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Summer Travel Tips

Winter snow and ice is now a distant memory (thank goodness), as spring has officially given way to the warmth of summer and all its amazing sounds, sites, and smells. With you, the summer traveler in mind, we’ve put together a list of helpful travel tips to make your summer one to remember.

Before your trip:

1. Pack smart. Pack light.

Before you hit the beach or hike that mountain, try and pack light and limit yourself to one carry-on bag (plus one small, personal item). Luckily, if you need to pack a little more, your first two checked Bags Fly Free®, though baggage weight and size limits apply. Make sure to pack your liquids and other items not permitted in carry-on luggage in your checked bags. If you are unsure whether or not an item may be transported in your carry-on bag consult the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s list of prohibited items before heading to the airport.

The TSA requires Customers carry a government-issued photo I.D. or other form of acceptable identification. In addition to your identification, 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.

2. Make travel changes and keep tabs on your trip using your mobile device.

Extending your vacation by a few days? You can quickly make travel changes on the fly with Southwest’s mobile site or our easy-to-use mobile app. The mobile app is available for Apple iOS devices via the App Store and for Android Devices on Google Play. You can view your upcoming flight’s status, boarding position and gate information, and view travel and weather alerts. You can even book or cancel rental car reservations – all from your web-enabled mobile device. View more information about our mobile app and site.

3. Get answers to your questions ahead of time

Avoid sunburn by wearing sunscreen, avoid travel hiccups by spending a little time familiarizing yourself with our travel policies before your trip, especially if you will be traveling with young children or if your child will be traveling alone. Consult our Children/unaccompanied minors policy as well as our Baby on Board page to help make your trip as seamless as possible.

Does your pet love the sun as much as you do? No need to leave your furry friend at home. Southwest Airlines® allows small vaccinated domestic cats or dogs to travel with you in-cabin under the seat in front of you, as long as they are in an appropriate travel carrier. View more information on our Pet Policies.

Most importantly, give yourself plenty of extra time to travel to the airport to avoid heightened Customer traffic. Rain or shine, we always recommend checking the status of your flight before you head to the airport, as well as our suggested airport arrival times and ticket counter hours listed by airport location.

Arriving at the airport:

1. Checking your luggage.

To speed up your baggage check in, try Express Bag Drop (available in select cities), a separate line that lets Customers who already have a boarding pass check their bag with less of a wait.

Traveling with an essential item? Prior to boarding, see a Customer Service Agent at the gate to check any extra or oversized carry-on items, baby items such as strollers and car seats, or assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters.

As always, please observe limits on one carry-on item and one small, personal item. Review our baggage policies for more information.

2. Too busy planning all the fun to checkin? We have alternative options.

Preparing for a summer trip can send your mind racing in a million different directions. Sometimes the last thing on your mind is checking in for your flight. By purchasing a Business Select® Fare, you’re guaranteed an A1-15 boarding position, along with other time-saving benefits such as access to our Fly By® Check-in and Security Lanes (where available). Or if you’ve already bought an Anytime or Wanna Get Away Fare, you can add EarlyBird Check-In® to your reservation. For only $12.50 each way, we’ll automatically check you in and assign your boarding position within 36 hours of your flight's departure.

You can always check in online at® and print your boarding pass from your home up to 24 hours prior to your flight time or at one of the convenient self-service kiosks located at the airport. You can also utilize our new mobile boarding pass feature and go paperless.

Once onboard:

1. Ensure a smooth boarding process.

We know you’re ready to dip your toes in the sand or head to that amazing spot only the locals know about, but be sure to follow all boarding procedures to make sure your boarding process goes smoothly. During peak travel times, the overhead bins can get a little crowded. Remember, to store large items (roller bags, suitcases, duffel bags etc.) in the overhead bins. Place roller bags with wheels facing out. Stow smaller personal items under the seat in front of you (purses, laptop cases, and backpacks). If you are traveling with lap children (under age 2) who are non-ticketed, be sure they are seated in your lap before takeoff.

2. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.

You’ve earned it. Consult our WiFi finder before your flight to see if you will be traveling on a WiFi-enabled aircraft. For just $8 all day per device, you can access the internet, email, social networks and even read the latest bestselling books. Plus, you can enjoy free live TV* on your own device. And, with Apple Music now being offered onboard, it’s easy to get in the summer spirit by listening to a playlist of your favorite summer anthems. You can access inflight entertainment using your own personal electronic device.

3. Plan your pick up spot ahead of time. Your vacations is about to begin!

Navigating a crowded airport can be tricky. Coordinate with your companions and decide on a central meeting location at the airport ahead of time. If you are picking someone up from the airport, be sure to review our travel policies online. If you are picking up an unaccompanied minor or someone needing extra assistance, you must obtain a non-passenger escort pass from the ticket counter to be allowed through the security checkpoint.

We hope your summer is filled with sun, laughter, and adventure. Go somewhere new and exciting. Explore with an open mind. Create memories with the people you love the most. Make the summer of 2015 one to remember.

*Compliments of Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Credit Card. Limited time. Where available.

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