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Young travelers over 6 and under 15

Edwardjb64
Explorer C

I arrived 2 hours early to see my grandchildren off for LAX (from ABQ). To see if there were any options for pre or early-boarding the children I approached the podium and asked what SWA policies were for such.  I was told, "No way, you board with group C".  As a result, they boarded almost dead last, and were no seats together for the 15-year-old and the 11-year-old.  At the gate itself, the agent said "You could have, should have early boarded". What IS the policy?

5 REPLIES 5

Re: Young travelers over 6 and under 15

SoCalFlyer97
Frequent Flyer A

@Edwardjb64 wrote:

I arrived 2 hours early to see my grandchildren off for LAX (from ABQ). To see if there were any options for pre or early-boarding the children I approached the podium and asked what SWA policies were for such.  I was told, "No way, you board with group C".  As a result, they boarded almost dead last, and were no seats together for the 15-year-old and the 11-year-old.  At the gate itself, the agent said "You could have, should have early boarded". What IS the policy?


Hello-

Here's Southwest's policy linked from the website:

 

Young Traveler Policy Ages 12-17:
https://www.southwest.com/help/flying-with-children/young-travelers-terms-and-conditions

 

Unaccompanied Minor Ages 6-11 flying Alone:
https://www.southwest.com/help/flying-with-children/unaccompanied-minors-flying-alone

 

As far as to whether the CSA did the right thing...It looks like they followed the written policy given the flight involved both an 11 Year-old had a 15 Year-old to accompany; Young Travelers board in their assigned groups. Unaccompanied Minors are given a special lanyard and pre-board but do so if they are unaccompanied.

 

As far as the "No way" response from the CSA...I don't think that was the wisest of words. Given this trip involved two minors, I would check with Customer Relations to be absolutely sure since this was a special case of an 11 Year-old Minor being accompanied by a 15 Year-old Young Traveler instead of an adult.

Re: Young travelers over 6 and under 15

DancingDavidE
Aviator A

@Edwardjb64 wrote:

I arrived 2 hours early to see my grandchildren off for LAX (from ABQ). To see if there were any options for pre or early-boarding the children I approached the podium and asked what SWA policies were for such.  I was told, "No way, you board with group C".  As a result, they boarded almost dead last, and were no seats together for the 15-year-old and the 11-year-old.  At the gate itself, the agent said "You could have, should have early boarded". What IS the policy?


"Unaccompanied minors" less than 12 years old, pay an extra fee for an unaccompanied minor ticket, and can preboard. There is some other assistance that they receive.

 

A young traveler aged 12 to 17 is not a preboard and doesn't pay any extra fee and doesn't get any additional assistance - if the older sibling was more than 12 years old then it would be allowed to have the 12 year old accompany a less than 12 year old without paying the fee for the younger child, and then there would also not be any preboarding.

 

My suggestion would be next time to ask for a gate pass to escort the kids to the gate and help them negotiate for preboarding there, request family boarding, etc. whatever can be offered.

 

TL;DR; preboarding is included for unaccompanied minors but not Young Travelers. But get a gate pass next time and ask as the gate staff may allow it anyway.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Young travelers over 6 and under 15

DancingDavidE
Aviator A

I'm re-reading and it sounds like you did have a gate pass - did the podium understand that you weren't also flying? I think this is the mix-up. The gate sees only the two kids and knows what would be best. The podium though it was two older kids and an adult who don't qualify for family boarding.

 

 

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Young travelers over 6 and under 15

floridaguy
Aviator C

First, you don't qualify for family boarding.  You must have a human child under the age of seven for that policy to become active.  Age seven and older, family boarding remains irrelevant.

 

Second, there is no guarantee or assured way to "sit together" on Southwest and this has been discussed many times.  Southwest prides itself in faster boarding with unassigned seats.  That means when you buy a ticket on Southwest, you make an INFORMED DECISION that you are unable to select a seat assignment.

 

Had the seat assignment been your paramount decision factor, you would have flown another airline with assigned seats.

 

Southwest is not going to reformat their business model to accommodate those wishes. 

Re: Young travelers over 6 and under 15

ffflyer
Frequent Flyer B