How to drop-off or pick-up an unaccompanied minor at the airport

With the holiday travel among us, I thought I’d share my recent experience of picking up and dropping off a couple unaccompanied minors at the airport.

0. Only one adult per ticketed minor is allowed to accompany them. The adult can bring along a non-traveling minor, but the ticket counter personnel and security don’t recommend it because it spells more work for them.

1. Check in at the counter. The minor will receive a boarding pass (unless you printed it at home) and you will receive a “Non-Passenger Escort (NPE) Security Checkpoint Authorization Form”. It looks similar to a traditional boarding pass, but it lists your name and the traveler’s information.

2. The airline will have you complete a small carbon copy form that provides your contact information and information about the person authorized to pick up the minor up at the destination gate. This form and the minors boarding pass will be placed in a plastic holder worn around the minor’s neck. The same carbon copy form will be used for the return flight.

3. Go through security just as though you were traveling

4. Once you arrive at the gate, there is no need to notify the gate attendent of the minor…they know. They will invite the minor to board first.

5. You are required to remain at the gate until “wheels up” (the plane has lifted off). The gate attendant will let you know when this has happened.

6. A flight attendant will ensure the minor is aware of saftey procedures and closely monitor them throughout the flight.

7. Once at the destination, the flight attendant will escort the minor off the plane and hand them off to the adult authorized to pick them up after s/he has compared the carbon copy form information to the picture ID of the adult. The retrieving adult will be asked to sign the form.

If you are picking up a minor, you still need to check in at the airline’s counter in the main terminal to obtain a “Non-Passenger Escort (NPE) Security Checkpoint Authorization Form”. Be sure to bring the itinerary or confirmation number of the traveling minor.

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