookings only, with existing bookings unaffected.
Whilst parents are up in arms over being charged to hold their own little person (and let’s be honest, there’s nothing fun about flying with a baby!) the airline has offered a reason for the change. That fee? It means you can bring all the baby gear you need – without additional cost.
A Jetstar spokesman said the new fees allowed for up to four oversized infant items such as a stroller, pram, highchair and portable cot to be loaded as luggage. They noted this is a bonus not offered by other airlines.
“Like other oversized items, there is additional manual handling and equipment required for oversized infant items like prams,” he said.
So, while other airlines might let your little one onboard for free, you could still be stung with excessive baggage charges to bring all that gear on board.
Belinda Jennings of the Mum Central Network comments, ‘I understand how people feel frustrated when a new charge is introduced. The reality however, is that it’s relatively inexpensive for what you’re getting…
Up to 4 pieces of baby’s bulky gear for only $30 is not unreasonable in my opinion. Car seats, portable cots, high chairs and prams are all large items. These can require additional handling outside of the standard luggage handling process. Plus, $30 is much cheaper than the equivalent excess baggage right? If it’s the difference between having a pram on holidays or not? Well, that’s priceless!’
Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand charge passengers an extra 10 per cent on top of their full fare to carry a baby on international flights. It is free to bring a baby on Qantas and Virgin domestic services.
Some parents have argued the fee should not apply to them because they will fly without any of the bulky items allowed for. The logic however still applies that any extra person (big or small!) on board still has luggage that would not be on board if the person was not.
Whatever you decide, here’s to safe flying and a baby that sleeps the entire trip!