Q. We were shocked to learn that our one-year-old child, who will be sitting on my lap on an international flight, and not taking up a seat, will be charged $400. What's this all about? The airline representative we spoke to was unable to give a satisfactory response.

A. Unfortunately, most airlines now charge 10 percent of the adult fare for lap children on international flights (not domestic ones, not yet, anyway), plus any fuel surcharge, plus international taxes and inspection fees. It doesn't seem fair, since the child isn't taking up any room on the flight, although one could argue that each passenger presents an insurance liability in the case of an accident or injury, and the crew might be busy warming formula bottles and so on. Even if you're flying on a frequent flyer ticket, your lap child will have to pay 10 percent of what your ticket might have cost, plus fuel and taxes. If you're in business or first class, that cost could be very high indeed.

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