A Really Cool Perk For Kids from Southwest Airlines

A couple of months back Kim sent me an e-mail with a link to an article called Flights of Antsy which was posted online at DailyCandy. The article was about airline carriers that offer the best kid- friendly perks.
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One perk on this list caught my attention. It was something offered by Southwest Airlines. However, the article was pretty old (from December 2007) so I didn’t know if the perk mentioned was still offered by Southwest.
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Since Kim, Lucas and I were going to be flying Southwest Airlines on our trip to Louisville & Nashville, I had to look into it.
Daily Candy had mentioned:

If it’s your child’s inaugural ride on Southwest Airlines, you can arrange for a First Time Flying Certificate. Or see if the pilot will give a cockpit tour before your plane takes off.

Admiring the view

I would’ve been interested in finding out about a cockpit tour if Lucas was a bit older but this time around I didn’t bother asking about this option.

The perk I was really interested in getting for Lucas was the First Time Flying Certificate.
This wasn’t going to be Lucas’ first time flying. He’s had a very busy first year, but it was going to be his first time flying Southwest! (It was Kim and my first time too.)

I called up Southwest and asked about the certificate a couple of times. Each time the rep knew nothing about it. I figured that I’d wait to ask around at the airport.

When we arrived at LaGuardia Airport I headed over to the Southwest counter to get Lucas’ boarding ticket and check our bag. After sorting out these things I asked the agent if he knew about a First Time Flying Certificate for kids. He wasn’t sure about it and suggested that I ask a flight attendant while on our flight.

About half way through the first segment of our flight to Louisville I asked a flight attendant about the certificate. She happily responded yes that she knew about it and said she would check the back of the plane for me in a moment. She came back later on and said that they were out of certificates. Talk about disappointment. She did offer me a little coloring book and some wings for Lucas though.
(Probably not ideal toys for an 11.5 month old but a nice gesture & option for older kids.)

Coloring Book, Crayon & Wings
Southwest Wings
When we landed in St. Louis I asked a gate agent about the certificate. He looked in a few cabinets and had no success finding one for us. My next chance at the certificate was on the flight from St. Louis to Louisville. The flight attendant knew about the certificate and looked in the front and back of the plane, asked other flight attendants if they had seen one and came up empty handed.
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I was starting to wonder if these certificates existed anymore.They seemed to be the unicorn of Southwest Airlines!
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While heading home from Nashville, I had to get a gate-tag for our stroller from one of the gate agents. I decided to ask her about the First Time Flyer Certificate. She looked all over and could not find one. She then called a supervisor at another part of the airport. She told me if they had one, they would bring it to me. She also mentioned that they seem to be cutting back on these kind of things. I appreciated her effort but once again there was no certificate to be had.
The Prized Certificate

I was now down to my last chances to try to find Lucas a certificate. Our first segment back to New York was from Nashville to Chicago. This time I struck gold. Within minutes of asking about the certificate, the flight attendant came back with one. She filled it out with Lucas’ name, dated it and signed the name of the three flight attendants on board.

Although the date of Lucas’ first Southwest flight is incorrect, I was successful in getting him a really cool souvenir! We plan on framing and hanging the certificate in Lucas’ room very soon.

It’s too bad that Southwest is cutting back on offering this kind of unique perk for kids. I can’t imagine that it will save them much money. I’d think that the memories and goodwill that it creates would outweigh the pennies each certificate costs to print.

If you know of any kid- friendly perks offered by other airlines, I’d love to hear about them. Maybe I can take advantage of some when Lucas flies again in the future!

Check out the DailyCandy article Flights of Antsy HERE

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