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Flying With Kids on Southwest Airlines Just Got Easier

‎07-14-2010 09:10 AM jessicaturner
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‎07-14-2010 09:10 AM

All the gear can be a burden when you are traveling with young children, can't it? One of the things that I LUV about flying Southwest Airlines is that bags fly free. But sometimes questions arise when it comes to baby gear—strollers, car seats, pack 'n plays, etc.

As a mom who travels with a toddler a lot, I am thrilled that starting today, Southwest's policy regarding acceptance of car seats and strollers as checked baggage is changing—making things even easier for families to transport their needed items without additional charges.  The new policy allows for one stroller plus one CRS (car seat) per child free of charge.  This is in addition to the two free bag allowance.  Also, if you have additional baby items to check, you can substitute them for a free bag on a one-for-one basis (so if you were flying with a pack 'n play, you could substitute that for one of your bags and both would be free.)

In the words of my two-year-old, Elias—HOORAY!

If you have any questions about this new policy, feel free to leave a comment below and I know someone from Southwest will be happy to help you!

Jessica Turner is Southwest's resident Mommy Blogger. Her guest blog posts and video blogs focus on traveling with her young son, tips she discovers and family-friendly activities to experience around the country. When she isn't traveling, she enjoys spending time with her family, working, blogging and scrapbooking. She and her husband Matthew live in Nashville, Tennessee, with their toddler Elias, who loves to sing and ride on airplanes!

