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Flying With Kids on Southwest Airlines Just Got Easier

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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
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Great news! Any news on whether Southwest is considering a change to its preboarding policy for families?
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Thank you so much for the thoughtfulness!!! I'm a grandma but I know my daughter and her family will be very happy that Southwest just made travel a little easier!! Thanks again! LL
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I really wish this would have been in play on July 10th 2010. I had to pay 50 dollars for my son's carseat. I moved to Texas because my husband got new orders and was transferred to Fort Hood. Well trying to pack everything you will need in two bags, a diaper bag and a small carryon? Yeah, don't try that. Then I had to check my stroller at the ticketing counter, the lady said I couldn't take my stroller past security and I had to leave it with her, so now I was carrying a squirming 8mo old, a diaper bag, his blanket, and a carryon. All while trying to go through security and showing my id. It was very...Hectic to say the least. I was offered help to get on the aircraft though by the captain flying it, and he carried the bags for me while I found a seat. He was so helpful. I'm glad there are still people with common courtesy left.
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Thank you thank you thank you! That made my day! Traveling with 2 little ones at the end of August. Yay!
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I wish parents would choose to NOT inflict their screaming seat-kicking little ego extensions onto the flying public!
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I will be flying out to SLC the end of July for the birth of my new grandson. I will be bringing an umbrella stroller with me for the baby. Will I have to pay for this, or will the stroller fly free?
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Just another reason I LOVE Southwest!! I just flew from DEN to SJC with my 3 boys (8 years old, 6 years old and 9 months old) and it went great, no problems, delays or issues of any kind. I fly alot for work on Southwest and only fly Southwest for personal trips too! You make air travel easier and way more fun! Thanks!!
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Thanks!! Maybe we can work on a true discounted ticket for kids from the web price??? Thamnks again for the new policy!!
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Yay! I am so glad Southwest really cares about their passengers! It seems like all the other airlines are doing what is best for THEM to make money, and don't care about who they are operating for! Hooray for Southwest! I am a loyal fan!
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Hello, My son lives in Owensboro, KY and he wants to send my grandson here for the summer with me I havent seen him since he was born he is now 3yrs old he will be 4 on Aug. 11 I would like to know do he have to have someone with him if my son sent him to me but my son is afraid to fly. And how much will the fare be for him. Thank You so much.
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we are flying next week and even though i'm hoping we can get by without needing this new policy it is so great because we'll be hauling two booster seats along with our suitcases!! loving southwest more and more! thank you!!
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Good to hear!! I would love Southwest to STOP giving out peanuts!!! There are way too many people with nut allergies. My 4 year old has a severe nut allergy, and I am always worried when I get on your plane...we always have a ticket with her nut allergy noted, so they don't serve peanuts on our flight, but people get upset, which is ridiculous, and many times the they don't have enough time to clean the plane from the last flight. There are many other snacks you could pass out, and do away with peanuts...or just don't pass out snacks!!!
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First off, I want to be clear that I LUV Southwest airlines. That being said, I am the mother of a 2.5 year old with a serious peanut allergy who (not to be over dramatic) takes his life in his own hands when he flies on an airline that serves peanuts. The fact that this is called "nuts about Southwest" and has pictures of peanuts all over the page makes it clear that Southwest just doesn't get the seriousness of this problem. Is serving peanuts such a critically important part of flying that we can't find another healthy and inexpensive snack which doesn't make children sick if not kill them? My son is also named Elias, coincidentally!
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Yes, but what happens to that baby stuff once under the plane? Does it come out in the same condition it went in?
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Could you give a listed example to clarify? Say, for a 1 1/2 year old with a paid ticket and one without a ticket (i.e. a lap child)? Thanks!
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This is why this airline is great!
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That's great news to hear! Hooray for Southwest..they are the greatest airline to fly. They are the only airline that I fly. They always leave on time & arrive on time. Most times they are ahead of the sceduled arrival. My daughter travels from NC to see us with her 2 daughters, this is great news for her. I just love this airline. The other airlines should take note of what Southwest is doing & follow suite. They are the greatest !!!!!!!
