Skip top navigation

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).

Join the Discussion

Share knowledge and learn from travelers just like you.


Need Help?

We’re a click away.

Contact Us


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 40 pounds or less be secured in an appropriate CRS when traveling by air. See below for additional information.

  • Traveling with the infant on your lap on a domestic flight:
    • 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:
    • 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:
    • 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).
    • 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 and cash. Pesos will still be accepted as a form of payment at the Southwest Ticket Counter in Cancun, 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.

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 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 Please contact a Customer Representative at 1 (800) 435-9792 for more information.

Southwest Airlines Infant Fares have no restrictions, are 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 System (CRS) enhances child safety onboard the aircraft. For this reason, Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommend securing infants and small children in a CRS that is government approved for use onboard.

Once onboard the aircraft, the CRS should be secured in a middle or window seat. If placed in a middle seat, the CRS may not impede the exit path of a Passenger in the window seat. CRSs may not be placed in an exit seat or in a row directly forward or aft of an exit row of seats. 

If the CRS was manufactured prior to February 25, 1985, it must have one of the following labels. A CRS manufactured on or after February 26, 1985, must bear both of the labels in “A” and “B” below:

  1. This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.
  2. This child restraint device conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.

Southwest Airlines will 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.

Aircraft Seat Dimensions

In order to determine whether a specific CRS will fit properly on the aircraft, the width of the narrowest and widest passenger seats (in inches) is available 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. You can also reach out to Customer Support and Services at (800) I-FLY-SWA (800-435-9792). While we will try our best to utilize the originally scheduled aircraft type for your journey, operational circumstances may result in an aircraft swap to an aircraft with different seat dimensions.

Please note the seat configuration on each aircraft varies, and accordingly, we are unable to provide any assurance that a Customer will be seated in a seat wider than the narrowest seat. Be sure to check the width of your CRS prior to traveling. If you have further questions, please contact Customer Support and Services at (800) I-FLY-SWA (800-435-9792).

Tips for an Easy Flight

We want your flight to be as safe and enjoyable as possible. When choosing a seat onboard the aircraft, please select a window seat for the CRS if possible, keeping in mind an accompanying adult must be seated next to the child. If a window seat is unavailable, please utilize a middle seat. A CRS may not be placed in the following areas:

  • Aisle seats
  • Any seat located in an emergency exit row.
  • Any seat in a row directly in front of or behind an emergency exit row.

The FAA prohibits the use of certain types of restraint devices, such as backless booster seats, safety belt extensions (commonly referred to as "belly belts"), and vests or harness devices that attach to an adult. Although certain devices may carry an insignia and/or language indicating they are approved for aircraft use, please understand that they may not be permitted. If traveling with a restraint system or other assistive device for a Customer with a disability, please visit our Wheelchairs and Other Devices page or contact Customer Support and Services at (800) I-FLY-SWA (800-435-9792) for more information.

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.

Customers who are Nursing

Southwest welcomes Customers who are nursing who wish to breastfeed on the aircraft and/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, provided baggage contains no other personal items. The Customer may be asked the nature of the additional carryon bag(s) at any point throughout travel. Southwest Airlines does not have electrical outlets onboard the aircraft for personal use.

How May We Help You? Search Customer Service