Sending off an unaccompanied minor can sometimes be a pretty stressful experience.
This is especially true on longer flights like those between Hawaii and the continental US. Luckily, Hawaiian Airlines has a very detailed and straightforward unaccompanied minor policy.
In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about the Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor policy. I’ll cover things like the route restrictions, fees, and show you where to find the form you need to fill out.
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Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor policy explained
Any child who is five through 11 years old and not traveling with another guest who is at least 15 years old and in the same class of service as the child is considered an “Unaccompanied Minor” and will be subject to all of the rules below.
If a child is 11 years old or younger and traveling with another guest who is at least 15 years old and in the same class of service, they are not forced to travel as an unaccompanied minor.
Children 12 years and older can travel unaccompanied.
Children under five years old cannot travel as unaccompanied minors.
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Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor policy fees
For an unaccompanied minor traveling within the state of Hawaii, the unaccompanied minor fee is $35 per segment. This fee is in addition to the cost of the plane ticket.
For an unaccompanied minor traveling between the continental US and Hawaii, the unaccompanied minor fee is $100 per unaccompanied minor (each way). This fee is also in addition to the cost of the plane ticket.
If you are traveling from the continental US and will require a connection within Hawaii you will be charged the $100 fee for the travel from the mainland plus $35 per connecting segment.
If you have more than one unaccompanied minor traveling you might be able to get away with only paying once.
That’s because Hawaiian Airlines will accept up to two unaccompanied minors belonging to the same immediate family.
In order to capture that discount, the drop off and pick up information and contact details must be 100% identical.
Want extra tips on flying with an unaccompanied minor? Read: Unaccompanied Minor Policy Ultimate Guide
Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor policy rules
The minimum age for an unaccompanied minor is five and this means that the child must have reached his or her 5th birthday by the date of travel.
So it may be okay if your child is four years old at the time of booking as long as they turn five before or on the day of travel.
The same thing applies to the young person who could be accompanying the minor. He or she must be 15 years old by the date of travel.
Connecting flights are permitted for flights within Hawaii but unaccompanied minors will only be accepted on non-stop, direct flights operated by Hawaiian when flying to or from the mainland.
When flying to/from the mainland, based on the language found from Hawaiian Airlines, it sounds like unaccompanied minors are allowed to fly on an inter-island connection in Hawaii as long as it is on a flight operated by Hawaiian Airlines.
Like many other airlines, Hawaiian Airlines has quite a few restrictions on the type of routes and flights allowed for unaccompanied minors.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most important restrictions you need to know about:
They will not accept any unaccompanied minors on any Hawaiian flight departing between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless: (i) travel is on a flight operating out of Honolulu, Hawaii, and (ii) the flight is the only flight to the Unaccompanied Minor’s destination for the day.
They will not accept any unaccompanied minors for travel on any flight connecting to any other flight when such other flight is the last flight of the day to the unaccompanied minor’s destination.
If you’re sending your unaccompanied minor on a connecting flight, you need to pay special attention to how long the layover is.
That is because they will not accept unaccompanied minors when the connection time is greater than two hours or less than one hour.
The exception to this is when there are no scheduled arrivals or departures that would allow for a connecting time within those parameters and Hawaiian Airlines decides to make an exception.
There are a few other restrictions to be aware of.
For example, Hawaiian Airlines will not accept:
- Unaccompanied Minors when any connecting flight would require an overnight stay.
- Unaccompanied Minors who are connecting to or connecting from any flight operated by any other air carrier other than ‘Ohana by Hawaiian.
- Unaccompanied Minors on any flight they operate that is ticketed by another carrier with a flight number other than that of Hawaiian’s.
- Unaccompanied Minors for travel in extra-comfort (coach or first-class only)
It’s worth noting that they also reserve the right to change the child’s itinerary if they “believe there is any reasonable possibility that the flight upon which the Unaccompanied Minor holds a reservation could be diverted to another airport.”
This is one reason why I recommend people to reconsider unaccompanied minor travel when major storms or weather systems are blowing through. It can seriously complicate your logistics.
Documents needed for unaccompanied minor check-in
In order to properly send off your unaccompanied minor, the parent, guardian, or responsible adult will need to have the necessary paperwork finished. Thankfully, it’s not a very complicated process.
The responsible adult will have to fill out the Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor form.
It’s a really basic form and you can print it out and fill it out before you arrive at the airport or wait to be issued the form when you check-in.
I would recommend filling it out before you get to the airport and making a couple of copies of it for your reference.
