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Most airlines charge almost adult fares to children over 2. I have twins, who turned 2 last year and looking into ticket prices, really hurts. I know of airlines in South America that charge per kilogram of a passenger's total weight (luggage and personal weight). But unfortunately this fare system hasn't made it to Europe yet.

So my question is, if you are traveling with (small) children, which airlines should have my preference from a budget perspective?

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    so this would be in Europe specifically then? – Mark Mayo Jan 5 '12 at 0:32
  • @MarkMayo No, mainly intercontinental. Within europe, thanks to LCC's, the fares are still affordable. – user141 Jan 5 '12 at 9:23
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Many airlines do offer discounted tickets for children between the ages of 2-12 and fares are typically 2/3rds to 3/4ths of a full adult fare. Because the number of tickets is limited and airlines offering such rates on various routes aren't the same, the best advice I can give is to try a search on travel sites like SkyScanner, Travelocity, Orbitz et al (Kayak is a surprising omission because it offers no way of choosing children / senior travellers) and specify you're travelling with children. In this particular case, you will be better off search with 'online travel agents' like Travelocity than 'search engines' like Kayak, as the former are more likely to offer special deals negotiated with airlines for children.

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The answer to your question is complicated. Almost all major carriers will offer discounts on some routes in some directions to children under 12 under some circumstances. It is a matter of what the market demands (or will tolerate), not what the airline feels like.

For instance for a while British Airways earlier in the year, offered children free travel if they were travelling with an adult on a domestic flight (but taxes and fees were still applicable).

You are therefore better off using a more sophisticated search engine that can handle children rather than confining yourself to specific airlines. In addition to those proposed by @AnkurBanerjee, one place to look is the ITA Matrix, which can handle child fares (http://matrix.itasoftware.com), although you will have to phone the airline to make the purchase.

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