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I am picking up my 12-year old niece on a jetBlue flight that lands at JFK then dropping her off at JFK a couple of days later for her return flight. Does JFK offer a gate pass so that I can pick her up at her gate and drop her off at her gate on her departure day? There's no information specific to this on either jetBlue's or JFK's website.

Added from a comment by OP:
As an update, when picking up my niece I needed to pick her up at the JetBlue office near Terminal 5's baggage claim.

When sending her home, we checked in at the JetBlue customer service counter - at another location near baggage claim - where she was given a UAM lanyard, and I was given a mock-boarding pass to escort her to the gate.
For the record, even if you have TSA pre-check, you will need to go through the non-pre-check TSA line. UAMs are the last to board, and their "adult" needs to wait at the gate until the plane has left the ground.

  • 9
    This doesn't answer your question, but if the airline won't issue a gate pass: when when an airline refused to grant us a gate pass for my wife to accompany her elderly, non-english speaking mother to her gate, she bought a full-fare refundable flight to a nearby city scheduled several hours after her mother's flight, used the boarding pass to get past security with her mother, then canceled the flight after her mom boarded her flight. There's probably some element of fraud in that plan, but it gave her mother great peace of mind to have someone to accompany her to the gate. – Johnny Mar 13 '18 at 6:06
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In general, gate passes are issued by the airlines, not by the airports. JetBlue's website implies that they do generally issue gate passes to allow guardians to meet unaccompanied minors:

Drop-off / Pick-up information

Please note, the parent/guardian must request a gate pass at the airport ticket counter to drop off their minor at the departure gate. If a gate pass is issued, we request that the person dropping off the child leave a cell phone number with the airport so that a JetBlue crewmember can contact them to meet their child in the event of a gate return.

...

Since guidelines vary among airports, please check the unaccompanied minor section under the specific airport the unaccompanied minor is traveling from to determine if a gate pass may be issued. This information can be found by entering the airport name in the search field, then selecting the Unaccompanied Minor Information link under the main airport heading.

However, there are some indications on JetBlue's website that they do not issue gate passes at JFK. From this page, in the section about minors arriving from the Dominican Republic:

Unaccompanied minors and other special service customers can be met after clearing Customs due to local airport procedures which do not allow the issuance of gate passes in JFK.

And from this page:

If you're picking up an unaccompanied minor, please go to the Baggage Services office on the Arrivals level of T5. Please ask a JetBlue crewmember if you need assistance.

It is not 100% clear, however, that a gate pass would not be issued (perhaps at the Baggage Services office) for an unaccompanied minor arriving on a domestic flight. I would suggest calling JetBlue customer service if you want to be certain whether or not meeting your niece at the gate is out of the question. You could also try calling 718-632-6355, which according to this ten-year-old Consumerist page is the direct number to the baggage office at JFK; but no guarantees that one will work.

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Have a looksie at the following link:

http://help.jetblue.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/webcgi.exe?New,Kb=askBlue,case=obj(675)

"Please note, the parent/guardian must request a gate pass at the airport ticket counter to drop off their minor at the departure gate. If a gate pass is issued, we request that the person dropping off the child leave a cell phone number with the airport so that a JetBlue crew member can contact them to meet their child in the event of a gate return. "

And I assume you will need to fill in this form:

https://www.jetblue.com/p/umnr.pdf

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If she's traveling alone, you won't have a choice: JetBlue considers a 12-year-old to be an unaccompanied minor, and you will need to comply with all their procedures for this, generally including a gate pass and going to the gate.

Her ticket will need to have been booked with the unaccompanied minor fee applied (and meet their itinerary requirements, only nonstop flights). On departure, you'll generally need to request a gate pass and accompany her to the gate, and you're required to stay until the aircraft has taken off. For domestic arrivals, you'll generally need to get a gate pass and show ID matching the information provided by whoever put her on the flight.

I'd arrive early to allow extra time for the paperwork. The staff at the check-in desks will know the local procedures and will issue gate passes as appropriate.

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As part of an international airline that operates from/to JFK I can tell you that most of the airlines do not offer that service, but if you call them they might grant that type of access.

  • Just don't try that with United. They'd probably tell you one thing then do something else. – Jennifer Mar 13 '18 at 18:13
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This done by airlines on request. You will have to ask at the check-in counter. You could call JetBlue as well to ask.

Typically airlines will give gate passes for requests like this.

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JetBlue will definitely issue a gate pass for one person only when departing for a domestic flight. I have had problems with arrival though because there has to be enough time for you to go thru TSA security customs and when the plane arrives. Be there at least an hour earlier. My son was 6 at the time and was escorted to the baggage claim area with JetBlue staff. I assume they were the last ones to board.

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