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Southwest Airlines Special Assistance

Infants, Children and Unaccompanied Minors

Southwest considers a child of less than 2 years of age but more than 14 days of age as an infant. For domestic flights within USA, there are no charges for carrying an infant provided he/she does not occupy seat and is accompanied by an adult of at least 12 years of age. No boarding pass is required in this case but Boarding Verification Document is required. However, charges will have to be paid in case of request for a FAA approved seat for the infant.

For an infant traveling on an international itinerary, the ticket has to be purchased even if the child is being carried in lap or in car seat approved by FAA.

Children more than 2 years of age and up to 11 years who are accompanied by some adult will have to pay the Child Fare.

Birth certificate is required to be produced for validating the age of child.

For every child of 5-11 who is not being accompanied by an adult of at least 12 years of age, it is mandatory to take the Unaccompanied Minor Services of Southwest Airlines. There is a non-refundable charge of USD 50 per UNM for one way travel (USD 100 for round trip) which is over and above the child fare. UNM is accepted only when there is no need for changing the airplane during the course of journey. For picking the minor, the parents/guardian or such designated person shall arrive at the airport gate at least 45 minutes before the scheduled arrival time.

Senior Passengers

Southwest also takes care of the passengers above 65 years of age and provide them with a range of special assistance measures. Senior Fares are fully refundable. There is a need to get the age verified for availing these fares. Special customer service enables them to make reservations without hassles even if they are hard of hearing.

Customers of Big Size

If the passenger is not able to fit into its seat and encroaches upon the seats of its neighbours, then it is recommended that the passenger buy extra seat proactively. Between the armrests, which divide the two seats, there is a seating space of 17 inches. So, if a passengers is expected to be requiring more space, extra seat shall be bought.

While these passengers are allowed to check in online or at kiosks for domestic flights within USA, they are also required to see the customer service personnel of the carrier at the airport.  

The  Disable

Passengers requiring wheelchairs

Pre-boarding is allowed to the disable who have special seating needs. They must get a blue preboarding sleeve from Southwest representative. However, they are not allowed to sit on exit seat.

Small wheelchair which can fit down the aircraft aisle is available at every gate.

There is also a provision for movable aisle armrests on airplanes which facilitate easy accommodation of the disabled.

It is to be noted that not all destinations where Southwest flies have the jetbridges. So, the passengers board with the use of a mechanical lift or the trained ground personnel manually lift the wheelchair.

Wheelchairs are allowed on cabin provided these are fit to be stowed in the special compartment where at least one manually collapsible wheelchair can be kept. If it does not fit in there, then it is carried through the cargo compartment.

Wheelchairs with wet cell batteries are allowed on board but the batteries are removed and safely kept in a battery box.

If wheelchairs are with dry cell batteries, there is no need for disconnecting the battery but it shall be ensured that there is no risk of activation of battery and short circuiting.

Wheelchairs and other assistive devices with lithium-ion batteries must display the watt-hour information or the voltage and amp-hour information. There will be no need for detachment of batteries provided these are safely attached and there is no risk of short circuiting. It shall be noted that the devices (including wheelchairs) which use these types of batteries shall be transported as checked in baggage, with or without batteries attached. Spare batteries can be taken as carry on items in the cabin provided the single battery is up to 300 watt-hour rating and in case of two batteries, each battery is not more than 160 watt-hour rating.

Cognitive disable

Passengers with cognitive disabilities are offered pre-boarding. Flight attendants are informed of their special needs. These passengers are also advised to alight on reaching the destinations as well as not to alight at the stopover destination. However, escort services are not provided to the customer.

Hearing Disable

For passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing, it is vitally important that they identify this disability to the flight attendant on board or personnel at departure gates.

There is a special Teletypewriter number which can be used for communicating with the airline representative. This number is 1 (800) 533-13051 (800) 533-1305 . At the same time, there is a video relay serivce at for these passengers.

Visually Impaired

Southwest would assist the visually impaired passengers with identifying the snacks, connecting with the flights and in other ways.

Service Animals

Service animals are also allowed on-board the cabin provided they are well trained, restrained and fit the size. However, the only country to/from which the service animals are not allowed is Jamaica.

If the animals are being carried on-board for emotional support, it shall be well documented by the treating licensed mental health professional on his/her letterhead that the passenger has mental disability as defined in DSM-IV, he/she needs emotional support of that animal for accommodation and for service on reaching the destination and the details of the treating professional’s license.


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