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How does one go about booking a ticket for an infant who isn't born yet ?

Planning to fly from Darwin, Australia to Dubai and bub's on the way in a month. Looking to fly in November/December and want to purchase a ticket as early as possible for lower fares. No name has been decided for the baby and all the airlines websites ask for the name of the baby. Does it necessarily have to be the name bubs will have on the passport ?

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    Name is not the biggest problem here, passport number is the biggest problem. – Nean Der Thal Feb 21 '15 at 11:13
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    Have you picked an airline yet? If so, maybe give them a ring and see what they can offer? Or failing that, what about booking the adult tickets now, then adding the infant in a month? – Gagravarr Feb 21 '15 at 11:26
  • Even if it's interesting, I am sure that every airline has their own procedures to cope with such rare problems and it's difficult to give a general advice. Norwegian airlines suggests to use a fictive name when booking, e.g. "baby" and then call customer service when the name is known to make a change to the reservation. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Feb 21 '15 at 14:44
  • There may be two problems here: (1) flying, and (2) crossing the border. A friend had this situation flying from Canada to the U.S., and ended up driving across the border. – gerrit Feb 21 '15 at 15:59
  • @happybuddha book the ticket under "Unborn Baby" and then show the airline employee that the reservation was made before the DOB :) – JonathanReez Feb 21 '15 at 16:56
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I called a cousin who works for an airline at an airport, he explained how to do this in a very safe and efficient way.

Infants do not need a seat, airline require a fraction of the price paid by the adult to be paid for the infant (~10%) or sometimes it is free. Hence, just make the reservation for you and your wife and other passengers who need seats, and skip the infant. Once the infant is born and it is the day of the travel, head to the airport a bit early and issue the boarding for the baby on the spot, as I said earlier, airline staff will be happy to issue the boarding because there is no seat required and you can make the payment in the airport. The price should be a fraction of the that specific price you paid. So, no worries at all.

Anyway, to his knowledge this is how it is done in the airline he works for and some other airlines, not sure if it is safe to assume all other airlines do it the same way, but according to him adding an infant who does not require a seat is something easy in many airline systems.

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    @Andy yes they do require a passport of course (sometimes just added to an adult passport). The passport information can be added on the spot. – Nean Der Thal Feb 21 '15 at 12:51
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    While this might be the case I'd go with @Gagravarr's comment above and call the airline. Even when going to the airport this is quite stressful and might end up in a mess if there is a different policy in place. – johannes Feb 21 '15 at 14:22
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    When just "heading to the airport a bit early" without reservation, there is so much that can go wrong. Even if infants usually don't need their own seat, there is due to security a limit on the number of infants per flight since they require special life saving vests and additional crew support in case of an emergency. Depending on which country you are flying to, the immigration service in the destination country may also require a passenger manifest well in advance. I am sure that it's not trivial (if at all possible) to add additional passengers on such flights. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Feb 21 '15 at 14:56
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    @tor-einar your comment is full with wrong information. I don't even know where to start to fix it, I am a crew member btw. – Nean Der Thal Feb 21 '15 at 17:16
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo regarding infants life vest, this is wrong, a normal life vest can be made an infant life vest. and the only limit I am aware of is this limit. Regarding passenger manifest there is always a last minute change in almost every flight, hence there is a time limit for issuing boarding and checking-in luggage, so the ground agents can print a new manifest and send it to the crew, and the system can upload the new APIS. – Nean Der Thal Feb 21 '15 at 17:41

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