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Baby on Board

Your Checklist

  • A copy of a birth certificate for infants and toddlers flying as lap children
  • Boarding Verification Document available at the Southwest Ticket Counter for infants and toddlers flying as lap children
  • Child Restraint System (car seat) for ticketed children
  • Pay taxes & fees prior to international travel at the Southwest Airlines Ticket Counter or by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792).

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Note:

Devices that tie the child to another person are prohibited for taxi, takeoff, and landing, and backless booster seats are not approved for use during any phase of flight regardless of any approval labels they bear.

Baby On Board

What special rules apply to infants and toddlers?

If you're traveling with an infant or small child, you should know that proper use of a Child Restraint System (CRS) enhances child safety on aircraft. For this reason, Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommend that infants and small children who weigh under 40 pounds be secured in an appropriate CRS when traveling by air. See below for additional information.

  • Traveling with the infant on your lap:
    • One child over 14 days old and under two (2) years of age, not occupying a seat, may be carried free of charge when traveling with an adult (12 years of age or older).
    • Although a boarding pass is not required for the infant, you will need a Boarding Verification Document. See below for additional information.
  • Traveling with the infant in an FAA-approved car seat:
    • Affordable Infant Fares are available that enable a Customer to reserve a seat for an infant and use his/her FAA-approved car seat.
    • A boarding pass is required.
    • Online checkin is available if the infant traveling on an Infant Fare is age verified.
    • See below for additional information.
  • Traveling with an infant on an international flight:
    • Infants between 14 days and two years of age can travel on international flights as either a lap child or in an FAA-approved car seat with the purchase of a ticket.
    • If you plan to travel with an infant as a lap child, you will be required to pay the taxes and fees that apply to the international portion of the infant’s itinerary.
    • The taxes and fees must be paid prior to travel at the Southwest Airlines Ticket Counter or by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792).
    • All Southwest Airlines forms of payment are acceptable for lap children tickets with the exception of Southwest LUV Vouchers. Pesos will be accepted as a form of payment at the Southwest Ticket Counter in Cancun, Mexico City, and San Jose del Cabo only.
    • Visit our portal for more information on documentation that could be required based on your specific international destination.
  • A birth certificate is required to validate the age of all infants under age two.
  • A medical release for travel is required for any infant under 14 days old.
  • Accompanied children ages two through 11 may be charged the applicable Child's Fare or purchase a Wanna Get Away Fare or Anytime Fare for the flight (does not apply to unaccompanied children ages five through 11). Proof of age may be required.
  • Southwest welcomes nursing mothers who wish to breastfeed on the aircraft and/or within our facilities.

Does my infant need a boarding pass?

If you choose to purchase a seat so that your infant may travel in his/her CRS you will need to obtain a boarding pass for the infant. If you purchase an Infant Fare, you may use online checkin if your infant has been age verified. If your infant has not been age verified, you will not be able to use online checkin, unless you purchase a fare that that does not have age restrictions. See below for more information on the age verification process.

If you choose to travel with your infant on your lap (at no additional charge) the infant will not need a boarding pass; however, you will need to obtain a Boarding Verification Document (BVD) for the infant. The BVD will allow the infant to board the aircraft. BVDs are available at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter on the day of travel. In order to complete your BVD, the Customer Service Agent will need to verify that your infant has not reached his/her second birthday, so be sure to bring along a copy of your infant's birth certificate.

Does Southwest offer infant fares?

Southwest Airlines offers very affordable Infant fares for children under two years of age that allow you to reserve a seat for your little traveler to fly safely in his/her approved CRS. Infant fares are not available for purchase on southwest.com. Please contact a Customer Representative at 1 (800) 435-9792 for more information.

Southwest Airlines Infant Fares have no restrictions, are fully refundable, and are offered on every Southwest Airlines flight (although seats are limited).

Although not recommended, if your child is under the age of two and you would prefer to hold him or her on your lap when traveling, you may do so on Southwest Airlines without charge and we'll be glad to check your CRS for use at your destination. FAA regulations require any child who has reached his/her second birthday to occupy his/her own seat. Please keep in mind that Southwest personnel must ensure compliance with this regulation, so be sure to bring along a copy of your infant's birth certificate for age verification.

Child Restraint Systems

Proper use of a Child Restraint Systems (CRS) enhances child safety onboard the aircraft. For this reason, Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommend that infants and small children who weigh under 40 pounds be secured in an appropriate CRS when traveling by air.

Be sure to check the width of your CRS. Although the width of aircraft seats varies, a safety seat wider than 16 inches is unlikely to fit, even if the armrests of the aircraft seats are moved out of the way. An ill-fitting safety seat will not provide adequate protection for your child.

The FAA has banned the use on board aircraft of certain types of CRSs that may be harmful to a child in the event of an aviation emergency. These include backless booster seats, safety belt extensions (commonly referred to as "belly belts"), and vest or harness devices that attach to an adult. Although some that were manufactured before the FAA's ban may carry an insignia and/or language indicating they are approved for aircraft use, please understand that they are no longer permitted. Please note that a CRS may not be placed in any aisle seat, an emergency exit row seat, or in a row directly in front of or behind an emergency exit row.

  • Approved Child Restraint Systems
    • Many of these carry the FMVSS.213 insignia and/or language indicating that they are "approved for use in motor vehicles and on aircraft."
    • Any CRS manufactured between January 1, 1961 and February 25, 1985, must have the following label: "This child restraint device conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards."
    • Any CRS manufactured since February 26, 1985, must have 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."
  • Harness-type devices approved by the FAA:
    • At this time, the FAA has approved only the AmSafe Aviation CARES, which is appropriate for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds.
    • The AmSafe Aviation CARES must have a label indicating "FAA Approved in Accordance with 14CFR 21.305(d), Approved for Aircraft Use Only."

Advice to Pregnant Passengers

While air travel does not usually cause problems during pregnancy unless delivery is expected within 14 days or less, in some cases, traveling by air has been known to cause complications or premature labor. Female Customers at any stage of pregnancy should consult with their physicians prior to air travel. Southwest Airlines recommends against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy. Depending on their physical condition, strength, and agility, pregnant women may, in some cases, be asked not to sit in the emergency exit row.

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