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UA unaccompanied minor (UCM) policy - nonstop only, age (now 14 & lower), same cabin

UA unaccompanied minor (UCM) policy - nonstop only, age (now 14 & lower), same cabin

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Old Jul 17, 22, 4:37 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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The UA age for mandatory UCM was 12 until Dec 2013 when it was increased to 15, which them was moved to 14 in Dec 2017

UCM reduced from 15 years to 14 years in December 2017

United's unaccompanied minor policy

Children ages 5-14 (as of the travel date) who travel without a parent, a legal guardian or someone who is at least 18 years old are considered unaccompanied minors and are required to use our unaccompanied minor service. These young travelers are subject to certain travel guidelines and requirements, including:
  • Unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop flights operated by United or United Express. Codeshare flights and other flights operated by our partner airlines are not eligible for unaccompanied minor travel.
  • United does not offer unaccompanied minor service connecting to or from other airlines' flights.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age are unable to travel as unaccompanied minors, even if they are flying with an older unaccompanied child.
  • Unaccompanied minor service is not available for children ages 15 and older. Young adults ages 15 to 17 may travel alone on any United- or United Express-operated flight.
  • A service charge of $150 for each direction of travel will apply for using the unaccompanied minor service.
From COC
Unaccompanied Minor means a Child/Minor 5 to 14 years of age when traveling alone or not accompanied on the same flight and in the same compartment by a companion Passenger at least 18 years of age or with a Legal Guardian or parent.
COC Rule 13 Acceptance of Children/Minors and Infants
  1. Children/Minors/Infants Traveling Accompanied
    1. Children under the age of five (5) must be accompanied by an Adult Passenger or the childs Parent/Legal Guardian on the same flight and in the same compartment. UA reserves the right to require and charge the applicable service charge for Unaccompanied Minor service when a child age five (5) to fourteen (14) is traveling with a passenger who is not at least 18 years old or the childs Parent/Legal Guardian.
United's unaccompanied minor policy starting Dec 2015 - had increased mandatory UCM age to 15

Children ages 5-15 (as of the travel date) who travel without a parent, a legal guardian or someone who is at least 18 years old are considered unaccompanied minors and are required to use our unaccompanied minor service...


What if you need to book a underage minor on a separate PNR but will be traveling yourself (or some other adult) on same trip?
Yes this is allowed without an UCM fee per UA's instructions to TA for the case of a minor on a separate PNR -- note this can only be done with a TA or UA agent, not online
Children and adults traveling together on separate reservations
When children and adults are traveling together on separate reservations, the unaccompanied minor policy does not apply.
  • To ensure that United identifies the child as accompanied, at the time the PNR is booked, the following OSI must be added to the child's PNR: OSI UA TCP WITH ADULT IN PNR (adult's United record locator).
The other solution some have used is to book as on adult online, enter a adult date of birth and straighten this out at the airport

from United"s Jetstream: Uniteds Unaccompanied Minor (UMNR) policy





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Old Jun 3, 22, 10:24 am
  #361  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
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Originally Posted by DJ_Iceman View Post
For me, the peace of mind of knowing I couldn't be inadvertently separated from my young son would be infinitely more important than hurting my upgrade chances from PP to J on one leg.
LOL. Of course I wouldnt do that. The upgradeable flight is the return that he wouldnt fly.

Originally Posted by cmhua777 View Post
Not sure I follow all the logistics of the dilemma, but just book him whatever flights you want and make up a fake birthday that shows him as an adult. I do it all the time with my child, since the app wont let me book a ticket for him alone at his age and I cant always add him on mine (e.g., I am flying revenue and he is flying with miles; my trip is booked by company travel agent).

Once I get his trip setup then I call United, they fix his birthday and link his reservation to mine.

Done this at least a dozen times and never had issues.
great advice.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 3, 22 at 11:22 am Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Jun 3, 22, 11:29 am
  #362  
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Just to verify, believe you will be on the same flights both ways?

As far as releasing the saver seat, there is no guarantee that will then make an upgrade space avialable. If summer travel plans out, there may be few TATL upgrades
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Old Jun 3, 22, 11:38 am
  #363  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Just to verify, believe you will be on the same flights both ways?

As far as releasing the saver seat, there is no guarantee that will then make an upgrade space avialable. If summer travel plans out, there may be few TATL upgrades
No, not under either scenario.

Either, I will book the trip with the same return that I will take (without my son) a week later. So both in July. In that case, Im throwing away his return but am concerned about diminishing my upgrade chances on the return.

Or I would book him (separately) with a return in January a few days later than our currently scheduled return from our Christmas trip. I would only release the saver seat and change the ticket if PZ was available (or if it looked glaringly obvious a few days out that he would clear). Otherwise, Id also throw it away. The downside to this approach is that UA would seem to block that ticket from being booked (even over the phone) with his actual DOB as there would not be an adult PNR to match it to on both flight segments.

