Do Minors Need Id To Fly Southwest Airlines?

Traveling as an unaccompanied minor can be daunting, but Southwest Airlines aims to make the process as smooth as possible. If you’re wondering whether your child will need identification to fly solo on Southwest, here’s a quick answer: Southwest does not require ID for minors under the age of 18, but having one can make travel easier.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about ID requirements, recommended documents, and other tips to ensure your minor has a safe, stress-free flight on Southwest Airlines.

Southwest ID Policy for Minors

No ID required under 18

If you are a minor traveling with Southwest Airlines, you may be wondering if you need to present identification at the airport. The good news is that Southwest Airlines does not require passengers under the age of 18 to provide identification when traveling domestically within the United States.

This policy applies to both children and teenagers, allowing them to travel without the need for a government-issued ID or passport. It’s important to note, however, that identification may be required for international flights, so it’s always a good idea to check with Southwest Airlines before your trip.

ID recommended for easier travel

While Southwest Airlines does not require identification for minors, it is highly recommended to carry some form of identification for easier travel. Even though it may not be mandatory, having a government-issued ID or passport can help streamline the check-in and boarding process.

It can also serve as a useful form of identification in case of emergencies or unforeseen situations. Additionally, certain airport security checkpoints may require identification, so having it readily available can save you time and hassle.

Pro Tip: Consider obtaining a passport card for your child. It is a wallet-sized identification card that can be used for domestic air travel and land and sea travel between the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

It can serve as a convenient and universally accepted form of identification for your child.

For more information on Southwest Airlines’ ID policy, you can visit their official website at https://www.southwest.com/faq/travel-requirements.

Acceptable IDs and Documentation

Government-issued ID options

When it comes to flying with Southwest Airlines, minors are required to present a valid form of identification, just like adult passengers. While minors may not have the same range of ID options as adults, there are still several acceptable forms of identification that they can use.

The most common government-issued IDs for minors include:

  • A state-issued driver’s license or identification card
  • A passport or passport card
  • A military dependent ID
  • An enhanced tribal card

These IDs are considered valid and will be accepted by Southwest Airlines as long as they are not expired.

School ID

For minors who do not have a government-issued ID, a school ID can also be used as an acceptable form of identification when flying with Southwest Airlines. However, it is important to note that a school ID alone may not be sufficient for travel outside of the United States.

In such cases, it is recommended to have a passport or other government-issued ID.

Birth certificate

In some cases, minors may be able to use their birth certificate as a form of identification when flying with Southwest Airlines. However, it is important to check the specific requirements of the airline and destination before relying solely on a birth certificate.

Some destinations may require additional documentation, such as a passport or visa.


While a passport is typically associated with international travel, it can also be used as a valid form of identification for minors flying domestically with Southwest Airlines. A passport provides a universally recognized proof of identity and is generally accepted by airlines as a valid form of identification for passengers of all ages.

It is always recommended to check the Southwest Airlines website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information regarding acceptable IDs and documentation requirements for minors.

They will be able to provide specific guidance based on your individual circumstances and travel plans.

Unaccompanied Minor Service

When it comes to flying with Southwest Airlines, parents or guardians might wonder if their children need an ID to travel alone. Southwest Airlines offers an Unaccompanied Minor (UM) service for children between the ages of 5 and 11 who are traveling without an accompanying adult.

This service ensures the safety and well-being of the children throughout their journey.

Policies and fees

Southwest Airlines has specific policies and fees in place for the Unaccompanied Minor service. Parents or guardians are required to complete the necessary paperwork and provide contact information for both the departure and arrival airports.

There is also a fee associated with this service, which is paid at the time of booking. The fee covers the added assistance and supervision provided to the child during their travel.

It’s important to note that some additional restrictions may apply, and it’s always recommended to check Southwest Airlines’ official website for the most up-to-date information on policies and fees.

Booking process

To book the Unaccompanied Minor service with Southwest Airlines, parents or guardians can do so during the regular booking process. When making the reservation, there will be an option to select the UM service.

It’s advisable to book early, as there are limited spots available for this service on each flight.

During the booking process, parents or guardians will be asked to provide the necessary information about the child and the person picking them up at the destination airport. It is crucial to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date to avoid any issues during travel.

Airport procedures

On the day of travel, parents or guardians will need to accompany the child to the airport and complete the check-in process. At this time, the child will be given a special identification tag to wear throughout their journey.

This tag will help Southwest Airlines staff identify the child as an Unaccompanied Minor.

Once the child is checked in, a Southwest Airlines representative will provide detailed instructions on where to go and what to expect. The child will be escorted to the departure gate, where they will be supervised until it’s time to board the aircraft.

Upon arrival at the destination airport, the child will be met by a designated adult who has been authorized by the parents or guardians. This person must present a valid ID and will need to sign a release form before the child is released into their care.

It’s important for parents or guardians to arrive at the airport early to allow enough time for the check-in and boarding process. This will ensure a smooth and stress-free experience for both the child and the airline staff.

For more detailed information about Southwest Airlines’ Unaccompanied Minor service, including any updates or changes to their policies, it is recommended to visit their official website at https://www.southwest.com/.

Tips for Smooth Travel

Arrive early

One of the most important tips for smooth travel is to arrive at the airport early. This allows you to go through the check-in process, security screenings, and any necessary documentation without feeling rushed or stressed.

It is recommended to arrive at least two hours prior to domestic flights and three hours prior to international flights. By giving yourself ample time, you can avoid unnecessary delays and ensure a smooth start to your journey.

Label belongings

Labeling your belongings is another helpful tip for smooth travel. By adding clear and identifiable labels to your luggage, you can easily spot them on the baggage carousel and avoid any mix-ups or confusion.

It’s also a good idea to include your contact information on the inside and outside of your bags in case they get lost or misplaced. This simple step can save you a lot of time and hassle when it comes to retrieving your belongings.

Pack medications properly

If you are traveling with medications, it’s important to pack them properly to ensure a smooth travel experience. Make sure to carry them in their original packaging and keep them in your carry-on bag.

This way, you will have easy access to them during the flight and won’t have to worry about them getting lost or damaged in checked luggage. It’s also a good idea to bring a copy of your prescription or a doctor’s note, especially if you are carrying liquid medications or syringes.

Dress for security

When it comes to passing through airport security smoothly, it’s important to dress appropriately. Avoid wearing clothing with metal buttons, zippers, or excessive accessories, as these can trigger the metal detectors and require additional screening.

Opt for comfortable and easily removable shoes, as you will likely need to take them off during the security check. By dressing for security, you can save time and avoid any unnecessary delays.


Sending your child off on a flight alone can induce anxiety, but Southwest Airlines aims to ease worries through their unaccompanied minor service and streamlined policies. While identification is not required for travelers under 18, having proper ID and paperwork can help ensure a smooth travel experience.

Follow the tips provided to help your minor fly with confidence and independence on Southwest Airlines.

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