United Airlines: Sorry Grampa Can't Come To The Gate

Reader Alanna says United Airlines told her the TSA wouldn’t let her husband escort their grandkids to the gate because there was a limit on the number of gate passes available. She asked the TSA and they told her they had no such policy. Alanna wants us to know she thinks United is “unbelievably mean.”

Alanna says:

Last summer my husband were sending our grandchildren ages 10 and 12 back to Colorado after their summer visit. When we got to the airport the United representative said that they had rules from TSA Security that only one of us could go to the gate with the children, and she refused to issue a pass for my husband. He had to hang out for two hours while the three of us went to the gate. We asked a TSA guard about the policy and he said, “That’s not our policy. They (the airline) do that whenever.” !

We thought the behavior unbelievably mean. The children were very disappointed. Their dad was leaving for Afghanistan in a few weeks and they already had plenty of emotion.

Ouch. We took a look at the TSA’s website and yes, it does seem to be entirely up to the airline. The only thing we can say is that maybe the powerless United Airlines rep is tired of feeling bad about herself as her company forces her to deny dozens of nice grampas extra time with their grandkids, so she just blamed the TSA. Not that that’s a nice thing to do either.

Most travel advice sites we looked at recommend calling the airline to get the specifics of their gate pass policy before leaving for the airport. United Airline’s policy on unaccompanied minors is here, but doesn’t mention the number of gate passes available.