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Traveling with Little Ones: The Logistics



How old does my infant need to be in order to travel?

  • We welcome infants over the age of 14 days for travel. A medical release for travel is required for any infant under 14 days old.

Do you offer discounted fares for children?

  • While we do not offer child fares, a little one under two years old may be carried free of charge (taxes apply outside U.S.) when traveling with an adult (12 years of age or older) as a lap baby.

When purchasing a ticket, do I have to state I’m traveling with a lap baby?

  • You need to contact us by phone or social media so we can add her name and date of birth to your reservation. We can also add this information at the ticket counter since you need to go there anyway for age verification and to receive her Boarding Verification Document.




Do I have to carry any documents saying she’s mine like a birth certificate?

  • If she’s traveling as a lap baby, she won't need a boarding pass; however, you will need to obtain a Boarding Verification Document (BVD) for her. The BVD will allow the infant to board the aircraft. Parents/guardians traveling domestically with a Lap Child may add the child to their reservation at a Southwest kiosk on the day of travel, by calling a Customer Representative at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) prior to travel, or by visiting the full-service ticket counter at the airport. The Customer is still required to travel with proof of age.
  • Children over 2 do not need age verification documents, and the TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States.




Does the TSA open breast milk and touch it?

  • The TSA allows parents to exceed the 3.4 ounce liquid rule for a “reasonable amount of breast milk and formula.” Simply notify an agent and remove these items for separate screening. They may need to open and test the liquid, but you have the option to undergo additional screening instead if you’d prefer they did not open or x-ray your containers.

How does TSA handle powdered formula?

  • According to TSA’s website, “Powder-like substances greater than 12 oz. / 350 mL must be placed in a separate bin for x-ray screening. They may require additional screening and containers may need to be opened.”
  • While the TSA encourages you to place powders greater than 12 oz. in checked bags, Southwest always recommends carrying on enough of your essential items to tide you over in the rare event that your baggage is delayed.

Does my baby have to get scanned?

  • No! Carry her in your arms through the metal detector.
  • Also, children aged 12 and under can leave on their shoes, light jackets and headwear.
  • Strollers need to be collapsed and sent through the x-ray as well as your car seat.
I have TSA PreCheck. Can my baby use it as well?
  • Children ages 12 and younger may use the TSA Prelane when traveling with a parent or guardian who has the indicator on their boarding pass. Travelers 13 and older who do not have a TSA Pre boarding pass must go through standard security lanes or apply. 




Does she get a carryon?

  • Lap babies are not entitled to the free baggage allowance (carryon or checked).
  • A breast pump does not count toward the carryon limit, but milk may, depending on how it’s packed. For example, many pumps are designed with a cooler that’s a component of the bag. In that case, the cooler with milk would be good to go. If you’re carrying a separate cooler, it would count toward the carryon limit.
  • Children over 2 have the normal luggage allowance.
Do we have to check in her stroller ahead of time or can we check it at the gate?
  • Customers with children are allowed to check one stroller and one car seat without charge. This allowance applies to any type of stroller and/or car seat and is in addition to the regular baggage allowance.
  • Customers may check the stroller and car seat at the curb, ticket counter, or gate. If you opt to gate check, you’ll need to get tags with an Agent at the Customer Service desk working your gate.
  • An optional Southwest reusable car seat/stroller bag is available for purchase at any Southwest Airlines ticket counter for $17.

Will we get seats together?

  • If you did not receive an A Boarding Position, two adults traveling with a child 6 years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs right after the “A” group boarding. Your family should have no issues getting seats together from this position.

What about placement of the car seat onboard?

  • Car seats are allowed in window seats and middle seats (as long as it doesn’t impede the exit path of the Passenger in the window seat).
  • Car seats are never allowed in an exit row seat, in any aisle seat, or in a row directly forward or aft of an emergency exit row of seats.
  • While we recommend a car seat for a child less than 20 lbs faces the back of the plane and a child 20-40 lbs face forward, parents have ultimate discretion.




Where can I change her diaper onboard?

  • All forward lavatories in our fleet are equipped with changing stations.