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first time flying with 3 small children

New Arrival

hello. I have never flown and my mother purchased myself and 3 children plane tickets so we can go see her for Christmas. She said she also bought the early bird option for us but i have no idea what that means.  I need to know what i need for my children to be able to board the plane. I have a 9, 6, and 3 year old.  Do i need to get them pic ID's or will their birth certificates work? I am very nervous. 

5 REPLIES 5
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Re: first time flying with 3 small children

Top Contributor

Sounds like an exciting Christmas trip!  No need to worry, as long as the weather cooperates you should have nothing to worry about.  The Early Bird option means that you'll be able to show up at the airport on the day you fly without having to worry about checking in online the day before.  Just go to the airport, check your bags in at the Southwest counter, and you'll get everything else you need.  As your 3 kids all have purchased tickets and are under the age of 18 you actually don't need any ID for them (assuming you are flying within the United States).

 

Give yourself plenty of time, airports tend to be very busy during the holiday season and you don't want to try to rush with 3 kids.  You can read more about security screening at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips/travel-checklist, I would suggest you pay careful attention to the rules about liquids and gels.  Bring lots of snacks and activities for the kids, especially if you have a long flight. 

 

When you get to the gate talk to a Southwest employee and let them know you have 3 kids with you and you would like to know when you should board.  There are different options depending on what boarding position you have been assigned.  Be aware that there are 3 seats on each side of the plane so you will need to determine how you want to sit.  One option is for you to sit with 2 of the kids on one side of the aisle and have the 9 year old across the aisle from you.

 

Remember, you can always ask any Southwest employee for help when you are at the airport, they'd be happy to point you in the right direction.

 

Reply here if you have other questions, this community has some great people who can help you out and we'd love to hear from you afterwards to learn how it all went and what advice you would give to someone else.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: first time flying with 3 small children

Active Member

This sounds like an exciting trip for you and your children!  You won't need any type of id or their birth certificates for your children as they are young.  Just an fyi, the plane is configured with 3 seats on each side of the aisle so I would recommend putting your kids on one side and you sit directly across from them.  I have traveled with children before and I would also suggest you bring something for them to do on the plane (snacks, electronics, books, etc.) to keep them preoccupied. Lastly, bring suckers for the kids for during take off and landing to help with their ears so they don't get uncomfortable.  

 

EarlyBird is an add on feature where your boarding positions are chosen 36 hours prior to departure. You will still need to get online and print your boarding passes within 24 hours or departure or just pick them up at the airport.  The thing with EarlyBird is your boarding positions are picked before those without EarlyBird so you will get on the plane sooner.

 

Hope this helps!

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Re: first time flying with 3 small children

Top Contributor

@basslaw2010 wrote:

...

EarlyBird is an add on feature where your boarding positions are chosen 36 hours prior to departure. You will still need to get online and print your boarding passes within 24 hours or departure or just pick them up at the airport.  The thing with EarlyBird is your boarding positions are picked before those without EarlyBird so you will get on the plane sooner.

 


I don't want to complicate things too much, but in my opinion (hopefully also the gate agent's opinion) you should be able to use family boarding. Between A and B groups families are allowed to baord - the rules are:

 

An adult traveling with a child six years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding. If the child and the adult are both holding an “A” boarding pass, they should board in their assigned boarding position.

 

So technically not the 9 year old, but I believe with two youngsters, yourself, and a 9 y/o would meet the intent of the family boarding.

 

That said, if your early-bird tickets get you A positions just go with that and ignore the family boarding advice.

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: first time flying with 3 small children

Top Contributor

@DancingDavidE wrote:

That said, if your early-bird tickets get you A positions just go with that and ignore the family boarding advice.

 


Thus my advice to check with an employee at the gate to see what boarding position would work best 😛

 

--TheMiddleSeat

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Re: first time flying with 3 small children

Top Contributor

@TheMiddleSeat wrote:

@DancingDavidE wrote:

That said, if your early-bird tickets get you A positions just go with that and ignore the family boarding advice.

 


Thus my advice to check with an employee at the gate to see what boarding position would work best 😛

 

--TheMiddleSeat


Agreed, just wanted to plant the wording "Family Boarding" in her head `Smiley LOL

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