Young Travelers terms and conditions
We consider children ages 12 through 17 traveling alone to be Young Travelers (YTs), not Unaccompanied Minors (UMs). Accordingly, our UM procedures do not apply to travelers ages 12 through 17. A Young Traveler must have the maturity and capability to travel alone, including but not limited to checking in, passing through the security checkpoint, boarding, deplaning, and claiming luggage.
You will need the following information when making your YT reservation:
- The child's full name
- Your relationship to the child
- The child’s address
- Telephone number(s), including area code
- The child's date of birth
When you purchase a ticket for a YT, you represent that you’re either the parent or guardian of the YT and/or have authority to act on behalf of the parent or guardian regarding travel for the YT.
Unfortunately, we don’t provide Young Traveler service to or from our international destinations.
- Make copies of the YT's itinerary for both the YT and whoever’s picking them up in the destination city.
- Check in online 24 hours before scheduled departure to receive a boarding pass or purchase EarlyBird Check-In® automated service.
- Download the Southwest app so you can monitor flight status.
- For additional information about what to expect when a child travels alone, please review "When Kids Fly Alone," published by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Arrive at the airport early. Review our suggested airport arrival times and allow enough time to park the car, go through security, and check in at the gate.
- Check in at the ticket counter with a copy of the YT’s itinerary.
- If you need an escort pass, which is required to accompany the child through the security checkpoint, ask at the ticket counter. Be sure to have your valid, government-issued ID.
- It is recommended that you stay in the gate area until the YT’s flight is in the air.
- Call whoever’s picking up the YT to let them know that the flight has departed.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to ensure a YT arrives for check-in and boarding. Keep in mind that we reserve the right not to allow YT travel on flights that may be delayed, diverted, or canceled due to weather or other operational disruptions.
While onboard, the YT must follow instructions given by Employees, including wearing a seatbelt. Make sure that you and whoever’s picking up the YT are available to answer phone calls during the flight time in the event of a flight irregularity.
Please note, our Flight Attendants will not monitor the YT throughout the flight and the YT will not be escorted off the plane nor taken to meet the parent/guardian at the destination.
- Arrive at the airport early. Review our suggested airport arrival times.
- Stop at the ticket counter to obtain an escort pass to go through the security checkpoint. You must show a valid, government-issued ID to obtain the pass. Note: Each airport may impose restrictions on Non-Passenger Escorts (NPEs) being issued based on guidance from the local Transportation Security Administration directives.
- Arrive at the gate no less than 45 minutes prior to the flight's scheduled arrival time. Check in with an Employee at the gate and let them know you’re picking up a YT.
- If the YT’s flight is scheduled to arrive after the ticket counter and/or security checkpoint is closed, proceed to the Baggage Service Office to let the Agent know you’re picking up a YT.
- Call whomever dropped off the YT at the originating city to let them know you have picked up the YT.
Traveling alone can be an exciting test of a minor’s independence; but whether it is appropriate depends on each minor’s individual maturity level. By purchasing this reservation, you acknowledge and confirm that:
- We consider children ages 12 through 17 traveling alone to be Young Travelers (YTs), not Unaccompanied Minors (UMs). Accordingly, our UM procedures do not apply to travelers ages 12 through 17. A Young Traveler must have the maturity and capability to travel alone, including but not limited to checking in, passing through the security checkpoint, boarding, deplaning, and claiming luggage.
- Parents and guardians are responsible for ensuring a Young Traveler arrives for check-in and boarding in accordance with each airport’s suggested arrival time. The amount of time to park, check luggage, pass through the security checkpoint, and board the flight varies based on each airport’s size, configuration, and travel season.
- 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.
- Your child has sufficient maturity and capability to travel alone (this includes, but is not limited to, checking in, passing through the security checkpoint, boarding, deplaning, and claiming luggage), without adult supervision or assistance from Southwest Employees, on all scheduled service: nonstop, same-plane service with intermediate stops, and connecting service that requires your child to change planes.
- Purchaser represents that they are either the parent or guardian of the minor child or has authority to act on behalf of the parent or guardian.
- Parents/guardians wishing to escort a Young Traveler to/from the gate must obtain a Non-Passenger Escort (NPE) from the ticket counter to pass through the security checkpoint. Each airport may impose restrictions on NPEs being issued based on guidance from the local Transportation Security Administration directives.
- Southwest does not monitor Young Travelers during travel. Accordingly, each Young Traveler must have sufficient maturity and capability to request assistance from a Southwest Employee if needed and the means to contact a parent/guardian if there is a travel disruption.
- Southwest Airlines reserves the right not to allow travel on flights that may be delayed, diverted, or canceled due to weather or other operational disruptions.
- Southwest Airlines does not provide Young Traveler service to/from international destinations.
- Southwest Airlines does not assume responsibility for any Young Traveler’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 A YOUNG TRAVELER’S ACTIONS, INCLUDING INJURIES TO THE YOUNG TRAVELER CAUSED BY HIS OR HER OWN NEGLIGENCE.