This oughta help the kids stay quiet on the plane. American Airlines discontinued its discounted fare for kids under 2-yo on Jan. 13. Their spokesman said, presumably with a straight face, "We found out that this was very rarely used, frankly."
This explanation, from a McClatchy article, sounds a bit more accurate:
In the past, the discount for pint-sized passengers brought the airlines more revenue, because parents often opted to simply carry the child rather than pay the full price.In other words, there was no need to pay even 50% for an infant ticket, since you could be pretty sure you could get an empty seat next to you for the kid for free. Now that empty seats are in short supply, they raised the stakes.
But today, empty seats have become scarce on the nation's airlines, thanks to cuts in capacity coupled with increased demand.
That means a baby could be taking up a seat at half price that might otherwise go to an adult traveler paying the full fare.
The article reports that Delta eliminated their 50% discount fares for babies Dec. 26. Continental offers infant fares only on some routes. Southwest still offers discounted infant tickets, though.
Apparently it was too arduous for the McClatchy reporter to call the other four comparable airlines--US, UA, NW, & JB--to see what their deal is. AirTran, well, we already know.
update: Well that took five minutes. Northwest still mentions a discounted fare for an infant seat on their website. USAir and United both say kids under two will have to buy a full-fare ticket to get a seat. JetBlue doesn't bring up the subject at all, which means "full fare."