79 Comments
Josh3
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Do you have to check your car seats and strollers? We usually gate check them so we can use them when we get off the plane. We would hate to end up at our destination with no car seat and be stuck at the airport.
While this news is wonderful for those with really small children, is there any chance the policy on family boarding will increase the child's age from under 5 to under 10? If you would unfortunately get a late B or C boarding pass, trying to find 2 or 3 seats together for you and your young child becomes quite a challenge.
I'm not sure if this is favoritism or discrimination or something else but I'm not wild about granting special status to people who have more luggage for whatever reason. Sorry, my opinion.
Yet another reason why I <3 Southwest! Thanks for being TRULY family-friendly!
Keep in mind Mom's and Dad's, You should eep the Jogging strollers at home. Umbrella strollers are best to travel with.
Awesome news!!! (great blog layout too btw)
Southwest has always "Rocked" in my opinion. It is the ONLY airline for my family and I. I usually have a stroller and it's checked at curbside and bagged just moments before we walk in the plane's cabin....
Rob6
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Great news! We fly with our 4 children quite often and our de facto airline has become Southwest Airlines. We always receive friendly service and, of course, with Bags Fly Free it's the only way to go these days. The news today makes even more sense for families to fly Southwest!
This is REALLY good news! Thank you so much for sharing. I have traveled many times with my toddler and I know how crazy it can be to try and get the stroller and carseat on board, especially alone. Removing the fees will make this mom's job a lot easier and I'll find myself grumbling less. hehe
Is this for a paying child or also for lap child?
I love this new policy! My daughter hates being in a stroller so I have to drag her in a radio flyer wagon. When I come to the airport next month, Can I check the wagon in as a stroller? Thank you so much southwest, I love you guys!
I love this new policy! My daughter hates being in a stroller so I have to drag her in a radio flyer wagon. When I come to the airport next month, Can I check the wagon in as a stroller? Thank you so much southwest, I love you guys!
I have to say that I've had the WORST experiences travelling on Southwest with my children. It was so bad, that I will never fly Southwest as long as my kids are travelling with me. While it's great that Southwest is not charging for the essentials that every parent needs to lug along with them, it's just as important to make the trip as smooth as possible, and that can be as easy as priority boarding for people with children. Too many times, I've had the worst arrangements on board because we could only board in between groups A and B. Not to mention the attitude we've received when we try use our carseats on board. There will need to be a lot more changes for kid travelers if they ever want my business again!
Jan7
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Sounds great, now just send some of the flight attendants to customer service school. Some are friendly and bubbly, some are just downright rude.
Well done Southwest...well done. I've always found SWA to be the best airline to wrangle little kids onto for travel especially with the Manchester NH airport so close and the great array of destinations you can easily connect to from there. Thanks for thinking of the parents Smiley Happy
Does this apply to those not purchasing a seat for an infant (infant in arms)?
I'd like it much better if they also had a discounted child rate! But it's nice to know they are actually paying attention to the families with young children. It's pricey enough without the added charges!
z_1
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Woo Hoo! Thank you SW.....just one of the many reasons why I will only fly SWA!
Erin6
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That is so awesome. We only fly Southwest because they are so accomodating and this just makes it that much better! Thanks everyone at Southwest!!!
This is really great. I'm looking forward to my next flight I have booked already on Southwest from Phoenix to Orlando with my 15 month old. We love Southwest. Best airline!!!!!
Thank you so much! I am flying next week with my 10 month old, so this comes as good news. Just when I think I couldn't love Southwest Airlines anymore you find a way to surprise me. I will always be a loyal SWA customer. Thank you!!!
Do "lap" children get thetwo free items as well? If not, this would actually be a downgrade from the previous policy.
This policy is amazing! I am due to give birth in January and my husband & I are to fly to MI from FL in June. This puts less stress on traveling families. Just another reason why my husband and I ONLY fly Southwest!
Trish4
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It would be really great to be able to check in online and receive a "Family priority" boarding card. The family boarding process is very confusing with families going between As and Bs and not having a boarding card that indicates as such even though it is quite obvious. Lots of jockeying for position at the boarding area and the B1-10 folks get antsy that they are being cut off not realizing that even though I am B20+ my 4 year old trumps their B1. Especially difficult at holidays or routes where there are more families.
I am so excited about this new policy. As a Dad who travels with his little angel, sometimes it can be a journey to get to our destination, and leave it to Southwest's LUV to make that journey a little less stressful. Thanks Southwest!
Thank you southwest for doing all you do to make traveling easy for all. I only have to say I understand the pet policy but what about people who have allergies to these small pets? It is a no win for them. We alway travel SW whenever possible but when there is a cat or dog on the flight it becomes miserable for my husband. I love animals and understand the love a person has for there best friend but when it becomes a medical problem for others I would hope the pet owner would understand as well. Please post something to let other passengers know when there will be animals on the flight or maybe only have certain flights for pets. I understand the issues people have with small children, I myself have had problems with parents who do nothing to keep there children under control, but I have also traveled with parents who do everything in there power to keep everyone happy. Being a new grandparent who will be traveling in Aug with a baby my only hope is that no one will even know she is on the flight. We all have to work together and be alittle understanding when it comes to the small fries of the world...
Hala
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Totally LOVE Southwest Airlines! Have used them exclusively for years! I travel with my babies all the time and the staff is wonderful and extremely helpful! Awesome SW for your outstanding service and assistance!
