Guide to Flying United With Kids 2023

United Airlines is a popular airline for families with kids to use for a Disneyland or Walt Disney World trip. Flying United with kids is a seamless experience that is just one aspect of the airline’s commitment to delivering when you fly the “friendly skies”.

While delivering on a high-quality of service with the newest layers of technology United Airlines offers reasonable prices for flights while also still maintaining reliable service that many families prioritize. United Airlines flies to almost all the airports near both major US Disney Parks so families should know how to best navigate their policies when using United with kids.

Keep reading for our full overview of flying United with kids including United’s family boarding procedure, bag policies, and other good tips for traveling with children.

Flying United With Kids For a Savings

United Flying with Kids

United Airlines is one of the major airlines in the United States and a member of the Star Alliance. The airline offers fairly priced tickets in a range of options from Basic Economy to First Class. Throughout they make an effort to deliver a solid experience for kids and their parents. Though the airline has a strong business travel focus, they have leaned into servicing the whole family with the offerings and support for kids and families detailed below. Making sure that United is a great place for children has become an even higher priority with the decrease in business travel since the COVID lockdowns.

The company has accelerated out of COVID with some of the best service in the sky and their MileagePlus loyalty program is the top rated airline loyalty program among airlines. They have also made a sizeable investment in their mobile app and are the clear leaders in consumer technology among the airlines.

United is often the best option for flights in the US with pricing that even beats the pricing of some of the budget airlines that offer far worse customer service – looking at you Frontier and Spirit Airlines.

Flying United With Kids to Walt Disney World or Disneyland

United Airlines flies to most airports near Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

For Disneyland, the airline flies into:

  1. SNA John Wayne Orange County Airport
  2. LAX – Los Angeles International Airport
  3. Burbank International Airport
  4. Ontario International Airport

United Airlines does not fly into Long Beach Airport.

For Walt Disney World, the airline flies into:

  1. MCO Orlando Airport

United Airlines does not fly into the Orlando Sanford Airport.

If you are flying United with kids to travel to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, any place you can save money is helpful so picking an affordable airline is always a good choice.

How Do You Sit Together Flying United with Kids?

picking seating options for united

United Airlines recently implemented a new policy to allow parents or other adults traveling with children younger than 12 to be assigned two adjacent seats for no additional cost along with the option to upgrade to a preferred seat at the time of booking for a fee. This is a great option to take advantage of especially since it’s at no additional cost.

If for some reason there aren’t two seats next to each other, you will be able to change your flight at no additional charge. This policy change was implemented in response to the pushback airlines have received recently with the fees charged so families could sit together. Now you can be assured you can sit next to your kids without paying an additional fee for seats as you did previously.

If you are traveling with teens older than 12 and want to make sure you sit together then the best way is to pay for everyone’s individual seating assignment. Otherwise, you will have to pick from whatever is left and there’s a chance you will not be seated together. If you want to guarantee your family sits together, you need to purchase advance seats.

United with Kids Lap Children

Children age two and under can fly for free if they sit on your lap but you will need to select ‘infant on lap’ when you purchase your tickets so United knows in advance. There can only be one infant on a lap per adult on each reservation. You may be asked to provide a birth certificate to prove your child is under two so it’s good practice to bring a copy just in case.

Flying with Infants on United

You can request hot water at any time from a flight attendant to warm bottles and they will also bring you ice if you need to keep milk or formula cold. United will not hold formula for you in their onboard refrigerators.

If you are flying on select international flights in United Polaris business class or in Economy, bassinets can be requested if you contact United in advance of your flight.

United Airlines With Kids Car Seat/Stroller Policy

If you are flying with a car seat and stroller you are able to bring them for free if you’re traveling United with kids. Large or non-collapsible strollers and non-folding wagons have to be checked at the ticket counter and picked up at the gate at your destination.

You have the option of using the car seat on the plane if you like too, just follow the instructions and guidance from the flight attendant when you board.

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United Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Program

United Airlines with Kids

United Airlines has an Unaccompanied Minor Program for kids that need to travel alone. Though Southwest charges $150 each way, United Airlines only charges for children aged 5-14 years old. Kids aged 15 and up can travel for free without paying for this service.

Once your kids get to the arrival airport, they should wait on the plane for an agent to come to get them. They will then bring your kids to the person picking them up, whether it’s you or someone else.

The cost does increase if you need this service for more than two kids traveling at the same time so keep that in mind.

United with Kids Family Boarding

United Airlines allows pre-boarding for families traveling with children under two years old. The gate agent will announce when it’s time for family pre-boarding. This gives you more time especially if you need to wrangle a foldable stroller or set up your car seat on the plane.

If you are setting up a car seat on the plane for your child, United requires that they are seated in a non-exit row window seat.

United With Kids Airlines Snacks

Non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary on all flights including soda, juice, coffee, and tea. Snacks are pretty limited but if you’re in a pinch there are Pringles and snack boxes you can purchase with hummus, salami, crackers, etc. On longer flights United may also offer hardier food including a burger, a couscous salad, sandwiches, and more.

United recently brought back kids meals on flights greater than 2,000 miles, in cabins where complimentary meal service is offered. These kids meals include kid-friendly breakfast and lunch/dinner options.

Since United Airlines’ menu is limited then it’s helpful to pack enough snacks before you board the plane to keep your kids happy. My rule of thumb, when I started first traveling with my son when he was young, was to buy him enough snacks to keep him occupied. Let them go to the store with you to pick out their airplane snacks and let them pick a few treats that you normally don’t buy. If they’re old enough to chew gum, that can also be helpful as the plane is descending and landing to help their ears from popping.

United Free Kid Travel Kit

travel kit united

United Airlines also offers a free Children’s Travel Kit with an activity book, crayons, and a toy. Ask your flight attendant to see if any are available on your flight. Getting something like this is always exciting for first-time flyers and may help calm some nerves.

Be sure to also say hello to the pilot at the front of the airplane who may have gold wings for your child.

United Airlines Bag Policy

United Airlines charges $35 or $40 per checked bag unless you purchase add-ons that include free checked bags or purchase a higher-level ticket with bags included. Certain levels of the MileagePlus program also include free checked bags.

You can bring one carry-on bag and one personal item for free on most domestic and international flights. This is handy as traveling with children often means you’re carrying a lot of bags with you!

Will United Airlines seat families together?

United Airlines allows preboarding for families with children ages two and under. You also get to select a seat next to yours for no additional charge if you are traveling with children 12 and under.

United with Kids

Does United seat children with parents?

Not necessarily, it’s the parent’s responsibility to ensure you are seated together by taking advantage of the policy to seat parents and children together or by selecting advance seats for teens 13 and up when you purchase your tickets. You can wing it and see if you can get enough seats together without purchasing a seat but that’s a gamble. Often the leftover seats will be middle ones that are not grouped together.

What do children need to fly United Airlines?

Children under 18 do not need an ID to fly. If you are traveling with an infant that will sit on your lap, it can be good practice to bring a copy of their birth certificate.

Does United charge for car seats?

No, there is no additional charge for car seats when flying United Airlines.

That’s everything you need to know when you’re flying United with kids, preparing in advance will make your trip smoother for your entire family.

Ready to Plan Your Trip to Disneyland?

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About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the content director of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and Disney Dose- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Visit Anaheim, Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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