I’m planning to use Southwest for our March 2022 trip and I really have no idea what I am doing as it has been 15 years since I’ve flown with them. We are a party of 8 - Me, DH41, DMom 68, DAunt 70, DS9, DS6, DD4, and DD10mo. I’m trying to figure out the best way to get us all seated in pairs (1 adult/1child). The kids all want window seats, so the adults will be in the middle seats. We qualify for family boarding, but I’m not sure if they will allow all 4 adults on for family boarding. Maybe because we have at least 2 kids under 6 they will allow 2 sets of adults? Anyone know? Or if I get Business Select for all the adults (and Wanna Get Away for the kids), will they allow the kids to board with the adults? Should I get Business Select for 2 of the adults and the rest of us board during family boarding? We should still be able to get the 2 kids with the adults that already boarded, right? Oh, and I have qualified for a Companion Pass. When will that adult board? If I get myself Business Select, does that mean my companion also gets Business Select? I’m probably way over analyzing this, but I want all of my kids to get a window seat next to an adult in our party for the least amount of money/points. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!
If you pay for Early Bird ($15-$25 per person, per flight), it’s probably cheaper than paying for Business Select and you will likely get A boarding, which will get you on ahead of the family boarding, which boards before B. I’ve heard of people gaming the system by only buying Business Select for one or some of the group and saving seats, but I’m not sure I’d risk it.
I’m not looking to game the system, I’m just not entirely sure how the system works! I’ve never flown Southwest with kids. I know on American we were told to all board with my mom because she had Priority Boarding, even though we didn’t. They all seem to do it differently.
That works out to $400 for our group for roundtrip!
Last time I flew southwest, the Early Bird folks (group A) boarded before family boarding. I don’t know if they always do it that way or not, but a flight to Orlando will always have a lot of kids on it so I think that’s deliberate for that particular route.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I would strongly encourage you to pay for the Early Bird. They also announce that they will only allow one adult per under-6 for family boarding, so that likely won’t help you much. I think @OBNurseNH is our resident Southwest expert though.
Flying with a group is do-able but you have hurdles.
SW lives by boarding groups.
Earlier you check in, the better the boarding group. As others stated, paying for Auto-Check-in is the best option. Next best is to be online to check in exactly 24 hours ahead … but everyone else is doing that too.
If all 8 of you are 1 reservation, that will be better for quick check in, to get the same boarding group.
I think SW boards A, B, families with infants under two, then C.
Every plane is 3x3 across a row.
The official policy is that two adults (and other kids, of course) can board with a child under 6. Since you’ve got two kids under six, I’d just split the group up so that each set of adults boards with one of the under 6 kids. So, you and your mom can board with DD10mo and DH and aunt are in line right behind you with DD4. I don’t think you’ll have any problem at all with that set up.
Or, you could buy early bird just for your mom and aunt, so they’ve got early boarding numbers, and then the rest of the group would board with family boarding.
Family boarding is right after A group boarding – From what I’ve seen with family boarding you won’t have any problem with either of those plans and have no problem getting the seats you want.
Oh well, it was somebody! I was too lazy to dig through my old posts to check.
I wasn’t saying that there was anything wrong with gaming the system - more that there was some risk in doing so!
I would send two adults with DS9 and DS6 onto the plane first (either w/ Early Bird purchased or Family Boarding). The two DS secure their individual seats in their individual rows and the two adults install car seats for DS4 and DD10mo (car seats must be installed in window seats). DD10mo’s rear facing seat should be installed in a row behind either DS9 or DS6 so no one will complain they cannot recline their seat.
Let DS4 and DD10mo burn off as much energy at the gate as possible then board and meet the rest of your party. The car seats will be all ready for both littles and the older boys will be mostly settled.
We used to do this all the time when our 2 kids were younger, Dh went on board w/ the car seat (and eventually w/ the older one) and got it all set up so I wasn’t standing in the aisle with a squirmy kiddo.
…and FWIW, we never had any issues finding seats (in this case two sets of 2 instead of four sets) checking in at 24 hours (always B group) or using Family Boarding.
DD4 (almost 5) is over 40 inches and 40lbs, so we won’t be taking a car seat on the plane for her. We have a RideSafe Vest for her. I had considered sending the car seat for DD10mo on with the first set of adults though.
I definitely make sure to do this!
With how full flights are now, and the fact that it’s a flight to Orlando, I feel like it might not be as easy as it used to be.
We flew Philly to Orlando on Southwest fairly often over the last 15-20 years (I think the first few were United) and I am pretty sure every single flight was full. There were actually so many kids that on many flights they didn’t do family boarding at all.
With how tall DS4 is, a Ride Safer Vest is a great option!
Meh, I just decided it was too much of a hassle, we’re flying American!!
Honestly I wish I had done the same. I don’t know why I sprung for the cheaper Southwest tix, but I’m regretting it now.
It feels like a waste of a companion pass, but it’s just not worth the headache! Plus, flights were going to be over 22,000 points on SWA, and it’s only 20,000 on American.
I would still have an adult board earlier to install your dd’s seat!