Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor

Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Policy, Procedure & Fee

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Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Rick Spiegel

In today’s scenario, there are multiple reasons why children have to fly alone. Because of the busy schedule of the parents and the guardians, it has become so common that they are unable to fly with them every time. The reason to fly alone could be anything such as children having to go on a summer trip or to their loved ones. Now airlines are also ready to fly with young children. Thus, Southwest also allows little children to fly alone by following the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor policy. Every policy considers a particular age limit that is covered under their rules and regulations. In this guide, you will get the complete information regarding how Southwest Airlines handles Unaccompanied Minor (UMs).

What Policy Does Southwest Airlines Follow For Unaccompanied Minors?

Once you start to plan the journey of your child, do not forget to take a look at the policies that Southwest Airlines follows related to unaccompanied minors. Read out the detailed information that you must know for your child’s safety.  

  • According to Southwest Airlines’s unaccompanied minor policy, the ages of children between 5 to 11 are considered in this section. The policy will apply only to those children who come under this age.
  • Children between the ages of 12 to 17 come under the young travelers and are not covered under the unaccompanied minor policy.
  • Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) are not allowed to fly to/ from international destinations or on itineraries with connecting flights. So make sure you have booked your child’s ticket on a nonstop flight or a flight that makes a stop but does not need to change planes.
  • To confirm the reservation for an unaccompanied minor, you will have to fill out the Southwest unaccompanied minor form with some essential documents. The form will be inserted in the Unaccompanied Minor lanyard which the child has to wear for the duration of the flight.    
  • Flight assistants can not monitor unaccompanied minors continuously throughout the travel. Southwest Airlines allows only those children who are with sufficient maturity.
  • The document’s requirement to fly as a Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor is a valid government-approved ID.
  • Passengers must know some essential information such as the person who is gonna receive the child, the name of the person who will drop the child as well as an alternative person available at the destination. Provide the name of the person, their relationship with the child, their address, and their phone number. This will help the airlines to sustain the security of your child. 
  • Make sure you arrive at the gate 45 minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure time. You will have to check in with an airport employee at the gate and advise them that you are dropping off an unaccompanied minor.

Steps To Book a Flight for an Unaccompanied Minor?

After knowing the policy, the next step is to book the flight for unaccompanied minors. When your child is alone during their journey, the airline must be aware of this. For this airline applies some rules and regulations. Apart from this, you can book a flight using an online method, through a phone call, or directly through the ticket counter. 

Online Booking

  • Go to the airline’s official website.
  • Check out the flight for your destination and select one by checking whether unaccompanied minors are allowed or not.
  • Provide the essential documents and select the ticket for unaccompanied minors.
  • According to your documents, the child should not be more than 12 years old to travel on an unaccompanied minor ticket. 
  • Besides this, you will have to add extra information such as the name of the person who will come to receive the child, his phone number as well as the address, and any   

Via the Counter or a Phone call

If you are not satisfied with booking your ticket online, you can select another option which is through the airport. You can directly go to the airport and talk to the representative there. Tell them that you want a booking for your unaccompanied minor. Make sure your child is between 5 to 11 years old. 

Along with that, you can also call the airlines to inform them that you want to book a ticket for a minor who is going to travel alone. You can also take the information related to the Southwest unaccompanied minor policy. There is another benefit that you can quickly ask about the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor baggage allowance.      

Additional details that are required during the booking 

Make sure you keep the necessary documents and details in your hand. While booking a ticket for an unaccompanied minor, some additional information is required. You will have to provide the child’s name, date of birth, and gender along with paperwork to prove the child’s age.

Apart from this, you will have to submit the following information about the person who is going to drop the child off, the person who is going to pick the child up, and alternate contact persons for both pick-up and drop-off.

  • Name of the person. 
  • Relationship to the minor.
  • Current address.
  • Phone number.

How Much is the Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Fee? 

When your child travels alone on Southwest Airlines, the airlines take care of those unaccompanied minors. But they do not provide this service as a complimentary, Airlines charges a fee for it. Southwest unaccompanied minor fee is $100 one way per UM whose age should be under 5- 11 years old. You can pay the amount online as well as during check-in at the counter.

Additionally, the unaccompanied minor fee is refundable. If the booking or flight is canceled, the fee is automatically refunded. The price is also refunded if, at the last minute, an adult or young traveler accompanies the minor.

