Unaccompanied minors and children flying alone
Booking unaccompanied minor reservation
There are three ways to book a flight for children ages five through 11 who will be traveling unaccompanied:
- For your convenience, you can book online at southwest.com
- Call us at 1-800-435-9792
- Make the reservation at the Southwest ticket counter at the airport
When you make a reservation for an Unaccompanied Minor, you will be required to fill out the necessary travel document and pay an Unaccompanied Minor service charge.
Once the Unaccompanied Minor reservation is complete, you will need to provide the confirmation number to the guardian designated to pick up or drop off the child.
If you make your child’s reservation on online, follow the same steps for any booking via southwest.com. When you enter the child’s birth date, you will be prompted to indicate whether the child will be traveling with someone over the age of 12. If not, the child is considered an Unaccompanied Minor, and you will be required to fill out the necessary travel document and pay the Unaccompanied Minor service change.
If you book your child's travel over the phone or at the airport, tell the Customer Representative that the child on the reservation is an Unaccompanied Minor and provide the child's age.
The Unaccompanied Minor paperwork requires information about your child, the person(s) picking up your child at his/her destination and the person dropping off the child. The paperwork must be fully complete in order to accept your child for travel. You may also be required to provide proof of the child's age.
Please provide the EXACT information about the person meeting the Unaccompanied Minor, including:
- Phone number (including area code)
- Name, relationship, and phone numbers of an alternate contact
Be sure to advise the person meeting the Unaccompanied Minor that he/she will need to greet the child at the flight's assigned arrival gate. Please have him/her follow the Suggested Airport Arrival Times to allow sufficient time to obtain an "escort pass" from the ticket counter. The receiving party must have a valid photo ID and a copy of the child's itinerary to get an "escort pass," which is needed to get through the security checkpoint and meet the child at the gate.
You pay the Unaccompanied Minor service charge at the time of booking on southwest.com, by calling us at 1-800-435-9792, or at any Southwest ticket counter.
No. Our Unaccompanied Minor program is only for children ages five through 11 years old.
Children ages 12 and older are allowed to travel independently. However, we encourage parents to decide whether their children are capable of and comfortable with:
- Negotiating all airports
- Going through the check-in and boarding processes
- Following crew members' instructions
- Dealing with possible flight disruptions that may arise
If not, we strongly discourage allowing these Young Travelers to fly alone.
Yes, your child can travel unaccompanied on a Rapid Rewards Award. When booking the child's reservation, simply let the Customer Representative know that the child will be traveling as an Unaccompanied Minor and provide his/her age. Please note, you will still be responsible to pay the $50 each-way service charge despite traveling on a Rapid Rewards Award.
No. Make sure the child's reservation is on a nonstop flight or a flight that makes a stop but does not require a change of planes. This will be indicated by a single flight number. Southwest does not allow Unaccompanied Minors to travel on connecting flights, including those connecting with other airline partners.
Always check the Suggested Airport Arrival Times in the Travel Tools section of southwest.com to see how far in advance of your child's flight you should arrive at the airport. This will give you time to check any luggage, compete required paperwork, pay the Unaccompanied Minor service charge, clear security screening, receive your child's boarding pass, and let him/her preboard.
You should follow these Suggested Airport Arrival Times for both drop-off and pickup as you will need to obtain an "escort pass" for both. Adults must have an "escort pass" to get through the security checkpoint to drop off and/or pick up Unaccompanied Minors at their gate, and a valid photo ID and a copy of the child's itinerary is required to get the pass.
When you arrive at the airport, check in at the ticket counter in the main lobby of the airport to:
- Check luggage
- Provide the required Unaccompanied Minor documentation
- Pay the $50 each-way service charge
- Get the child's boarding pass
- Get your "escort pass" so you can accompany the child through the security checkpoint and to the gate.
When you get to the gate, let the Customer Service Agent know that the child is an Unaccompanied Minor and give the Agent the completed UM paperwork. View the Unaccompanied Minor form in PDF format.
Make sure that the information on the UM paperwork including flight number and destination airport matches that shown on the UM's itinerary. REMEMBER, ALL ITEMS ON THE UNACCOMPANIED MINOR FORM MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE A CHILD MAY TRAVEL AS AN UNACCOMPANIED MINOR.
