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Everything from checking bags to boarding
the plane is a little different when you’re doing
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i need assistance with traveling with 3 children and luggage.it is also my first time flying

sarisravery
New Arrival

i have never flown before and have a flight out of logan airport 8/28/16.i am traveling with 3 children under 12 and 3 large suitcases.i am so anxious about this and have already had nightmares that i misplaced 1 child. i am told that carts are available to transport folks that need it to their gate.i do not know my way around an airport or even know the terminology to use to ask questions.please help!

7 REPLIES 7

Re: i need assistance with traveling with 3 children and luggage.it is also my first time flying

sarahsmith
Active Member
Solution

Hi sarisravery!

 

First, congrats on booking your first flight with three kids! Second, let me say, you've had three babies, you've got this, mama!

 

So, let me try to give you a big overview of traveling. And, don't worry, anyone you see that works for Southwest will be happy to assist you with any questions you have, just stay calm and give yourself plenty of travel time. You'll do great. You're not going to lose anyone!

 

I haven't flown out of Boston before, but whenever I'm going to a new airport with my kids I check out any maps they have. Logan has some really helpful information on their website. Here are some maps: https://www.massport.com/logan-airport/to-and-from-logan/logan-airport-maps/ Check out parking info, security info and Terminal A. Those will all be relevant to your trip.

 

Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport; you'll need time to park, possibly to catch the shuttle bus to the airport terminal from the parking lot. Time to stand in line and check your baggage. And, time to get through security. I know it sounds like a lot, but you will do fine. If you can have someone drop you and your family off curbside, that's a good headstart. It will save you some time and some money. There are carts for your luggage, those will be helpful! The Logan website says: "Carts are located in terminals and near the Central Parking pedestrian bridges for a nominal fee (cash or credit card)."

 

Next up, you'll want to find the Southwest ticket counter (follow the signs when driving into the airport to be dropped where it says Southwest). Stand in the line with your luggage, kids and confirmation numbers for your flights. Don't forget your ID! Smiley Happy When you get to the front they'll print out your boarding pass, tag & take your luggage. (You get two bags per person, including kids, make sure they aren't over 50lbs!) From there it will get loaded onto your plane and you'll head to security.

 

You just need to follow signs that say something along the lines of Security, or TSA. Here is information from Logan on security there: https://www.massport.com/logan-airport/inside-the-airport/security-information/ Mostly, just stand in line and follow everyone else. Read over that page so you know what you can have and what you can't. I always travel in flip flops or shoes that slide on and off so security is easy. You'll have to take your shoes off. Your kids are 12 and under, so they can leave shoes on when they go through. Here is the TSA specific information on traveling with kids: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children

 

Once you're through security, all the hard stuff is over! Take a deep breath, find the gate your plane will be at (this will be printed on the boarding pass they gave you when you checked your luggage; it can also be found on the tv screens that list all the flights. Just find the city your flying to and look for your flight number, which is also printed on your boarding pass). Head to your gate, you don't need to check in with the counter, unless you have a question. 

 

Southwest boards people in 3 groups. Here is some info and a video from the Southwest website that's very helpful. https://www.southwest.com/html/travel-experience/boarding-your-flight/index.html?int= If one of your children is six, or younger, you can all board during family boarding. After the A group boards, families are allowed to board so they can find seats together. Just stand up near where the Ops Agent is taking everyone's boarding passes. Make sure you're out of the way and they'll know why you're there. 

 

When you're on the plane, find some seats! Anything that is open is fair game, except emergency exit rows, so skip those. It's first come, first serve for seats. I usually sit somewhere a few rows behind the wing. I'd think about who you want to sit with whom ahead of time. Maybe your 12 year old is mature enough to sit just across the aisle from you, in the aisle seat and you with the other two in the row. Maybe you would want to sit across from all three kids; I'm not sure. But give it some consideration. Get everyone seated, put anything you have up in the bin, or under the seat in front of your feet. Listen to any instructions the flight attendants give you and ask them any questions you might have. If you tell them this is your first flight (and the kids too!) they sometimes have something special to give you (a coloring book for the kids, usually).

 

In the air, pull out any stuff you've brought with you to keep the kids occupied (iPads are great, if you're on a plane with wifi, there's free TV. You can also pay for a movie or wifi.). Sit back and relax. Order something to drink for you and the kids once you're in the air and the flight attendant comes by. Bring some snacks, or munch on peanuts and pretzels they'll have for you. All of those things will be personal to you and how long your flight is. 

