Flying Southwest Airlines with a Baby

flyin southwest with a baby, flying southwest with toddler, flying southwest with a baby, family travel southwest, flying southwest
Is it worth the drive to Buffalo?

Flying Southwest Out of Buffalo

We’re fortunate to be within a reasonable driving distance from Buffalo airport, so we can take advantage of the (sometimes) almost laughably cheap airfares that Americans (sometimes) enjoy.

Two years in a row we flew Southwest to get to Florida. Since airfares are brutal with Canadian carriers, sometimes I doubt we’ll head to FLA from Pearson ever again. Airfare for three of us was the cost of one seat on either major Canadian airline.

And flying Southwest with a baby is pretty painless.

Driving to Buffalo to Fly Southwest

The drive to Buffalo usually takes about 2 hours. And please take the information from the Current Border Crossing Traffic Conditions Hotline with a grain of salt. They said the Peace Bridge had no delay and we actually waited for 45 minutes. That left us less than two hours once we got to Buffalo airport to park, check in, pass security, feed and change the kids, and board. 

This would have been plenty of time in the olden days or if my kids were older. But we felt rushed and it was not a good feeling. For future airport trips we’d cross at Niagara Falls and leave 30 minutes earlier.

Flying Southwest with a Baby…

Southwest (still) has a generous allotment of luggage per person. We did not have any extra charges due to having five pieces (three suitcases, one car seat, one playpen).

We hung on to the baby’s car seat in case there was room on the flight. There was no room on the way out so we gate checked it with our stroller with no problems.

On the way home from Tampa the flight was not full so he was safely ensconced in his car seat on the plane for the entire flight. He slept the whole way home!

flying southwest with a baby, flying southwest, southwest with toddler, southwest family travel
Sleeping Bub on Southwest…

Boarding on Southwest Airlines

Ok so here’s what I’ve figured out about Southwest’s boarding procedure…

There are no seat assignments. Depending on your boarding group, it’s first come, first served. You can pay extra for priority pre-boarding, but that does NOT guarantee you’ll be one of the first to board.

Luckily, if you’re traveling with children aged 4 or younger, you can escape the rigamarole and board following the “A” group.

Dealing with Boarding on Southwest

It’s a pretty mad scramble to get seated and organized. But on every trip we had no issues and first access to the overhead bin!

One note: Only the immediate family of the person aged four and younger can board together. Grandma was with us for one trip and she was not allowed to board with us.

The Southwest with Baby Experience

We found the Southwest folks very friendly. You get a little snack (peanuts – beware!) and a drink for free. The seat pitch is decent; even for my 6’7″ husband. The Southwest website is really informative when it comes to flying with children. 

I don’t know if this is good or bad, but these were the first flights where the flight attendants did not make a big point of going over procedure of taking off and landing with a baby.

flying southwest with a baby, flying southwest, southwest with baby, southwest with a toddler, southwest family travel
Pretty blue plane, but no change table

Issues Flying Southwest with a Baby

We had just 2 issues…

The washroom in the rear of the plane (Boeing 737-700) was extra small and did NOT have a fold-down change table in it. I don’t know if the front washroom had one, but I doubt it.

And our stroller was damaged after being gate checked on our return flight.

Keep this in mind for future Southwest flights… Had we reported the damage within four hours of landing, we may have been compensated. However, I just wanted to get our things and go home. When I inquired a few days later I was informed (via super-friendly automated email) of the four-hour window.

Final Thoughts on Flying Southwest with a Baby

I can’t lie. After a flight and travel day and tired and hungry kids and husband, driving home from Buffalo airport is a bit of a slog. However, the savings in airfare is definitely worth the drive to Buffalo! And home again! In fact, with how great Porter Airlines is out of Toronto Island airport, our trips out of Pearson seem to be fewer and fewer.

Have Baby Will Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates/Influencer Program. If you make a purchase through this site, we may receive a small commission. Click here to check out our Amazon Store.

See Also:

, , ,

9 Responses to Flying Southwest Airlines with a Baby

  1. Meg at #

    This is so funny. When I was in high school and lived in Buffalo we used to fly out of Toronto to go to Florida. There was a fabulous, best I have ever flown airline Wardair that we would try and take. (giving away my age, huh?)

  2. Corinne at #

    Too funny!

    As a kid I used to always fly Wardair with my mom when we went over to Scotland every year to visit family. The meals were served on real china!

  3. Melanie at #

    It’s no doubt that the prices are incredibly lower out of Buffalo (being from Toronto too) – but I would drive to Queenston/Lewiston instead of the Peace Bridge – it is much faster in our experience to get through it…

  4. Corinne at #

    Great tip, Melanie!

    Although, no matter how hard we try to take the other routes, we ALWAYS get end up getting stuck on that one coming home.

  5. Ruth at #

    I just came across this blog, a great resource!! I am flying cross country (Chicago to Seattle) with a 9 month old on Southwest. Did you find it necessary to sit in the bulkhead area? Would it be worth paying the extra $$ to get more leg room, or just board after the A group? I would greatly appreciate any advice you have, I am starting to worry.

  6. Corinne at #

    Hi Ruth – and thanks!!

    We didn’t sit in the bulkhead, nor did we pay extra for priority boarding. Families with children under 4 board after the A group, so that’s what we did. We had no difficulty finding a seat, and the flight attendant at the gate was able to tell us if the flight was full so we could bring our car seat on (if you’re bringing yours).

    Don’t worry! The deal for us on Southwest is no seat-back entertainment, so be sure to have plenty of distractions on hand, as well as snacks.

    Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any more questions!

  7. Sara at #

    Hello. I know this is really late, but I just came across your article and thought I’d let you know one thing. There is now a changing table in the front lavatory only. They just installed them in the last few years, so they may not have been there when you flew. Of course, it’s an airplane bathroom, so it’s very very cramped 🙂

  8. Corinne at #

    Good to know Sara, thanks!!


  1. Have Stroller Will Travel: UPPAbaby Vista | Have Baby Will Travel -

    […] light booster seat, and the diaper bag. Luckily, both flights weren’t full and we were flying Southwest, so we were able to gate-check the complete folded stroller, and brought Bub on board in his car […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.