The Unaccompanied Minor form will be inserted in the Unaccompanied Minor lanyard and must be worn by the child for the duration of the flight. The lanyard is required as it allows Southwest Airlines Employees to easily identify Unaccompanied Minors.
Two unaccompanied minors may travel together on the same reservation, but you will have to pay $50 each way for each Unaccompanied Minor traveling.
Yes, you have the option to pay the $50 one-way service charge at the time of check-in before the outbound flight.
Customers can pay with accepted credit cards. Southwest® gift cards, Southwest LUV Vouchers, unused Travel Funds and cash are not accepted forms of payment for the UM service charge.
Yes, the Unaccompanied Minor charge is refundable. If you cancel your reservation and your Unaccompanied Minor does not travel, if your flight is canceled and you choose not to rebook, or if the child is joined by an accompanying passenger age 12 or older and is no longer an Unaccompanied Minor, contact Southwest at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) or visit the airport ticket counter to process your refund.
Yes. Standard rules and regulations involving checking luggage apply to Unaccompanied Minors. When checking luggage, make sure that the baggage claim ticket and baggage tag match your child's final destination (ending city of the journey). Ensure that the claim ticket can be easily located when the child arrives at his/her final destination.
Yes. Even if you have already purchased your child's ticket and he/she has no luggage to check, you must stop at the ticket counter to let a Customer Service Agent know that the child is an Unaccompanied Minor. There you can pay the $50 each way service charge and obtain an "escort pass" to accompany the child through security to the gate area. While at the ticket counter, you may also fill out the Unaccompanied Minor form and receive your child's boarding pass. YOUR CHILD MUST HAVE A BOARDING PASS TO BOARD THE AIRCRAFT.
Yes. All Customers may carry one bag plus one smaller, personal-type item onboard the airplane.
- Bag dimensions are limited to 10x16x24 inches.
- Personal-type items include backpacks, cameras, CD and DVD players, food containers, or a small toy.
- Assistive devices for qualified Customers with disabilities will not considered carryon or personal items and may be brought onboard the flight in addition to the above.
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.
Be sure to identify your child to the Customer Service Agent as an "Unaccompanied Minor" so that he/she will be able to preboard. Your child will be escorted onto the aircraft by a Southwest Airlines Employee before general boarding begins and will be introduced to the Flight Attendant as an Unaccompanied Minor.
Unaccompanied Minor children who arrive at the departure gate after boarding has begun will be escorted onto the aircraft AFTER all other Customers have boarded or in between boarding groups. This allows Southwest personnel to proper identify the UM to the Flight Attendant who will be responsible for the child's care during flight.
Yes. You must wait within the gate area until your child's flight is in the air. A Southwest Airlines Employee will let you know when you are able to leave the boarding area.
Upon arrival at their destination, your child will be released to the person specified on the Unaccompanied Minor form (or to the alternate contact specified). IDENTIFICATION WILL BE REQUIRED.
Check southwest.com for the Suggested Airport Arrival Times at the child's arrival city. Arriving at the airport at this time will give you time to get your escort pass at the ticket counter and proceed through the security checkpoint to greet the child in his/her flight's gate area. Please note that a valid photo ID and a copy of your child's itinerary are required to obtain an escort pass.
Unaccompanied children will be escorted from the aircraft by a uniformed Southwest Airlines Employee and released only to the person (or alternate contact) named on the Unaccompanied Minor form or another designated Southwest Airlines Employee. When picking up your child, the person named on the Unaccompanied Minor form will be required to produce valid photo identification and sign a release.
In some cases, there may be a brief wait in receiving the child due to the fact that Southwest Airlines personnel are engaged in the release of other unaccompanied children or the departure of another aircraft. We hope you will understand that the time spent is for the safety of your unaccompanied child.
Terms & conditions
- Children ages five through 11 traveling without an accompanying Passenger age 12 or older must travel as Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) on Southwest Airlines.
- Unaccompanied Minors are not monitored continuously throughout the travel. Only children with sufficient maturity to travel with limited adult supervision may travel as an Unaccompanied Minor on Southwest Airlines.
- Southwest Airlines will charge $50 each way ($100 roundtrip) in addition to the air fare per child for Unaccompanied Minors to travel.
