What services does United Airlines offer for children traveling alone?
United Airlines offers Unaccompanied Minor Service for children traveling alone.
What age restrictions apply for the Unaccompanied Minor Service?
The following restrictions apply for both domestic and international flights:
- Children younger than 5 years of age are not accepted for travel without an accompanying adult at least 18 years old.
- Children aged 5 to 14 years (inclusive) may travel alone under certain conditions, as Unaccompanied Minors. The Unaccompanied Minor Service is mandatory.
The Unaccompanied Minor Service is not available for children aged 15 to 17 years (inclusive), who may travel alone on any flight operated by United or United Express.
When two or more children travel together, the more restrictive age requirement will apply (e.g., a 10-year old child and a 16-year old child may travel together, but the younger traveler is still considered an Unaccompanied Minor).
What flight restrictions apply for the Unaccompanied Minor Service?
The Unaccompanied Minor Service is available only for United and United Express nonstop flights.
United does not offer Unaccompanied Minor Service for connecting flights, codeshare flights, and other flights operated by partner airlines.
Unaccompanied Minor Service
You can book a flight for an Unaccompanied Minor and pay the service charge either online at united.com or by phone through United Customer Contact Center. A fee of $25 applies to tickets purchased by telephone. To avoid paying this additional expense, book the reservation through united.com.
When you make your child’s reservation, you can also provide the required information. In order to accept an unaccompanied child for travel, United requires the following information:
- The full name, telephone number (home, cell and/or business) and address of the person bringing the child to the airport.
- The full name, telephone number (home, cell and/or business) and address of the person meeting the child at his or her destination.
Drop-off and Pick-up
Unaccompanied Minors must be brought to the airport of departure by a parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult. Allow for at least 30 extra minutes, in addition to the regular airport processing time, when accompanying your child to the airport. The airport service agent working your child’s flight will verify the information in your child’s reservation, or place the information in the reservation if it’s not already there. In addition to a special unaccompanied minor envelope to keep important travel documents, your child will get a wristband to wear so that United agents and flight attendants can clearly identify him/her as an unaccompanied minor.
At US airports, you will be given a gate pass that allows you to pass through security and take your child to the boarding gate. At airports outside the US, you are not allowed access to the gate area, due to security restrictions, and a United representative will escort your child to the gate.
Your child will be escorted on board and introduced to the flights attendants by a United representative. Unaccompanied Minors are invited to board during priority or courtesy boarding. Boarding ahead of other customers allows a few extra minutes when the flight attendants have the opportunity to: personally greet your child, introduce your child to the cockpit (time permitting), assist with carry-on items, orient your child to the safety features of the aircraft, and point out lavatory locations. You shall remain in the immediate gate lobby area at least until the plane is airborne.
Upon landing, a United representative will meet and escort your child to meet the person designated to pick him/her up at the arrival gate (all U.S. domestic flights and select international flights that have immigration and customs pre-clearance at the departure airport) or in the arrivals area outside baggage claim. The person designated to meet the child at his/her final destination should arrive early at the airport and wait for the Unaccompanied Minor in the arrivals area. The person designated to meet the child may be required to complete and sign documentation relating to the Unaccompanied Minor.
United Airlines charges a $150 each way for an Unaccompanied Minor traveling to any destination. The fee may be paid at the time of reservation, or at the airport, prior to departure, at the check-in counter.