Attention Parents: Changes in United's Unaccompanied Minor Program

If your child travels as an “unaccompanied minor” here’s news you need to know from United.

What’s New: Non-Stop Flights Only

As of Dec. 5, United Airlines says kids traveling alone in its unaccompanied minor service (and children aged 5 to 11 must use this service) are restricted to non-stop flights only. This service is optional for youngsters aged 12 to 17 but if they use it, they too are limited to non-stops. If they travel as adults, connecting flights are allowed. Children under five are not allowed to travel alone on United.

Tips for kids who fly alone

Minor Fee – Still $150 Each-Way

The charge for United’s unaccompanied minor service is $150 each-way, and that is in addition to the price of the ticket. It’s important to note you must arrange for this service by calling United (but it is not clear if that will also incur the usual $25 phone fee).

When children sneak onto planes

Other Airlines

Airline policies on unaccompanied minors vary significantly (and are often changing). Some airlines, like Allegiant, do not accept children traveling solo at all. Others that allow kids to fly by themselves have different age limits but most don’t allow children under 5 to go it alone. Rates vary too from about $50 to $150 each-way. Find your airline’s policy by searching “unaccompanied minor.”

Flight Attendants and Unaccompanied Minors

If you send your child on a plane alone, you must be aware that flight attendants are not babysitters and looking after your child is not part of their duties. That said, it would be a hard-hearted flight attendant indeed who would ignore a little one traveling by themselves. However, the onus is on the parent or guardian to be sure the child is capable of solo travel. If not, travel with the child.

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Published: December 18, 2013