 

When you land on the other side, just do everything in reverse! Smiley Happy Almost. Follow signs and ask for directions. Try to read about the airport that you're flying to, or ask people that you know there ahead of time if there is anything special you need to know (Do you have to take a bus to the car rental place, or is it on the third floor? Will you have to ride a shuttle in the airport before you get your bags? Etc.). Follow signs to where you will get your luggage, grab a luggage cart (usually nearby again) and pile everything on.

 

If you have any other specific questions, post them on the community here and someone will answer them for you! Don't be intimidated by my LOOONG response! Smiley Happy Finally, let me say again, YOU'VE GOT THIS! Best of luck!

Re: i need assistance with traveling with 3 children and luggage.it is also my first time flying

Umucgirl
New Arrival

At southwest there is no need for stress....I keep forgetting that myself.  There are always porters outside waiting to assist you and bring in your luggage.  No charge,  they work on tips. Each time I fly, I always need assistance...especially when I'm late.  They hustle and get my bags checked in.  Hope that helps.  Btw.... I have 5 children (wink).

Re: i need assistance with traveling with 3 children and luggage.it is also my first time flying

ejensen
New Arrival

I was wondering if there are any requirements for identification on children?  In the past I have taken birth certificates, but I never received one for my youngest and most of the time when I have traveled the TSA security guards are not interested in looking at them.

Children are 7, 5, 2.5

 

thanks!

Re: i need assistance with traveling with 3 children and luggage.it is also my first time flying

omarabs
New Arrival
Solution

there's a product on the market called the RetraStrap that helps you pull your wheeled carry-on hands free. it's great for travelling with children and gives you the extra hand when you need it. 

IMG_2121.JPGRetraStrap gives you an extra hand.

Re: i need assistance with traveling with 3 children and luggage.it is also my first time flying

Lindsey Employee
Employee

Awesome tip, @omarabs! Thanks for sharing!

 

Lindsey
Community Manager
The Southwest Airlines Community

Re: i need assistance with traveling with 3 children and luggage.it is also my first time flying

BlueDevilGirl77
New Arrival

These messages have been helpful, but I'm trying to understand if my stroller can be gate checked if it cannot fold?  I've seen posts in this thread about bringing wagons which seem to be conditionally accepted as strollers, but what about actual strollers that can't fold?  Would love some advice here as I can't imagine how awful it could be getting turned away either going through security or trying to board the plan, especially as I'll be solo with two toddlers and a dog!

 

Traveling in THREE DAYS from now so would really love some help :-)

Re: i need assistance with traveling with 3 children and luggage.it is also my first time flying

chgoflyer
Top Contributer
Solution

@BlueDevilGirl77 wrote:

These messages have been helpful, but I'm trying to understand if my stroller can be gate checked if it cannot fold?  I've seen posts in this thread about bringing wagons which seem to be conditionally accepted as strollers, but what about actual strollers that can't fold?  Would love some advice here as I can't imagine how awful it could be getting turned away either going through security or trying to board the plan, especially as I'll be solo with two toddlers and a dog!

 

Traveling in THREE DAYS from now so would really love some help :-)


 

I'm not sure I'm familiar with a stroller that doesn't fold or colapse in some way. Can you give us more info?

 

According to the information on this page, any type of stroller is ok -- including "full size." But be aware that whatever type, it will be accepted conditionally, meaning that Southwest will not accept responsibility for any damage to it. So you should carefully consider if your stroller will hold up to being possibly tossed around in the cargo hold with other bags.

 

I do know that many families purchase a travel stroller specifically for travel.

 

From the page linked above:

 

Strollers and Child Restraint Systems (CRSs) or car seats

Customers traveling with children will be allowed to check one stroller and one Child Restraint System (CRS) or car seat per child without charge. This is in addition to the regular free baggage allowance.

 

The stroller and CRS or car seat allowance applies to any type of stroller (umbrella, full size, jogging stroller, etc.) and CRS or car seat.

 

The Customer may check the stroller and CRS or car seat at the curb, ticket counter, or gate. Southwest Airlines will not assume liability for damage to strollers, CRS’s or car seats.

 

An optional Southwest-branded reusable car seat/stroller bag is available for purchase at any Southwest Airlines ticket counter for a $17 onetime fee. Bag dimensions are 42”X20.5X12.5”.