Check Unaccompanied Minor Policy

Southwest Unaccompanied Minor Policy

Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor policy outlines the procedures and rules for children aged between 5 and 11 years who are traveling alone, i.e., without an accompanying passenger aged at least 12 years old.

If you plan to book a travel with or for an Unaccompanied Minor, you can get complete information on the Southwest Unaccompanied Minor rules below, on their official website.

Southwest Unaccompanied Minor - About the Policy

When planning a journey for an Unaccompanied Minor, please note that Southwest Airlines allows such children to travel only on nonstop or same-plane services. These services are those that do not necessitate a change of flight or flight number. Also, the airline does not permit Unaccompanied Minors to travel to or from international destinations. As a special rule, flights between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii are subject to further procedures, which you can learn about by contacting the airline directly.

Southwest Unaccompanied Minor - How to Book

The process to book a ticket for an Unaccompanied Minor is straightforward. During the reservation, it is mandatory to indicate your relationship with the child. Whether you are the child's parent, guardian, or you have the authority to act on behalf of the child's parent or guardian, the airline needs this information.

It's necessary to provide proof of age for the child you are booking for. Recognized forms of proof include a birth certificate or any other valid identification document. This proof of age must be presented at the check-in counter. Additionally, a valid government-issued photo ID is required for the person dropping off and picking up the minors flying Southwest, at the airport.

The Unaccompanied Minors service with Southwest Airlines can be booked in one of the following two ways:

  • Online through the Southwest Airlines website
  • Directly at a Southwest Airlines’ airport ticket counter

Alternatively, go to Southwest Airlines Reservations to book a Southwest flight for your unaccompanied minor.

Southwest Unaccompanied Minor - Check-in & Pick-up

The adult accompanying the minors flying Southwest must escort the child to the departure gate and remain there until the flight's take-off. The airline requires the guardian or parent to be at the departure gate at least 45 minutes prior to the departure time.
Similarly, for the pick-up process, the designated person must arrive at the gate at least 45 minutes before the scheduled arrival time of the flight. They must show a valid government identification like issued photo ID to the Southwest Airlines Representative to receive the Unaccompanied Minor.

Check the Southwest Airlines Check-in policy.

Southwest Unaccompanied Minor - Reservations

When you make a reservation for your minor child, you must provide the following essential details:

  • Full name
  • Your relationship with the minor
  • Address
  • Telephone number along with the area code
  • The minor’s date of birth
  • Complete details of the parent or guardian who will be dropping off and picking up the minors flying Southwest
  • The contact details of an alternate designee at the minor’s destination

Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor-  Age to Fly Alone & Restrictions

The Southwest Unaccompanied Minor services are allowed to be used by minors flying Southwest, aged 5-14. Southwest Unaccompanied Minor fee is $150 each way, in addition to the ticket price. This fee covers additional siblings on the same flight.

Here is a table of Southwest Airlines' unaccompanied minor age and restrictions in 2023:

Age GroupAge Restrictions
5-14Must use the unaccompanied minor service
15-17Can use the unaccompanied minor service, but not required
All agesMust be checked in at least 2 hours before departure
All agesMust have a valid passport or birth certificate
All agesMust be accompanied by an adult to the gate
All agesMust be met by an adult at the gate at their destination
All agesCannot change flights
All agesCannot check bags
All agesCannot sit in an exit row
All agesCannot travel on flights between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM
All agesCannot travel on flights with a layover of more than 2 hours
All agesCannot travel on flights connecting to another airline

*Note: A minor within the age group 2-14 can travel as an accompanied minor with someone 16 and older.

Southwest Unaccompanied Minor Fee and Refunds

ServiceFeeRefund Policy
Unaccompanied Minor Service$50 each way ($100 for a round trip)Service fee is refundable if the flight is cancelled and not rebooked
Request for RefundN/ARefunds can be requested by calling Southwest Airlines at +1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) or at the airport ticket counter

Unaccompanied Minor Policy Safety of Minors Flying Southwest 

Southwest Airlines has outlined several guidelines to ensure the safety and security of Unaccompanied Minors. The parent or guardian dropping off the minor must arrive at the airport well in advance to allow ample time for the check-in process, security checks, and other formalities.

The child will be given a lanyard at the ticket counter, which they must wear around their neck at all times during the journey. The person dropping off the child must stay in the gate area until the flight has departed.

Also, both you and the person picking up the child should be available for phone calls during the flight in case of any unexpected changes or issues with the flight.

Frequently Asked Questions
Southwest Airlines categorizes minors flying Southwest aged between 5 and 11, traveling without an accompanying passenger of at least 12 years old as ‘Unaccompanied Minors’.
When booking, you'll need to provide the child’s full name, address, phone number with area code, date of birth, your relationship to the minor, details of the guardian dropping off and picking up the child, and contact details of an alternate designee at the child’s destination.
No, Southwest Airlines restricts Unaccompanied Minors to nonstop or same-plane services within the U.S., excluding travel to or from international destinations.
Southwest Unaccompanied Minor fee is $50 each way, totaling to $100 for a roundtrip. This is besides the standard airfare for the minor.
The adult dropping off the minor must escort them to the departure gate and stay there until the flight departs. At arrival, the designated person picking up the minor should arrive at least 45 minutes before the flight's scheduled arrival time and present a valid government-issued photo ID.
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