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The JetBlue unaccompanied minor policy is pretty standard but there are some importance differences compared to some of the major airlines like Delta, American, etc. So you’ll definitely want to read this article and find out about those.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the unaccompanied minor policy for JetBlue including things like fees, forms, and all the rules. I’ll also walk you through the entire experience so you’ll know what to expect and then finally offer some tips to make your experience as smooth as possible.
What is the JetBlue unaccompanied minor policy?
JetBlue requires children ages five through thirteen traveling without an accompanying passenger aged 14 or older to travel as unaccompanied minors (UMs).
What are the JetBlue unaccompanied minor fees?
The JetBlue unaccompanied minor service fee is $150 each way for both domestic and international flights. This can be booked and paid online when making a reservation on jetblue.com. $150 is not as cheap as Southwest (which is only $50) but it is on par with the legacy carriers (which charge $150).
Tip: Save on unaccompanied minor fees by using airline credits from some of the best travel credit cards like the Amex Gold Card.
JetBlue unaccompanied minor rules
As stated, you must pay the unaccompanied minor fee for children traveling alone between the ages of five and 14. A child who has already reached their 14th birthday and is traveling alone is not considered an unaccompanied minor. But that doesn’t mean that your minor still can’t get special assistance. If you would like to request special assistance for your minor, you can call: 1-800-JETBLUE.
If a minor has already turned 14 by the date of the flight, that minor may accompany another minor between the ages of 2 and 13 and the younger minor may be escorted without the unaccompanied minor status.
Unaccompanied minors may not travel with an infant between the ages of three days and two years or a child between the ages of 2 and 4 years.
JetBlue only allows unaccompanied minors on nonstop flights. There are no exceptions, so you cannot book connecting flights. Also, unlike Southwest, JetBlue does not allow unaccompanied minors on direct flights (flight that makes a stop but do not change aircraft). So JetBlue is one of the least friendly when it comes to booking connections for unaccompanied minors.
JetBlue also does not provide any escort for unaccompanied minors to flights connecting with other airlines.
Limit of three unaccompanied minors
JetBlue limits the number of unaccompanied minors booked on each flight to a total of three. Thus, the maximum number of unaccompanied minors that you could send out would be three.
Unaccompanied minors will always be seated in seats “ABC” on the last row of the aircraft. This is different from other airlines that don’t alway have a specific spot on the plane where children will sit. Due to the proximity to the lavatory (which is located in the back of the plane) this is a perfect place for younger kids to sit to prevent accidents.
Want more details? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Unaccompanied Minor Policies
How to book a JetBlue unaccompanied minor reservation
When you attempt to proceed to book a flight on JetBlue.com for a child with no adult you will see the following pop-up screen, notifying you of all of the unaccompanied minor requirements.
As you proceed through the booking, you will then see the unaccompanied minor fee added in to your total.
JetBlue unaccompanied minor form (PDF)
Here is the JetBlue unaccompanied minor form. As you can see, you’ll need the information for the parent/guardian dropping off the child as well as the parent/guardian picking up the child. Be sure to enter the name as it appears on the photo ID of the person dropping off and picking up the child.
JetBlue requires you to fill out and print three copies of this form when you arrive at the airport.
I would be sure to review the fine print in the disclaimer at the bottom of the form just so you know what you could potentially be held liable for.
I authorize JetBlue to take whatever actions its employees and agents consider appropriate to ensure the Child safe custody, up to and including returning the Child to the airport of departure. I also agree to indemnify and hold harmless JetBlue from and against all claims resulting from taking such action and to reimburse JetBlue for any reasonable costs incurred therefrom. I confirm that the Child has all necessary travel documents, as well as sufficient funds to pay any immigration/transit fees or taxes, required by the applicable laws of each country to which the Child is traveling
Also, while you can list medication conditions and allergies, ” JetBlue crewmembers do not administer any medication.”
Dropping off at the airport
Give yourself plenty of time
One mistake that many people make when dealing with unaccompanied minors is that they don’t plan properly and fail to allocate sufficient time to make it through the airport. When you’re dealing with an unaccompanied minor, you’re going to need to find time to:
- Park the car
- Obtain your escort pass
- Submit documents
- Get through security
- Check in at the gate
- Arrive in time for pre-boarding
So be sure to arrive earlier than you usually would if it were just a normal flight. Your goal will be to arrive at the gate no less than 45 minutes prior to the flight’s scheduled departure time.
At the time of check-in the adult with the unaccompanied minor must provide the following documents:
- Photo ID (License, passport etc.)
- Contact phone number and address
- The name, address, and phone number of the adult meeting the unaccompanied minor at the destination
Note that if you are given a gate pass, it is still TSA’s decision as to whether a young child may pass through security with the adult, so it’s not 100% guaranteed. Also, not all airports issue gate passes, especially when trying to get one for an international arrival. Check the unaccompanied minor section under the specific airport the unaccompanied minor is traveling from to determine if a gate pass may be issued.
For some international destinations, you’ll need to provide additional documentation for the minor when departing. For example, you might be required to submit a notarized letter that spells out specific information like:
- Parent’s names
- Child’s Name
- Name of anyone traveling with the child
- Notarized signature of the absent parent (s)
- Travel Dates
- Brief summary of reason for traveling
Or you might need to supply a copy of their birth certificate and a copy of their parent’s or legal guardian’s ID. Thus, it’s a good idea to contact the nearest embassy or consulate to get the latest info on these special requirements. You can also click here to see requirements for many of these countries.
Must be accompanied until the plane departs
A parent or guardian must remain in the gate area until the flight is in the air. This is a key thing to remember because many people assume that they don’t need to stick around after escorting the minor to the gate which is a big mistake.
The reason you need to stick around is that the plane could come back to the gate even after it has left the gate and the airlines want to make sure that someone will be around to look after the minor in that scenario.
After the plane has departed be sure to call the parent/guardian picking up the child to let them know that the flight has departed.
In the air
A JetBlue flight attendant will keep tabs on the child during the flight but they do not continuously monitor them (they aren’t babysitters). Therefore, you want to make sure that your child is okay with being left along for a little before deciding to to let them fly alone.
The goods news is that JetBlue has in-flight entertainment which should keep them busy, though I would recommend to give them a small back pack with toys, a tablet, etc., which will help occupy your child. Note: JetBlue accepts no responsibility for the content viewed by your child.
Snacks are always a good thing, too, though JetBlue does provide in-flight food (for a cost).
The person picking up the minor will need to check in at the JetBlue ticket counter to obtain an escort pass so they can get through security. This person must be at least 18 and they must show a valid, government-issued ID.
JetBlue states that parents and guardians picking up an unaccompanied minor should arrive at the gate 30 minutes prior to scheduled arrival but I would recommend 45 minutes to be on the safe side.
Many times planes can arrive very early which is why they want you to arrive so early. The parent or guardian will need to present a valid government-issued photo ID at the time of pick up.
JetBlue will not release an Unaccompanied Minor to anyone other than the designated parent or guardian listed on the form. If something unexpected comes up and that guardian can’t make it to the pick-up, you need to call JetBlue ASAP to modify the form.
Overall, the JetBlue unaccompanied minor policy is pretty straightforward. It has very similar age requirements compared to other airlines and the unaccompanied minor fees are in the middle of the pack. I like that they have three designated seats in the back of the plane (near the lavatory) but they do impose strict rules on connections so that’s a bit of a bummer.
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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.