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:
- Book online at Southwest.com
- By phone at +1-800-435-9792
- At Southwest Airlines’ airport ticket counter
When booking an Unaccompanied Minor ticket, you will need to:
- Fill out the necessary travel documents
- Pay the Unaccompanied Minor service charge:
- At the time of booking on Southwest.com, or
- By phone (+1-800-435-9792), or
- 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
- 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.