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When an unescorted minor is either enplaned / deplaned at the Jetway, it is desired to have a family member to ensure that the child is enplaned / deplaned AT THE GATE / JETWAY.

Is there a standard protocol / provision that is followed? In the US? Internationally? For this purposes of the question, political impediments such as Visas are not within scope.

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  • I obviously think this question was not too broad to be answered, but we can certainly give you more specific advice if you supply all the details that apply to your situation. Jan 14, 2017 at 19:33

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In the US, you can ask for a "gate pass" from the airline's check-in counter. The adult family member will need to show photo ID and will be given a pass allowing them to go through TSA security to reach the gate area. Issuance of the gate pass is at the airline's discretion, so you'd need to confirm their specific policy in advance if you want to rely on this. I've received them by (truthfully) stating the person I was picking up has a disability.

You'll also want to check with the airline on their policy for minors more generally. Many will not accept children below a certain age unless you have purchased their "unaccompanied minor" service. This service may also limit the available flights and routes depending on the airline's rules, so it's important to read the policy fully before you buy. When you do buy unaccompanied minor service in the US, it is often a requirement that you come to the gate to drop-off/pick-up the child passenger, and they will give you a gate pass to facilitate this. Where this is not allowed (such as at some non-US airports), an airline representative will escort the minor from the check-in counter.

Such a service is very much unlikely to be available to meet an arriving international flight, as access to the secure international arrivals area is strictly controlled by the immigration authorities. You would have to meet the minor outside of the immigration and customs area. Outside of the US, the same may apply to departing flights as well. With unaccompanied minor service, an airline representative is responsible for escorting the child through these areas.

Note also that some airports offer, for a hefty fee, a VIP escort service that can escort people to/from the gate (e.g. Marhaba Service in Dubai). This may be an option if you have not purchased unaccompanied minor service, though you would need to check that the company offering the service is willing to escort minors.

A final last-ditch option may be to purchase a fully refundable ticket for a later flight, use it to go through security and reach the gate, then cancel the ticket.

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  • clever: refundable ticket
    – gatorback
    Jan 15, 2017 at 0:27
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It depends on what airline you are traveling on. Some airlines such as United require that the minor travel only on non-stop flights. Others such as Delta will have an employee meet the minor at the gate when the flight lands and escort him/her to the next segment of the flight - this also depends on the age of the child. However, it seems that the consensus is clear that for the departing flight, the parent or guardian must escort the minor the departure gate and see that the minor boards the aircraft and when the minor lands in the destination, a parent or guardian must also meet the minor at the arrival gate. These rules applies to certain US based airlines, even if they fly to international destinations. You will have to check with your specific airline.

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