One of the most accommodating airlines for kids is Southwest Airlines. They make traveling with your children stress-free. The options for sitting together and the baggage allowances will make your trip so much easier. But what do you do with your stroller?
Southwest Airlines let you check one stroller per child for free. It must weigh less than 50 lbs (22.7kg) and be less than 62 linear inches (157.5cm) in size. You’re not allowed to bring it into the cabin.
Read on to find out more about Southwest Airlines’ stroller policy and other useful information on traveling with children.
Cost to bring your stroller in Southwest
Southwest Airlines aren’t too strict with their baggage allowance policies when compared to some companies. On top of your regular fare allowance, you can also bring a stroller and a car seat for free. Neither will count towards your standard allowance. For example, if you bought a ticket for one 50 lbs bag, you can take the bag, your child’s stroller, and car seat at no extra cost.
However, if you want to bring more than one stroller, you will need to pay for an extra piece of luggage. Not all parents will need to do this, but others can have various strollers for their children. For example, a regular stroller and a jogging one.
Where to Check Your Stroller
You can’t bring your stroller into the cabin, not even if it’s a collapsible one. However, there are several options for checking it. Southwest gives you the possibility to check in your luggage at the airport curb, at their ticket counter, and at the gate.
If you decide to check your stroller before going through security, you can pick up an airport stroller for free. Many airports now offer this service to make traveling through the building easier for parents.
If you plan to bring your own stroller for comfort and hygiene reasons, a travel stroller is a no-brainer choice since it’s designed to be both compact and lightweight. Here’s our compiled list: 9 best travel strollers for different needs. Check it out!
Gate Checking Your Stroller
Many parents will choose to gate check their stroller. This gives them the option to have their own pushchair which they know their child likes. It’s also more hygienic than getting an airport stroller.
If you decide to gate check your child’s stroller, there isn’t a size limit. Southwest allows you to take a stroller up to 50 lbs (22.7kg) and 62 linear inches (157.5cm) in size to the gate. Considering some airlines request that prams over 20 lbs (9kg) be checked at the ticket counter, Southwest is being quite generous here.
Once you arrive at the gate, you will need to ask one of the staff members from Southwest to tag your stroller. This tag will match the pushchair to your boarding pass in case anything happens to it.
Strollers and Car Seats
With Southwest Airlines, you can have both a stroller and a car seat for free. They must both be checked into the hold before boarding, except if you buy a separate ticket for your child and their car seat. If you do decide to check them, there are no extra costs as long as they are under the regulation dimensions.
Paying for a Car Seat
Children under two years old can sit on their parent’s lap for free. Seeing as a car seat will take up an extra seat, you need to pay for it. When booking your ticket, you can select that your child will sit in a car seat and the airline will change the fare accordingly.
Before booking, make sure that your car seat is FAA-approved. Not all seats are allowed on planes. However, most car seats designed after 1985 are approved. You will need to have proof though. There might be a sticker on the side of the car seat or information in the manual.
If you’re planning on traveling with a car seat and would like more information, check out our article on Southwest Airlines’ car seat policy.
How much does it cost to fly with an infant on Southwest Airlines?
Children under two years of age fly for free if they travel on an adult’s lap. However, there are some charges depending on the destination. There is no fee on domestic flights, but taxes will be applied if it’s an international flight. And, as mentioned before, you will need to pay for a standard seat if you are bringing a car seat or other child restraint system.
We’ve made a dedicated guide for parents who fly with a baby in Southwest. Check it out.
How old must my child be before traveling?
Children must be at least 14 days old to travel on Southwest Airlines. However, there are some exceptions. If you want to travel with your newborn who is less than two weeks old, you must get a medical release form. It must be signed by a medical professional who deems the child healthy enough to fly.
More about this in our article covering when it’s safe to travel with a newborn.
What documents do infants need to fly with Southwest?
If your child is under two years old, they must have proof of age. For example, a passport, government-issued ID, or birth certificate. Southwest Airlines can ask for one of these documents when you’re booking your flights.
You don’t need to have a regular ticket for your infant, but you must state that you are traveling with a lap child. You can do this by calling Southwest or contacting them through social media. They will then issue a Boarding Verification Document for your baby.
Can we get seats together as a family?
Southwest Airlines boards passengers according to their three-group system. When you check in, you get a ticket for group A, B, or C. The passengers who pay more to check in early or buy business fares will be in group A. There aren’t assigned seats within the groups.
Family Boarding starts after group A but before group B. Seeing as there aren’t assigned seats, you and your family will board after group A and can pick any seats you want that are still free. This way, you can sit together. Family Boarding applies to families with children under 6. Only two adults can board with kids during this phase.
Many things can go wrong when you’re traveling with kids. Check our article about things to know and prepare at flying with kids.