We have 3 kids ages 7, 5 and 4 driving from Memphis to ORL is 12 ish hours so we are thinking of flying on Southwest. We have never flown with our kids and have not flown Southwest in a very long time so we don’t know what to expect about which fare to get and the likelihood of seats together, meaning kid is with a parent. We dont have to ALL be together but given my kids ages we need at least the littles to be next to one parent. There is no way my 4 or 5 year old could sit apart from a parent and my 7 year old probably could but has never flown and could need a parent close. Should we just skip southwest to ensure we get kids in seats next to parents or is there a way to ensure kids with at least one parent on a Southwest flight? Thanks for your help!
If you pay for the early bird check in, you’ll be guaranteed an early boarding number. On our last trip to Orlando from Buffalo we were about 5th on the plane. We were a bit further back on the return but only because there was somehow a group of about 10 that got to board first because of medical issues. We still had no problem getting seats together.
Thanks this helps I saw that the fare I want is “early bird eligible” so do I buy that at check out?
We have flown southwest with 3 kids, the first time ages 7,7, and 4. People may tell you to do family boarding, but I have found that there are a lot of families going to Orlando, so this can be hit or miss. We purchase the Wanna get away fare and purchase Early Boarding with each ticket. We have had no problems getting seats with our children and have been in the A group every time. It is also nice that we don’t have to remember to check in at 24 hours, especially for the flight home. We prefer Southwest over other airlines. They are typically on time and I feel like they are a little more kid friendly on the flight.
Why not drive? It is just a single day drive. We drive two days from Michigan with (up to) 5 kids.
This is helpful info thanks!
We have driven from DC to ORL – just thinking of doing something special this time. Not opposed to driving.
Something to keep in mind is total time saved. How long will it take to drive from your house to the airport, wait to board, flight time, arrival time, and then time to take the bus to Disney. All said, it doesn’t seem like it will save you a HUGE amount of time, but will end up costing a lot of additional money.
But that’s me…always the cheapskate! For us, driving 2 days, including gas and extra hotel both there and back is still WAY cheaper than flying.
We can use our miles from one of our credit cards to buy gas cards at BP which appear to be along the route so we may end up going that way. Kids are asking to fly so just exploring options
I understand. I’ve flown a total of four times in my life…the last was for our honeymoon (to Disney!). We just have a lot of memories made during drives which makes me never regret driving. Plus, due to the cost savings, it allows us to do more once we arrive.
Obviously, though, giving your kids a chance to fly is an experience in and of itself.
My DH is really anal about truly figuring out costs of travel. He also includes time and stress as a factor in whether driving is worth it. We would be driving from PA. So he gave me his $ amount breaking point between flying and driving and so far, I have been under it. Flying has worked out better for us overall.
We have done family boarding and had no problems. Be sure to check in 24 hours ahead EXACTLY and that will get you in boarding group A for a backup. Bottom line - they want your kids to be supervised just as much as you want to be with your kids. They will work with you to be seated together.
Our DHs sound similar to me He hates roadtrips. I love them. He has a cash threshold for flying and I think I may have found a way to get under it but the early bird cost may put us over the threshold so then we drive. Its fun for me to look into all the choices though. So I dont mind the hunt!
This is reassuring, thank you!
I think you misspelled that, “anal” should be “EXTREMELY AND INVALUABLY FOCUSED”.
(I have the same kind of spreadsheet as your DH.)
I enjoy a good roadtrip. My DH unfortunately does not lol. Savings trumps all though, even with DH! Fun to explore options though and learn the ropes if we do want to give the flight a try - the flight is nonstop so would definitely be worth it.
A to the Men JJT
We’ve done early bird and gotten in B before, so the 24 hour check in doesn’t always guarantee you A, just like early bird doesn’t. I’ve had it happen twice and it’s been low B’s both time and I’ve always found seats together, but just didn’t want to have the expectation that either gets you an A boarding position.
That being said, I love Southwest and that’s what I fly mostly and I usually have DS9. I do early bird check in because it alleviates one more stress point for me.
Scary thing. He has no spreadsheet. He figures it out in his head after looking up the information.
This, to me, is a sign of genius.