United Airlines Expands Age Range For Children Flying Alone Who Are Required To Use $150 Service

If you’ve got a tween who’s preparing to fly alone on United Airlines, you might end up paying a fee you weren’t prepared for: United Airlines has quietly expanded the age range of children who have to use a $150 service when flying without an accompanying adult, raising it from an upper limit of age 12 to age 15.

Any tickets sold after Dec. 14 for children ages 5 to 15 who are flying alone will require a $150 fee for the airline’s “unaccompanied minor service,” according to United’s new policy. That service includes airline employees ushering children to their seats and making sure they’re picked up by a designated adult upon landing.

As for why the airline made the change, United seems to have just decided 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds need adults around to fly.

“We made a thoughtful review of the policy and decided that this change will provide the best possible care for these travelers,” United spokesman Charles Hobart told the Los Angeles Times.

It’s also a great way to get more money out of travelers, without adding any value, one airline revenue consultant told the LAT. The airline could’ve offered some kind of upgrade to the service, he says, instead of just dropping the new policy on parents.

“Obviously, they are going to generate more revenue from this,” he said. “They should make an attempt to improve the product.”

Delta and American Airlines charge the same $150 for unaccompanied minors, for kids ages 5 to 15. Southwest only requires the service for youths age 5 to 11, for $50.

United Airlines makes changes to program for children flying alone [Los Angeles Times]