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Old 03-11-2009, 06:26 AM   #1
sandy0904
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Southwest Infant Fares

I had read online that Southwest offered "very affordable" fares for infants 2 or younger. I know that they can fly for free but i was curious to see how much it cost becuase if i can be guaranteed a seat for my son at a "very affordable" price then i would pay for it. So i called Southwest yesterday and they said it would cost $329 roundtrip I am paying $210 roundtrip for an adult...how is $329 very affordable? They said it was a refundable fare and that's what they offer for infants. So needless to say i am not paying that and i will just hope there's an empty seat for him.

Has anyone purchased an infant fare thru Southwest? Does this price sound accurate? I just cant' believe it's correct.
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:37 AM   #2
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We've always taken the baby on lap, so we've never looked into infant rates. That seems NUTS. One thing I have noted is that they have an option to book Senior Citizen's rates. When our parents went with us to Orlando this past trip, we booked them seperately under the Senior option ..... it was the exact same price as our regular seats. I dunno.
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:39 AM   #3
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Also ... many SW flights to Orlando are filled up. You can hope for an empty, but I'd be prepared to keep him on the lap. A light pillow to put on your legs and some books, videos, and games to keep him interested.
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:46 AM   #4
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Thanks Andrews Dad....my son's name is also Andrew
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:55 AM   #5
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I had a similar situation with Delta last year - when we spoke with an agent, she said it was absolutely fine to book the infant under the cheaper (non-refundable) adult fare if we wanted him to have his own seat.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:02 AM   #6
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I called also and was told the best option was to purchase the tickets off the website because those prices are lower than child/senior prices that are offered.
If you definitely want a seat, purchase a ticket, otherwise expect to hold your child during the flight.
I have only gotten lucky on one flight when my daughter was 2 months old (now 4), and her infant carrier car seat had to be placed at the window. I was preparing to unstrap her at the door and gate check the carrier, the flight attendant stopped me and told me to get a window seat for her and me a middle.

good luck!
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:40 AM   #7
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Not sure the length of your flight. We are only in the air about 2 hours and a few minutes, so paying several hundred bucks for a seat that he might not end up in that long is hardly worth it to us. If you have 6 hours or more to land at MCO, I might change my tune.

If you are checking your stoller at the gate as you board the plane, with SW you board AFTER the A group and before the B group -- even if you have an A boarding pass. One option to beat that is to send Dad ahead with teh A group to grab some seats and tell teh folks coming in behind him that they are taken. Mom checks the stoller and vthen carries the child to meet dad.

Another trick of the SW trade is to NOT sit side by side when you sit down. Mom sits at window, open seat in middle, and then Dad on the aisle while proudly holding the baby. People will not take the seat until it is a last resort. Noone want to sit in middle between two strangers .... they know you want the seat for the baby .... and they might not want to be next to a baby that might cry during the trip. If someone does try to take the middle seat, simply have Mom slide to middle and offer the stranger the window seat. This will usually work UNLESS it is a jammed-up flight, which most SW flights to MCO seem to be in my experience. SW is pretty good about getting butts in most every single seat.
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrews_dad View Post
Not sure the length of your flight. We are only in the air about 2 hours and a few minutes, so paying several hundred bucks for a seat that he might not end up in that long is hardly worth it to us. If you have 6 hours or more to land at MCO, I might change my tune.

If you are checking your stoller at the gate as you board the plane, with SW you board AFTER the A group and before the B group -- even if you have an A boarding pass. One option to beat that is to send Dad ahead with teh A group to grab some seats and tell teh folks coming in behind him that they are taken. Mom checks the stoller and vthen carries the child to meet dad.
Since when is this the deal? I have witnessed strollers being gate checked during the A boarding many times. If you have an A boarding pass, then you get to board then, you don't have to wait.
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Old 03-11-2009, 12:52 PM   #9
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OP, just buy the regular ticket online. Don't buy the infant fare. You want to get the baby a seat, so get the baby a seat, but just buy the regular ticket. The infant fares are a percentage off of the fully refundable fares...so if you're buying refundable fares for everyone it makes sense, but otherwise it doesn't.


