Using Delta Frequent Flier Miles to Book an Unaccompanied Minor

Here is a word of caution:  If you are booking tickets for an unaccompanied minor or teenager on Delta, you must call the airline in advance.

Delta Airlines requires all children ages 5 to 14 traveling alone to be booked as “unaccompanied minors” which entails paying an extra fee to ensure that the child is escorted by an airline representative from boarding to landing.  These tickets cannot be booked online.

A parent or designated accompanying adult must take the unaccompanied minor to the departure gate and remain until the flight has left the ground.  The pickup person at the destination must obtain a gate pass to pick up the unaccompanied minor at the gate.  These adults must be pre-registered with the airline.

Children aged 15 to 17 can travel alone and do not require payment of the $100 fee.  I booked a flight for our 15-year old daughter online, using frequent flier miles.

A representative from our daughter’s school made sure that she boarded properly.  But I forgot to call in our information to register as the “designated adult” for pick-up at the arrival gate.

Because of tight security at Reagan National Airport (DCA )in Washington, DC the Delta agents were not able to issue me a “gate pass” to get through security and meet my daughter at the arrival gate.  Per the program rules, they instructed me to call the airline to get added to the record as the responsible adult.

It felt a bit ridiculous to be standing at the Delta counter as I called the airline on my cell phone, and then waited on hold for thirty minutes.  But rules are rules; and the rules state that “changes in Designated Adult assigned to pick up minor can only be made by calling 800-221-1212; changes cannot be made at the airport.”

The moral of the story:  check the Delta rules here before booking and make sure to call the airline in advance to register as the responsible adult.

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