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Old Dec 15, 11, 11:19 pm   #1
 
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Question Picking up elderly/impaired at SFO - how to arrange

My 87 year old mother-in-law has flown from Burbank to SFO for the holidays for years, but this year she has gotten frail enough that we want to shepard her through the process more closely. I know we can request a wheelchair or ride for her through United, but does anyone know anything more about the process? Is it possible to meet her at the gate and if so, how do we request access for this? Take her back through security on the return?
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Old Dec 16, 11, 12:15 am   #2
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you can request a gate pass in advance

call the UA line, ask if they can process a gate pass. They usually need 72 hrs notice.
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Old Dec 16, 11, 11:31 am   #3
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All else fails, you could buy a cheap (e.g., SFO-LAX), refundable ticket on United and enter with that. So as not to inconvenience others, I'd select a flight departing 3-4 hours after you need to get in there. After you go through security, go to airside customer service, cancel the res. and request a refund. That way the seat is available for someone else.
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Old Dec 16, 11, 11:57 pm   #4
 
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Thanks all. Well, the basics are really easy and the rest is impossible. Arranging a wheel chair is easy enough. You just call United. What happens at the airport will probably not be totally smooth (is anything there these days??), but I am sure they will manage that. It is, apparently, not possible to get a gate pass unless you are a parent picking up a minor child.

If this were a more difficult situation we might consider getting a refundable ticket (thanks for suggestion dhuey) but this should be fine enough.
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Old Dec 17, 11, 12:07 am   #5
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I'd call and escalate the situation if you really want a gate pass

People have gotten them for elderly relatives. Or see about unaccomp minor service for elderly - pay the fees and they would at least get her to the meeting area. It has been done altho not common.
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Old Dec 17, 11, 11:38 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeakr View Post
People have gotten them for elderly relatives. Or see about unaccomp minor service for elderly - pay the fees and they would at least get her to the meeting area. It has been done altho not common.
A few months ago at BOS a UA check-in agent gave me a gate pass so I could have cocktails with some friends in the Delta terminal. My UA flight was 30 minutes after theirs. I think agents can make this sort of thing happen if they want to do so. Helping an elderly traveller is certainly a more compelling reason than mine.

Last edited by dhuey; Dec 17, 11 at 11:47 am.
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Old Dec 17, 11, 11:34 pm   #7
 
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Thanks to both of you. UAL just gave me the party line apparently, and to be honest, in this circumstance probably fine. Apparently you can, as an parent, meet an unaccompanied child, but not as a child meet an elderly parent.

If it mattered I would get creative, but this will work fine for us. At least in theory .
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Old Dec 18, 11, 1:05 pm   #8
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the wheelchair accompaniment will get her through security

so at least that particular hassle should work OK. Good luck.
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