Unaccompanied minors

Unaccompanied minors

We know letting your kids fly alone can be scary, both for you and them. Our goal is to make sure everyone stays safe and knows what to expect.

Getting ready

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.

Checking in

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.

Flight attendants

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.


What your kids can watch is different for each flight. The United app also has free kids shows and movies.

Upon arrival

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.

Domestic flights

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.

International flights

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