Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minors Policy

Per Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minors policy: 

  • Children from 5 through 11 who are traveling alone (i.e., without an accompanying Passenger who is at least 12 years old) must travel as an Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) on Southwest Airlines.
  • When making a reservation, you must state that you are the parent or guardian of the child, or you have the parent’s or guardian’s authority to act on their behalf.
  • You must provide age proof—such as a birth certificate or other valid identification—at the check-in counter.
  • The parent or guardian must physically show a valid government-issued photo ID to check in or pick up an Unaccompanied Minor.
  • Unaccompanied Minors can only travel on nonstop or same-plane services that do not require change of flight or flight number.
  • Unaccompanied Minors cannot travel to/from international destinations. 
  • Flights between mainland U.S. and Hawaii are subject to additional procedures.
  • The parent or guardian must escort the minor child to the departure gate at least 45 minutes before departure, and remain at the gate until the flight takes off.
  • The parent or guardian picking up the minor child must be at the gate at least 45 minutes before the scheduled arrival time, and show a valid government-issued photo ID to the Southwest Airlines Representative to take charge of the Unaccompanied Minor.

How to Book the Unaccompanied Minors Service with Southwest Airlines

You can book a flight for children between 5 through 11 years of age who will be traveling as Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) in 3 ways:

  1. Book online at Southwest.com 
  2. By phone at +1-800-435-9792
  3. At Southwest Airlines’ airport ticket counter 

When booking an Unaccompanied Minor ticket, you will need to: 

  1. Fill out the necessary travel documents 
  2. Pay the Unaccompanied Minor service charge:
  1. At the time of booking on Southwest.com, or 
  2. By phone (+1-800-435-9792), or 
  3. At a Southwest Airlines’ ticket counter

After completing the Unaccompanied Minor’s reservation, you must provide the confirmation number to the guardian whom you have designated to pick up or drop off your child. 

Information Required When Unaccompanied Minors (UM) Reservations

When making a reservation for your minor child, you will need to provide the following information: 

  • The Unaccompanied Minor’s full name
  • Your relationship to the Unaccompanied Minor
  • The Unaccompanied Minor’s address
  • Unaccompanied Minor’s telephone number and area code
  • The Unaccompanied Minor’s date of birth 
  • Details of the parent/guardian dropping off and picking up the Unaccompanied Minor 
  • Contact details of an alternate designee at the Unaccompanied Minor’s destination

Note

  • If you make an online reservation for your child online via Southwest.com, you will need to enter your child’s birth date. You will also be asked to indicate whether your child will travel someone who is at least 12 years old, failing which your child will be considered an Unaccompanied Minor. In such a scenario, you will have to fill out the necessary travel documents and pay the service charge.
  • If you book your minor child’s travel by phone or at the airport, you must tell the Customer Representative that your child is an Unaccompanied Minor, and also provide your child’s age.

Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Cost (Service Fee)

The service fee charged by Southwest Airlines for unaccompanied minors is USD 50 each way (USD 100 roundtrip)—plus the standard air fare for the unaccompanied minor.

How to Refund Unaccompanied Minors Fee 

The service fee for Unaccompanied Minors is refundable. If you cancel a flight and do not rebook: 

  • Call Southwest at +1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792), or 
  • Get your refund processed at the airport ticket counter

Guidelines for Unaccompanied Minors

To ensure a smooth and secure journey, the Unaccompanied Minor’s parent or guardian must follow the guidelines below.

At Drop off Location

  • Reach the airport early. 
    • Refer to Southwest’s suggested airport arrival times
    • Allow enough buffer time for parking, getting an escort pass, collecting the Unaccompanied Minor’s lanyard at the ticket counter, security checks, check-in, etc.
  • Go to Southwest Airlines’ ticket counter. 
    • The Unaccompanied Minor will be given a lanyard. 
    • Collect your escort pass to accompany the minor child through the security checkpoint. 
    • Be sure to have these documents for completing the check-in process:
      • The Unaccompanied Minor’s itinerary.
      • Age proof, such as birth certificate.
      • Your government-issued ID. 
  • Reach the gate at least 45 minutes before the flight’s departure time. 
  • Check in with a Southwest Airlines staff member at the gate and tell them you are dropping off an Unaccompanied Minor.
  • The Unaccompanied Minor will preboard the aircraft and be introduced to a flight attendant before boarding starts.
  • You must stay in the gate area until the Unaccompanied Minor’s flight takes off.
  • Inform the parent or guardian who will pick up the Unaccompanied Minor that the flight has taken off. 

