How old should be my baby to be allowed on a Southwest Airlines flight?
Babies can travel with Southwest Airlines with no restriction regarding minimum age, provided that, for infants under 14 days old, a medical release for travel is presented. You should bring your baby’s birth certificate with you to prove his age.
When am I required to purchase a ticket for my child?
No ticket purchase is required for babies under 2 years old traveling as infant on lap. A copy of the birth certificate is required to validate the age of all infants under age two.
A ticket purchase is required for children ages 2 through 11 accompanied on a Southwest Airlines flight by an adult at least 12 years old.
Does Southwest Airlines offer discounted fares for children?
Southwest Airlines offers two special fares for children: Infant Fare and Child Fare.
Offering very affordable Infant Fares, Southwest Airlines sustains the FAA recommendation that babies under 40 pounds be secured in an appropriate child restraint system when traveling by air.
Babies younger than 2 years of age on the date of travel, traveling on a confirmed reservation and occupying a reserved seat, with or without the use of an FAA-approved child restraint device, are eligible for discounted Infant Fares.
Southwest Airlines Infant Fares have no restrictions and are fully refundable. Infant Fares are offered on every Southwest Airlines flight, but available seats are limited due to FAA regulations regarding what seats a child restraint device may occupy. Infant Fares are not available online and may only be purchased by calling Southwest Airlines or at a Southwest Airlines airport ticket counter.
Your baby may check-in online when traveling on an Infant Fare only if he/she has been Age Verified. When your child is traveling on an Infant Fare, and his age has not been previously verified at a Southwest Airlines ticket counter or as a member of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program, the boarding pass can be obtained only at the airport.
Children between the ages of 2 and 11 years old on the date of travel, accompanied by a passenger at least 12 years of age or older, are eligible for discounted Child Fares. Unaccompanied Minors are not eligible for the discounted Child Fare.
Child Fares are not available for online booking and may only be purchased by contacting a Southwest Airlines Customer Representative by phone or at the ticket counter.
A child traveling on Child Fare is not eligible to check-in online, unless the child’s age has been previously verified at a Southwest Airlines ticket counter or as a member of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. At the time of checking-in, proof of age (e.g. copy of the birth certificate) must be presented to the Customer Service Agent.
Infant on lap
If your child is under the age of two, you may choose to travel with your infant on your lap at no additional charge. When traveling as infant on lap, your child does not need a boarding pass. However, you must obtain a Boarding Verification Document (BVD) that allows the infant to board the aircraft. You can obtain the Boarding Verification Document from the Southwest Airlines ticket counter on the day of travel. A copy of the child’s birth certificate is required so that the Customer Service Agent can verify your child’s age and complete the BVD.
The child may be secured in an FAA-approved child restraint device without charge if an adjacent unoccupied seat is available. However, the child restraint device may have to be transported as Checked Baggage if no adjacent unoccupied seats are available.
One Child Restraint Device (car seat) and one stroller will be accepted without charge and will not count toward the free Checked Baggage allowance.
Infants traveling with their own tickets
Southwest Airlines strongly recommends that infants and small children who weigh under 40 pounds be secured in an appropriate child restraint system when traveling by air (under 20 pounds, in a rear-facing seat; from 20 to 40 pounds, in a forward-facing child restraint).
FAA-approved Child Restraint Systems:
- Child Restraint Systems manufactured between 1/1/61 and 2/25/85 with the following label: “This child restraint device conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.”
- Child Restraint Systems manufactured since 26/2/85 with both of the following labels: “This child restraint device conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards” and “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.”
- As a harness-type device, the FAA has approved only the AmSafe Aviation CARES, appropriate for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds and labeled “FAA Approved in Accordance with 14CFR 21.305(d), Approved for Aircraft Use Only.”
Infants traveling with their own tickets are required to have a boarding pass that can be obtained online or at the ticket counter. Online check-in is available only if the baby traveling on Infant Fare has been Age Verified. The age verification process requires a Rapid Rewards or Southwest account and a Customer Service Agent to verify date of birth upon presenting the child’s birth certificate. The Customer Service Agent will update the child’s account to indicate that he/she has been age verified. Once the child’s date of birth has been verified (processing may take up to 2 weeks), online check-in is available as long as your child’s account number is present in the reservation.
If your child is not Age Verified and is traveling on an Infant Fare, you must provide valid proof of age at the airport to obtain the boarding pass. However, online check-in is available if you purchased a fare that does not have age restrictions (e.g. Wanna Get Away Fare, Anytime Fare).
Accompanied children ages 2 through 11 may be charged the applicable Child’s Fare or purchase a Wanna Get Away Fare or Anytime Fare for the flight. At the time of travel, proof of age may be required. Same conditions described above apply when exchanging the confirmation number for the child’s boarding pass.
Southwest Airlines offers families traveling with little children the option to preboard during Family Boarding. Family Boarding allows an adult or families traveling with children under 5 years old to board after Group A, but before Group B. However, if you travel with a child and obtained an “A” boarding pass, you should still board with the “A” boarding group.