Flying Sunwing Airlines with Babies, Toddlers & Young Children
Sunwing Airlines is a Canadian low-cost charter airline. They fly out of over 33 airports across Canada and the USA to over 45 of the most popular vacation destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and Florida. Sunwing also offers seasonal winter and summer domestic flight services across Canada, from Saint John to Victoria and everywhere in between.
Sunwing Carry-On Baggage Allowances:
As a fare-paying passenger, you are allowed to bring on board one carry-on item and one personal item. Your carry-on item must not be heavier than 5kg ((11 lbs) and cannot be larger than 23 cm x 40 cm x 51 cm (9″ x 16″ x 20″). Soft-sided bags are recommended. Any items that exceed the weight and/or size limit must be checked and excess baggage fees will apply. A personal item is considered to be a purse, messenger bag, laptop bag (holding a laptop and related items), or camera bag (holding photographic equipment only).
If you are traveling with an infant (older than eight days, under 24mos.) you may also bring on board a diaper bag (holding only items for the care of an infant) but it must fall within the weight and size restrictions.
Sunwing Checked Baggage Allowances:
If your Sunwing flight is part of a Sunwing Vacations package, your first checked bag, up to 23 kilograms (50 lbs), is free. If you’ve upgraded to Elite Plus, your max bag weight is 30kg (65 lbs). Each additional checked bag, up to 23kg, is CAD $36.75 for regular and Elite Plus, and you’ll save $5 if you pre-book that additional baggage in advance. Overweight and/or oversize bags (bicycles, scuba gear, golf clubs, etc.) will cost CAD $78.75 to check.
If your Sunwing flight is air-only, your first checked bag will run you CAD $26.25 and a second bag will cost CAD $36.57. Again, you’ll save $5 if you book in advance.
Lap infants are not granted additional free checked bags. However, you are allowed to check two complimentary items such as a stroller, car seat (please don’t check your car seat!), or playpen.
Sunwing Check In Procedure:
You can begin Sunwing’s web check in process 12 hours before your flight, up to 60 minutes before departure. You must have your valid passport with you and at the airport you will drop off your luggage at the Sunwing Check-in or Bag Drop counter. With web check in, you can check-in for your flight, choose your seats, and get your boarding pass via email. You can’t purchase extra baggage, you’ll have to do that in person at the airport.
Advance seat selection is CAD $20, and may be well worth it.
Sunwing recommends arriving at the airport three hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time. Sunwing check in can be incredibly busy. Even three hours prior to our flights the line-up has been a mile long!
Sunwing Elite Plus:
When you’re flying with kids, Sunwing‘s baggage and seat selection options can feel restrictive and could end up costing you a lot of extras in fees if you go over. Sunwing‘s Elite Plus service is an extra $100 per person round trip ($50 one way) and that may be money well-spent if you consider the extras it buys you.
With Sunwing Elite Plus, you receiveroughly six extra inches of extra leg room, free advance seat selection, priority check-in, boarding, baggage handline, and security line access. That alone right there is worth $50 to my husband! Also, the extra 5kg (11lbs) of baggage allowance really adds up.
It’s outrageously expensive to upgrade on most airlines. For most it’s simply not an option to do so. Honestly, just bypassing the lines at the airport with Elite Plus is worth the cost right there.
Policies for Infants & Children on Sunwing Flights:
Sunwing does not offer discounted airfare for children. However, they are a remarkably family-friendly airline in many ways. They offer a small bag of toys (the bag itself comes in handy during some trips) and the ability to check baby items as luggage for free is unusual these days.
An infant is considered a baby who is over seven days-old and not yet turned two. Be warned that Sunwing‘s regular seats are very small. Unless you are small yourself or have upraded to Elite Plus, flying with a lap infant on Sunwing is quite cramped indeed!
Sunwing offers onboard bottle warming and baby food warming facilities (only un-opened food in a sealed jar). But they don’t carry infant meals or baby milk onboard. I have been able to get a bottle filled with regular milk, which was much appreciated on flights back from Cuba! (My son was not a fan of Cuban milk).
Lap Infants on Sunwing Flights:
Using Car Seats on Sunwing Flights:
If you have purchased a seat for your baby, you may bring a car seat onboard as a complimentary carry-on item. The car seat must be approved by the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS). The sticker CMVSS 213 or 213.1 must appear on the car seat. If your car seat is from the US, the label must include the following text in red lettering: “This child restraint system conforms to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards” and “This Restraint is Certified for Use in Motor Vehicles and Aircraft”
A Review of Flying Sunwing Airlines with Baby:
Our flight to Santa Clara, Cuba on Sunwing Airlines was scheduled for 6:15am. While I am no stranger to surviving early flights with baby, this would be a REALLY early flight and our first Sunwing with baby and pre-schooler experience. Luckily my pre-schooler was so excited that she bounded out of bed at 3A.M. The baby had already inexplicably been up since 1:30A.M. (and so had Mama!). This would officially be my first travel day since the olden days where I would be operating on one hour of sleep. In the olden days I’d stay up all night by choice!
Sunwing Elite Plus Upgrade, Worth It?
So the first thing I did when I realized we’d be flying Sunwing Airlines with baby, is fork over an additional $100 each for their Elite Plus upgrade: an additional six inches of legroom (from 29″ seat pitch to 35″) plus various pre-boarding advantages, check in privileges, extra baggage weight, and even priority security line access at certain airports. We arrived at the airport at 4 A.M. and faced a line-up way down the terminal. My husband said it was worth the 300 bucks right there not to have to wait in that line.
Sunwing Airlines Service:
The service on Sunwing Airlines there and back was excellent – very friendly – and I appreciated (although probably didn’t need) the free glass of champagne. On the flight back, there was a change table in the washroom at the front of the plane (even the flight attendant was surprised). They also had milk for Bub’s bottle. When we flew home from Jamaica on WestJet a few months back, Bub drained his bottle and could’ve used more. WestJet did not have plain milk and I was sorely tempted to use the little ones meant for coffee to make up a bottle! (Although, I must add that WestJet with baby is a very good!)
There is no seat-back entertainment on Sunwing Airlines, but with the extra legroom Bub was able to play on the floor for a bit.
It feels unusual to be served meals on a flight these days, but some charters still do. We had breakfast on the way down, and lunch on the way back. The distraction of food always helps kill time on flights. And the penne with roasted vegetables was actually pretty good! Free wine with lunch! (Ed. note: Sunwing no longer serves complimentary meals on their flights. They pretty much follow the same paid menu as most other airlines.)
Sunwing Baggage Allotments:
When traveling with a lap infant on Sunwing Airlines, you are not allotted any additional baggage allowance, but you are allowed to check two pieces per person so you can include your travel crib and additional baby gear. There was no issue gate-checking our stroller.
So I am happy to say that our experience on Sunwing Airlines with a baby was a positive one! The additional $300 for the upgrade to Elite Plus added more than 15% to the cost of our trip. But, we thought it was well worth it.
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