During the Flight 

  • Southwest’s flight attendant will check on the Unaccompanied Minor from time to time.
  • The Unaccompanied Minor must wear the lanyard around their neck at all times.
  • You and the parent or guardian who will pick up the Unaccompanied Minor must be available to answer phone calls during the flight (in case there’s any flight irregularity).
  • The Unaccompanied Minor will be escorted out of the plane to the parent or guardian at the destination airport.

At Pick up Location 

  • Reach the airport early after referring to Southwest’s suggested airport arrival times.
  • Collect an escort pass from Southwest’s ticket counter (required) to go through the security checkpoint. Be sure to carry a valid government-issued ID for obtaining the pass and meeting the Unaccompanied Minor child at the gate.
  • Reach the gate at least 45 minutes before the flight’s arrival time. Inform a Southwest Airlines staff member at the gate that you will be picking up an Unaccompanied Minor.
  • The Unaccompanied Minor will be escorted from the plane and to meet the designated parent or guardian.
  • Call the parent or guardian at the drop off city and tell them that you have picked up the Unaccompanied Minor.

Frequently Asked Questions on Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minors Policy

You can pay the Unaccompanied Minors service charge for your child:

  • At the time of booking on Southwest.com, or 
  • By phone (+1-800-435-9792), or 
  • At a Southwest Airlines’ ticket counter

No, Southwest Airlines allows Unaccompanied Minors to travel only on nonstop flights or flights that do not require changing planes. 

Children between 12 – 17 years travelling along are not considered as Unaccompanied Minors but as Young Travelers, and are allowed to travel alone. However, as their parent or legal guardian, you must be confident that your 14-year-old is mature and capable enough to do all of these things without assistance or supervision:

  • Check in
  • Go through security
  • Board the aircraft
  • Deplane
  • Claim his/her luggage
  • Change flights (if required) 

You can book the Unaccompanied Minor service on Southwest Airlines online via Southwest.com, by phone (+1-800-435-9792), or at Southwest’s airport ticket counter. When you book the Unaccompanied Minor’s ticket, you will also be asked to fill out the required travel documents.

After you complete the reservation process, you must share the confirmation number with the person whom you have designated to receive your child at the airport.

If you’re booking your child’s travel by phone or at an airport ticket counter, you must inform Southwest’s representative that you’re making the reservation for an Unaccompanied Minor and provide the age. 

However, if you’re making an online reservation, go through the normal steps at Southwest.com and provide your child’s date of birth. At this stage, you will be asked to indicate whether your child will be travelling with a child who is 12 years or older.  If this is not so, your child will be considered an Unaccompanied Minor and you will have to fill out the necessary travel documentation.

To complete the Unaccompanied Minor paperwork, you will have to provide information about your child (incl. age proof), the person who will be dropping your child, and the person who will be picking up your child at the destination airport (i.e., name, address, phone number and area code, and the full name and contact details of an alternate contact). 

The cost of Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor tickets includes the cost of the airfare (ticket) plus a one-way service fee of USD 50. 

You can pay the Unaccompanied Minor service fee when booking the service online via Southwest.com by phone (1-800-435-9792), or at a Southwest Airlines ticket counter.

No, Southwest’s Unaccompanied Minor service is available only to children below 12 years of age. Children who are 12 years will be required to travel alone, provided they are confident and able to negotiate at airports, check in, board, and deplane—as well as deal with likely flight disruptions. 

If you’re not sure whether your child can handle the trip, do not let your child travel alone. 

Unaccompanied minors are only accepted on non-stop flights or flights that do not require a change of aircraft.

Southwest Airlines accepts unaccompanied minors only on flights that do not require a change of aircraft.

You will be asked to provide a valid identification proof such as a birth certificate if travelling on a domestic flight within the United States, and a passport if travelling on an international flight (along with any other documents required by the destination country). 

Yes, Southwest Airlines allows Unaccompanied Minors between 5 – 11 (included) years of age to travel after booking the service, but only on non-stop flights or flights that do not require a change of aircraft.

Yes, Southwest Airlines charges a service fee of USD 50 per way for unaccompanied minors aged between 5 through 11 years (inclusive).

Yes, Southwest Airlines flies unaccompanied minors between 5 – 11 years (inclusive) on non-stop flights and itineraries that do not include a connecting flight.

The age limit for unaccompanied minors on Southwest Airlines is between 5 and 11 years (inclusive). Children below 5 years will not be accepted as Unaccompanied Minors and children who are 12 years or older must travel as Young Travelers (but not as Unaccompanied Minors).

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