- Unaccompanied Minor charges are refundable. If you cancel your reservation and your Unaccompanied Minor does not travel, if your flight is canceled and you choose not to rebook, or if the child is joined by an accompanying passenger age 12 or older and is no longer an Unaccompanied Minor, contact Southwest at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) or visit the airport ticket counter to process your refund.
- Purchaser represents that he/she is either the parent or guardian of the minor child or has authority to act on behalf of the parent or guardian.
- All required information in this booking process must be completed and accurate in order to facilitate the transfer of the Unaccompanied Minor between designated parties.
- Southwest Airlines reserves the right not to transport Unaccompanied Minors on flights that may be diverted or cancelled due to weather or other operational disruptions.
- Proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or other form of valid identification for the child is required upon check-in at the ticket counter in order to travel as an Unaccompanied Minor.
- A parent or guardian must be present and show a valid government-issued photo ID to a Southwest Representative when checking in or picking up an Unaccompanied Minor.
- Unaccompanied Minors are allowed to travel on only nonstop or same-plane service (makes one or two stops but does not require a change of planes or flight number).
- Southwest Airlines does not provide Unaccompanied Minor service to/from international destinations.
- Additional Unaccompanied Minor Info for Travel to Hawaii: Flights between the U.S. Mainland and Hawaii are subject to specific procedures for transportation of animals and plants, inspection of checked and carryon baggage, and State of Hawaii documentation requirements. The parent/guardian of an Unaccompanied Minor (UM) or Young Traveler (YT) must complete the Plants and Animals Declaration Form at the departure gate prior to the UM or YT boarding the aircraft. Once completed, the form will be placed in the front pocket of the UM lanyard or retained by the YT until it is collected during the flight prior to landing, as applicable.
Only trained service dogs assisting Customers with disabilities are permitted to travel with Customers. No other animals are permitted on flights between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii. Southwest Airlines does not transport pets to or from Hawaii. For more information about travel to/from Hawaii, please visit our dedicated Hawaii travel page.
- A parent or guardian must escort an Unaccompanied Minor to the departure gate 45 minutes before scheduled departure and must remain in the gate area until the flight is in the air.
- Prior to departure, a designated Southwest Representative will announce preboarding for Unaccompanied Minors. It is the responsibility of the drop-off parent/guardian to present the Unaccompanied Minor as directed in order to board the flight.
- Once seated, a Flight Attendant will visually observe and/or communicate with an Unaccompanied Minor periodically as other duties allow, but Unaccompanied Minors are not monitored continuously throughout the flight.
- Southwest Airlines personnel will not take Unaccompanied Minors out of the airport before or after their designated flight departs/arrives.
- Southwest Airlines does not assume responsibility for an Unaccompanied Minor's actions. THE PURCHASER AGREES TO INDEMNIFY, HOLD HARMLESS, AND FULLY RELEASE SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FOR ANY AND ALL INJURY OR DAMAGES TO PROPERTY OR PERSONS CAUSED BY OR INCURRED AS A RESULT OF AN UNACCOMPANIED MINOR'S ACTIONS, INCLUDING INJURIES TO THE UNACCOMPANIED MINOR CAUSED BY HIS OR HER OWN NEGLIGENCE.
- Parents and guardians picking up an Unaccompanied Minor should be at the gate 45 minutes prior to scheduled arrival and present a valid government-issued photo ID to the designated Southwest Representative in order to facilitate the transfer of the Unaccompanied Minor between the designated parties.
- Southwest will not release an Unaccompanied Minor to anyone other than the designated parent or guardian. It is the parent's/guardian's responsibility to ensure changes of the designated pick-up parent/guardian are arranged with a Southwest Representative at a Southwest Airlines ticket counter prior to the child's arrival.
- Should the Unaccompanied Minor's travel be disrupted or should the person(s) designated fail to meet the Unaccompanied Minor upon arrival at the destination airport, Southwest Airlines is authorized to take whatever action is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances. The parent or guardian agrees to reimburse Southwest Airlines for its expenses incurred in taking such action.
- If these Terms and Conditions are not met, Southwest Airlines reserves the right not to provide travel to the Unaccompanied Minor.