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Unaccompanied minor policies can be a little bit tricky because each airline has their own unique policies and the prices and age limits can sometimes be drastically different.
In this article, I’ll break down the Alaska Airlines unaccompanied minor policy aka “Junior Jetsetters.”
I’ll cover all the important information like the fees, special rules, and other important things you need to know about the entire process.
What is the Alaska Airlines unaccompanied minor policy?
Alaska Airlines requires children ages five through 12 (traveling without a parent, legal guardian, or other adult at least 18 years of age) to travel as unaccompanied minors (aka “Junior Jetsetters”).
What are the Alaska Airlines unaccompanied minor fees?
The Alaska Airlines unaccompanied minor service fee is $50 for nonstop (and direct flights) and $75 each way for connecting flights.
Tip: Save on unaccompanied minor fees by using airline credits from some of the best travel credit cards like the Amex Gold Card.
Alaska Airlines unaccompanied minor rules
Travel may not begin between 9pm and 5am. This rule applies to all different age groups.
It’s very common for airlines to have restrictions for unaccompanied minors on connecting flights and Alaska Airlines has several.
First, unaccompanied minors ages five through seven cannot be booked on flights involving transfers or connections.
Unaccompanied minors ages 8 through 12 years old, may be booked on flights involving transfers or connections to flights operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, SkyWest Flight Series 3300-3499, PenAir, or Ravn Alaska.
Children traveling alone cannot be booked on the last connecting flight of the day, unless there is no other option available.
Unaccompanied minors traveling alone cannot be booked on a flight with connections of two hours or more. Connections greater than 2 hours are only allowed if the city does not provide connections less than two hours.
Children traveling alone cannot be booked via alaskaair.com on flights that connect to or from other airlines flights. If you want to book a flight with a connection on a different airline, you need to call Alaska Airlines reservations at 1-800-252-7522.
|Age||Connections||Fee||Must travel as UM?|
|5 to 7||No||$50||Yes|
|8 to 12||Yes||$50*||Yes|
|13 to 17||Yes||$50*||No|
*$75 fee for connections.
Children ages 13 through 17 have the option to travel as an unaccompanied minor if they need assistance but it is not necessary.
Want more details? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Unaccompanied Minor Policies
Alaska Airlines unaccompanied minor process
Arriving at the airport
Alaska states to arrive at least 90 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and 2 hours for international flights. (I would probably add an additional 30 minutes onto those guidelines to be on the safe side.)
When you arrive at the airport, you should approach an agent at the ticket counter and let them know that you have a child traveling as an unaccompanied minor (Junior Jetsetter).
Note: proof of age (such as a birth certificate or passport) may be requested upon check-in at the airport.
You’ll then need to complete and sign the guardian contact form. If you’ve already completed the form online and printed it out then this will save you some time.
To complete the form you will need the names and phone numbers of all of the guardians that will be picking up and dropping off the child. (You’ll also need to supply alternate guardians in the event of an emergency for each direction).
Keep in mind that the unaccompanied minor will only be released to individuals that have a valid photo ID that matches what is listed on the guardian form.
You will then need to pay the unaccompanied minor service fee. (Fees for children traveling alone can be paid during online check-in, at a check-in kiosk, or at any Alaska Airlines airport ticket counter.)
Getting through the airport
Once you complete the forms and pay the fee, you will receive an escort pass from the ticket agent so that you can escort the unaccompanied minor to the gate.
The unaccompanied minor will receive a lanyard and wrist band to wear while they are under the care of Alaska Airlines.
If the minor wants to visit the Alaska lounge know that guests under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
Arriving at the gate
You should aim to report to the gate with the unaccompanied minor at least 40 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.
Once there, it’s a good idea to introduce your child to the gate agent just to get them comfortable.
When it’s time to board, the unaccompanied minor will get early boarding and will also likely receive a special safety briefing from a flight attendant.
Remember, you will need to remain at the gate until the flight has actually taken off.
