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Holiday Travel Tips

Top 5 Holiday “Dos”

  1. Save time with Online Checkin, easy-to-use Self-Service kiosks, and convenient Fly By® Priority checkin and Security Lanes.

    Get to your gate, minus the wait! Checkin online and print your boarding pass from your home computer via up to 24 hours prior to your flight time. You can also utilize any of our conveniently located Self Service kiosks to print your own boarding pass and proceed directly to the security checkpoint. As long as you have a boarding pass in hand, you do not need to visit the ticket counter or gate podium to check in.

    If you’re a Business Select® Customer or Rapid Rewards® A-List Member, be sure to take advantage of our Fly By® Lanes (at select airports) to minimize your wait time even more at both the ticket counter and the security checkpoint.

    If you’re flying Southwest for the first time this holiday season, we’d love to familiarize you with our quick, easy, and efficient boarding process. When it comes time to board your Southwest flight, our intuitive columns and screens help direct you to the right place in line. Once onboard the plane, feel free to pick a seat (any seat), as all of our flights have open seating.

    Here’s a helpful video to show you how it works.
  2. Head toward the front of the boarding line. Upgrade to a Business Select fare or add EarlyBird Check-In® to your existing reservation.

    With our streamlined boarding process, there’s no need to stake out a place in line to board your flight. You’re automatically assigned a group and number in line upon checkin, so you can enjoy more time relaxing in our comfy leather gate seats, charging your laptop and/or mobile device at one of our convenient charging stations, or entertaining the kiddos in our family-friendly area complete with kid-friendly tables, chairs, and television programming.

    Want to get a better boarding position? By purchasing a Business Select Fare, you’re guaranteed a Group A 1 - 15 boarding position, along with extra Rapid Rewards® points and other time-saving benefits such as access to our Fly By Check-in and Security Lanes. Or if you’ve already bought an Anytime or Wanna Getaway Fare.

    Let’s be honest, the holidays can be downright hectic! Fortunately, since you’re flying Southwest this holiday season, EarlyBird Check-In can help eliminate an item from your never ending to-do list. When you add EarlyBird to your reservation, you’ll be automatically checked in for your flight with a confirmed boarding position ready and waiting for you. Find out more about this super convenient option and add to it your reservation now.
  3. Stay in the know while you’re on the go with our mobile apps and mobile site.

    You may be on the road, but your travel information is more accessible than you may think. Even though you’re away from your computer, you can still access several key features of on your web-enabled mobile device via our new app for iPhone® and Android or via our mobile site. You can check in for your flight to secure your boarding position, check your flight status, and find helpful airport information among other helpful features.
  4. Simplify your holiday shopping. Give your friends and loved ones the gift of a destination.

    Need stocking stuffers for the traveler who has everything? Don’t get them something. Get them somewhere. You choose the amount. They choose the place. No fees. No expiration. Ever.

    Give a southwestgiftcard® today at, by calling 1-800-IFLYSWA (1-800-435-9792), or at a participating retail location near you. With convenient online redemption and no expiration date, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
  5. Stay connected while traveling to your destination.

    Whether you need to finish your holiday shopping, or want to stay connected while traveling to your favorite holiday destination, you can do all of this and more with our gate-to-gate inflight internet and entertainment options. If you’re on a WiFi-enabled plane* you can connect using your own portable electronic device to surf the web or watch live TV and movies on-demand. Or, for a limited-time you can watch live TV for FREE, compliments of DISH®. You can access the WiFi portal free of charge, or you can purchase WiFi for all day usage. And when we say all day, we mean all day. Because WiFi is now available gate-to-gate on all Southwest WiFi-enabled flights. Find out more on how you can stay connected while on the go!

    *Available on WiFi-enabled aircraft only. WiFi and movies are priced per device and available on –700 and –800 aircraft.

    More information is available in Southwest® The Magazine or on the Inflight Entertainment Portal.

Top 5 Holiday “Don’t Forgets”

  1. Allow extra time to get to the airport.

    Just like your favorite shopping center, the airport is “the place to be” during the holidays, especially on peak travel days. Though our Employees and airport personnel will be working diligently to ensure a pleasant airport experience, we recommend that you allow yourself a bit more time than usual since many folks will be traveling during holiday time. Be sure to review the Suggested Airport Arrival Times at the Southwest Cities included in your holiday travel plans prior to your trip.
  2. Bring proper I.D. for all travelers.

    The Transportation Security Administration requires that all ticketed and traveling Customers carry a government-issued photo I.D. and will be asked to show identification at the security checkpoint. In addition to your photo I.D., all Customers will be required to present a Security Document or Boarding Pass at the security checkpoint in order to proceed to the gate. Parents must also provide proof of age for children under the age of two traveling as a lap child. Visit our Baby On Board page for more information on traveling with little ones.

    In addition, the TSA has implemented a program called Secure Flight, which is intended to enhance the security of commercial air travel. Under Secure Flight, airlines are now required to ask traveling passengers for their full legal name as it appears on the government-issued photo ID they intend to travel with, along with their gender and date of birth. We encourage you to update your Southwest account with this information prior to your trip.
  3. Become familiar with our policies if you’re traveling with little ones (or if your little ones are traveling alone).

    We want to ensure a pleasant travel experience for all parents traveling with their young children, as well as Unaccompanied Minors. As such, we ask you to take a few minutes to become familiar with our policies and procedures by reviewing our Children / Unaccompanied Minors policy, and our Family Travel Tips.
  4. Pack your liquids and other prohibited items in your (two free!) checked bags.

    It’s always more difficult to pack only one bag during the holidays. Thankfully on Southwest Airlines, your first two checked bags fly free, though baggage weight and size limits still apply. And remember that if you plan to bring gifts onboard, all wrapped packages must be opened for inspection by airport security. Please consult our baggage policies for additional information.

    If you’re not sure whether an item will be accepted past the security checkpoint, it’s probably best to travel without it or pack it in your checked baggage. If you are packing liquids in your carryon baggage, be sure to adhere to the 3-1-1 rule: bottles no larger than 3 oz, in 1 quart sized zip locked bag, with only 1 bag per person. For more information on carry on items, visit the TSA’s website. In the new era of security procedures many hotel chains are assisting Customers by maintaining a supply of essential toiletries. And if you’re traveling to see loved ones, why not ask if you can borrow some of their household items? After all, ’tis the season for sharing!
  5. Plan ahead when picking up family, friends, or Unaccompanied Minors from the airport.

    If you’re meeting an Unaccompanied Minor or someone needing extra assistance, you must obtain a Non-Passenger Escort pass from the ticket counter to get through the security checkpoint. In order to get a pass, you must present a photo ID and a copy of the passenger’s itinerary. Please allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the gate early.

    In addition, we recommend that you decide on a meeting place ahead of time when making arrangements to pick up friends and family members from the airport. Designate a location in the terminal building such as the baggage claim area.
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