Last Friday, I wrote Southwest Airlines Online Check In Tips For The Sandwich Generation – Part 1. I had so many tips for all of you in the Sandwich Generation traveling with senior parents and/or grandchildren, I had to save some for this week. Last week, we discussed the Southwest Baggage Policy along with the early check in option.
Here's another tip I wish I'd known about – If you have a Southwest iPhone app, you might still be better off logging directly into Southwest from the Safari (or other) browser in your iPhone. I tried this app on our last flight. For some reason, I could only confirm myself, not my grandchild. Frustrated, I quickly went to my Safari button, logged into Southwest and their early check in online option, and then I was able to confirm my grandchild.
In just that two minutes, I went from my A40 to her A50! Both were high A's so it didn't matter. But if you were in the mid-B's or not able to move quickly, it could be a definite issue as some people might not let you line up by the higher number, requiring you to go with the later number instead. I don't know if the problem was something I was doing wrong or an issue with the app itself. Since I can't practice with it other than when I am actually confirming a flight, I'll definitely go through the website in the future.
It's also important to note – If you or one of your traveling companions is flying with the Senior fare, you will have to go through an age verification process with Southwest or you won't be allowed to do the early Southwest check in online for them. That means they will have to board alone in order for you to get on early with your early numbers and be able to get seats together! This is definitely an important step to take! For more information on this, go to Southwest's FAQ for Senior Passengers, go down to "Online Checkin or Kiosk Checkin – Age Verification Details for Customers Traveling on Senior Fares" and read the third item. BE SURE to do this at least a month or more before your trip!
Southwest is great and will go out of their way to seat a parent or a Granny Nanny or Pappy with a minor child but it can put you in a somewhat awkward and embarassing situation, as you wait for someone to trade seats to allow you to sit together. And think how forlorn your senior parent might feel if they were alone in the middle seat between two total strangers! All the tips in both part 1 and part 2 are focused on avoiding just those issues!
By the way, if you do check in via a smart phone, it's usually fine that you can't print the tickets. Barring technical glitches, which I would think they could work with, you should be able to get them printed at the airport when you arrive, with all your luggage, and they'll have your great boarding assignment nicely printed on the ticket.
As I said last week, I definitely think that Southwest is the best airline for those of us dealing with the Sandwich Generation issues of caring for elderly parents while enjoying trips and activities for grandparents and their grandchildren. Following the tips in this article, as well as Part 1, will just make your flying experience with elderly parents and/or grandchildren that much better!
For more travel tips for the Sandwich Generation, traveling with and caring for elderly parents and/or grandchildren, visit Flying Too Close For Comfort? Tips for the Sandwich Generation, Plan Ahead When Traveling, and Flying Practice for the Baby Boomers Generation & Senior Citizens.