Skip to main content
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Family Travel

Everything from checking bags to boarding
the plane is a little different when you’re doing
it as a family, and Southwest is here to help.
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Unaccompanied minor ages

ajsmith
New Arrival

I have a 12 year old daughter, she travels by plane multiple times a year. I feel like she is perfectly capable of flying alone, however, I feel that is extremely unsafe in the world we live in today (i.e. child trafficking, pedophiles, ect..). We have always used Southwest for our travel as a family and have used the unaccompanied minor services multiple times, we have always been extremely pleased.  I just can't figure out how a 12 year old little girl is no longer offered the unaccompanied minor service.

 

Is there anything that can be done for 12 year old  children as far as safety measures or allowing an option for an unaccompanied minor service? 

 

Thank you in advanced! 

11 REPLIES 11

Re: Unaccompanied minor ages

DancingDavidE
Top Contributer

In the extreme case and depending on the value that you see, we have in our family had someone fly with the kids and then fly back. This works if you can get cheap fares in advance and stick to the schedule. Make it a day trip.

 

I don't know of any airline provided option and I don't know why they cut it off at 12 years old. 

 

As long as you have someone to deliver and retrieve her, and inlcuding gate passes to go all of the way until the flight departs, and all of the way from when the flight deplanes the coverage is good if you can get direct flights.

 

Give your daughter a whistle and tell her to use if if uncomfortable, make friends with the FA right away - bring some cookies or some snack to cement the introduction and she'll have plenty of friends onboard.

 

If you or whoever does the drop off on the other end have the gate passes maybe you can screen the other passengers in the gate area to find a buddy there as well based on your judgement.

 

Just throwing ideas out there - mine are 4 months and 3 years, so I'm a ways from having to navigate this issue myself, just trying to think what I would do if I was wearing the same shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Re: Unaccompanied minor ages

SWDigits
Active Member
Solution
I don't think it can hurt to write to Southwest to ask if you can opt-in, the worst they can say is no. If you click on the "Contact Us" section at the bottom of the page there is an email option link.

It's also worth taking a look as others in the industry have different policies. This blog post (the author was just highlighted on the Southwest blog for her trip to Hawaii) includes a summary:

https://tripswithtykes.com/unaccompanied-minors-your-complete-guide-to-each-airlines-policies-fees-r...

Edit: Typed as I wait with my youngest, 11, for her after school lesson so I understand your concern.

Southwest customer | Home airport DCA

Re: Unaccompanied minor ages

ajsmith
New Arrival

Thank you so much for the blog post! I plan on looking into other airlines a bit more. I know Jet blue and Delta both will give unaccompanied minor services for a $150 fee for anyone under 18 if the parents feel that's best.

 

I'm definitely going to write Southwest to see what they say!

 

On the southwest website it says if you don't feel they are capable to travel alone, don't send them. It's so frustrating because I know she is capable, but, it's just not safe for a young girl or boy. 

Highlighted

Re: Unaccompanied minor ages

ajsmith
New Arrival

Thank you for your response!

We have flown with her before quite a bit. We are super protective and didn't trust the unaccompanied minor thing right away (mom lives in one state, dad lives in another so it's fairly frequent travel). It just gets very costly and time consuming. With new babies involved and work , it gets tricky to plan out.

 

I like the idea of the whistle! I would just feel so much more comfortable if there were security measures or screening for the parent/guardian in charge of pick up.  With the unaccompanied minor service you have to show your ID and they are very on top of who is supposed to be picking her up at the gate, ect. 

 

I guess we will have to try and figure it out, maybe look I to other airlines or the gate passes. It's just CRAZY to me that a 12 year old isn't considered a "minor" it's just not safe, especially today! 

Re: Unaccompanied minor ages

DancingDavidE
Top Contributer

@ajsmith wrote:

 

 

I guess we will have to try and figure it out, maybe look I to other airlines or the gate passes. It's just CRAZY to me that a 12 year old isn't considered a "minor" it's just not safe, especially today! 


The gate pass is a no-brainer, its free, and although the fine print is that it may be given out depending on TSA's needs at the time the use of it to collect a minor child is one of the reasons it exists.

 

I used it recently to pick my parents up at the gate when they were a bit intimidated by traveling through a big airport and there was no question at the time about using it to collect youngsters or the older generation.

 

 

 

 

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

Re: Unaccompanied minor ages

ajsmith
New Arrival

Thank you! Is it easy to get gate passes? Do I call when I'm booking?

 

I'm just afraid to purchase her tickets and one of us or both of us won't be able to get a gate pass. I read that they aren't guaranteed.

Re: Unaccompanied minor ages

SWDigits
Active Member
I've never had a problem getting a gate pass, just be sure to bring your government issued identification to present at the counter and at security.

Southwest customer | Home airport DCA

Re: Unaccompanied minor ages

MrsH
New Arrival

My children are 13 and 14 and I think I'm freaking out more than they are. 

 

Their father is dropping them off to fly to me. What information do they ask for at the counter for a gate pass? I want to make sure he has everything he needs. 

Re: Unaccompanied minor ages

SWDigits
Active Member
Solution

@MrsH you literally just need a government issued id that would be valid for flying (you need to show it to get through security).   Bring the id and I always bring a printed copy of the flight itinerary.  Information referenced in a few different places on the Southwest web site, here are two:

 

  • "The individual who desires a NPE pass will need to present photo identification and detail the Southwest Customer's itinerary." (On the "Non-Passenger Escort" part of the "Customers with Disabilities" page).
  • "...you can obtain an escort pass, which is required to accompany the child through the security checkpoint. Be sure to have the following documents to complete the check-in process:  - A copy of the child’s itinerary   - Proof of the child’s age (birth certificate, etc.)   - Your valid, government-issued ID (required to get an escort pass)".  (On the "Unaccompanied Minors page").

I just completed this process this weekend to drop off my 16 year-old daughter for a flight (different airline, last minute change, long story).  The only time I haven't been able to enter to meet one of my children at the gate was for a return on an international flight.


Southwest customer | Home airport DCA