Sometimes flights have to turn back around after leaving the gate and airlines want to make sure that the flight is actually in the air before you leave the gate area.
During the flight
During the flight your unaccompanied minor can expect to receive:
- An entertainment tablet on coast-to-coast to coast and Hawaii flights
- A complimentary Main Cabin meal on flights more than 2 hours
It’s recommended to give your child a debit or credit card for inflight purchases. Cash is not accepted for onboard. If you have the Alaska Airlines Credit Card, they can get a 25% discount on in-flight purchases.
How to book an Alaska Airlines unaccompanied minor reservation
To book an unaccompanied minor reservation, simply head to the main Alaska Airlines website and proceed like you are making a normal booking.
You will have the opportunity to enter the number of children traveling and if you input your travel details that qualify for an unaccompanied minor fare, you will be asked if the child is traveling alone.
You will then be prompted to input the age of the child. Keep in mind that they want to know the age of the child at the time of travel.
After you make a reservation, you will be prompted to fill out the guardian contact form online.
To complete this form, you will need all of the names and phone numbers of the people picking up and dropping off the child. If you don’t have that information, you can always go back and add or edit the information.
To expedite the process at the airport, be sure to print out the form and bring it with you to the airport on the day of travel.
If the unaccompanied minor is traveling on an international flight they were may be special requirements to comply with.
If a minor under the age of 18 is traveling without a parent or legal guardian, it is highly recommended for them to carry a letter of consent that is signed by the non-traveling parent(s).
It is required for minors (under age 18) who are traveling without a parent or legal guardian to carry a letter of consent if the minor traveler is a citizen of Mexico, permanent resident of Mexico, or temporary resident of Mexico (e.g. on a student visa).
For these passengers, the following items must be presented when departing from Mexico:
- 3 copies of the letter of consent or SAM document
- The minor’s original birth certificate
- 2 copies of the minor’s birth certificate
These letters of consent must meet specific requirements and you can read more about the requirements for Mexico here.
Things to know
Alaska Airlines will limit the number of unaccompanied minors on each flight. This is presumably done to allow the staff to easily keep tabs on the unaccompanied minors on each flight.
Alaska Airlines will not accept unaccompanied minors if weather or other factors are likely to disrupt the routing or a connection.
So if you are planning on sending out an unaccompanied minor you need to be extra conservative when it comes to going forward with travel plans in the face of bad weather.
If the unaccompanied minor gets ill, Alaska Airlines will attempt to contact one of the guardians but if the child becomes seriously ill they will contact appropriate medical personnel.
Like other airlines, Alaska Airlines will not administer medication to your unaccompanied minor.
The unaccompanied minor should be allowed to make phone calls while the plane is on the ground so long as the supervising representative says it is permissible.
It’s possible that your unaccompanied minor could have his or her seat reassigned at the airport.
Alaska Airlines unaccompanied minor (FAQ)
How much are the Alaska Airlines unaccompanied minor fees?
The unaccompanied minor fees are $50 each way and $75 each way for connecting flights.
How can I avoid the fees?
You can avoid the fees if the unaccompanied minor has status with Alaska airlines. You can also use a travel credit from a card like the American Express Gold Card to cover the fee.
Do unaccompanied minors get pre-boarding?
Yes, unaccompanied minors will get pre-boarding and a special security briefing.
Do unaccompanied minors get a free meal?
On flights more than two hours, unaccompanied minors will likely receive a complimentary meal. (Due to coronavirus this may not be possible.)
When can I pay the unaccompanied minor fees?
You can pay the fees at online check-in, at a check-in kiosk, or at the airport ticket counter.
Can unaccompanied minors fly on connecting flights?
Unaccompanied minors may fly on connecting flights if they are older than seven years old.
Can unaccompanied minors fly with pets?
No, passengers must be at least 18 years old to fly with a pet in the cabin. Read more about the rules for flying pets here.
Compared to other airlines, Alaska Airlines has a pretty solid unaccompanied minor policy with low fees. They are also pretty flexible in allowing for connections for some ages and for allowing international flights.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.