Honestly, Im willing to pay either amount ($3000-$3500) for the one way J ticket that I need. Its substantially cheaper than booking it as a one way ($8500). I would like to get some value out of the return and not diminish my upgrade chances for my own return next month. But those are admittedly second priorities.
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Old Jun 3, 22, 1:54 pm
  #364  
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Originally Posted by DJ_Iceman View Post
For me, the peace of mind of knowing I couldn't be inadvertently separated from my young son would be infinitely more important than hurting my upgrade chances from PP to J on one leg.
You may need to talk to CS to get something adjusted, but it's not like you're really going to get separated from the child just because you're on separate reservations in IRROPS.
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Old Jun 28, 22, 2:10 pm
  #365  
 
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Hi - Wanted to post a quick update in case it's of use to other parents My son flew yesterday ORD-DEL as UMNR and had a great flight - many thanks to the staff and crew for taking care of him.
  • My husband was able to get a gate pass and accompany him into the Polaris lounge for a snack, and also wait there until the flight took off since my son was one of the first to board before official boarding commenced.
  • An airline official handled my son's PP and OCI for the entire journey and also filled out his disembarkation form for Delhi airport.
  • We did not purchase a wifi package for the flight, but he was able to send us messages on WhatsApp when he boarded and deplaned.
  • An airport official walked him through immigration and security in India and checked my mother's PP to confirm address and signature before handing off my son and his documents to her. The official also let her know that for the return journey, she would need to inform the security guard and a UA official would be called since non passengers aren't allowed inside the terminal
I hope the return journey is a success as well - will post an update in a month's time. Thanks!
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Old Jul 2, 22, 1:24 am
  #366  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Unaccompanied minor LAX-LHR

My child is flying as UM for the first time from LAX to LHR.

When I booked the service, I asked the UA agent how pick-up at LHR works and they had no idea (crazy, I know.)

Has anybody been through the process and can shed some light?

Thanks!
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Old Jul 17, 22, 12:33 pm
  #367  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
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Circling back on this. Just flew the outbound. I had booked my child as an adult with my DOB and it was fixed at check in. My son is booked on a return in January and I have a separate PNR on that flight as well. My problem now is that I want to change my return from this trip (next week) and am getting an error message on united.com that I can’t separate from a minor. So I assume my booking is now linked to his despite the fact that the return of this booking is solo? I’ll call 1K but what should I ask them to do especially if I get an unknowledgeable agent?
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Old Jul 17, 22, 1:27 pm
  #368  
 
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Originally Posted by Stopwatch430 View Post
Circling back on this. Just flew the outbound. I had booked my child as an adult with my DOB and it was fixed at check in. My son is booked on a return in January and I have a separate PNR on that flight as well. My problem now is that I want to change my return from this trip (next week) and am getting an error message on united.com that I can’t separate from a minor. So I assume my booking is now linked to his despite the fact that the return of this booking is solo? I’ll call 1K but what should I ask them to do especially if I get an unknowledgeable agent?
Trying to understand this completely so a couple different responses depending on your situation from most to least likely situation I think you're in. Whats confusing me in your question is the "just flew the outbound". Was that you? Your son? Both of you?

Option 1) Your son is flying his inbound. You have a separate round trip reservation where one of the flights is to accompany him (your outbound segment), and then flying back on your own (your inbound segment/return). Your trying to change your inbound. If so, then the agent will be able to manually process the change for you overriding the error message because your inbound segment isn't actually the accompanying segment, even though the PNR is linked.

Option 2) Your son is on their own PNR. You flew with them on the outbound and were going to fly with them on the return, but now want to change your flight to fly separate? If so, they will need to unlink your PNR in the backend, process the change for you, and you would need to pay the UNMR fee for your son.
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Old Jul 17, 22, 3:24 pm
  #369  
 
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer View Post
Trying to understand this completely so a couple different responses depending on your situation from most to least likely situation I think you're in. Whats confusing me in your question is the "just flew the outbound". Was that you? Your son? Both of you?

Option 1) Your son is flying his inbound. You have a separate round trip reservation where one of the flights is to accompany him (your outbound segment), and then flying back on your own (your inbound segment/return). Your trying to change your inbound. If so, then the agent will be able to manually process the change for you overriding the error message because your inbound segment isn't actually the accompanying segment, even though the PNR is linked.

