Policy change: United will only accept unaccompanied minors on nonstop flights

United will only accept unaccompanied minors on nonstop flights. Photo credit: United.

United will only accept unaccompanied minors on nonstop flights. Photo credit: United.

United Airlines is accepting unaccompanied minors only on nonstop flights, a policy change it made this month, according to its website. 

The change, which went into effect for tickets purchased after Dec. 5, was found by some attentive United.com readers who posted on the Flyertalk.com message boards. 

Previously, United would allow children to take connecting flights. But ensuring that a bunch of 5 to 11-year-olds are taken care of during a layover is not the easiest thing. I imagine that this policy change will make the program more efficient for United.

Here are the new rules on United.com

  • Unaccompanied minors can only travel on flights operated by United or United Express®. United does not offer unaccompanied minor service to or from other airlines’ flights. For tickets purchased on or after December 5, 2013, unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop flights.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age are not accepted as unaccompanied minors.
  • Children 5 to 11 years of age who are traveling alone must use our unaccompanied minor service.
  • Children ages 12 to 17 can pay the service charge to use the unaccompanied minor service for flights where unaccompanied minor travel is allowed, or they can travel as adults. Contact the United Customer Contact Center or your local travel agent to make arrangements for unaccompanied minor service.
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United’s “Fantasy Flights” take children to the North Pole

This children got to meet Santa after flying to the North Pole with United Airlines. Photo courtesy of United.

This child got to meet Santa after flying to the North Pole with United Airlines. Photo courtesy of United.

Some Los Angeles-area children got a special surprise this week from United Airlines. They got to fly to the North Pole to visit Santa.

United has been doing these flights for 20 years, and they’re meant for seriously ill children as well as disadvantaged kids. Many of them have never been on airplane before, so apparently they don’t seem to mind that the flight to the North Pole only takes a few minutes.

According to the United, the Fantasy Flight program is led by volunteer teams of employees and retirees. In addition to Los Angeles, the airline led trips to the North Pole from Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Denver, Newark, N.J., San Francisco and Washington, D.C. – as well as Boise, ID., Phoenix, San Antonio, Texas, and Sydney.

After the short airplane trip, children are led into an airport gate or hanger, where they get to meet Santa, receive gifts and celebrate the holiday.

Delta has a similar program from LAX, and I’ll be attending it on Wednesday.

Fantasy Kid 2

The above pictures are from United’s other hubs, but this one below is from the LAX celebration. Looks like there was a good crowd.

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United Airlines says it had strong on-time record in November

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United Airlines says it exceeded its on-time goals for the third consecutive month in November, reporting that 85 percent of its domestic flights and 82.5 percent of its international flights arrived with 14 minutes of the scheduled time.

United spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm did not share the carrier’s exact on-time goals with me.

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