With Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor policy, the airline guarantees that your child when traveling alone receives quality assistance and extra care from the ground and cabin staff. 

In this article, we will understand the rules and guidelines that you need to know before arranging the travel for the minors, the minor travel fee, how the travel works, and much more. 

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Southwest Unaccompanied Minors Rules and Guidelines 

Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Policy

As per the Southwest Airline minor policy, children through 5-11 years who are not accompanied by passengers at least 12 years of age can fly alone and are subject to an unaccompanied minor travel fee in addition to the airfare. Similar to this, below mentioned are other guidelines that you need to know – 

Before the Travel – 

  • Unaccompanied Minors will be charged 50 USD each way and 100 USD for the roundtrip in addition to the airfare per unaccompanied minor on Southwest.
  • The fees for unaccompanied minors are refundable. If your flight is canceled and the unaccompanied minor refuse to travel or chooses not to rebook, or if the child is joined by an adult passenger age (12 or older) and is no longer an unaccompanied minor, 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, as per the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor policy.
  •  The airlines maintain the right to refuse to transport unaccompanied minors on flights that are diverted or cancelled due to weather or other technical challenges.
  • To travel as an Unaccompanied Minor, a birth certificate or other form of valid identification for the child is required as proof of age at the ticket counter.
  • When checking in or picking up an unaccompanied minor, a parent or guardian must provide a valid government-issued photo ID to an airline executive. 
  • Unaccompanied minors are only permitted to fly on nonstop or same-plane flights. Parents or guardians should not book connecting or red-eye flights for children aged between 5 and 11 travelling alone. 
  • The airline does not offer unaccompanied minor services for travel outside the United States. 

Dropping Off the Unaccompanied Minor 

  • Unaccompanied minors must be escorted to the departure gate 45 minutes before the planned departure. The parents or guardians who dropped off their child must stay in the boarding gate area until the flight takes off.
  • An airline representative will announce preboarding for the unaccompanied minors ahead of the departure. The drop-off parent or guardian is responsible for handover the minor as instructed in order to board the flight.

When Flight Boarded by the Unaccompanied Minor

  • Once boarded, the flight attendant will observe or communicate with unaccompanied minors periodically while other duties are conducted by them. The minors are not monitored constantly throughout the flight. 
  • The flight representative will not escort unaccompanied minors out of the airport before or after their scheduled trip.
  • The airline does not take responsibility for the unaccompanied minor’s actions and behavior. 

Picking Up the Unaccompanied Minor  – As per the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor policy

  • 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. Prior to the child’s arrival, the parent or guardian must make arrangements with the airline’s staff at the ticket counter to alter the authorized greeting parent or guardian.
  • 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. The parents or guardians will be responsible to compensate airlines for the travel and administrative expenses in taking such action.

Southwest Airlines ID Requirements For Minors

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. Don’t plan time to simply drop off your child at the airport entrance or the ticket counter. 

Allow extra time for traffic delays and long queues at the check-in counter.  You may also require additional time to complete the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor form, go through security (there may be a line), and escort minors to the gate in time for pre-boarding.

At the airport – 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. This is required as the airlines need to update them in case of flight delays or schedule changes. 
  • 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

Proof of age – The parents or guardian need to submit a copy of one of the following documents – 

  • 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. 


How to Book a Flight for a Minor on Southwest Airlines?

Passengers have the option to book the flight for unaccompanied minors online, through the airline’s customer service center, or at the airport. Take a note of Southwest Airlines minor policy, before making the UMNR booking through the following methods – 

Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Booking Online

As per your convenience, you can book a flight for minors through southwest.com. 

  • At the checkout page, pay the Southwest minor fee and the cost of the airfare.
  •  After you complete the booking, the airline will send you the Southwest unaccompanied minor form
  • Fill out the form. The contact number and the address of the parents and guardian at the time of check-in and pick up would be reflected in the manage booking section.

Southwest Unaccompanied Minor Phone Number

You can simply make the Southwest Airlines booking over the phone, and acknowledge the accompanied minor travel with the airlines 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 for Unaccompanied Minor At the Airport

You can also pay for 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. 