Sure wish they would cut back on the unaccompanied minor charges. We used to fly my step-son twice a month but now it isn't economical to do so. I understand a small fee but they went from not charging to $50.00 each way, which adds a hundred dollars to a round trip ticket for a 40 minute flight. It is now more economical to drive to pick him up. Any changes in the future for unaccompanied minor frequent flyers???
We flew earlier this month and our carseat was considered oversized luggage because we put it in it's original box. I think the standard was 68" and our box was 72". It was cheaper for us to rent a carseat at the car rental place ($8) than it was to pay for the oversized luggage charge ($50 EACH way). Will this charge still apply? We always keep our original packaging for traveling purposes, since when our son was a baby we put his carseat in a heavy duty garbage bag when we flew and it came back a MESS. Thanks!
Does this policy of two free bags plus stroller plus CRS apply the same for paying and non-paying (baby under two) children?
Does the policy apply to all children, even if they are flying free (on a parent's lap?)
Tourist w5pda
Tourist
Hmm, Southwest prevails where others fail. And to think, it has been said many times that Southwest would never make it ;-) It's nice to see that the nay-sayers were indeed wrong. Paul In CRP
I have been trying to plan a trip to Tampa for months. Every time I call to inquire about infant fares I get a different answer. I will have a 13 mo old flying with my husband and I. We will be taking his car seat on board and purchasing a ticket for him.My husband and I were about to get r/t tickets for just about $400 total. When I inquired about our sons ticket I was told the total price for all of us would be $1100!!!!! How is the baby's "discounted" fare almost double ours?
We fly all the time with our toddler and we loooove Southwest! They're always so kind and helpful! And even though it sometimes takes me longer to get to my destination (no direct flights most of the time) I continue to support them because I appreciate their customer service. And I love the fact that they don't charge for bags... another reason I'll continue to support them! Now if I could just keep my little one 20 months so that we didn't have to pay for an extra ticket here in a couple of months Smiley Happy
Casey8
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T.H.A.N.K. Y.O.U. SOUTHWEST!!! Wooohhooooooooo! ^_^
Car seat safety people recommend not checking car seats as you don't know what happens to the seat in the baggage area and they may be compromised and you'd never know it. We never checked our car seats. My son sat in his until he was 4 on the plane. Now we bring his booster seat on the plane (although for home he is still in a 5 point harness seat).
Karri
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Good on you!! It's abt time at least one airline got real abt what it takes to fly w children!!
Kat1
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Is this only for ticketed children? Probably a stupid question. Smiley Happy We're flying SW in two weeks and I'll have my "just under 2" year old on my lap. TIA!
I LOVE Southwest airlines. They are ALL aboout customer service. I can not tell you how much that means these days. As I notice more and people becoming ruder and ruder and just out to help themselves. Sothwest airlines continues to try to find ways to make life a little eaiser and it's these little things like that, that mean SO much. I will never fly any other airline. Happy Customer, Kathy
I have been trying to plan a trip to Tampa for months. Every time I call to inquire about infant fares I get a different answer. I will have a 13 mo old flying with my husband and I. We will be taking his car seat on board and purchasing a ticket for him.My husband and I were about to get r/t tickets for just about $400 total. When I inquired about our sons ticket I was told the total price for all of us would be $1100!!!!! How is the baby's "discounted" fare almost double ours?
Woohoo! I'm so glad they made this change. Now our flights will be much easier when we are alone! Thanks for posting
This is a nice policy change, but I'm a little concerned. In the past Southwest has allowed a two-to-one ration on checked baby items (meaning you could check your pack 'n' play and a car seat for the exchange of one checked piece of luggage) does this new stroller/car seat for free change that so that all other baby/toddler items will be on a one-to-one ratio? If that's the case, I think I actually preferred the old way better!
Does the two free bag policy apply to kids as well, so when I fly with my son (who is 1), I can check two bags for him as well as two for myself?
Is there a weight/size limit on the stroller? I have a stroller that's part of a travel system and is larger than say an umbrella stroller.
Thank you for this information. I remain very surprised at the hostility expressed by some Southwest passengers towards families traveling with their children. Are these the same people I sit next to on Southwest flights? I must be traveling a different route because fellow passengers always seem kind and courteous when traveling with our toddler - just one of the many factors that sets Southwest apart from other airlines. Thank you, Southwest, for continuing to be accomodating to passengers of all ages, abilities, and flight purposes. Your logical approach to the transportation business is why your airline is number one for our family.
I feel like this is no different from the policy before, where when you flew with a child, a stroller was automatically free, but you could sacrifice 1 of your adult free bags for 2 child items. Now, if the stroller AND carseat are free, you can sacrifice 1 bag for 1 child item. It's kind of the same concept, but I think they are trying to make it easier for us to understand: i.e. 1 for 1 basic trade. I get that! Still, my theory aside, Southwest seriously is the BEST company to fly with when it comes to flying with kids!
Amazing!!!
Britt1
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ok, so I am traveling with my two daughters in Sept from Boston to Dallas. I have a double stroller for my girls. My oldest will be two and my youngest will just be 6 months. I am staying down there for a month. Do I get two bags per child, or just me. I need to take both their carseats. The pack and play and then our bags... I know I am probably only going to have about two bags and then my carry on (my diaper bag really). Does this fall into these guidelines?
yeah, now if only they would institute pre-boarding for those of us traveling with young children! they are the ONLY airline that doesn't have a pre-boarding for families (boarding after group A isn't really all that helpful when you have two toddlers and two carseats to install, among carry-ons)
Thanks for this! BUT my bigger issue is lugging my 16 month old son, his car seat and a diaper bag to the middle or rear of the plan because we can't board first! (this was news to me by the way when i got to the gate with my son and they told me i couldnt pre-board). It's especially taxing when I am traveling alone. GOD BLESS SINGLE MOMS! I dont know how they do it day in and day out. There should be a consideration for at least single parents traveling alone with infants and toddlers.