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AA Unaccompanied Minor / UNMR Policy and Discussion (consolidated)

Old Feb 24, 16, 9:06 am
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Last edit by: JDiver
Unaccompanied Minor Service / Travel on AA

Q. What does AA UNMR / Unaccompanied Minor Service consist of, and are there restrictions?

Unaccompanied minor service

Our unaccompanied minor service is to ensure your child is boarded onto the aircraft, introduced to the flight attendant, chaperoned during connections and released to the appropriate person at their destination.

We wont accept unaccompanied minors when their itineraries include:

  • A connection to/from another airline, including codeshare and oneworld partners
  • Ground / co-terminal connections (unaccompanied minors under 15 years, cant use ground transportation alone)
Link to full AA policy.
Q. How old must minors be to travel unaccompanied?

Guidelines for children traveling alone:

Age range Restrictions

0-5 Children under 5 years of age may not travel alone under any circumstances.

5-7 Can only travel on nonstop or direct flights. They cant travel on certain flights on smaller aircraft when a flight attendant is not required.

8-14 Can travel on any nonstop or direct flight, or any connecting flight through Charlotte, NC (CLT), Washington Reagan, D.C. (DCA), Dallas Forth Worth, TX (DFW), New York, NY (JFK and LGA), Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Miami, FL (MIA), Chicago, IL (ORD), Philadelphia, PA (PHL) and Phoenix, AZ (PHX).

15-17 Children in this age range dont have to use the unaccompanied minor service, but its still available to them. When traveling alone, children 16 years of age and older can book online, to book children 15 years of age, youll need to call Reservations.

Note: Children 2-14 years old can travel as an 'accompanied minor' with someone 16 years or older.

American Airlines' UNMR policy: Link

Link to PDF.
Q. Does airline unaccompanied minor travel any cost in addition to the ticket?

That will also differ by carrier, just as connection and other policies will differ. American charges $150 for one or two UNMRs each way.

American Airlines:
  • The unaccompanied minor service fee is $150 (plus tax) each way
  • 2 or more unaccompanied minors from the same family, traveling on the same flights, will only be charged $150 (plus tax) each way
Q. Do unaccompanied minors require identification?

Yes. AA requires proof of age for the child traveling alone (birth certificate, passport, etc.). The TSA will likely require this as well.

Q. What documentation do minors require for international travel?

Unaccompanied minors will generally require a passport internationally.

Be sure your unaccompanied minor has a letter signed by both parents / guardians (or copy of documentation showing there is one person with sole custody) granting him permission to travel and noting who s/he will be residing with (and I suggest another granting the adults s/he to secure medical care for the minor). The letter should probably be notarized.

US Department of State:

LETTER OF CONSENT FOR TRAVEL OF A MINOR CHILD

Because of increasing instances of child abduction in custody cases, and a growing number of children who are the victims of trafficking or pornography, an immigration officer, airline, or travel company may ask you to provide some form of letter of consent if your child is traveling internationally with only one parent or with another adult, such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc. The sample letter below is a guide only. You may also wish to have the letter of consent notarized.

Link to PDF of sample letter.
If your minor does not possess such a letter s/he may be denied flight, or otherwise be inconvenienced due to the international convention on childhood abduction the USA and most nations are signatories to.

Q. What if the minor is traveling internationally with another adult (accompanied minor)?

See the letter authorizing travel, mentioned above. As well, you can ask AA to add a "TCP* note" in his PNR (booking record) to show s/he is traveling with another adult(s) other than both parents (one parent, relatives, friends). It might be useful to do the same for the adult; this also may help the airline to assure they're not assigned different flights in case of travel disruption.

Q. Anything else?

Yes. It may be wise to assure the unaccompanied minor is covered by health / medical insurance or coverage in the destination country in addition to having a medical care authorization letter.

Even some countries with universal healthcare may be quite expensive for a person who is not a legal resident of that country.

Be sure to prepare a "care pack" - perhaps school size backpack - with books, games, etc. for distraction and entertainment. Airline unaccompanied minor services do not include continual supervision on the plane, nor are the crew charged with entertaining a child, merely with safeguarding their safety and boarding, disembarking, assuring they get available water and food, etc.

