Flying Sunwing with a Baby or Toddler

Flying Sunwing Airlines with Babies and Toddlers

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.

They were recently acquired by Westjet.

Their in-flight service includes a complimentary sparkling wine toast, and non-alcoholic beverage service. String bags filled with games and toys are handed out to children. Food Network Canada Celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford consulted on Sunwing‘s buy-on-board selection of light meals and snacks.

Sunwing Carry-On Baggage Allowances:

As a  fare-paying passenger, you are allowed to bring on board one carry-on item ($25 fee) 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.

You can pre-book and pre-pay your carry-on item in advance or at the airport.

Complimentary Personal Item

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). A second checked bag is $70 each way if paid more than 48 hours before departure, and $90 if it’s less than 48 hours prior. Overweight and/or oversize bags (bicycles, scuba gear, golf clubs, etc.) will cost CAD $115 each way to check and cannot be booked in advance.

If your Sunwing flight is air-only, your first checked bag will run you CAD $50 each way if you book more than 48 hours before your flight. The cost is $70 if less than 48 hours before your flight. A second checked bag is $70 each way if paid more than 48 hours before departure, and $90 if it’s less than 48 hours prior.

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 for regular seats and $30 for “Preferred.” Elite Plus seats are included in the $50 upgrade.

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 receive roughly six extra inches of extra leg room, free advance seat selection, priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling, 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, for us, just bypassing the lines at the airport with Elite Plus is worth the cost right there.

Sunwing Airlines, Sunwing Flight, Sunwing with a baby, sunwing with a toddler
Truly the Friendly Skies 🙂

Flying Sunwing with a Baby or Toddler:

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 upgraded 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).

There are no airplane bassinets available on any Sunwing flights.

Lap Infants on Sunwing Flights:

As a Canadian airline, Sunwing is beholden to guidelines set out by Transport Canada. As per Canadian aviation regulations, only one infant is permitted per bank of seats. Additionally, only one infant is permitted to travel with each guardian. No infants are permitted in the emergency row.

The following devices are not approved for use as child restraint systems on an aircraft:

  • Booster seats (for older children who have outgrown their car seat) are not approved for use as child restraint systems on an aircraft, as they are designed to be used with a car lap and shoulder belt.
  • Child vests and harnesses, infant carriers, and other similar carriers are not approved for use as child restraint systems on an aircraft, as they may not be used when the aircraft is moving on the ground, during takeoff and landing or when the safety belt sign is on
  • “Belly” or “loop” belts, intended for infant use and attached to an adult’s safety belt by feeding the adult’s belt segments through a loop on the infant’s belt are not approved for use as child restraint systems on an aircraft. They could injure the infant in case of an accident.

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”

Additionally, the CARES harness is approved for use aboard Sunwing flights.

sleep on a plane, flying with toddler, traveling with kids, sunwing with baby
The Bonus of an Early Flight…

Our 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!

Our very first trip with baby was with a charter–Skyservice–which had since gone out of business. While we found that experience surprisingly pleasant, their seat pitch + my 6’7″ husband + a lap baby = a VERY uncomfortable flight. My husband literally did not fit in the seats. Our daughter was almost whacked in the head in the head several times by an inconsiderate passenger in a seat that technically reclined, even though there was no room to do so.

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 really 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 yummy! 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 beyond a diaper bag with the essentials. 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.

Each fare paying passenger is allowed a free combined baggage allowance (checked and carry–on combined) of 25kg per passenger. Elite Plus passengers are allowed a free combined baggage allowance of 35kg per fare paying passenger. All paying passengers may travel with up to two pieces of checked baggage and one carry-on bag. We had an additional diaper bag with us.

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.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about
Sunwing Airlines at TripAdvisor

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*Sunwing image courtesy Lord of the Wings via Wikimedia Commons

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4 Responses to Flying Sunwing with a Baby or Toddler

  1. Shannon at #

    What a fantasticly timely post. I’m just about to book a flight down to Puerto Vallarta to see W’s parents and was concerned by the fact that Sunwing’s site says you can only bring baby items for infants with a paying seat. I have no issue keeping us to one bag each so we can check the carseat!


    • Corinne at #

      At least they have a two bag per passenger rule, so the car seat can qualify as one. We had no issues gate checking our stroller, and we actually gate checked our daughter’s booster seat on the way down as well.

  2. Angel at #

    If we are take this airplane seats so is it allow in plane by any airlines?because i heard that they don’t allowed this airplane seat in plane.

  3. Morgan at #

    Have you ever used / installed the car seat on a flight? I have a 213.1 certified car seat and plan to do so on a flight to Bahamas. I just have standard seat package and would appreciate any advice.

    “If a seat has been purchased for an infant, you will be entitled to bring along a car seat (to be used as a restraint device) onboard the aircraft. The infant will have to remain in the car seat whenever the seat belt sign is illuminated. 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 and the car seat must be manufactured after 1981. US manufactured car seats with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard sticker FMVSS 213 are also permitted for use as a restraint device.”

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