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One of Our Youngest

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ClaressaWe would like to introduce you to Claressa. Claressa hasn't yet celebrated her second birthday but she is celebrating today because she earned her first Rapid Rewards Award. Since she and her parents are such frequent travelers on Southwest Airlines, I thought I'd get a few tips for other parents traveling with young children. Q: How was the first flight with Claressa? Any tips for moms and dads on how to pack and prepare for the first flight? A: The first flight on Southwest was heaven. It was April 2006, and she was 5 months old. She is always lulled by the sound of the jet engines and was usually asleep before we even took off. It was only in June 2007 that the streak was broken. For the first flight, make sure to bring a favorite blanket and toy. Put the pacifier on a leash so baby doesn't throw it on the floor, rendering it useless. Q: What are Claressa's favorite things related to flying? A: She loves sitting in her stroller that converts to a car/air seat, bought in the SkyMall catalog. She also loves to say hello to everyone when they're boarding. As she's gotten older, she likes to "read" the Southwest inflight magazine. Q: What are the best snacks to pack? A: Dry cereal. Claressa's favorite is Cheerios. I also pack her 100% Sesame Street juice (TSA is OK with it), cheese crackers and 2 Graduates Pasta Pick-ups in case she gets really hungry. She also loves the dried fruit mix in the Southwest travel snack box. Q: What suggestions do you have for parents with newborns? What about traveling with liquids and the TSA bans? A: Her father and I decided from the beginning to just buy Claressa her own seat for her safety and our comfort. And with Southwest discount baby fares, that eased the expense. If you can't buy a seat, I suggest the bulkhead section if you're carrying a newborn. There's a bit more room. As long as you let TSA know that you have liquids for baby and separate them from the diaper bag for x-ray, I've never had a problem. Q: Any suggestions for how to handle the hated ear pressure issue? A: Claressa gets something to drink at takeoff and landing. The sucking helps relieve ear pressure. Q: You mentioned great child friendly crews, any specific stories? A: On one flight, Claressa woke up and was very cranky and crying. A flight attendant came by and chatted with her, which helped. Claressa started crying again, and she brought over a cup with a lid filled with peanuts and started shaking it. She gave it to Claressa and the baby was amused until we touched down. Q: What are the 'must have' items for a flight with a child? A: Take along their familiar things. On her latest flight earlier this month, we started taking the portable DVD player with "Blue's Clues," her favorite video. She is more active now, so I'll let her out of the seat for awhile. You also must have a child's favorite snacks and bring extra just in case there might be a delay (which has been extremely rare on Southwest). Q: Any other tips or tricks that you'd like to share? A: Make the trip seem like a big adventure. Point out all the features of the airplane. Claressa is just fascinated with the light and air in the panel above her head. I keep drink coupons to buy a round for the person sitting in front of Claressa when she starts to kick. But I just learned that if I take off her shoes, she stops kicking. Let them stand in their seat and look around before the plane takes off. And if your flight is 2+ hours, take baby for a walk for a change of scenery. Thanks for so many great tips! We can't wait to see Claressa onboard again soon. For parents, you can also check out Baby On Board, Taking the Kids, and Southwest Airlines Policy on Children. Also visit the for information on Traveling With Children.
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Great tips! Thanks for sharing! I am going to try a few of those tips the next time my little one travels with me!
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Although I do not travel as much as Claressa and her family. I believe in purchasing your child a seat. The first time I flew with my Lilly, she was about 6 months old. We did not buy a seat for her. When I checked my luggage, the wonderful agent told me there were still about 10 seats available, so I brought the car seat to the gate. We boarded, got situated and watched as the plane got fuller and fuller. Eventually one lonely person was standing in the aisle looking for the last seat. We had to remove Lilly from her car seat, give it to the flight attendant and she became a "lap child". It was a very long flight. Albuquerque to Chicago and on to Detroit, MI. My husband and I found out if we both put our tray tables down, they would become a make shift bed. The nice business traveler kept apologizing for taking our baby's seat. We learned a valuable lesson about last minute Stand-by's. For your child's safety and your own comfort please buy the seat. Southwest offers an infant price and some great Ding and internet fares. Nichole Milano RR Member
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Thanks to Southwest's awesome Employee benefits we have had the opportunity to fly with our daughter Kimberly several times to visit family in Houston. One thing we try to do is pick a flight that falls during Kimberly's nap time, so she can rest without being a distraction to other passengers. Snacks are definitely a good idea! Because the TSA can be inconsistent in terms of what they allow on board, we bring an empty sippy cup, and the nice Flight Attendants bring her a mix of cranberry juice and water, which she loves! One trick that worked when Kimberly was fussy was a Flight Attendant brought her a styrofoam cup of ice with a lid and a straw. She could chew the straw or blow in it and she liked the cool air it made. Here's a photo of Kimberly enjoying a Southwest flight.
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It is real disapointing to hear your son who's coming home from College will be late beacuse his plane keeps getting delayed. All appointments will be missed.... and his schedule is ruined.... is there any compensation.. for him loosing a job interview...? Its a two hour flight and hte plane is ONE hour late..!! We paid FULL PRICE to fly him home..not 39.00... not 50.00... but 229.00....only to have the flight delayed. For a two hour flight thats ONE hour LATE... the fare should be PRORATED..... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CUT IN HALF....!! If it was a four hour flight... and one hour late.. it should be prorated 20%..... Thanks
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My husband recently traveled on SW with our son who is one. We purchased a ticket to ease the travel experience -- we've traveled several times with our son and other two kids. He was surprised to find that they were not able to pre-board. I always felt that the pre-board was a benefit to all involved -- the family with the child and the others on the plane. Get on the plane with all the extra "travel items" before other passengers arrive, find a seat easily with the child & also allows the other passengers the benefit of choosing whether to sit by a child or not. We've always loved SW -- try to fly it whenever possible -- but this was defintely a negative change.