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This is an awesome policy. Thank you so much!!!! I'm getting ready to travel on Southwest with a 6 month old and will need to take a stroller and car seat with me. So, again, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Beth
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What's different from the previous policy? I have checked strollers and car seats in the past and they didn't count towards my 2 free bags.
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That is great! Finally, an airline that understands the difficulty of raising kids. Now, could we please get early boarding back? I'm tired of people giving me dirty looks as I take forever to get the carseat strapped into the small seats and get my baby settled. Thanks!
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This is great news and perfect timing! I will be flying with my two year old soon and I can use all the help I can get. Thank you SWA...its more like SWAkiss
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Does this apply to lap children as well?
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I just wish your airline would still allow early boarding for people traveling with babies. Last year I traveled with my 1 year old, and was not allowed to board early. I also had announced to the ticket agent at the gate that I could use some assistance because I have degenerative disc disease, and was having to climb the stairs to board (in Burbank), to no avail. I nearly dropped my 1 yr old. Other than that, you guys are an awesome airline!
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Regarding the questions about the infant fares. Southwest offers a discount of our "Anytime" fare for infants. So if you are booking a "Wanna Get a Way" fare online, the infant fare is probably going to end up being more. An infant can travel on a "Wanna Get a Way". My suggestion is when you are booking the adult tkts call a wonderful Customer Support and Service Agent and ask them what the infant fare would be. That way you can compare. If your fare online is lower, book the infant on that fare. On the other end, if you are traveling last minute and the only fare is the "Anytime" fare then call and get the infant fare for your baby.
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Hi, does anyone know if they let you gate check a pack n play? i'm thinking of bringing the car seat on board and gate checking stroller and pack n play b/c i don't want them to get damaged if i check both with the rest of the luggage. thanks!
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Unfortunately, Southwest also has a horrible policy regarding strollers and carseats. They accept absolutely NO responsibility whatsoever for any damage that may happen to car seats and strollers, no matter how clear it is that they damaged it. I just flew Southwest with my 16 month old and gate checked my brand new stroller. When I got it back 2 parts were completely broken off. Southwest employees could have cared less- all they would say to me was "we don't cover any damage to car seats and strollers. Next in line." I will NEVER fly Southwest again while I need to travel with a baby.
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Can I substitute a free stroller for a free pack n play? Its me and my two year old and my 9 month old flying to our new home across the country. My two year old and I each have a purchased ticket and my nine month old is a lap child. We have 4 bags, 2 car seats and 1 stroller. I was wondering since I don't have two strollers can I take the pack n play in it's place for free?
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Flying with kids on Southwest is NOT easy. My wife and I have flown several times with our 10 month old son, but never on Southwest before this past Thursday. Even though he is so clearly not even 1 yet, let alone too, the ticket agent and his manager refused to issue me my ticket until I could prove he was under 2. My wife emailed me a form showing his age and they said it wasn't any good, because my wife could have just made it up. After nearly a half hour of pleading my case, I finally found an online medical record that showed that he was well under 2. Then the agent did nothing to expedite my move through security or boarding. I darn near missed my flight, arriving on the plain sweaty, with a crying child, and half of my gear strewn about as I rushed through security. To top it off, I paid $12 to board early. Total money down the drain, and I ended up on a middle seat. Just absolutely terrible policy and despite what the ticketing agent said, there was NO clearly marked policy on SWA's web site saying that you have to bring a birth certificate. I cannot and will not recommend Southwest to my friends who are parents of young children. Why hassle when United, US Airways, and others will let you board with your infant child, with no questions asked?!
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ACTUALLY it DOES say that you need a copy of the birth cert right there on their website under Baby on Board! Southwest is amazing when it comes to free baggage! So don't knock them just bc you weren't prepared; it's not their fault! http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/family/baby-on-board-pol.html