Does a Lap Infant Get a Personal Item/Carry On? (By Airline)

If you’re flying with your baby as a lap infant, you may be wondering whether or not their diaper bag counts as one of your carry-on items. Most major airlines will allow ticketed passengers one carry-on and one personal item — but what about lap babies? After doing many flights with my own little lap baby, and a LOT of research on the policies of the major airlines, here’s what I’ve found:

A lap infant is allowed one personal item (such as a diaper bag) in addition to the accompanying adult’s own personal item and carry-on bag, in the case of most major airlines. The table below explains exactly which airlines allow an additional personal item/carry-on for your lap infant.

I scoured the websites and policies of the airlines listed below, and in some cases reached out to their customer service directly because their policies were not listed (or not listed clearly) on their websites. Hopefully this information can help you (and me!) better plan our packing strategy for our next flights.

*CHECKED items (also called HOLD baggage) for lap infants: For lap infants (who don’t pay for a ticket/don’t pay full price for a ticket), don’t expect to be able to check a bag for them free of charge. However, most major airlines will allow you to check (or gate check right before you board) a car seat and stroller for free.

AirlineDoes a Lap Infant Get a Personal Item/Carry-on?
American AirlinesAmerican Airlines allows one carry-on diaper bag per child. (Source)
Delta AirlinesDelta Airlines allows one carry-on bag per child or infant. (Source)
United AirlinesOn United Airlines, you are allowed to bring a diaper bag, breast pump and milk, government-approved child seat (infant carrying seat or car seat), compact folding stroller that meets United’s size guidelines for carry-on bags (9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches or 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches) (Source)
Air CanadaOn Air Canada, one personal item is allowed for infants.

(Source: reached out to Air Canada directly, screenshot is below)
Southwest AirlinesSouthwest Airlines allows one bag “containing a breast pump and/or breast milk” in addition to the standard carry-on limit of one bag plus one small, personal item. (Source)

Therefore, it seems that you can carry an extra personal item for your baby if you are breastfeeding and one of the bags contains a breast pump or breast milk.
Alaska AirlinesAlaska Airlines does not allow a personal item for babies traveling as lap infants.

As stated on their website: “When traveling with a lap infant, a diaper bag will count toward the standard carry-on limit of the ticketed adult passenger. Lap infants are not entitled to their own carry-on allowance.” (Source)
JetBlue AirwaysJetBlue allows one diaper bag for lap infants, in addition to a permitted carry-on and personal item. (Source)
Spirit AirlinesSpirit Airlines allows lap infants to bring one diaper bag in addition to your carry-on and personal item.

(Source: reached out to Spirit Airlines directly, screenshots are below).
WestJetWestJet does not seem to have a clear policy regarding an extra personal item for a lap infant.

I chatted with their live bot but it did not provide any clarity in this matter.
LufthansaLufthansa allows all children, ticketed or not, one free carry-on bag up to a maximum of 23 kg and 158 cm (width + height + depth). (Source)
Frontier AirlinesFrontier Airlines allows one free personal item for every adult and child. A diaper bag can be counted as a personal item for a child (any additional carry-on bags will cost a fee). (Source)
VolarisVolaris does not allow an additional personal item for lap infants without the purchase of their “baby combo.”(Source)
Hawaiian AirlinesOn Hawaiian Airlines, lap infants are not allowed a personal item or carry-on. (Source)
Air France/KLMOn Air France/KLM, an infant is allowed a personal item/carry-on “up to 12 kg / 26.4 lb and whose dimensions do not exceed 55 cm x 35 cm x 25 cm / 21 in x 13 in x 9 in.” (Source)
This table includes information from the major airlines in North America and Europe.

Does a Diaper Bag Count as a Personal Item for a Lap Infant?

A diaper bag does not count as your personal item (or carry-on bag) for a lap infant, in the case of most major airlines. Most airlines allow lap infants their own personal item or carry-on, in the form of a diaper bag, soft cooler with breast milk, breast pump bag, or other similar infant items.

The policy will vary by airline, so please check the above table carefully or reach out directly to the airline that you’ll be flying with.

My son and I getting ready to board our plane!

I also recommend carefully reviewing the TSA website’s policy on babies and allowable liquids — and then printing it out and having it handy to show the TSA workers at security if necessary.

Unfortunately, there have been many accounts of moms who have had to dump out their allowable liquids at security because the workers were misinformed about their own policies.

How to Ask Airlines About Your Lap Infant’s Personal Item/Carry-On Allowance

Some airlines will make their policies regarding baggage a bit murky on their websites. I think this may be by design, in order to keep things as changeable as possible for them.

If the policy isn’t clear and in writing, it’s easier for them to change it whenever they want to. But if you want a clear answer, you can always reach out to the airlines directly via social media.

I’ve messaged many airlines on Facebook messenger. Some of them also have live chats on their websites (like Spirit) that you can use as well.

And I’ve heard that many of them respond to tweets. If you don’t want to spend hours on the phone on hold, give the social media messenging route a go!

My husband and my son with our carry-on items (one bag for each of us + a diaper bag) – Flying with Air Canada recently

Does a Lap Infant Get a Checked Bag?

A lap infant is not allowed a checked bag, in the case of most major airlines. However, most airlines will allow you to check (or gate check) your stroller and car seat free of charge.

In our 14 flights (and counting) with our lap baby on many different airlines, we’ve never yet had free checked baggage allowance for our baby — but we’ve also never had to pay to check our stroller or car seat.

Make sure and reach out to the airline you’ll be flying with directly before heading to the airport if you have any concerns about what you can and can’t check for free.

Additional Sources: Screenshots from Airline Representatives

Below you’ll find the screenshots that I kept from Spirit Airlines and Air Canada regarding their lap infant carry-on/personal item allowance, because I didn’t find the information written clearly on their websites.

I thought these might be useful for others who need some “proof” when boarding flights with these airlines — just in case!

Or you can always reach out to them yourself, on Spirit Airline’s live chat feature on their website and on Air Canada’s Facebook messenger.

Spirit Airlines Live Chat (1)
Spirit Airlines Live Chat (2)
Air Canada FB Messenger Chat


Brittany is a Wayfaring Human who loves to adventure with her husband and son. When she's not having adventures, she's taking pictures of them and writing about them.

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