Southwest Unaccompanied Minor Fee

To use the unaccompanied minor service program you need to pay the price of an adult fare plus the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor fee. The one-way fee per passenger is 50 USD. For the return flight you need to pay twice the price. The overview of the fee, as per the policy, includes – 

Unaccompanied minor’s age at the time of travelTravel permitted on direct flightsMinor service fee (in USD)
4 years and youngerNot permittedNot applicable
Between 5 and 11 years of agePermitted50 each way, 100 for round trip
11 years to 17 years of agePermitted50 each way, 100 for round trip

We understand that you may feel anxious about your children travelling alone. This concern is perfectly normal. The Southwest minor travel program is your peace of mind as your young child will be given the opportunity to travel independently and safely. 


Southwest Airlines Minor Policy – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do minors need ID to fly on Southwest?

Southwest minor identification must be complied with under the policy, as a copy of one of the following documents will be required at the time of check-in – 

1. Birth certificate
2. Passport
3. State federal ID. 

How to book an unaccompanied minor flight with Southwest?

There are three options to book a flight for a minor flying unaccompanied – 

1. Via southwest.com, passengers can book and pay a fee at the checkout page. Southwest unaccompanied minor age between 5 and 11 would be considered for kids flying alone. 
2. Call customer service number.
3. Book a flight and pay at the airport up to 3 hours before the scheduled departure. 

Does Southwest Airlines charge for unaccompanied minors?

You need to pay the price of an adult fare plus the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor fee. The one-way fee per passenger is 50 USD. For the return flight, you need to pay twice the price.
Southwest unaccompanied minors between 5 and 11 years are eligible to pay the fee and the UM service, as per the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor policy.

When can I pay the unaccompanied minor fee for Southwest Airlines?

You can pay the Southwest minor travel service charge online, over the phone or in person at any Southwest ticket counter.

How do I let the airline know that my child is travelling unaccompanied?

If you book your child’s reservation online, use the same steps as you would for any other reservation on southwest.com. You’ll be asked whether the child will be traveling with someone over the age of 12 when you provide the child’s birth date. If you don’t, the youngster will be labeled under Southwest airline’s unaccompanied minors program, and you’ll have to complete the relevant travel documents and pay the UM service charge. 

Tell the Southwest flight executive over the phone or at the airport that the child on the reservation is an unaccompanied minor and mention the child’s age. As per the Southwest minor policy, the age of the child travelling alone must be between 5 and 11 years. 

Can a child older than 11 years of age be treated as unaccompanied minor?

No, as per the Southwest minor policy, the program is only for children ages 5 and 11 years old. 

Children aged 12 and up are permitted to travel alone. Parents consent will be needed if their children are capable of :

1. Negotiating the departure and arrival airports.
2. Performing the Southwest Airlines check-in and boarding procedures
3. Following the directions of the crew
4. Dealing with any potential flight problems

Otherwise, the airlines highly advise against letting the youngsters fly alone and sign up for an unaccompanied minors programs.

What should I do when I arrive at the airport to escort my child travelling alone?

When you arrive at the airport, complete the flight check-in in order to – 

1. Check the baggage 
2. Submit the required Southwest unaccompanied minor age documentation. 
3. Pay the required unaccompanied minor travel fee
4. Obtain your excerpt pass so that the child would be accompanied through the security checkpoint and the boarding gate. 

When you get at the gate, inform the airline’s customer service agent that the youngster is an Unaccompanied Minor and hand over the completed UM documentation to the Agent.

If my child is not carrying checked baggage, do we still have to report at the Southwest Airlines counter?

Yes. Even if you have already booked your child’s ticket and he or she does not have any baggage to hold, you must stop at the ticket counter and inform the airline that your child is an Unaccompanied Minor.

Is the unaccompanied minor service refundable?

The fees for unaccompanied minors are refundable. If your flight is cancelled and the unaccompanied minor refuse to travel, or choose not to rebook, or if the child is joined by an adult passenger age (12 or older) and is no longer an unaccompanied minor, contact Southwest customer service number or go to the airport ticket counter to get a refund.

What time should I arrive to pick up my child at the airport?

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, and must adhere to all the protocols under the unaccompanied minors program. 

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