Emily: My baby, Arya, was just a few months old when she took her first trip. We traveled to Oakland, California, so that she could meet her Godparents, my cousin Jered and his wife, Jen. The Southwest Companion Pass (the best deal in travel!) made this much more affordable! I’ll explain what it is and how you can get it!
Before I could travel with Arya, I needed to have a copy of her birth certificate. My midwife applied for her social security card at the time of her birth, so that arrived in the mail within a few weeks. However, I needed to either:
- apply online for her birth certificate or
- go to the local Health Records office
Getting Her Birth Certificate
It’s easiest to apply for a baby’s birth certificate online. But we planned our trip at the last minute, so we had to go to our local Health Records office to get it the same day. Thankfully, there was only 1 person ahead of me, so getting it only took ~5 minutes!
Booking a Southwest Flight to Oakland Around the Holidays Using Points
For our trip to Oakland, I booked the flights on Southwest (my favorite domestic airline!). Last year, Daraius gifted me points so that I was able to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which is good for up to 2 years. So my Companion Pass is valid until the end of 2018.
I LOVE the Companion Pass because all of my flights are effectively half-price when my companion (I designated my partner, Alfy), flies with me. I just book a Southwest flight with cash or points for myself. Then, add Alfy to the reservation for the just the cost of taxes & fees (usually only ~$11!)
I paid 50,000 Southwest points for my round-trip flight to Oakland. This was expensive because I booked ~3 days before departure, and because it was Thanksgiving break. The cash cost of the flights were over ~$500 each! But it was effectively 25,000 points per person when you consider I added my companion for just the cost of taxes & fees.
Recently, I booked a flight to Newark for only ~7,000 Southwest points! So booking ahead can really help you save points. And don’t forget you can cancel and re-book on Southwest without paying any change or cancellation fees!
Adding a Baby to Your Flight Reservation
I called Southwest to notify them my baby would be traveling with me as a lap child. They told me the only thing I had to do was bring a copy of her birth certificate with me on departure day. There was nothing I had to change on the reservation.
If you’re traveling with a baby, I recommending contacting the airline prior to departure just to be sure you don’t have to add your baby’s information to the reservation. Keep in mind, children up to 2 years old can fly within the US as a lap child for no cost. But for international flights, you will typically have to pay a fee, which is usually 10% of the cash cost of the flight.
Our First Experience Flying With a Baby
We wanted to travel light, so we checked in Arya’s car seat and SnuggleMe baby bed. Alfy carried her in our Ergo baby carrier.
From my experience, I recommend having bottles handy or be ready to nurse. The air pressure can hurt a baby’s ears. So making sure they swallow often during takeoff and landing helps prevent any pressure from building up.
I was excited about our first trip, and I think babies can pick up on our energy. Rather than be worried about flying with her, we treated it as a new adventure. She slept a lot during the flight and was only briefly fussy.
Why Now Is a Great Time to Get Your Southwest Companion Pass
You must earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points or take 100 qualifying one-way Southwest flights to get the Companion Pass. But it’s possible to earn enough points just by signing up for 2 of the Chase Southwest cards (1 personal and 1 small business) and meeting the minimum spending requirements!
When you open a Chase Southwest personal card (Premier or Plus), you’ll earn 50,000 Southwest points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.
And the Chase Southwest Premier Business card currently comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Southwest points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
Once you earn the required number of points, the Companion Pass will automatically appear in your account. Then, you’ll have the option to designate a friend or loved one as your companion. If you earn it in 2018, it will be valid until December 31, 2019!
Or, consider getting 1 Southwest credit card and explore these other ways to earn eligible Companion Pass points:
- 10 Unusual Ways to Earn Southwest Points
- Earn Companion Pass Points Through SouthwestHotels.com
- Earn Southwest Companion Pass Points With These Products
Just remember, if you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards) in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for these Southwest cards.
I’m so glad we decided to fly with our baby and visit family for the holidays! We saved money on flights by taking advantage of the Southwest Companion Pass and having Arya fly as a lap child.
If you’re flying with a baby, be sure you have all the right documentation prior to your flight, including the baby’s birth certificate. And I recommend calling the airline to check if you need to add the baby to your reservation.
Also, be sure the baby has plenty of milk during takeoff and landing to prevent any ear pressure buildup. And lastly, travel light and have fun!
Have you traveled with your baby? What tips would you share with new parents?