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unaccompanied minors

New Arrival

Hi Everyone,


I'm a divorced father of a son who is soon to be 11 years old.  Have any of you flown your children on southwest uncaccomanied?  I'm curious to hear of your experiences and suggestions.  Thanks!




Re: unaccompanied minors

Top Contributor



while I have not flown as a UM on Southwest I have had several people in my family who have. 


Here's how it went for me when I was taking my cousins to the airport to travel as UMs 


1. Called and booked the flight for the UM and paid the UM fee 

2. Day before the flight checked in 24 hours before the flight (the UM boarding position doesn't matter as they usually pre board) 

3. Arrived at the airport did the normal check in steps (checked bag and got boarding pass) gave the rep at the counter the info of the person picking up the UM which they then got me a Gate pass so I could wait with my cousin (the UM)

4. I was told to wait until the plane *took off* not just leave the gate just in case the plane had an issue and returned to the gate. in my case the ops agent working the flight informed me when the plane took off (which was 20min after the plane pushed) and I went on my way 

5. At this point I called the person picking up my cousin to let them know they took off me the ETA for their flight. 


How I was told it worked at arrival 

1. The person picking up my cousins got the gate pass at the ticket counter Andy they went through security (allow time for this) 

2. When the plane arrived at the gate my cousin was escorted off the plane by a FA and was handed over to the ops agent who was there with the person picking up my cousin they signed a release form and they proceeded to baggage claim (easy process). 


Here are a few tips for UM travel 

1. Give your son a paper with contact information (your number, the number of the person picking up your son, any important information (important medical info or important contacts). some may ask why do this if he has a cell phone well if he loses the phone or the phone dies and your son doesn't have good memory of contact information when needed he can go to this sheet if needed. 

2. Give your son some cash or an emergency card in case the plane were to be diverted for any reason so he can get food if needed (keep in mind food at an airport is more expensive than a local mc donalds) 

3. Get your son some snacks for the plane ride they have pretzels on all flights and on longer flights have have things like wheat thins 

4. Have some kind of entertainment for your son (book, tablet, phone, music device) to help pass time

5. UMs can only Ben booked on Direct flights (non stop or a stop with no plane change) so depending on your departure and arrival city UM travel may not be possible. 

6. Don't rush and stress take your time when going to the airport. stress only causes fear in kids my grandma and grandpa learned that the hard way which is why I got to take my cousins to there flight the next 2 years as I am easy going and don't stress over airports or travel. 


If you have any any more questions please don't hesitate to ask. 


Hope this helps!