@StateDept’s 2015 Unaccompanied Tour Holiday Family Reception

Posted: 12:49 am EDT
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Via state.gov:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry poses for a photo with the families of U.S. government employees on assignment at unaccompanied posts around the world, who endure long periods of separation from their loved ones, even at the holidays, at the annual Unaccompanied Tour Holiday Family Reception at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on December 16, 2015. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry poses for a photo with the families of U.S. government employees on assignment at unaccompanied posts around the world, who endure long periods of separation from their loved ones, even at the holidays, at the annual Unaccompanied Tour Holiday Family Reception at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on December 16, 2015. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Related item:

12/16/15  Remarks at the Unaccompanied Tour Holiday Family Reception;  Secretary of State John Kerry; Washington, DC

 

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United Airlines Changes Unaccompanied Minor (UM) Policy For Kids Traveling Alone

Posted: 12:49 am EDT
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An FS member alerted us about a recent change in United Airlines’ unaccompanied minor (UM) policy.  “It had been optional to be an unaccompanied minor for those 12 and above — now everyone under 16 is required to pay an extra $150, fly only on direct United flights, and be handed off at the gate by a guardian or caregiver at each end.”

Apparently, United was the last of the three major airlines with a permissive UM policy.  Delta and American already required the UM service for those under 15, although minors were allowed to change planes.

Our correspondent asks: “Is M/FLO engaged on this?  There will presumably, be a significant impact on 9th and 10th graders from the foreign affairs community attending boarding school in the USA while their parents are abroad.  Combine these UM policies with city-pair rules, requiring the use of a contract carrier when travel is USG-paid, and I see an interesting Catch 22 brewing.”

We’ve asked the FLO but have not received a response.

Below via United:

For tickets purchased on or after December 14, 2015, children 5 to 15 years of age who travel on an aircraft without a parent, a legal guardian or someone who is at least 18 years of age are considered unaccompanied minors and are subject to certain restrictions. Travel arrangements for these young travelers can be booked through united.com or the United Customer Contact Center.

Information for children traveling alone

  • Unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop flights operated by United or United Express®. United does not offer unaccompanied minor service to or from other airlines’ flights.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age are not accepted as unaccompanied minors.
  • Children 5 to 15 years of age who are traveling alone must use our unaccompanied minor service. A service charge will apply.
  • Unaccompanied minor service is not available for children over age 15. Children ages 16 and 17 may travel alone on any United- or United Express-operated flights.
Children 5 to 15 years of age who are not accompanied on an aircraft by a parent, a legal guardian or someone who is at least 18 years of age are considered unaccompanied minors and are subject to certain restrictions. Travel arrangements for these young travelers can be booked through united.comor the United Customer Contact Center.

Information for children traveling alone

  • Unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop flights operated by United or United Express®. United does not offer unaccompanied minor service to or from other airlines’ flights.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age are not accepted as unaccompanied minors.
  • Children 5 to 15 years of age who are traveling alone must use our unaccompanied minor service and pay the applicable service charge.
  • Children ages 12 to 17 can use United’s unaccompanied minor service for travel on nonstop flights operated by United or United Express, or they can travel as adults on any flights without using United’s unaccompanied minor service.

Service charges

Children traveling unaccompanied pay the regular adult fare. An additional service charge is collected to cover extra handling required when an unaccompanied child travels. Please confirm this charge when placing your reservation.

The service charge is $150 each way for children traveling with United’s unaccompanied minor service to any destination. The unaccompanied minor service charge may be paid at the time of reservation, or prior to departure at a United check-in counter.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions

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American Airlines says on its website that its 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.

  • 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

American Airlines will not accept unaccompanied minors when their itineraries include a connection to/from another airline, including codeshare and oneworld® partners and ground/co-terminal connections (unaccompanied minors under 15 years, can’t use ground transportation alone). Read more here.

Delta Airlines also provides special services for children who are flying by themselves. Children 5-14 years of age traveling without an adult (18 years plus) are considered an Unaccompanied Minor (UMNR) and must participate in the airlines’ UMNR program.  Unaccompanied Minor (UMNR) service is mandatory for ages 5-14. Children ages 15-17 are not required to have unaccompanied service; however, we will provide the service if requested. The UMNR service fee will apply. Read more here.

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