Our unaccompanied minor service is required for kids 5-14, and optional for those 15-17, who are traveling alone. Here’s how to book a ticket and prepare your child for their trip.
How to book
Buy their ticket
You can buy unaccompanied minor tickets on united.com. Just make sure you select the right traveler age group.
Share contact info
During booking you’ll tell us who’s dropping your kids off and picking them up from the airport. If you need to change this info later, call us.
We’ll pick their seat
Because we want to make sure your kids get the care they need, we’ll select their seats for you within 72 hours after you finish booking.
See what the fee is for the unaccompanied minor service.
Traveler pro tips
Even if your kids have flown alone before, we have a few tips to make sure they’re prepared:
Write down any phone numbers they may need, including yours and the adult meeting them on the other end of their flight.
Make sure they know to wait on the plane for a United team member to walk with them.
If your kids have a tablet or phone, make sure it’s fully charged in case they aren’t sitting next to an outlet.
If your kids are flying internationally, they might have to fill out a form before going through customs. This form will be handed out during their flight, so write down the information they may need ahead of time.
At the airport
There are a few steps you’ll need to take at the airport to make sure your kids get on the plane safely. For starters, make sure you arrive 30 minutes earlier than the minimum required check-in time.
Kids have to check in at the airport ticket counter when traveling alone. We’ll make sure all contact info is correct, and give them a special wristband and envelope for their travel documents.
Going through security
If your kids are flying out of a U.S. airport, you’ll get a gate pass during check-in and go with them to the gate. If they’re flying out of an international airport, an agent will meet you at the ticket counter and take them.
Boarding the plane
Stay at the airport until your kids’ flight takes off, whether you went through security with them or not. Kids get to board their flight first, meet the pilots, and be shown to their seat.
On the plane
Here’s what we’ll do for your kids once they’re on the plane.
We’ll check on your kids throughout their flight. Flight attendants are just a call button away if they need anything.
We recommend you pack snacks for your kids, as long as they meet TSA guidelines. They’ll also get one free snack on the plane.
Once your kids get to the arrival airport, they should wait on the plane for an agent to come get them. We’ll then bring your kids to the person picking them up, whether it’s you or someone else. How that works depends on if they’re flying domestically or internationally.
If they don’t have to go through customs, you must get a gate pass at the ticket counter to go through security and pick up your kids at their arrival gate. You’ll need to be at the gate 30 minutes before their arrival time.
If they have to go through customs, you can meet your kids in the arrivals area of the airport once they’ve finished that process. You’ll need to be at the airport 30 minutes before their arrival time.
When picking your kids up, you’ll show your ID and sign a release form before leaving the airport with them.
Unaccompanied minor FAQs
Our unaccompanied minor service is required for kids 5-14 years old who are flying alone or with someone under 18. Here are the important things to know about how the policy works:
Your kids must be booked on a nonstop United or United Express flight.
If your kids are under five, they don’t qualify for this service and must fly with you or another adult who is at least 18.
If your kids are 15-17, they can travel alone without using this service, but you can use it if you want to.
There is a fee for our unaccompanied minor service. The fee is different depending on how many kids are flying and if it’s a roundtrip.
Number of kids traveling
In this case you don’t need to use our unaccompanied minor service. Just give us a call before your trip starts and we’ll make sure your reservation is updated. Your kids will need to check in at the airport ticket counter rather than our website or app.