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Young Travelers

New Arrival

I will be accompanying my son to the check in and then to the boarding gate. I was wondering if it is ok to allow him to use an Uber upon arriving to his destination (instead of having a parent/guardian meeting him). Please let me know if this is ok. 

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Re: Young Travelers

Top Contributor
Solution

If he's traveling as a Young Traveler (age 12-17), and not an Unaccompanied Minor (age 5-11), then yes -- assuming you think he's of sufficient maturity to do so, and that it's acceptable to Uber (not sure about that).

 

On Southwest, Young Travelers don't receive any sort of monitoring or assistance like Unaccompanied Minors do, and there's no extra $50 fee as with UMs. A parent or guardian may request an escort pass to drop off or meet their YT, but it isn't required.

 

Note Southwest's YT rules require that:

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.

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Re: Young Travelers

New Arrival

My 11 year old and 14 year old have traveled together 4 times. Going on now for 2 years. I’ve purchased unaccompanied service for only 1 of them. The 3 previous times they have traveled, they have both been allowed to board together, as they are siblings in the same itinerary. From the 1st time that they started traveling together I asked about the boarding process when I made my reservation,  I was assured they would stay together the whole time.  Today, I was met with some pushback on this issue. The lady calling everyone to line up, never called for unaccompanied minors. Once I made it known, she said only one of them was allowed to board “pre-board”. I explained that’s not what I was told by the reservation agent and that, this have never been expressed to me or been done to my kids. I asked to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor and I verbal judo’d for a while. He said it was Southwest Policy, only the unaccompanied could board early. I told him ultimately, I was willing to wait until everyone boarded and have them board together. He said no, that by law he had to take my minor by himself. I told him that I was not going to relinquish custody of my child. He said that if I didn’t, then my kids would not be getting on the plane. So I restarted his comment... “you’re saying, if I wait to the end and the plane is still here and the door is still open you’re not going to allow my kids on the plane” he said “that’s right, they aren’t getting on this plane” he further said it wouldn’t  be fair for all the other passengers who paid to be on a specific boarding order. I asked to speak with another level of supervisor and he said that was not going to happen. I told him that’s now how things work, I said I wanted to speak with someone higher than him, he said he was it, he said he was it for Southwest at the airport, that if I needed some higher, I would have to call the 1-800.  He went on to suggest that my minor child should save my 14 year old a seat next to him. To which I said, “it’s first come, first serve. You’re trying cover one whole and open another. If my kid tries to save a seat for his brother, isn’t that the same thing as you allowing them to board together and sit together, same outcome, with the exception that there might  be a confrontation between my younger son and another passenger who won’t want to listen to an 11 year old saving a seat?” He said it wasn’t going to happen my way”. After some a moment of reasoning, he said he would allow them to board after the “1st class and preferred category” (not sure what the actual name of the categories are). So, ultimately exactly what I had asked for in the first place. They sat in row 2 of the airplane. Basically, they had to ask some passengers to move to give them both the seats up front. Inconvenienced other passengers and my family, when it could have all been avoided. Who is violating the policy? Is there a policy that says a young Traveler and an unaccompanied minor cant board “pre-board” together? I haven’t seen anything on this topic. Should there be some sort of policy to address this situation? Is there a safety, law, regulation aspect that prevents this from being a normal courtesy without the response received today? After all, there are less restrictions for someone simply requesting to “pre-board” based on simply suggesting they have a need to “pre-board” early.  Any thoughts? 

Re: Young Travelers

Top Contributor

@Edwin2151 wrote:

My 11 year old and 14 year old have traveled together 4 times. Going on now for 2 years. I’ve purchased unaccompanied service for only 1 of them. The 3 previous times they have traveled, they have both been allowed to board together, as they are siblings in the same itinerary. From the 1st time that they started traveling together I asked about the boarding process when I made my reservation,  I was assured they would stay together the whole time.  Today, I was met with some pushback on this issue.

 

I copied the first part of your post so others could determine exaclty who I am responding to.

 

Yours was a difficult situation. Unaccompanied minors do pre-board, but not others. Normally an "unaccompanied minor" is, by definition,  not accompanied by someone - hence the confusion.

 

The two rules are

1) unaccompanied minors pre-board

2) Others board based on their boarding numbers

 

So, Southwest applied the strict definition of the policy in your most recent case. Employees excercised better judgement in the past, and did not strictly enforce policy.

 

So you might understand why there was push back this time, you need to remember that when you paid the unaccompanied minor fee Southwest accepted contractual liability for everything that might happen to your son on the flight. It accepted responsibility for keeping him safe. Part of that is getting him on then plane early and keeping an eye on him during the flight - and then there was a conflict between that and rule #2 above.

 

Yeah, it probably should have been handled better.

 

Just as an FYI, any person over age 11 is considered an adult for travel purposes by the airline. So your 11 year old can travel with your 14 year old -- and you would not have to pay the unaccompanied minor fee. Have then both check in at the same time, or buy early bird checkin for them at the same time and you can be pretty sure that they'll be able to walk on nthe plane together and most likely sit together..

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Re: Young Travelers

New Arrival

Thanks for the feedback. I agree with your perspective. I wish there was better execution of the interaction and decision making.