Does WestJet offer services for children traveling alone?
WestJet offers a service, called Unaccompanied Minor Service, only for children of at least 8 years old traveling alone on domestic flights, direct or non-stop (a direct flight that makes a stop, but requires no change of aircraft).
For all other children younger than 12 years of age traveling on flights that do not qualify under the Unaccompanied Minor program (connecting or international flights), WestJet offers the Guardian Fare Program, a special program which allows a guardian to accompany a child on their flight at a substantially reduced rate.
The Unaccompanied Minor Service and the Guardian Fare Program are not available for WestJet Vacation package bookings.
Which travel restrictions apply under the Unaccompanied Minor Program?
Children under 8 years of age are not eligible to use the Unaccompanied Minor service and must be accompanied in the same compartment by a person aged 16 or older on all WestJet flights. The person aged 16 or older must not be traveling under the UM service.
For all children between 8 and 11 years of age, the Unaccompanied Minor Service is mandatory when not accompanied by an adult on the same flight and in the same compartment. For children between 12 and 17 years of age, the Unaccompanied Minor Service is optional.
If the child has some kind of disability (visually or hearing impaired, needs assistance to take medications or an epinephrine auto-injector to treat an allergy), then they won’t be able to fly under this program.
Several flight restrictions apply under the Unaccompanied Minor program. Unaccompanied Minors are not accepted on flights:
- To/from the U.S. and international destinations.
- That require a connection to a different flight (as indicated by multiple flight numbers).
- Operated by an airline partner: codeshare and interline flights.
- Departing before 5:30 a.m. or arriving after 10:00 p.m. (where there is more than one flight per day to the destination).
- That take place overnight – red-eye flights.
Unaccompanied Minor (UM) Service
WestJet only accepts 4 Unaccompanied Minors per flight so your reservation must be done with enough anticipation. In order to book a flight for an Unaccompanied Minor, you must complete and submit the online form. After reviewing your request, WestJet will reply within 48 hours by email. You have 24 hours to confirm your reservation and pay the fare plus the $100 fee Unaccompanied Minor Service fee per direction by calling WestJet.
To reserve a flight for an Unaccompanied Minor you will need the following identification:
- The full name of the child that is going to fly, his/her date of birth and gender.
- The full name of the persons who will accompany the child to and from the airport and their contact information (address and cell phone number).
An Unaccompanied Minor form and gate pass will be emailed to the person who has reserved the flight. These should be completed prior to arrival at the airport. WestJet requires Unaccompanied Minors to be at the airport a minimum of 90 minutes prior to the scheduled time of departure. Your child must check in at the counter where your completed Unaccompanied Minor form will be reviewed and additional documentation completed. A photocopy of the birth certificate of the child is required at the time of check-in. Most airports will allow you to use a gate pass to escort your child to the gate area if you have the proper identification to go through security. You are required to remain in the gate area until you are advised by the gate agent that the aircraft has departed.
To ensure your child a comfort flight, you should pack the following item in their carry-on bag: medication, eyeglasses, a change of clothing, snacks, an emergency contact list, favorite toy, blanket, iPod or MP3 player with its headphones, books, video games, mobile device, and any other essential item you consider. During the flight, the child will be given a headset, a snack and a drink and where available your child may receive a sandwich. You should make sure that the person picking up the child has the child’s itinerary and own identification. The person who will pick up your child at the airport, who must be older than 18 years of age, should arrive at least 30 minutes prior the time of arrival and will need their government-issued identification.
Guardian Fare Program
Children who don’t qualify for the Unaccompanied Minor program will be accepted for transportation when accompanied by a guardian. WestJet has implemented this program, which allows a guest to travel with a child to a destination and return at a later time to collect the child. The following terms and conditions apply:
- The child must be between 2-11 years of age, and the guardian must be at least 18 years of age.
- Guardian fare bookings can only be made and modified through the WestJet Special Care Desk.
- The guardian must be assigned at the time of booking and will receive a fifty percent reduction off the lowest fare available at the time of their reservation.
- The guardian fare is valid for only one person, but the guardian may travel with more than one child.
- Two separate people may be designated as guardians at the time of travel – one person traveling on the outbound flight, and a different person traveling on the return flight.
- The scheduled departure time for the guardian’s return flight must be within 24 hours of the original flight (based on the time of the original departure city). There are no exceptions (for example, flights to destinations where flights only occur once a week would not be eligible).
- The Guardian Fare Program is not available on Boeing B787 9 Dreamliner flights.