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Youth layovers

New Arrival

My 13 year old has a layover at a big airport. She has never flown before. Will she have some someone to take her to the gate she needs to get to? Or how would I go about getting an attendant to help her. I have called customer service and they are being rude and not willing to help me...


Re: Youth layovers

Active Member

Southwest only allows unaccompanied minors ("UM"s) to travel on non-stop or direct flights...NO LAYOVERS. However, since your daughter is 13, she is considered old enough to travel on her own. I suppose you can ask Southwest to treat her as a UM, but then you have to pay a UM fee and will have to rebook her flight without a layover.

My advice is to give your daughter a cell phone to use during the trip and have her call you when she reaches her layover airport. That way you can talk to her until she reaches her departure gate and boards her next flight.

Here is Southwest's UM policy:

Re: Youth layovers

Top Contributor

At the departure airport you should be able to get an escort pass when checking bags that will let you accompany your daughter to the gate.  Give yourself plenty of time so while you are walking to the gate you can point out TV screens that show flight info.  Explain how she should look for a screen and how she can look for her final destination flight and gate info on a screen during her layover.  Also point out Southwest staff, what types of uniforms they wear and how they are stationed at the gates.  She can ask ANY of them for help.  Make sure she has a printed itinerary she can show anyone when asking for help.  Talk to her about the boarding process.  When she checks in she will get 2 boarding passes, one for each flight.  Explain to her when she should line up based on her assigned boarding position.  She should also have some cash so she can get a snack if there's enough time during the layover or a whole meal should the flight get delayed.  Explain what she should do if there is a delay or cancellation, typically this just means asking a Southwest staff member for help.  


It sounds like a lot, but once you're in the airport it's pretty straightforward.  Most of the time it's go find the gate and sit at it.  Listen for boarding announcements and pay attention to what's going on.  I would suggest putting away the headphones while waiting so she doesn't miss anything.


I remember my first flights as a kid and it was a fun adventure that gave me some great confidence and started my love of flying.  I hope she has the same experience.



Re: Youth layovers

Top Contributor

Excellent advice above. Just one note: Southwest won't actually let you pay the UM fee for a child that's over age 11, or provide any special services. They consider children age 12 -17 traveling alone Young Travelers. Here's more info:


Young Traveler Terms and Conditions



Re: Youth layovers

Top Contributor

I agree with @TheMiddleSeat I would get an escort pass for the 1st time and walk your kid though everything and avoid the headphones until the plane ride. I would recommend having your teen check the boards more than once just in case there is a gate change and you didn't hear the announcement or if there wasn't one that way they don't miss the flight 


on my first flight as a teen my mom got a gate pass we showed up 2.5 hours early just so I could see how to check in go though security (at that time I didn't need an ID since I was under 18) and showed me around the airport a bit so I would know where to go and my mom pulled up airport maps for my connecting city to show me where I may land and where I may have to walk to and told me to not stress and to pay attention in the airports as gates can change and you don't want to miss your flight because your busy playing a game or listening to music and I had plenty of time (3 hour layover) that way I should be fine in case of a delay which I was fine. Then my dad got a gate pass to meet me when I arrived at my final destination so he could show me baggage claim and what to do if my bag was messed up or didn't show up so I don't freak out should that ever happen when I got older. I enjoyed it and now I travel all the time. 


If your teen has any questions while traveling they can ask anyone at the airport or if they have questions before flying feel free to post those questions here and we can help answer them. 


feel free to post how it went once the trip is complete