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There are many cases when minors of age under 12 are bound to travel alone, without their accompanied guardian / parent. In such cases, Southwest Airlines takes full responsibility and provides utmost safety from onboarding till their arrival at destination. Complying with Southwest unaccompanied minor policy, the airline guarantees that when your child is traveling alone, he / she receives quality assistance and extra care from the ground and cabin staff. Southwest Airlines is the major airline of the United States and world’s largest low-cost airline. It constantly works hard to provide the most comfortable journey, even for the unaccompanied little humans.
Southwest Unaccompanied Minor Rules
If your kid is to travel alone via flight, then don’t worry! Southwest Airlines will take care of your child for you. Not only will the airline provide assistance but will also make sure they enjoy their journey. As long as you and the kid complies with Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor rules, you’re good to go! Here are some quick guidelines explaining the 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 Unaccompanied Minors 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.
- Unaccompanied Minors can only travel on nonstop or same-plane services that do not require change of flight or flight number. They aren’t allowed to travel to / from international routes.
- 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.
- For picking up the minor child, you 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.
Southwest Unaccompanied Minor Program Details
- In accordance with Southwest unaccompanied minor policy, the fees for unaccompanied minors are refundable. If a flight is canceled and the minor refuses to travel or chooses not to rebook, or if they are joined by a passenger aged 12 or older, contact the customer service number or go to the airport ticket counter to get a refund.
- The person who books the flight ticket must declare that he or she is either the minor child’s parent or guardian, or has the power to act on behalf of the parent or guardian.
- The airlines maintain the right to refuse to transport unaccompanied minors on flights that are diverted or canceled due to weather or other technical challenges.
- The unaccompanied minor is allowed to take one carry-on bag and one smaller, personal-type item onboard, provided that it meets Southwest Airlines carry-on baggage policy.
- Parents or guardians should not book connecting or red-eye flights for children aged between 5 and 11, traveling alone, as per Southwest policy on Unaccompanied minors.
- The airline also does not offer unaccompanied minor services for travel outside the United States.
Unaccompanied Minor Travel Guide
Before you proceed to let your kid travel alone in the aircraft, it’s crucial that you go through certain terms and guidelines to avoid unnecessary chaos. Find details about required documents and the significant steps you must take prior boarding of your sweet little child. Find more details about the same below:
How to book
You can book a reservation for your unaccompanied minors in 3 ways. Book online, via customer support or at the Southwest Airlines’ airport ticket counter.
- Booking Online
- Visit Southwest Airlines official page to book a flight.
- Enter all the details of your kid and move to the checkout page.
- Pay the Southwest unaccompanied minor fee and the standard cost of the flight.
- After you complete the booking, the airline will send you the Southwest unaccompanied minor form.
- Fill out the form and confirm the travel itinerary.
- The contact number and the address of the parents at the time of check-in and pick up would be reflected in the managed booking section.
- Booking via call
- You can simply make the Southwest Airlines booking over the phone at +1-800-435-9792 and acknowledge the accompanied minor travel with the airline’s executive.
- After you complete the booking, the airline executive will fill out the minor form on your behalf. You need to fulfill the Southwest Airlines ID requirements for minors via your registered email address.
- Booking at the Airport
You can also reserve the Southwest Airlines minor travel at the airport up to 3 hours before the scheduled departure. You need to keep the following documents handy at the time of booking with the airport executive –
- Print out of the booking confirmation and the boarding pass.
- A copy of the birth certificate of the minor (Southwest minor identification.)
- A copy of the Southwest minor flying unaccompanied form.
Information Required For Unaccompanied Minors Reservations
When making a reservation for your minor child, you will need to provide the following information, in accordance with Southwest unaccompanied minor policy:
- The Unaccompanied Minor’s full name
- Your relationship with 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 who will drop off and pick up the Unaccompanied Minor
- Contact details of an alternate designee at the Unaccompanied Minor’s destination
Planning to travel
When you plan for your child to travel unaccompanied in Southwest’s aircraft, make sure you teach him / her the necessary things such as to not indulge with any unknown strangers. You must teach them to only contact the airline’s representative for any needs.
- Make copies of your child’s itinerary for both the child and whoever’s picking them up in the destination city.
- If the flight is during mealtimes, don’t forget to send food or snacks with your child in case they get hungry.
- Download the Southwest app so you can monitor your child’s flight status.
- Charge your child’s electronic device(s) before leaving for the airport.
- Provide your child with the contact information for whoever’s picking them up.
- Pack up some entertainment items such as books, small interactive toys, games (without a lot of pieces), coloring books, crayons, sticker books, etc.
As per the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor policy, the airlines generally recommend that the parents or guardians checking in the unaccompanied minor must get to the airport at least 2 hours before the scheduled departure. You need to complete the following procedure and provide all the necessary information as mentioned below at the time of check-in –
- The address and the contact number of the parents or guardians greet the unaccompanied child.
- The contact number needs to be provided for the parents or guardians at the departure and destination points.
- A copy of the entire itinerary for the child, including dates, airline names, aircraft numbers, departure and arrival timings, and the PNR number.