* "To Complete Party"
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AA Unaccompanied Minor / UNMR Policy and Discussion (consolidated)

Old Mar 5, 16, 9:33 am
  #76  
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Originally Posted by JDiver
A passport should more than suffice, even if recently expired; student ID?
Yes. At least when it comes to dealing with the TSA, even a passport expired by say 11 months works without issue.
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Old Mar 5, 16, 9:35 am
  #77  
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Originally Posted by RogerD408
Their website says no when travelling with an adult. They say nothing about a minor travelling alone. I'd suggest having something, as I think everyone should.
When it comes to the TSA, a 16 year old flying domestically alone in the US is not required to have any photo ID to be cleared to travel.
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Old Mar 5, 16, 11:05 am
  #78  
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The whole thing is being over-complicated. He will have a recently-expired Passport. That is just fine for TSA, even as an adult. He also ought to have an ID in case he does need to deal with AA agent for rebooking or somesuch. Again, one of these non-issue things which can be made over-complicated.

The TSA website is unclear on the <18 ID issue. It describes acceptable ID for adults and then states that <18 do not require ID when traveling with a companion (without defining a companion). No need for a 16YOA to get into a semantics debate when he has valid ID.

The GE process is stop and start. Once there is conditional approval, there may be a lengthy wait for an appointment. But, if you keep checking the calendar, you will find that openings occur as people move / cancel appointments. Suddenly what you thought was a 90-day wait has openings tomorrow.
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Old Mar 5, 16, 12:24 pm
  #79  
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As a post script, when you renew the passport (good for ten years) get the offered passport card as well.

Ditto with Global Entry - the GE card is accepted by TSA (I've had one or two TSA "agents" push back in earlier days, but a supervisor quickly sorted that out), since it's issued by their own Department of Homeland Security they're a part of.
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Old Mar 5, 16, 2:36 pm
  #80  
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Originally Posted by Often1
The whole thing is being over-complicated. He will have a recently-expired Passport. That is just fine for TSA, even as an adult. He also ought to have an ID in case he does need to deal with AA agent for rebooking or somesuch. Again, one of these non-issue things which can be made over-complicated.

The TSA website is unclear on the <18 ID issue. It describes acceptable ID for adults and then states that <18 do not require ID when traveling with a companion (without defining a companion). No need for a 16YOA to get into a semantics debate when he has valid ID.

The GE process is stop and start. Once there is conditional approval, there may be a lengthy wait for an appointment. But, if you keep checking the calendar, you will find that openings occur as people move / cancel appointments. Suddenly what you thought was a 90-day wait has openings tomorrow.
The TSA has made the following clear to White House and Congressional officials, to its own FSDs and others in the employ of the TSA, and to contract screening management in the US: that the TSA shouldn't ask for ID of passengers who don't appear to be 18 years of age or older.
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Old Mar 6, 16, 6:29 am
  #81  
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Originally Posted by JDiver
As a post script, when you renew the passport (good for ten years) get the offered passport card as well.

Ditto with Global Entry - the GE card is accepted by TSA (I've had one or two TSA "agents" push back in earlier days, but a supervisor quickly sorted that out), since it's issued by their own Department of Homeland Security they're a part of.
thanks guys for all the answers on the GOES timeline

I was hoping that he would get the GE Card which I felt would have taken care of the problem for the future.

Upon the return from this trip, I will send his (and his brothers) passports in for renewal.
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Old Mar 9, 16, 2:34 pm
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Ticketed Seats changed - Minor Child Moved

Booked First Class seats to Hawaii 8 months ago. They changed to the lie flat configuration, but separated me from my 5 year old. No status and customer service offered no assistance. Any way to get seats together and avoid having to ask others to switch?
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Old Mar 9, 16, 2:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Tim33
Booked First Class seats to Hawaii 8 months ago. They changed to the lie flat configuration, but separated me from my 5 year old. No status and customer service offered no assistance. Any way to get seats together and avoid having to ask others to switch?
I'd try the following, in order of preference:
1. Keep an eye on the seat map (perhaps with an ExpertFlyer alert); adjacent seats might open up at some point before departure.

2. Ask the gate agent at the airport if s/he can seat you together.

3. Ask the person next to your kid to switch with you. I suspect most people would feel uncomfortable "supervising" a stranger's young child, and/or having the parent come by every 10 minutes to check up if they refused.

