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The Ultimate Guide To Flying Alaska Airlines With Kids [2024]

Ashley Onadele's image
Ashley Onadele
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Ashley Onadele

Senior Content Contributor

116 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 15U.S. States Visited: 10

Ashley discovered a love for travel in college that’s continued as her family has grown. She loves showing parents how they can take their families on trips using points and has contributed to numerou...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

32 Published Articles 3109 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 45U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Alaska Airlines is a Seattle-based airline often rated one of the best family-friendly U.S. airlines. The airline’s hubs are located along the West Coast and Anchorage, Alaska, making it ideal for West Coast travelers.

Families can enjoy a comfortable travel experience and a straightforward booking process thanks to Alaska’s full-service model. Here’s what you can expect when you fly Alaska Airlines with kids.

Where Alaska Airlines Flies

Alaska Airlines operates from 5 hub cities: Anchorage (ANC), Los Angeles (LAX), Portland (PDX), San Francisco (SFO), and Seattle (SEA).

As a Oneworld alliance airline, partners include American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, and more, thus expanding the number of routes available when booking directly with cash or redeeming Mileage Plan miles.

Mileage Plan Loyalty Program

Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan was one of the most valuable programs for earning airline miles. After some award chart changes, it’s no longer the most cost-effective way to redeem miles for places like Asia, but it still has worthwhile redemption rates. One sweet spot in its system is the ability to schedule a 14-day stopover on one-way international flights.

Elite Status

To earn elite status with Alaska Airlines, you must accumulate a minimum number of elite qualifying miles (EQMs) by flying with Alaska Airlines, Oneworld, or global partners.

MVP is the lowest Alaska Airlines status level, requiring just 20,000 EQMs. MVP Gold is earned after 40,000 EQMs, and MVP Gold 75K after 75,000 EQMs. The highest status is MVP Gold 100K, which requires — you guessed it — 100,000 EQMs.

In addition to flying, you can earn EQMs to get you closer to status by spending on an Alaska Airlines co-branded credit card. For every $10,000 spent on an Alaska Airlines card, you’ll earn 4,000 EQMs, up to 20,000 EQMs per year.

Hot Tip:

Status is earned each calendar year and is valid for the remainder of that year and the following year.

Elite status on Alaska Airlines comes with standard perks such as priority boarding and upgrade eligibility to first and premium class. MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K status holders also get international upgrade certificates and 4 Alaska Lounge day passes per year.

A unique perk of holding Alaska Airlines elite status unique to families is Elite Leave. This program extends your status for another year when you’re pregnant or on parental leave. The assumption is that you won’t travel as much during this time, and the airline doesn’t want you to miss out on all those perks.

Alaska Lounges

There are 9 Alaska Lounges, all located domestically. Access to Alaska Lounges is limited to those with an Alaska Lounge membership or those traveling in first class on an Alaska-operated flight. To get into the lounge when flying first class, your ticket can be paid in cash or miles, and you must be traveling more than 2,100 miles on the day of travel to Hawaii or an international long-haul flight.

Alaska Lounge pancake printer
Kids will enjoy the Alaska Lounge pancake printer. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

There are 2 types of Alaska Lounge memberships. Alaska Lounge, which costs $500 annually, grants access for yourself and your immediate family members or 2 guests to Alaska Lounges only. Alaska Lounge+ grants the same access for $750 for yourself, immediate family, or 2 guests and also includes almost all 90 of the airline’s partner lounges (such as those from Qantas).

Each membership is valid for 1 year. Eligible Alaska Airlines personal and business credit cards offer $100 off the Alaska Lounge+ membership.

How To Book Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines flights can be booked directly on the airline’s website, mobile app, and through select partners. You can use cash or Mileage Plan miles to book your and your family’s flight. Alaska Airlines flights can also be redeemed with American Airlines AAdvantage miles and British Airways Avios on those airlines’ prospective websites and mobile apps.

Flying With Kids on Alaska Airlines

Alaska does a good job of keeping parents and children on the same reservation seated together. The airline even offers a kids’ meal for purchase online. It does not provide kids’ amenities, but free entertainment and texting are available onboard.

Flying With a Lap Child

When flying with a lap infant, you can add them directly to your reservation when searching for flights. You’ll enter your child’s name, gender, and date of birth before choosing your seat. There is no age minimum for infants flying on Alaska Airlines. Note that lap infants are not entitled to their own carry-on, and a diaper bag will be considered the adult passenger’s carry-on.

If you need to add your lap infant after you’ve booked your flight, you can add your infant by calling 800-252-7522.

Adding a lap infant online or over the phone is free when flying Alaska Airlines. However, if flying on a partner airline and booking through alaskaair.com or via reservations, you must purchase an adult fare. International taxes apply to select international locations as well.

Priority Boarding for Families

Alaska Airlines family in economy
Alaska Airlines does its best to seat families together, especially on the same reservation. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has 8 boarding groups. Families traveling with children younger than 2 can board during preboarding, the first group to board.

