Once in a while, travellers at airports may encounter children, especially below the age of 17 years, travelling all alone. Now, to some, it may appear as if these children have just lost their parents or guardians at the crowded airport, but it certainly is not the case. This case comes under United Airlines unaccompanied minor policy guide of the airline. In fact, children that are unaccompanied by their parents or guardians are permitted to board flights, as is the case in the United States.
United Airlines’ unaccompanied minor service policy has a similar kind of approach toward young children who, out of necessity, may fly alone. In this article prepared by Treknova, we will take a detailed look at United Airlines’ unaccompanied minor policy.
How United Airlines Defines ‘Minor’ in their Policy
The policy laid down by United Airlines states that children that are of ages 5-14 years on the date of travel and travelling unaccompanied by their parent and/or guardian are defined as minors. Their policy further states that children who are of ages 15-17 years and travelling alone can also opt into United’s unaccompanied minor service.
The airline’s unaccompanied minor service also allows the unaccompanied minor to always be watched over by dedicated ground staff and the onboard flight attendants as well. The service starts at the point of check-in in United Airlines and lasts until the unaccompanied minor is picked up by an adult, such as a parent or a legal guardian.
Policies Set Toward Unaccompanied Minors Flying on United Airlines
The following explains in detail how United Airlines’ policies regulate young children when flying without their parent and/or legal guardian.
Permitted Age for Children Flying Solo
An unaccompanied minor defined by United Airlines must be between the ages of 5 and 14 years. So, a passenger that is five years old flying without an adult companion that is at least 18 years old, would be considered an unaccompanied minor. The same goes for a 14-year-old child travelling alone without an adult who is at least 18 years old. Travellers that are between the ages of 15 and 17 years can travel alone, but cannot be a guardian to a traveller that is 14 years old or younger.
However, persons that are at least 18 years old can accompany a traveller between the ages of 5 and 14 years as they will not need United’s unaccompanied minor service. Unaccompanied minors cannot travel with anyone that is four years old or younger as they will need a parent, legal guardian, or someone who is at least 18 years old. Also, passengers aged 15-17 years cannot travel as unaccompanied minors, but they must fly alone. This is in contrast to other airlines that allow passengers to travel as a company minors even when they are above the age limit.
Permitted Flights – United Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Policy
Unaccompanied minors can only fly non-stop on either United or United Express flights. Plus, unaccompanied minors cannot fly any code-share flights and other flights operated by United’s partner airlines. Also, when compared to other airliners, for example, Southwest, United does not allow unaccompanied minors on direct flights i.e., a flight that makes a stop but does not change aircraft. United will also not provide any escort for an unaccompanied minor to flights connecting with any other airlines.
United Airlines does not allow unaccompanied minors to make a prior seat selection as the airliner wants full control over the unaccompanied minor’s seat selection. So, the person booking reservation with United Airlines will only know where the unaccompanied minor will be seated 48 hours prior to departure.
Linking Separate Reservations for Child and Adult
Finally, there is also a policy toward children and adults travelling together on separate reservations. Sometimes, the child and adult are on the same flight, but have separate reservations. If that is the case, then the child below the age of 14 years is not required to opt for United’s unaccompanied minor service.
Instead, all that the adult has to do is simply contact the United Customer Service at +1-800-864-8331 to link the separate reservations.
Fees Charged for Unaccompanied Minors Travelling on United Airlines Flight
United Airlines charges an additional fee, or so-called “service fee” if there is an unaccompanied minor flying on their aircraft.
The additional service charge is collected to cover the extra handling required when an unaccompanied child travels. An important point to note here is that this additional service fee is usually not included in the fares that are shown in the search results. However, the service charge is displayed for review prior to purchase.
A fee of $150 is charged for unaccompanied minors for each direction of travel between the 50 United States, Canada and/or Mexico, and any other international destination, including U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.
If the unaccompanied minor(s) purchased round-trip tickets, then the service fee will cost double.
|Number of children travelling alone||Service fee for one way flight||Service fee for round trip Flights|
How to Book Reservation for Unaccompanied Minor
It is easy to book a reservation for a United unaccompanied minor and it does not require you to call either. However, if you wish to call the airliner’s customer service centre for booking a reservation for an unaccompanied minor, then you will be charged $25 as a service fee. So, it is advised that you make the booking online on United’s website https://www.united.com.
Given below are simple steps to make an online reservation booking for an unaccompanied minor on United’s website.
Step 1: Visit United’s website https://www.united.com on your device and go to the reservation booking option.
Step 2: When inputting your flight details and number of passengers, there will also be several options available for passengers’ ages. Select the number of passengers in the right age bracket and click the “Search” button.
Step 3: When you select the “Search” option, you will be brought to the next page which will display United’s unaccompanied minor information. Also, you will be asked to verify the age of the passenger(s) travelling. If the age of the passenger(s) is between 5 and 14 years old, there will be an unaccompanied minor service fee applied relating to the number of passengers that are unaccompanied minors.
Step 4: Once you have selected your flight(s), the total cost of the reservation will reflect the unaccompanied minor service fee.
Step 5: When you are proceeding with the passenger and payment information, you will need to add two adults picking up the unaccompanied minor at both the departure and arrival airports.
Note: If the drop-off or pick-up adult changes, then you will have to immediately contact United Customer Service to change the relevant details for the unaccompanied minor.
United Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Policies and Fees at a Glance
Below we take a glance at United Airlines’ unaccompanied minor policies and fees charged for the travel.
- There is a $150 fee for each direction. This $150 fee is good for every two children using the service.
- Children are younger than 5year old need to travel with their parents, guardians or someone who is completed their 18years.
- Children aged 5 to 14 years are considered unaccompanied minors unless they have a parent or legal guardian aged 18 years or older travelling on the same flight.
- Unaccompanied minor service is not available for children aged 15 years and older. Young adults aged 15-17 years may travel alone on flights that are operated by United or United Express.
- It is only valid for travel on non-stop United or United Express flights.
- The unaccompanied minor fee includes an assigned seat, a complimentary food item when available, and preboarding at the beginning of the boarding process.
- You can book these flights online by selecting “0” adults and the appropriate age range for the child.
- United Airlines flight attendants are very caring and pay attention to your child they make sure that they can get a seat properly. You can see the seat assignment 48 hours after you book the flight.
Points to Remember Before Travelling Unaccompanied Minors
- Each time when children going to travel alone on the flight write down the contact number of your own so that in case required your child can contact you or united officials can contact you.
- If your child brings any electronic gadgets with them then make sure that they are fully charged to avoid any trouble in the flight journey.
- Always help your child to remember the united officials for any help and wait for them only for the safe and fun experience journey
- Some countries need international arrival forms for clearing customs. So on the behalf of your child, you can fill out that form from the U.S Customs and Border Protection website and write down the answers for your child and hand it over to the flight attendant.
- Online check-in is not available for unaccompanied minors so you have to reach the airports at least 2 hours before settling down all the pre-journey formalities and making your child comfortable.
- United airlines give wristband or special tags to your child at the airport so make your child understand that don’t tear that band because that band help to identify your child by the flight attendant.
- Child parents or guardian who is not travelling with the child will receive the special helpline number so that they can make a call at any time for any queries or update status about the child.