updated 4/16/2010 2:23:02 PM ET 2010-04-16T18:23:02

Southwest Airlines Co. said on Friday that it would double its fee for unaccompanied children, and begin allowing customers to pay the fee on its Web site.

Starting with tickets purchased on April 23, the fee will double to $50 each way. Children traveling after that date on tickets booked before the increase will pay the lower fee. Southwest said the increase will help it cover the added costs of handling unaccompanied children on its flights.

Southwest first added the fee last year. It applies to children ages 5 through 11 traveling without someone 12 or older.

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