Posted on: 15 April 2010 by Mark Howells
From 23 April, Southwest Airlines customers will have the ability to book Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) on its website, a process which hitherto required completion of the transaction by filling out the necessary paperwork at the airport.
"We continuously evaluate our UM process to ensure that we deliver the best possible service to our young customers who are travelling alone," said Teresa Laraba, Southwest’s senior vice-president of customer services. "During a recent audit, we identified several opportunities, including the creation of an online booking tool for UMs and an enhancement in the employee training that comes along with handling our young passengers who are flying solo."
Children aged between five and 11 travelling without an accompanying passenger age 12 or older must travel as Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) on Southwest Airlines. Unaccompanied Minors may only travel on nonstop or direct flights. The UM programme does not permit direct or connecting flights.
In addition to the new online booking feature, the UM service charge will go from $25 to $50 each way, which the airline says “is still among the lowest in the industry”.
"The increase in our UM service charge will help us cover the added costs that come along with safely transporting our youngest travellers, while still allowing us to maintain our competitive low-fare advantage," said Laraba.