Traveling with an infant
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, we and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommend that infants and small children who weigh 40 pounds or less be secured in an appropriate CRS when traveling by air.
- 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 someone 12 years of age or older.
- If you plan to travel with an infant as a Lap Child, you must 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.
- All forms of payment are acceptable for Lap Child tickets except Southwest LUV Vouchers® and cash. Pesos will still be accepted as a form of payment at the ticket counter in Cancun (CUN) and Los Cabos (SJD) only.
Employees may ask for age verification at any point, so please travel with a copy or original form of any government-issued ID, such as a birth certificate or passport for your child. A medical release for travel is required for any infant under 14 days old.
- If you choose to purchase a seat so your infant can travel in a child restraint system (CRS), they need a boarding pass.
- If you choose to travel with your infant on your lap (at no additional charge), they don’t need a boarding pass; however, you’ll need a Boarding Verification Document (BVD) for the infant so they can board. BVDs can be printed at the airport on the day of travel at a kiosk or the ticket counter. If traveling domestically with a Lap Child, you can add them to your reservation. You still have to travel with proof of age.
If the CRS was manufactured before February 25, 1985, it must have one of the following labels. A CRS manufactured on or after February 26, 1985, must bear both labels in A and B:
- This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.
- This child restraint device conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
- FAA APPROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH 14 CFR PART 21.305 (D) APPROVED FOR AIRCRAFT USE ONLY.
We also accept seats approved by the United Nations or foreign governments. The CRS must have a stamp or decal or some other mark that indicates foreign government approval. Seats manufactured under the standards of the UN must have a label with a circle surrounding the letter E, followed by a number assigned to the country that has granted approval.
It is important to note that the CARES CRS is the only harness-type device approved for use onboard. The device is designed for Customers weighing between 22 and 44 pounds and must have a label that indicates, “FAA Approved in Accordance with 14 CFR 21.305(d), Approved for Aircraft Use Only.”
Additionally, please know the FAA has banned certain types of child restraints that may be harmful to a child in the event of an aviation emergency. These include backless booster seats and any device that ties the child to another person.
There’s nothing more important to us than the safety and security of your family. That’s why we strongly recommend the following:
CRSs ALLOWED IN MIDDLE AND WINDOW SEATS ONLY. If the CRS is placed in the middle seat, it must not prevent the Passenger in the window seat from exiting the aircraft. If two children are traveling, CRSs must ONLY occupy the middle and window seats. Never aisle seats.
CRSs ARE NEVER ALLOWED ON EXIT SEATS. This also means an aisle seat OR the row in front of or behind an emergency exit row.
WEIGHT LIMITS. Though you’re allowed to place the CRS any way you prefer, here’s what we recommend:
- Children under 20 pounds: CRS faces the back of the plane.
- Children between 20-40 pounds: CRS faces the front of the plane.
SEATBELTS ARE AVAILABLE. If you feel you need extra help securing a child, just ask the nearest Flight Attendant.
To make sure your CRS will fit properly when you’re onboard, check the widths of the narrowest and widest passenger seats on our Flying Southwest page. When purchasing your flight, click on the hyperlinked flight number on the Select Flights page to find the aircraft series size for a specific flight. While we try our best to utilize the originally scheduled aircraft type for your journey, operational circumstances may result in a swap to an aircraft with different seat dimensions.
While flying doesn’t usually cause problems during pregnancy, in some cases, traveling by air has been known to cause complications or premature labor. If you’re pregnant, you should consult your physician before flying. We recommend against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy. Depending on physical condition, strength, and agility, you may, in some cases, be asked not to sit in the emergency exit row if pregnant.
We welcome nursing Customers who wish to breastfeed onboard or within our facilities.
Baggage containing a breast pump and/or breast milk may be brought onboard in addition to the standard carryon limit of one bag plus one small, personal item. You might be asked the nature of the additional carryon bag(s) throughout travel. Keep in mind that we don’t have electrical outlets onboard for personal use.
If you have questions or concerns about transporting liquid formula through a security checkpoint, explore the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security screening procedures on the TSA website.