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Traveling with an unrelated minor - 1 PNR or 2?

Traveling with an unrelated minor - 1 PNR or 2?

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Old Apr 16, 19, 9:06 pm
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Traveling with an unrelated minor - 1 PNR or 2?

As a 16th birthday celebration, Iím taking my godson to Japan. The trip will be his first without his parents (and my first time taking a child whom Iím not related to on a trip without at least one of his parents). My original plan was to use miles for his ticket and buy a revenue ticket for myself. As we will be traveling before November, I do have plenty of miles to purchase both of our tickets using miles, and I can get saver first tickets on ANA one way.

How risky is it to travel on separate PNRs? Since we have different last names, how much of a risk is there that United might rebook us onto separate flights in case of IRROPS? He doesnít have any status with United. I donít think he would be comfortable if we ended up on different flights, and he has been looking forward to his 16th birthday trip for years. Are there other possible issues that Iím not thinking about?

Mods - please merge this into another thread if appropriate. This is my first time starting a thread however I didnít see an existing thread dealing with taking an unrelated teen on United on separate PNRs. Apologies if it already exists - Iím not the best at searching FT.
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Old Apr 16, 19, 9:13 pm
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Last names dont matter nor does your relation or lack thereof.
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Old Apr 16, 19, 9:14 pm
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Originally Posted by eakcats View Post
How risky is it to travel on separate PNRs? ...
Your biggest risk is traveling with a minor without the legal guardian. You need notarized documentation, including an equivalent of a medical power of attorney and permission to travel to the countries you will be visiting. Being on a common PNR would not change the situation.

Fortunately, at 16, you will not need to worry about Unaccompanied Minor issues with a separate PNR.

Irrops issues may happen but are easily corrected.


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Old Apr 16, 19, 9:18 pm
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If you have separate PNRs, be sure to call to have them linked or cross references. This doesn't do much and most agents don't notice, but it would give you an argument to be kept together in IROPs.
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Old Apr 16, 19, 10:29 pm
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I have made a few similar expeditions with my grandchildren. They all have a standing offer of a sweet 16 trip. I think of it more of a educational trip than a vacation. I require that they have all the required travel documents and plan and budget out their trip. I also carry notarized permission letters, copies of any prescriptions and their passports. I try to run with one PNR but have run with separate ones. We havenít encountered any major irrops but it better to be prepared than surprised.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 5:16 am
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When we travel with out own minor kids overseas my wife and I also now travel with certified copies of their birth certificates... and if we are traveling alone (only one parent along) we also carry notarized permission letters from the other parent.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 7:42 am
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I agree with the above posters that you need a notarized letter from both parents (or proof that there is only one legal guardian). Even one parent traveling with a kid can encounter a situation where they wish they had a permission letter from the other parent.

On the other hand, I flew overseas by myself many times at ages 16 and 17 with no problem. I think most of the problems occur when there is a younger child involved. But easy to get a letter now and very hard to wait in an immigration room in Japan while the parents try to find a notary at 3am so they can fax you a letter.

From a United perspective, the risks of split PNRs are the same as always -- you'll need human intervention and patience during IRROPS, but they will eventually put you on the same flight. And slightly higher chance you'll get seated apart if there is an equipment swap. Overall, if you want to split it cash / miles it's worth doing that and dealing with the split PNR issues.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 7:54 am
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Even if the kid is old enough to be allowed to travel alone, a current issue is that it could look like trafficking to someone such as a FA, immigration officer, hotel employee/manager, or even just some random stranger. So it's better to have all of them permission documents and even something showing that you're indeed the godparent.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 9:00 am
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When our kid was < 18 and one or the other parent took him out of the country, we always got a notarized letter of permission signed by the non-present quoting the exact booked itinerary, "or a reasonable alternative in case of rebooking due to operational irregularities." Neither of us ever had to produce the letter for airline or immigration officials, but we traveled without qualms knowing we were covered.
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Old Apr 17, 19, 7:33 pm
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Thanks for the guidance. I’ll start working on getting the notarized documents and medical POA.
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