Flying Southwest alone with young child


#1

I am flying Southwest alone with my 6 year old daughter. Can someone please tell me what to expect at boarding? She will freak out if she doesn't get a seat next to me. Since Family boarding happens between Positions A&B, will we be ok?


#2

If you buy the "early boarding" thing (I believe it's $15 a person, per way), you should be able to board at the same time without an issue if you buy your tickets at the same time.

However, I'm not an expert and someone might have better insight.


#3

You should buy early bird seating .


#4

Do they still have Boarding Positions A,B,C?


#5

Given the age of your daughter, I'd chat with the gate agent and just ask if you can be part of the preboarding group for those with young children. I know this is typically for kids under 2, but as you are on your own, they may make an exception.
For both your outbound and return trips, be sure to check-in online 24 hours before your flight. In my experience, this will get you into group B at least.


#6

I think that you will be fine! We have never had an issue getting seats together during family boarding, even leaving Orlando. I can almost guarantee that no flight attendant is going to make your 6YO sit alone! They will politely request that people move and if nobody volunteers they will use incentives.


#7

If you're in the same boarding group, you definitely won't have any issues. If you're not, a talk with the agent will do the trick. One thing I can say for Southwest that I can't say for other airlines is that they seem to truly care. I could almost guarantee that even if you're in separate boarding groups, they will make a way for you two to sit together.


#8

We qualify for Family Boarding. Family Boarding changed and now includes children aged 6 and under.

@melcort10 my DH says the same thing. DD is also quite vocal and she will cry loudly if she has to sit alone. It would be quite dramatic.

@disney1974 I will set an alarm and check-in at the 24 hour mark...


#9

If you can do family boarding you should be fine. What about going home? I have heard they do not always do family boarding in Orlando? The issue is that a lot of people pay extra for early bird and therefor they will not move for someone that refused to pay the extra. It is a gamble to not buy it.


#10

Lol exactly!! I can't even imagine.

I also didn't mean to imply that people will even need to move. They still do A, B and C and family goes before B. You obviously won't be in the first few rows, but you should not have a problem getting a window and a middle in the 2nd half of the plane.


#11

Since they have a policy in place for Family Boarding, I would expect they will adhere to their policy - regardless of the location.

This is why I prefer JetBlue people! JetBlue is so nice!!!


#12

Southwest will do everything they can to put you together, but it's not a guarantee. We were on a connecting flight with our 4 yo and 7 yo. We had "A" boarding passes but our first flight was late arriving. We ran through the airport as they were holding the plane for us - we ended up being the last on the plane. The flight attendants offered bribes and everything and people wouldn't move for a 45 minute flight. Finally, 2 people across an aisle from each other agreed to move so I could at least be close to the 4 yo. The 7 yo was 4 rows behind. The 4 yo asked me to hold his hand across the aisle as he was scared that finally guilted the people next to him to switch seats with us. Moral of the story - southwest did their best but other passengers may not be as accommodating.


#13

Stories like that have always scared me away from flying Southwest; I hate the cattle car lineup when I'm traveling for business and want nothing of it for my kids.

That being said, we're doing Southwest back from Orlando since they had the best flight option by far coming back. I automatically added Early Bird checkin to the fare I was basing my decision on.


#14

I was so grateful that the last flight I was on with Southwest my DD was 15. We were practically at opposite ends of the plane- nobody was willing to move or shift. I would have been horrified if people were so heartless as to make a 4 year old sit across from mom or dad. The flight attendants really can only go so far to encourage people to do the right thing. My faith isn't lost in the airline, just in humanity at times.


#15

This is terrifying! Are seats not allocated when you buy the tickets in the first place?


#16

No, you are not assigned a seat. There are also no bag or change fees.


#17

As of right now, the flight is not sold out. I know that can change at any time, but at least I'm reassured for today.

I am, admittedly, quite spoiled/lucky. I can fly JetBlue from BWI to MCO usually for around $200 nonstop. Since it's the week after Easter, I assume the prices are inflated because of the holiday. JetBlue is still over $600 per person. These tickets thru Southwest are just shy of $300 nonstop per person. I do realize many other people have it far worse and pay much higher flight costs to get to WDW.... it's just not my personal experience.

This was a "last minute" trip for us. I booked the airfare on Jan 31 for a mid-April trip. I usually book airfare 6+months in advance. With the cost of airfare being so expensive for my dates, I just can't justify paying $120 extra (total) for us to get Early Bird Check-in. We will get there 3 hours before our flight - so I don't expect a situation such as yours @HawkeyeJedi. I do expect to be able to board during Family Boarding and hope to have plenty of seats next to each other. After all, there are only 2 of us...not like we need a whole row -window to window....

I am, admittedly, quite spoiled/lucky. I can fly JetBlue from BWI to MCO usually for around $200 nonstop. Since it's the week after Easter, JetBlue over $600 per person. These tickets thru Southwest are just shy of $300 nonstop per person. I do realize many other people have it far worse and pay much higher flight costs to get to WDW.... it's just not my personal experience.


#18

We are paying just shy of 9k to come from Australia, but there's no chance I would do it for any price of we weren't going to be seated together.

I'm struggling to comprehend the whole situation. What kind of crazy business model are they running? Cheapest flights around but will seperate children from their parents on occasion unless they pay a premium? Sounds like something I'd totally boycott from an ethical perspective.


#19

Yeah, I don't get it either.

I didn't realize until it was paid for that I couldn't select my seats... and there was no way I was paying JetBlue prices. I'm also not "ready" to use Frontier or Spirit. I have heard too many complaints about issues if your flight is delayed/cancelled that they can't always get you on another flight same day because they are smaller compared to other airlines.

Southwest's website says that by allowing people to pick their own seats that they can get you to your destination faster. I am sure they have statistical models to prove this, but I'm skeptical.


#20

They aren't the cheapest, American was actually cheaper but didn't have a direct flight. I don't understand why it would be so difficult to add a seat picking tab on the website.