PP, if you have an A pass, even if gate-checking a stroller, you can still board with the A group. It's just that if you have a little one, you have the fallback of boarding before B, if you didn't get A boarding numbers.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by andrews_dad View Post
Another trick of the SW trade is to NOT sit side by side when you sit down. Mom sits at window, open seat in middle, and then Dad on the aisle while proudly holding the baby. People will not take the seat until it is a last resort. Noone want to sit in middle between two strangers .... they know you want the seat for the baby .... and they might not want to be next to a baby that might cry during the trip. If someone does try to take the middle seat, simply have Mom slide to middle and offer the stranger the window seat. This will usually work UNLESS it is a jammed-up flight, which most SW flights to MCO seem to be in my experience. SW is pretty good about getting butts in most every single seat.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrews_dad View Post
Not sure the length of your flight. We are only in the air about 2 hours and a few minutes, so paying several hundred bucks for a seat that he might not end up in that long is hardly worth it to us. If you have 6 hours or more to land at MCO, I might change my tune.

If you are checking your stoller at the gate as you board the plane, with SW you board AFTER the A group and before the B group -- even if you have an A boarding pass. One option to beat that is to send Dad ahead with teh A group to grab some seats and tell teh folks coming in behind him that they are taken. Mom checks the stoller and vthen carries the child to meet dad.

Another trick of the SW trade is to NOT sit side by side when you sit down. Mom sits at window, open seat in middle, and then Dad on the aisle while proudly holding the baby. People will not take the seat until it is a last resort. Noone want to sit in middle between two strangers .... they know you want the seat for the baby .... and they might not want to be next to a baby that might cry during the trip. If someone does try to take the middle seat, simply have Mom slide to middle and offer the stranger the window seat. This will usually work UNLESS it is a jammed-up flight, which most SW flights to MCO seem to be in my experience. SW is pretty good about getting butts in most every single seat.
I fly SW a lot and have never seen those with strollers made to board inbetween the A's and B's. They boarded with the A's if they had A boarding passes. If they had B's or C's and had a child under 4, they boarded after the A's and before the B's. Having a stroller to gate check hasn't made any difference in any of my flights...I've boarded in the middle of the As and walked past about 3 strollers, sitting there, waiting to be taken away...the owners had already boarded!

Also, be careful about taking those aisle and window seats, hoping to keep that middle seat for your own. I saw that happen on one or two flights....there were several families trying this. The flight was full and they had to scramble to get situated again when the FAs announced that there were no open seats on that flight...not very happy parents. I overhead one dad say that he was angry because he had been told to do just what you suggested...aisle and window, which would give them that free, extra seat..now he had to sit in the middle seat, not happily!!!
If you want to give that a shot, you are best off trying to do it towards the rear of the plane. It's always those in the front that try it though. If there are going to be any empty seats, they will usually be in the back.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:46 PM   #12
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I was surprised at the cost of the "infant fare" too. I just booked a seat for my grand-daughter using the web only fare and I was happy doing that. It seems no matter what time of day or what day of the week I go to WDW the plane is always pretty full.
And..after I booked all of us for our trip in June the prices went down quite a bit, so I actually have enough credits to fly "free" when I go by myself in December.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrews_dad View Post
Another trick of the SW trade is to NOT sit side by side when you sit down. Mom sits at window, open seat in middle, and then Dad on the aisle while proudly holding the baby. People will not take the seat until it is a last resort. Noone want to sit in middle between two strangers .... they know you want the seat for the baby .... and they might not want to be next to a baby that might cry during the trip. If someone does try to take the middle seat, simply have Mom slide to middle and offer the stranger the window seat. This will usually work UNLESS it is a jammed-up flight, which most SW flights to MCO seem to be in my experience. SW is pretty good about getting butts in most every single seat.
Oh yes, the "split the couple" routine (Always a popular one on flyertalk.com LOL!)

And just because you might get the crazy woman or man.. I have actually seen people just take that first open seat that IS the middle seat.

There was a HUGE thread on Flyertalk a while back where it came out that SW was often NOT allowing the parents to bring on the car seat for the "just in case" So if you don't buy a seat you will be holding the infant during the two most dangerous parts of the flight. (And no it does not matter HOW much you love the child, if the worst happens you probably won't be able to hang on!)

I have also seen the family just "take" the seat and then act OUTRAGED when the FA made them give it up. (Hint, screaming at the FA is NOT acceptable, screaming at your DH because he was too cheap and told you that there would be a "free" seat is acceptable, but will result in laughter from the rest of the plane! The woman told her DH that on the flight back that if he didn't PAY he could STAY in Orlando LOL!)
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Old 03-11-2009, 04:33 PM   #14
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We've flown SW last 2 yrs and are flying them again in May. We've had low number A group and always gate checked our stroller as we've seen others do as well. We intend to this next flight too. I've never heard of not being able to.
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:14 PM   #15
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For the safety of your child and those around you, please buy your child a seat, regardless of the cost and secure them in that seat.

My nephew was under 2 last year and we bought him just a regular ticket (this was US Airways), no infant fare.
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