Southwest Airlines ID Requirements For Minors
The parents / guardian of the unaccompanied minor need to submit a copy of one of the following documents to provide proof of minor’s age –
- State federal ID card.
- Birth certificate. (Send a copy of your child’s birth certificate to the person who will escort him or her for the return flight.)
- Receipts of a minor fee– Southwest unaccompanied minor fee would be charged upfront at the time of booking or purchasing the flights through the airlines customer service. The parents or guardians must have the receipts for the minor service fee.
As per Southwest unaccompanied minor rule, you need an escort pass to take your child through security. At the ticket counter, please provide a valid form of identification and a copy of your child’s itinerary and request an escort pass that will allow you to pass through security.
- Unaccompanied minors must be escorted to the departure gate 45 minutes before the planned departure.
- An airline representative will announce preboarding for the unaccompanied minors ahead of the departure. The drop-off parent or guardian is responsible for handing over the minor as instructed in order to board the flight.
- Reach the airport early. Allow enough buffer time for all necessary formalities such as security check, boarding etc.
- Go to Southwest Airlines’ ticket counter. There, the unaccompanied minor will be given a lanyard.
- 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 pre board the aircraft and be introduced to a flight attendant before boarding starts.
- You must stay in the gate area until your kid’s flight takes off. Also inform the parent or guardian who will pick up your child at arrival, that the flight has taken off.
During the flight
- Once boarded, the flight attendant will observe or communicate with unaccompanied minors periodically while other duties are conducted by them.
- The flight representative will not escort unaccompanied minors out of the airport before or after their scheduled trip, as per Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minors policy.
- The airline does not take responsibility for the unaccompanied minor’s actions and behavior.
- Please note that the minor must wear the lanyard around their neck at all times.
- The child must adhere to all the guidelines provided by the flight’s attendant including instructions to wear a seatbelt.
- Make sure that you and the parent/guardian picking up the child are available to answer phone calls during the flight time in the event of a flight irregularity.
- The child will be escorted off the plane and taken to meet the parent/guardian at the destination.
- In order to facilitate the handover of the unaccompanied minor between the designated parties, the greeting parents and guardians should arrive at the gate 45 minutes prior to scheduled arrival and show a valid government-issued photo ID to the airline’s representative.
- The airlines will not transfer an unaccompanied minor to anybody other than the parent or guardian who has been nominated.
- The Unaccompanied Minor will be escorted from the plane and to meet the designated parent or guardian, in accordance with Southwest unaccompanied minor policy.
- The airline is permitted to take whatever action is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances if the authorized person specified fails to greet the unaccompanied minor upon arrival at the destination airport.
Unaccompanied Minor Fees
- In accordance with Southwest unaccompanied minor fee policy, a service charge will be charged for carriage of all unaccompanied minors age 5-11.
- The fee is refundable and if the flight gets canceled or you cancel a flight, you can get your refund processed by contacting the airline or at the ticket counter of the concerned airport.
Look at the table to find out service charges levied by the airline:
|Unaccompanied minor’s age at the time of travel||Travel permitted on direct flights||Minor Service Fee|
4 years and younger
5 and 11 years of age
USD 50 one-way,
USD 100 for round trip
12 to 17 years of age
Permitted but not as
USD 50 one-way,
USD 100 for round trip
Southwest Airlines understands that you may feel anxious about your children traveling alone. This concern is perfectly normal. But with Southwest minor travel program, you can relax as your kid will be given the opportunity to travel independently and safely.
Does Southwest Airlines allow unaccompanied minors on-board?
Southwest allows unaccompanied minors on-board. However, the minor must present valid documents, such as Id card with photos, passports, etc.
Where can I pay the Unaccompanied Minors service charge for my child?
You can pay the Unaccompanied Minors service charge for your child online, by call or at the airline’s ticket counter at the airport.
Can an Unaccompanied Minor travel alone on Southwest a flight that changes planes?
No, Southwest Airlines allows Unaccompanied Minors to travel only on nonstop flights or flights that do not require changing planes.
How much is Southwest unaccompanied minor fee?
The unaccompanied minor fee is USD 50 per way and USD 100 for roundtrip flights.
Can unaccompanied minors on Southwest Airlines travel internationally?
No, Southwest Airlines doesn’t allow unaccompanied minors to travel alone to / from any international destinations.
Are children older than 11 allowed to travel as unaccompanied minors?
No, Southwest’s Unaccompanied Minor service is available only to children below 12 years of age. Children of and above age 12 will be taken as adults and will have to travel alone.
Can I book a reservation for my unaccompanied minors at the airport?
Yes, you can book a reservation for your unaccompanied minor at the airport, provided that you present all the required documents to the airline’s representative.
At what age can unaccompanied minors travel with Southwest Airlines?
All kids under age 5 to 11 are allowed to travel with Southwest as unaccompanied minors.
Can I escort my child through the security check at the airport?
You can purchase an escort pass from the ticket counter and take your child through the security gate and hand them over to the concerned airline’s representative.
Is unaccompanied minor allowed any baggage?
Yes, the child can take one carry-on bag and one small personal item along with him onboard and must comply with Southwest carry-on baggage policy.
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