Sending your child on a flight alone can be an exciting (and nerve-racking) experience. Whether they've been flying with you since they were a baby or are just getting their travel legs, you and your child must be prepared to travel as unaccompanied minors.
Airlines in the United States have many rules and fees for young passengers traveling alone. Southwest Airlines is the cheapest, allowing Unaccompanied Minors (UM) aged 5 to 11 to travel independently on domestic flights. Children aged 12 and up are free to use the Young Travelers service. However, parents can only accompany their child part of the way to the gate.
Unaccompanied minors can only fly in the United States on nonstop or direct flights, and parents/guardians must provide proper identification during drop-off and pickup.
You can reserve a ticket for an unaccompanied minor on Southwest Airlines. You can visit southwest.com, book at the ticket counter, or call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). Additionally, you can contact customer care at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) or 1-888-649-0391 (OTA) if you require assistance.
Cheapest Airline Minor Travelling Alone Guidelines
According to Southwest Airline's policy, children aged 5-11 who are not accompanied by someone at least 12 can travel alone. However, they are subject to an additional fee called the unaccompanied minor travel fee and the airfare. Here are some essential guidelines you need to know before traveling:
- Each unaccompanied minor will be charged $50 each way and $100 for a roundtrip, in addition to the airfare.
- The fees for unaccompanied minors can be refunded in certain circumstances. If your flight gets canceled and the child decides not to travel or rebook, or if the child is accompanied by an adult passenger aged 12 or older and is no longer considered an unaccompanied minor, you have the option to contact the customer service number or visit the airport ticket counter to request a refund.
- The individual responsible for booking the flight ticket must confirm their relationship as either the parent or guardian of the minor child or their authorization to act on behalf of the parent or guardian, in accordance with Southwest Airlines' policy on unaccompanied minors.
- Airlines can cancel tickets for unaccompanied minors due to weather conditions, flight delays, or technical issues.
- To travel as an unaccompanied minor, the child must present a birth certificate or another valid form of identification to prove their age at the ticket counter.
- A parent or guardian must provide a legal government-issued photo ID to an airline representative when checking in or picking up an unaccompanied minor.
- Children aged 5-11 who travel alone are restricted to flying on nonstop or same-plane flights. Parents or guardians must avoid booking connecting or red-eye flights for unaccompanied minors.
- TravelPlease note that the airline does not offer unaccompanied minor travel services outside the United States.
- Unaccompanied minors should be brought at least 45 minutes before departure scheduled time. The parents or guardians who dropped off their child should remain in the boarding gate area until the flight departs.
- An airline representative will announce before boarding for the unaccompanied minors before the flight departs. The parent or guardian who dropped off the minor is responsible for following the instructions on handing over the child to board the flight.
Please note the following regarding unaccompanied minors on board:
- During the flight, the attendant will observe or communicate with the unaccompanied minors while attending to other duties. They are not under constant monitoring throughout the entire flight.
- The flight representative is not responsible for escorting the unaccompanied minors in and out of the airport before or after their scheduled trip.
- The airline does not assume responsibility for the actions and behavior of unaccompanied minors.
Please note the following guidelines for picking up an unaccompanied minor according to Southwest Airlines policy:
- Parents and guardians must arrive 45 minutes before the scheduled arrival to ensure a smooth handover. They must present a valid government-issued photo ID to the airline representative.
- Southwest Airlines will only release the unaccompanied minor to the parent or guardian designated beforehand. If any changes need to be made to the authorized greeting person, arrangements must be made at the ticket counter before the child's arrival.
- If Parents and guardians fail to come and the unaccompanied minor arrives at the destination airport, the airline reserves the right to take necessary and reasonable actions. The parents or guardians will compensate the airlines for travel and administrative expenses.
Cheapest Airline Minor Unaccompanied
Southwest Airlines allows children aged 5 to 11 to travel alone on domestic flights as Unaccompanied Minors (UM). There is a $50 fee for each leg of the journey. Children aged 12 and above can use the Young Travelers service without charge. However, parents can only accompany their child some of the way to the gate. Unaccompanied minors can only fly on nonstop or direct flights within the United States. During drop-off and pickup, parents or guardians must provide appropriate identification.
Spirit Airlines permits unaccompanied minors aged 5 to 14 on specific flights for a charge of $150 per trip. Only domestic nonstop flights are eligible. Unaccompanied minors will receive a lanyard containing their details, snacks, and beverages throughout their journey.
ID Requirements for Unaccompanied Minor
As per Southwest Airlines' policy for unaccompanied minors, parents or guardians must arrive at least 2 hours before the scheduled departure time. Simply dropping off your child at the entrance or ticket counter is not recommended. It is important to account for potential traffic delays and long lines at the check-in counter. Additionally, you may need extra time to complete unaccompanied minor forms, go through security (which may have a line), and accompany your child to the gate for pre-boarding.
Please complete the following procedure and provide the necessary information for check-in at the airport:
- Provide the address and contact number of the parents or guardians who will greet the unaccompanied child.
- Provide contact numbers for the parents or guardians at the departure and destination points. In case of a flight re-schedule or delay, airlines will update you.
- Provide a copy of the child's complete itinerary, including dates, airline names, aircraft numbers, departure and arrival timings, and the PNR number.
To provide proof of age, parents or guardians are required to submit a copy of one of the following documents:
- A state or federal ID card.
- A birth certificate. (Please send a copy of your child's birth certificate to the designated person accompanying them on the return flight.)
Receipts for the Southwest unaccompanied minor fee will be charged when booking or purchasing the flights through the airline's customer service. Parents or guardians must keep the receipts as proof of payment for the minor service fee.
Fees for Unaccompanied Minors
To utilize the unaccompanied minor service program, you must pay the cost of an adult fare in addition to the Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minor fee. The fee for one-way travel per passenger is $50. For the return journey, the fee is double the amount. The fee structure, as outlined in the policy, is as follows:
- Children aged four and below cannot travel alone; therefore, no fee is applicable.
- Age between 5 and 11 children can travel independently, with a fee of $50 each way or $100 for a round trip.
- Children aged 11 to 17 can travel alone, with the same fee structure as children aged 5 to 11.
We understand that you may have concerns about your children traveling without supervision. This is a natural concern, and the Southwest minor travel program provides peace of mind, ensuring that your young child can travel independently and safely.