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I have to pay extra to sit with my child?

Explorer C

I have been flying southwest for years, mostly because of the free luggage and availability / cost of flights, but lately I have been having issues flying with my son. 


My son just turned 8 years old, so he is over the 6 and under age requirement for him to qualify us for family boarding, after the A group. 


My options for sitting with him are typically the following: Pay $60 extra for our roundtrip flights for early bird check in so *hopefully* we get seats together.... OR.... rely on a kind passenger to swap seats so I can sit with my child. 


When I pay the extra $60 for the early bird check in just so I can have a better chance at sitting with my son, without fail, I watch other families ask for family boarding, and not have to pay the extra as I did. When I don't pay the $60, I have to beg and plead for someone to let me sit with my child.


I don't think 8 years old is old enough to sit unsupervised on a plane trip next to a complete stranger. What does Southwest recommend parents of children older than 6, but young enough to not be able to travel alone, do to sit with their child? I very well could pay the $60 and we could get separate boarding classes. Any ideas??? 


Re: I have to pay extra to sit with my child?

Aviator A

Enlist the help of the flight attendant if you do get stuck at the back of C-boarding with your son. 


Instead of $30 each way for early bird, plan on $5 to buy someone a beverage if they move for you.


Definitely check in right at the 24-hour mark to maximize your postiion without EB.


Where you have the choice for selecting a flight, check that flight number to see if it is a through flight number from another city. As a tie-breaker, choose flights that originate at your location which cuts down on how many people will already be on the plane before anyone has boarded.

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: I have to pay extra to sit with my child?

Adventurer C

Pay the $60.  Even if you get B you should be able to get seats together.  Maybe in the back of the plane but together.  I buy it whenever I fly and only once have I come close to not being able to sit with my husband.  

Re: I have to pay extra to sit with my child?

Explorer A

Has anyone told you you can’t be in the family boarding line with your 8 yr old? I think most people would be ok with it including flight attendants.

 I agree that an 8 year old can’t sit alone but likely someone would trade you.  

sometimes  you can upgrade your boarding at checkin counter or gate for less money or upgrade to any unfilled business select for cheap (rare) so you can pre-board. 

 But when I go with my kids I usually try family boarding or trading.  Once I had to pay at the gate though to upgrade as it was a very full flight and we had end of C boarding and you was scared noone would trade.