In addition to that form, the responsible adult will have to provide:
- A valid and unexpired government-issued photo identification
- The name, phone number and address of (i) the parent, guardian, or responsible adult who will be meeting the unaccompanied minor at his/her destination and (ii) where possible, an alternate responsible adult authorized to pick up the unaccompanied minor
Make sure that you take some time to consider adding an alternate.
If for some reason the primary responsible adult is not able to pick up the child it will be a much lengthier process trying to add a new individual.
The flying process
It’s recommended that the responsible adult arrive a little bit early at the airport so that they can take care of the check-in process which sometimes might require a little bit of extra time.
It shouldn’t require you to wait a very long time but you never know what kind of little mishaps can occur when extra paperwork is involved.
The adult will then receive a gate pass which they can use to escort the unaccompanied minor to his or her departure gate.
Keep in mind that adult will have to get through TSA security so it’s best to make things easy and avoid bringing bags or liquids.
Super important: the adult is required to stay at the gate until the flight has departed. And by departed they don’t mean left the gate.
Instead, they want the adult to remain at the gate until the plane has actually left the ground because sometimes a plane may have to return to the gate for unexpected issues.
In the event passengers have to deplane it will be much easier if the adult is already waiting at the gate.
Whoever is picking up the child at the airport should arrive extra early.
This is especially the case for flights between Hawaii and the mainland.
Because those flights are much longer, the plane might be capable of landing extra early. So I would recommend arriving about 45 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time.
The adult must be present and available at the destination to receive the unaccompanied minor at the baggage claim or other designated area immediately upon arrival.
If the adult desires to greet the child at the gate once they arrive they may be able to acquire a gate pass.
They should just check with the agents at check-in at the airport of arrival and if they have the resources available, they should be able to provide the adult with a gate pass.
The adult receiving the child must be one of the contact people listed on the Unaccompanied Minor form submitted at the time of departure.
For obvious reasons, airlines have a very strict policy of not releasing a minor to people not on the original form.
Make sure that you are on top of picking up the child on time because if nobody is available to receive the child at the destination, the airlines may contact the police/government for assistance to take custody of the child.
Not only will that be a stressful situation for both you and the child but you will have to reimburse them for any costs and expenses.
Unaccompanied minor flying tips
Try to keep carry-on baggage at a minimum so that nothing gets lost. It is a good idea to attach ID and contact information on the outside or even the inside of their baggage.
Also, because this is Hawaii you have to be extra careful about certain items that you take into the state or out of the state.
It’s best to avoid bringing things like fresh fruit and vegetables because most of them are not allowed although there are exceptions for certain types like pineapples.
Related: Hawaiian Airlines Baggage Fees Guide
Many short flights will not offer a meal service and may only supply snacks so it’s a good idea to pack food for the flight.
In other cases, there may be a more extensive menu selection for longer flights. You may want to call ahead of time to clarify if your child will have access to free food on the flight.
Related: Can You Bring Food on a Plane?
It is also a good idea to give your child some form of entertainment. Popular items include tablets, books, and other toys to keep them occupied.
If they are flying first class between the mainland and Hawaii, they will be issued a tablet that they can use to watch movies and play games on. Some economy cabins like the A330 will have seatback TVs.
Inform the child properly
Do whatever you can to get your child comfortable and knowledgeable about traveling alone. Let them know that they should only speak to Hawaiian Airlines agents if they have any questions or need any help.
Also, make it clear that they should never leave the airport or even the gate area unless they are accompanied by a Hawaiian Airlines employee with a badge.
How to book unaccompanied minors on Hawaiian Airlines
When I called Hawaiian Airlines I was told that I could book an unaccompanied minor ticket online.
However, when I tried to book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor I was not allowed to proceed and got a message that said:
“If you are booking a flight for an unaccompanied minor or child under the age of 13, please contact our Reservations Department at 1-800-367-5320.”
Therefore, I think you may have to call that number to make a booking for your unaccompanied minor.
International unaccompanied minor rules
Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor rules are a little bit different for international flights.
They state that children under the age of 12 traveling on an international flight are not allowed to travel alone.
If traveling with a companion, minors under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a companion who is at least 18 years old. Note that the domestic age requirement is only 15 years old.
Hawaiian Airlines has a pretty clear-cut policy for unaccompanied minors. Compared to other airlines, they have a pretty flexible and reasonable policy when it comes to things like the age limits, route restrictions, etc. Their fees are also in line with other major airlines.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. 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.