Some Key Points to Remember

  • The parent or guardian must escort the minor child at least 45 minutes before departure and stay at the gate until the flight does not take off. 
  • Make sure your child arrives at the gate 45 minutes before the flight departure and present a government-issued ID mentioned in the Southwest unaccompanied minor policy.
  • It is important to wear a lanyard around the neck for Unaccompanied Minor at all times during their journey. 
  • The parent or guardian must wait at the gate area until the Unaccompanied Minor’s flight departs. 
  • Keep all the needy things in the bag of the minor while packing their bag to avoid any hustle during the journey.      

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

At what age can a child fly alone on Southwest Airlines?

While planning your child’s journey on Southwest Airlines, you must know that the airline allows children who are aged between 5 through 11. So, make sure that check out the proper information about the age limit.     

What documents do I need for my child to fly Southwest?

Southwest allows children to fly with them without their parents and guardians but they will have to submit some documents such as original or photocopies of their government-issued identification( birth certificate, passport). 

Do unaccompanied minors need ID to fly Southwest?

While traveling on Southwest Airlines, the parent must physically show a valid government-issued photo ID to check in or pick up an Unaccompanied Minors. 

Can unaccompanied minors can travel on the connecting flights?

On Southwest Airlines, unaccompanied Minors can only travel on nonstop or same-plane services that do not require a change of flight. They can not travel on connecting flights for their safety purpose.

What does a minor need to fly without parents?

When the minor is going to travel without their parents, it is a matter of their safety concern. So, they will have to submit an unaccompanied minor form which will be inserted in the  Unaccompanied Minor lanyard. 

How to pick up an unaccompanied minor at the airport southwest?

You must have a photo ID along with a copy of the child’s itinerary to obtain a gate pass. Make sure you arrive at the gate at least 45 minutes before the flight’s scheduled arrival time.

How do you arrange an unaccompanied minor?

When you are looking to book a flight for your unaccompanied minor, check out the process once. You can reserve a ticket using an online method or via phone call. You just need to provide a valid ID and submit the unaccompanied minor form.

Does Southwest let unaccompanied minors board first?

On the southwest journey, the unaccompanied minor has to pay an extra charge for an unaccompanied minor ticket. The age should not be more than 12 to come under this criteria. They can board first according to Southwest Airlines’s unaccompanied minor policy.

What is the minimum age to fly alone?

Southwest allows Young Travelers (YTs) to fly alone on the airline, whose age limit should be between 12 years to 17 years old. They do not come under Unaccompanied Minors (UMs). The unaccompanied minor policy does not apply to them. 

How does Southwest handle unaccompanied minors?

Southwest follows a policy for unaccompanied minors. According to that, they get a form filled out by the minor’s guardians and then require some essential documents for safety and security purposes.

What does wanna get away mean on Southwest?

Southwest Wanna Get Away fares offer different perks to their travelers, it is an opportunity to save on travel costs. Southwest has no change or cancellation fees, and every passenger can check two bags without paying any cost. Wanna Get Away flyers include these extra perks.

Can a 13 year old fly alone Southwest?

Southwest Airlines covers children between 12 to 17 years old under their young traveler’s plans so they apply those terms and conditions to them. A 13 year old child can fly alone on Southwest Airlines but they do not come from unaccompanied minors. 

How do I get my Unaccompanied Minor fee waived?

While traveling on the Southwest Airlines, if you are looking to avoid the unaccompanied minor fee or are willing to let it waived, children can grab the opportunity by attaining MVP, MVP Gold, or gold 75k Mileage Plan Status. 

How much is the unaccompanied minor fee?

Southwest Airlines charges $100 one way per minor as an Unaccompanied Minor Fee. You can either pay the amount using an online method or at the ticket counter during flight check-in. 

Is the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor fee refundable or not?

If you have booked the unaccompanied minor ticket and you want to cancel it then you can and you will get the full refund. The unaccompanied minor fee is refundable on Southwest if you cancel the reservation or the airline cancels it.


Rick Spiegel

I'm Rick Spiegel, a dedicated traveler and writer with a passion for all things related to airline travel. My love for exploring new destinations and my commitment to helping fellow travelers navigate the skies have led me to create a space where you can find all the information you need to contact airlines and resolve air travel issues seamlessly. With years of experience in the aviation industry, I've made it my mission to provide you with expertly crafted airline travel guides, ensuring that your journeys are as smooth as possible.

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