The complete guide to flying southwest with kids – trips with tykes gaston y la agrupacion santa fe

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With the Oakland Airport just 12 minutes from my front door, my family flies Southwest Airlines a lot. Southwest is often a favorite airline of flying families as well, and with good reason. electricity in costa rica for travelers Since it has different rules and practices than other airlines, however, it can sometimes trip up inexperienced flyers, especially travelers with kids. But don’t let that worry you — Southwest also has a a number of unique perks that are of great value for family travelers. You just need to know how to take advantage of all that the airline offers!

You’ve probably seen the ads: “Bags Fly Free.” Southwest is the last of the U.S. domestic airlines to still offer free checked bags – 2 bags per person up to 50 lbs each. This is a real benefit for families who travel, as it is often difficult to pack light with all the gear that little ones require. I find that even when Southwest has slightly higher base fares than other airlines on similar routes, when you factor in bag fees, Southwest actually comes out as the cheaper option many times.

Southwest is the only airline that requires you to show a birth certificate for your lap child, no matter what his or her age and even for domestic travel. If you have flown another airline with a lap baby, chances are pretty good you would not have been asked for proof of age unless the child looked to be nearing the age of 2. Not so with Southwest. Even if you obviously have a newborn who would never be mistaken for a toddler nearing the two year cutoff, pack that birth certificate! (And if you don’t have a birth certificate yet for your child, often hospital discharge papers or vaccination records from your child’s pediatrician can suffice. british gas jokes Call the airline in advance if you find yourself in this situation.) 3) Boarding “verification documents” for lap children can only be obtained at the airport counter.

In order to board your Southwest flight with a lap child, you need to obtain what is called a boarding verification document. This document is similar to a boarding pass and confirms that the child has been age verified by showing a birth certificate. You can only get it at the ticket counter or the Skycap counters at the airports pre-security — you cannot print it in advance like you can with other Southwest boarding passes. So, be sure to leave yourself extra time to check in at the ticket counter at the airport if you are traveling with a lap child, even if you aren’t checking bags. 4) Family boarding will allow you to get seats together as a family.

Southwest doesn’t have assigned seats unlike most other domestic carriers. Instead, it assigns boarding group numbers (A, B, & C, each numbered 1-60) to passengers, who are then free to take any open seat as they board. As you can probably guess, the good seats (exit rows, then aisles and windows) go fast. Passengers who board later in the process find that often only scattered middle seats are available.

This might seem like a sticky situation for families who usually want to secure three or more seats together. But never fear! Southwest allows all families with children ages 6 and under to board between the A & B groups no matter what their assigned boarding numbers. In my many dozens of flights with Southwest, I have always been able to secure three or four seats together for my family when we board during family boarding. gas urban dictionary I’ve been nearly separated from my kids far more often on the airlines that supposedly promise assigned seats. 5) There are other hacks for ensuring you sit together with older kids too.

First, there’s always the “fastest finger” option, which is totally free. Southwest’s boarding group numbers are assigned starting at exactly 24 hours before a flight. As long as you check in (using the Southwest website or Southwest app) at that very moment, you have an excellent chance of getting at least an early B group boarding pass. In my experience, this is certainly early enough for a family to find seats together. But you do have to be very fast – every second counts!

Let’s face it – busy parents don’t always remember to check in at exactly 24 hours in advance. My advice is to consider paying for “Early Bird check-in” (price varies from $15-30 each way, depending on demand). 76 gas card login Paying for this option puts you in the front of the line, and you will usually secure an A group (or early B group) boarding pass.

But that’s not the only viable shortcut. If you hold the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase, you are also entitled to 4 priority boardings per year when available. This is a smart backup to have in a pinch for those times you forgot to check in at 24 hours and risked it without Early Bird. 6) Southwest has minimal food, so pack lots of snacks.

There are a lot of things that will make your kids cranky when you fly, but don’t let hunger be one of the causes! Air travel is hectic, and I never rely on being able to have time to buy food at the airport. Packing meals and travel snacks is simply a must when you have kids, and even more important when you fly Southwest because of its limited food choices.

On Southwest flights, flight attendants will liberally distribute pretzels (peanuts are no longer served due to allergies), but there is very little else in the way of food aboard shorter flights. Longer flights offer additional free packaged snacks. On some recent flights, for example, we were served had shortbread cookies, Oreos, and Ritz cheese crackers. gas upper stomach Flight attendants let you help yourselves to as many of these packaged snacks as you’d like, but do not expect a sandwich or a hot meal for purchase like many other airlines have.

Starting November 1, 2018, the offerings just got even better. Southwest is now offering free movies on all of its WiFi equipped planes (the vast majority of the fleet has WiFi). The messaging apps iMessage and WhatsApp are free too. Southwest always has a wide-variety of kid-friendly movies available, so chances are good you will find something new to keep your kids engaged. My kiddos were happy to spot recent animated hits like Ferdinand, Early Man, and Teen Titans when we flew during our Thanksgiving travels.

Because Southwest has open seating, if there are open seats to be had, you can usually snag them for your lap child. Very few people will choose to sit next to you when you have a baby in full view! You can improve your chances of securing that empty seat by choosing seats at the very back of the plane or also by simply bringing your car seat on board to claim the space (be sure to check with the gate agent to make sure there are sufficient empty seats to allow you to bring the seat on board first). 9) Southwest’s child fares may save you some money over full fares.

Very few domestic airlines offer child discounts these days, but Southwest is one of the few that still offers children’s fares. These fares are usually only a discount off the full fare/last minute prices, so you will almost always beat them if you are booking Southwest’s discounted “Wanna Get Away” fares with plenty of advance notice. But if you have to travel Southwest with your child very last minute, be sure to check for child fares (and for grandma and grandpa on multigenerational trips, senior fares are available too!) 10) Southwest’s Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program is the most flexible and usable for family travelers.

Have you ever collected airline miles for years only to find them next to impossible to redeem at a decent rate when you actually want to use them? Or have you had trouble finding enough award tickets for a family of four or more on a single flight? You’ll have no such problems with Southwest. Why? If there are seats available for purchase with cash, you can redeem your Southwest Rapid Rewards points for them. This anytime availability makes Southwest’s frequent flyer program the most practical and easy to use for traveling families in my experience.

First, don’t be nervous! Just be prepared. I wouldn’t rely solely on the kindness of strangers with a family of 5 – too many moving pieces. While fellow passengers are usually super-nice on Southwest, there is a limit to what people give up for a middle seat, especially since you are dealing with slightly older kids (the threat of a toddler as a seatmate makes people move more quickly). As long as you check in online at EXACTLY 24 hours before your flight (I’m talking hit refresh every few seconds and have super-fast fingers when your 24 hour window goes live), you should be able to get a boarding group number that is low enough that you can sit together. If you don’t want that pressure, pay for early-bird check-in which is $12.50 per person. electricity symbols and meanings It all but guarantees you an A boarding group or first few in the B boarding group. This is enough to get seats together. At the very least, you could buy Early Bird for one parent and the two 6 year olds so at least they would be together. Good luck!