Guests with disabilities and active military personnel also board during preboarding. The following 4 boarding groups are reserved for Mileage Plan elite status holders and Alaska Airlines credit card holders. The final groups to board are those in Main seats and Saver seats.

Hot Tip:

If you fly Alaska Airlines often, you can board sooner than Main and Saver seats if you earn status or hold an eligible credit card. Boarding early with young children allows you to settle in before what could be a hectic travel experience.

Unaccompanied Minors

Alaska Airlines’s unaccompanied minors program is called Junior Jetsetters. It is available for children ages 5 to 17 on both domestic and international flights. The service is optional for children 13 to 17.

Children aged 5 to 7 can only fly as Junior Jetsetters on nonstop flights. Regardless of age, travel cannot begin between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. For those between 8 and 17 years old participating in the program, there cannot be a connection on the last flight of the day unless there are no other alternatives, and layovers cannot be more than 2 hours long.

The Junior Jetsetter fee is $50 per child each way for nonstop flights and $75 per child each way for connecting flights.

Seating

Alaska Airlines will seat children 13 and younger with at least 1 accompanying adult under certain conditions. A last-minute equipment change or the fact that your child is on a different record locator than you may affect your ability to sit next to your child.

The airline notes that if you are traveling as a family but assigned different boarding groups, you may board with the person with the highest boarding group.

Snacks and Beverage Service

Alaska Airlines mom son meal
The Jetsetter’s Jam Sandwich is available on board and for preorder. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines flights offer complimentary snacks and beverages when the flight is over 350 miles. Drink options include juice, coffee, tea, and soda. Snack options usually include pretzel twists or other popular packaged snacks.

Alcoholic drinks are available for purchase in the Main class and are complimentary in the Premium class.

Snacks and meals available for purchase include a Mediterranean Tapas Picnic Pack, a fruit and cheese platter, and a Kid’s Choice Picnic Pack. The kids’ meal, available on most flights over 775 miles, comes with cheese puffs, applesauce, a granola bar, and a Wikki Stix Play Pack.

Onboard Amenities

There aren’t any family- or child-specific amenities onboard Alaska Airlines flights unless you purchase the Kid’s Choice Picnic Pack. However, all passengers can enjoy free texting, and T-Mobile customers can enjoy free Wi-Fi. The availability of free Wi-Fi depends on your wireless plan.

Wi-Fi can be purchased for everyone else at $8 on most flights.

Inflight Entertainment

Alaska Airlines economy mom daughter
Stream kid-friendly favorites from your own device. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines offers free inflight entertainment. The airline boasts access to over 800 TV shows and movies from partners such as HGTV and Food Network. Entertainment can also be streamed on your own device when in airplane mode and connected to AlaskaWiFi.com.

Alaska Airlines Credit Cards

Alaska Airlines has just 2 credit cards, 1 personal and 1 business, each with Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card earns 3x miles per dollar and gives cardholders perks like a free checked bag and priority boarding. If you also have an eligible Bank of America account, you can receive a 10% rewards bonus on all miles earned on the card. Inflight purchases with your Alaska Signature card are 20% off, and you can get $100 off an Alaska Lounge+ membership. The annual fee is $95.

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card comes with the same perks as the Alaska Signature card but with an annual fee of $70. Each additional card is $25 per year.

The most valuable perk of holding either of these cards is Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare, hands down. The companion fare allows you to book a ticket for $99 plus taxes and fees from $23. The companion fare can be applied to a booking made on alaskaair.com for 2 people traveling on the same itinerary, traveling together, ticketed simultaneously, and flying Alaska Airlines-operated flights only. This perk alone could save families hundreds of dollars when traveling on Alaska Airlines.

Final Thoughts

Alaska Airlines is a comfortable airline serving mostly the West Coast of the U.S. Since it joined Oneworld, its customers can take advantage of an expanded route network on airlines such as American Airlines and British Airways. For families, entertainment, kids’ meals for purchase, and a family seating policy make it a great airline to fly with a young family. But the potential game changer when flying Alaska Airlines as a family is taking advantage of Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare.

The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do kids need to fly Alaska Airlines?

To fly on Alaska Airlines, proof of age, such as a birth certificate or passport, may be required at check-in. Having proof of ID when traveling as an unaccompanied minor is a good idea.

Do families sit together on Alaska Airlines?

It depends. Alaska Airlines tries to seat children 13 and under with 1 adult. Some factors might prevent this, such as a last-minute equipment swap or family members being on separate itineraries.

Does Alaska Airlines have family boarding?

Yes, Alaska Airlines does have family boarding. Guests traveling with children under 2 years old can board during preboarding.

Does Alaska Airlines allow strollers?

Yes, Alaska Airlines allows strollers. Car seats and strollers can be checked for free at the check-in counter or at the gate before boarding.

Do children under 2 fly free on Alaska Airlines?

Yes. Children younger than 2 years old can fly as lap children. If your child turns 2 years old before your return flight, you must purchase a ticket for them.

Ashley Onadele's image

About Ashley Onadele

Ashley discovered a love for travel in college that’s continued as her family has grown. She loves showing parents how they can take their families on trips using points and has contributed to numerous publications and podcasts.

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