4. Ask your seatmate to trade with your kid.

5. Ask the FA to help you find a pair of seats, if #3-4 don't pan out.
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Old Mar 10, 16, 4:23 pm
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The FAA seems not to have any regulations on this, which is quite poor - so unfortunately the easy option of contacting AA and quoting regulation at them is not possible. In comparison, the UK Civil Aviation Authority says children should be seated near the adults caring for them.
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Old Mar 10, 16, 5:26 pm
  #85  
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Of course this would not pertain to First Class, but I wonder if we will see more of this (parents seated separately from minor children) in parts of Economy once AA goes to a Basic Economy basis later this year?
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Old Jul 20, 16, 9:58 pm
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Unaccompanied minor issue (15 YO in charge of 13 YO - to merge)

Back on April 12th, 2016, I called American Airlines to reserve a one-way flight for my sons (15 and 13) from my home in VA to their home in CA. Since my oldest is 15, I couldn't make this reservation online. I talked with the representative, scheduled and paid for the reservation and was informed that I didn't need to pay the unaccompanied minor fee.

Fast forward to today, July 20th, 2016, I received an email to call American Airlines. When I get in contact with them, I am informed that I need to pay the $150 fee or my sons will not be allowed to board the plane on Aug 6th.

I have the following issues with this:

1) I couldn't make the reservation online due to American Airlines policy, thereby excluding any way to go around the system, and I needed to speak to a representative to make the reservation.

2) The representative had to input the ages of my children into their computer system for the reservation, and was I even informed that I didn't need to purchase the unaccompanied minor service.

3) 3 months (14 weeks) later I get informed that American Airlines has made a mistake, but "oh well", I need to pay the $150 fee and they won't wave it for their mistake.

4) Had I been informed at the time of purchase, I could have searched around for another airlines that didn't have this policy for experienced younger flyers.

5) Although I was offered my money back, tickets to the same location have increased 20% each.

6) I was told that "no one" at American Airlines could authorize to wave the fee and still allow my children to travel without me paying for it.

7) I am perplexed that a company like American Airlines could have a computer system that would allow such a mistake to go unnoticed for so long. Having been a computer engineer for the last 20 years, this kind of oversite is unacceptable.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 10:12 pm
  #87  
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if it's any help

most airlines do charge a fee. So it's not like you would have found one with no fee. However it is odd that you were specifically told you didn't need to pay one. All I can think of is that the rep misunderstood the rule, as the UM service is optional for a 15 year old.

It's also on AA web site tho that there is a fee.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 10:16 pm
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So nice that you got to save the fee on the outbound!
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Old Jul 20, 16, 10:25 pm
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Different Airline, different destination that involved a 20 hour drive for me, and they had their 17 year old brother at the time.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 10:26 pm
  #90  
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Originally Posted by Russell Teeter
Back on April 12th, 2016, I called American Airlines to reserve a one-way flight for my sons (15 and 13) from my home in VA to their home in CA. Since my oldest is 15, I couldn't make this reservation online. I talked with the representative, scheduled and paid for the reservation and was informed that I didn't need to pay the unaccompanied minor fee.

Fast forward to today, July 20th, 2016, I received an email to call American Airlines. When I get in contact with them, I am informed that I need to pay the $150 fee or my sons will not be allowed to board the plane on Aug 6th.

I have the following issues with this:

1) I couldn't make the reservation online due to American Airlines policy, thereby excluding any way to go around the system, and I needed to speak to a representative to make the reservation.

2) The representative had to input the ages of my children into their computer system for the reservation, and was I even informed that I didn't need to purchase the unaccompanied minor service.

3) 3 months (14 weeks) later I get informed that American Airlines has made a mistake, but "oh well", I need to pay the $150 fee and they won't wave it for their mistake.

4) Had I been informed at the time of purchase, I could have searched around for another airlines that didn't have this policy for experienced younger flyers.

5) Although I was offered my money back, tickets to the same location have increased 20% each.

6) I was told that "no one" at American Airlines could authorize to wave the fee and still allow my children to travel without me paying for it.

7) I am perplexed that a company like American Airlines could have a computer system that would allow such a mistake to go unnoticed for so long. Having been a computer engineer for the last 20 years, this kind of oversite is unacceptable.
Were you previously aware AA had a fee for unaccompanied minors?
That is, before you booked the reservation, were you prepared to pay the fee?
It sounds like you were aware of the fee and had asked about it in your call, so I assume this was known to you and your were prepared to pay it when you called AA

Are you sure you were told your "sons" wouldn't be allowed to board?
The 15 year old is not required to use the UM service.

The agent may have been confused, because the 13 year old would have been able to avoid the fee if traveling with a 16 year old
https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...ied-minors.jsp

Last edited by mvoight; Jul 20, 16 at 10:31 pm
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