Option 2) Your son is on their own PNR. You flew with them on the outbound and were going to fly with them on the return, but now want to change your flight to fly separate? If so, they will need to unlink your PNR in the backend, process the change for you, and you would need to pay the UNMR fee for your son.
option 1. Id rather just delink them so I can explore changes on my own online. Potentially changing it twice. Would that be an option?

coild I also ask them to just change the PNR link in my sons booking to my separate pnr (one way) on which I will accompany him on his return?
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Old Jul 18, 22, 8:47 am
  #370  
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I tried booking a one-way ticket DEN-ORD for Miss Swede (17) on UA's website. At checkout, it kept erroring out saying that she needs to be an unaccompanied minor--which she clearly is not since her birthday reflected her correct age. I was in a rush, so I called UA to book the ticket on the way to the golf course. After being disconnected a few times, I finally got an agent who knew her stuff, and she was proactive in waiving the $25 call center fee. I never tried it on the app, but it seems like it might've worked on there.
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Old Jul 28, 22, 9:15 am
  #371  
 
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Thumbs up UMNR ORD - DEL and back

Originally Posted by l2travel2 View Post
Hi - Wanted to post a quick update in case it's of use to other parents My son flew yesterday ORD-DEL as UMNR and had a great flight - many thanks to the staff and crew for taking care of him.
  • My husband was able to get a gate pass and accompany him into the Polaris lounge for a snack, and also wait there until the flight took off since my son was one of the first to board before official boarding commenced.
  • An airline official handled my son's PP and OCI for the entire journey and also filled out his disembarkation form for Delhi airport.
  • We did not purchase a wifi package for the flight, but he was able to send us messages on WhatsApp when he boarded and deplaned.
  • An airport official walked him through immigration and security in India and checked my mother's PP to confirm address and signature before handing off my son and his documents to her. The official also let her know that for the return journey, she would need to inform the security guard and a UA official would be called since non passengers aren't allowed inside the terminal
I hope the return journey is a success as well - will post an update in a month's time. Thanks!
Quick update for those that are curious....my son flew back on Tuesday and the journey was uneventful, just the UMNR process at DEL is not as well organized as ORD. It's possible they don't get that many passengers so it may have been a new experience for the ticketing agents.

IGI airport does not allow non passengers inside, so a UA agent was contacted and took my son from my mother (after checking her PP) and then vanished for almost an hour to process his check in. She did not give any paperwork confirming this initial handoff or answer the phone when my mother called for a status update. Very stressful for my mother standing outside the airport at 11 pm - and can probably be handled better by the UA ground staff in future. Luckily, my son had his phone and was able to relay what was going on and it seems it took 3 agents to sort out his check in, get his UA bracelet and matching luggage tag and process UMNR paperwork. This is despite me making sure he was Travel Ready and all documents had been uploaded to the UA app. For comparison, it took one agent about 10 min at ORD to complete check in and issue a gate pass for my husband.

The check in agent finally brought my son and the paperwork back out to my mother after an hour to get my mother's signature and confirmed she would stay with my son in the lounge and escort him to the aircraft at boarding.

The UA crew on board was great, my son mentioned someone named Julio was really nice and checked on him regularly and handled the customs paperwork. Once the flight landed at ORD, he was escorted off the plane and handed off to his dad at T5 within 20 min.

Huge thank you to the flight crews and UA staff and in spite of the hiccup in DEL, we will be doing this again next summer!
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Old Jul 28, 22, 1:47 pm
  #372  
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Just my 2 cents but the age limit is ridiculous. Both my kids can fly (and have) as UM on Southwest since age 12 without any issues. Seeing as AA recently lost a UM I cant see a lot of value here for experienced teen travelers.
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Old Jul 29, 22, 1:56 pm
  #373  
 
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
Just my 2 cents but the age limit is ridiculous. Both my kids can fly (and have) as UM on Southwest since age 12 without any issues. Seeing as AA recently lost a UM I cant see a lot of value here for experienced teen travelers.
You are also a UA Plat/1MM and DL Plat (according to profile), so presumably your kids had a good chunk of flying as they grew up and are likely more comfortable in airports than the average customer who would be availing themselves of the UNMR program. That being said UA had to develop a policy that could be uniformly applied to young people of certain ages considering what the experience of the typical UM might be and what they feel comfortable/capable of reliably providing with this service. The AA example actually supports UA's position to not have their UNMR policy be any broader in scope than it already is - they don't want a AA level blunder (....again, since as I understand it UA had their own few blunders a decade ago which led to the current iteration of the UNMR policy).

I think it's pretty clear based on the policy that UA has made the decision they really don't want people to book their UNMR service and don't want the liability that comes with flying a UNMR. But customers expect a UNMR service, so to meet in the middle ground, their gonna offer the service, but it is going to be more expensive, and more of a pain with their age and non-stop limitations. Does it leave money on the table and result in losing some bookings to competitors? Absolutely, but the policy makers somewhere in the organization decided they' are fine with those tradeoffs to have an easier time managing UNMRs. Personally I have more respect for a company that admits they're not in a position to reliably offer the service the consumer wants so they create a policy of what they can offer, instead of trying to half *** it with something that causes service failures (especially when it involves someone else's children).

I'm sure it is on a list to revisit the policy sometime in the future if they're in a position where they can expand it again, but I'm sure they have a list of plenty of other priorities they're working on too. And it probably doesn't make sense to focus on something which in the grand scheme of their entire revenue model amounts to a rounding error.
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