Child on a separate PNR

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Maximizer, May 1, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    Hi all,

    I will be taking a trip this summer with my two kids. I am contemplating the option of buying two tickets and using US miles for the third. This would mean a separate PNR for one of the passengers, although of course all of us will be booked on the same flights.

    Will this present any problems? I suppose when I book the award via US Airways I don't need to be telling them it is for a child. But once I book, should I or should I not call UA and let them know?

    I think I don't need to tell them anything. No one should care that we are on separate PNRs. Right?

    Thanks!
     
  2. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I've traveled with my young kids on different PNRs a number of times and never had a problem.
     
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  3. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I don't see why you would have trouble with the kids on a separate PNR. But if you're traveling without the other parent, especially overseas (and definitely if you're going to Mexico) you may want to carry a notarized letter from the other parent okaying the trip. You certainly shouldn't need this domestically but the unusual PNR situation might possibly call attention to you at check-in.
     
  4. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    I have done it domestically with no problem.....and for the exact same reasons you describe. I flew UA on $ and she flew US Airways on miles. Thankfully, no one seemed to care.
     
  5. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    The only thing I'd worry about is IRROPS where they might want to IDB a passenger, and it'd be easier to keep the little one with an adult if on the same PNR. A lone adult on a PNR could travel alone.
     
  6. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I would check with the airline just in case they want to give you any grief about the child traveling alone... you might very well go through the whole process and book with no problems, and the PNR might be marked as an unaccompanied minor, which could be a problem.

    I don't think it would be an issue once you're there but indeed when you book with US you have to tell them it's for a child, which might trigger some kind of automatic thing. Even now on their site if you try to do this they spit out their policy at you to make sure you're aware.

    As per their site:

    * Children under 5 can't travel without a parent/guardian
    * Children 5-14 get hit with a $100 fee each way on non-stop flights (connecting flights are not allowed)

    Again, it probably won't make a difference once you're at the airport, but I'd rather be safe than sorry and double check and make sure the PNR is not going to be marked somehow.

    And keep in mind that because of the non-stop flight policy for unaccompanied minors, if you actually TRY to book an award flight on the US site and select a minor with 0 adults, the system will not let you book a flight unless it's direct.
     
  7. frankmu

    frankmu Silver Member

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    I have purchased separate tickets for my kids in order to use our ecerts. Almost had a issue once when I traveled by myself with my two boys. We were on separate PNRs and I tried to prevent UDUs from kicking in, but two of us got upgraded by T24. Fortunately, the third one upgraded the morning of our flight, but I was thinking of offering two people free upgrades to first. My kids are silver, so they have some IRROP protections, but that would be a concern too. Getting E+ seating might be a problem.

    Of course, with the new policy of splitting PNRs for upgrades, your family could be split up anyway. Had that happen recently, where our family of four with two PNRs got split up into four PNRs.
     
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  8. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    Yes, that's my concern - if I tell them it's a child then I'll have to deal with the hassle of actually explaining to someone that even though it is a reservation for a child alone, an adult will in fact be traveling on the same flights. This may prevent me from checking in online, or even booking in the first place.

    If I omit this bit then we should be able to cruise through the airport without ever saying a word to a UA agent. I hope.
     
  9. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    Yeah but I'm still not clear on this omission bit... :)

    Are you going to call them on the phone and book? Is your flight direct?

    I ask because the site itself will prevent you from booking, and even if you lie about the age to get around the restrictions you will eventually have to hand out traveler info which will show age - namely dob.
     
  10. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    Hmm, I think you right, I haven't thought this through completely :)

    The flights are non-stop UA metal both ways. The kids' ages are 2 and 5. I would rather use the award ticket for the 2-year-old, but if that's not possible then I would settle for the 5-yo. But paying the $100 is not worth it.

    Since I'm using US miles I will have to call US (because they can't book any partner awards online). Will they ask me the age and not let me book for a child, or require the $100 fee to be paid at time of booking?

    If I can manage to book without the extra fee then I think it should be no problem. Even if I have to do airport/agent check-in we should be ok since the child clearly isn't traveling alone at that point.
     
  11. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    I think you should call and find out, ahead of time, so that there are no surprises when you call later to book. The 2 year old is obviously not traveling alone, but technically he'd be alone on the PNR so I have no idea what the US/United systems would do when they saw that. :)
     
  12. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    I have had kids on separate PNRs, and the system was happy to accept their DOB. They might not be able to OLCI, but there won't be any issue at the airport.

    I would, however, worry about problems with upgrades, as frankmu mentioned above. I had similar issues on a recent trip to Mexico, and I am just as worried about an upcoming ORD-SFO trip.

    Another potential problem is keeping you all seated together. Aircraft substitutions sometimes trigger seat re-assignment: you may not get seats together automatically, and if your child does not have status, he/she might end up in E-. PMUA also did periodic (random?) sweeps to kick ineligible passengers out of E+; I don't know if the new system does that. Or an agent might be looking to accommodate a status passenger and decide to move your child around.

    Basically, I try to avoid a situation like this if at all possible. If not, I keep a close watch on the itineraries.
     
  13. IMRU

    IMRU Silver Member

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    I do this all the time, and it's not a problem. However, last week I had a problem with the "secured traveler" program (or whatever its called): we had to produce an ID for my daughter since she had a different PNR. She had her school ID, which was acceptable both to the clerk and TSA. In the past it had been sufficient to say "she's my daughter." Also, as noted again and again, on every flier bulletin board: no complaining when your seats get scattered all over the cabin and you're not sitting together, regardless of what they put in your reservation. While, it's never happened to me in 15 years and at least 20 split PNRs, I see it on every flight.
     
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  14. frankmu

    frankmu Silver Member

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    I know it's not possible for everyone, but I'm glad we have a GE card for the kids just in case the TSA gives us grief like that. We also fly enough for my kids to have silver status on United, that hopefully gives us a little more protection than the general member.
     
  15. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    Want to report back on my experience since I started this thread. All tickets were paid UA (did not get a ticket through US Airways as I was originally thinking). But at some point our plans changed so that my 2-yo ended up on a separate PNR.

    We were able to check-in online just fine. The check-in asked if any traveler is less than 13 years old. I answered yes truthfully. There were never any issues. Her boarding pass didn't look any different. I wonder why they ask about age?
     
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  16. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    Thanks for the update. It seems things work out fine unless there are some issues: IRROPS, unintended upgrade, inability to check-in online, etc. In fact, IRROPS is the biggest concern: imagine missing a connection with your 2-yo on a separate PNR and (apparently) nothing in the system linking him/her to yours.
     
  17. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    I agree. It would be logical if after asking about age, the system would require me to link the PNR to another with an adult. But they don't do that.

    I also indicated my daughter's age in her MileagePlus account. This was her first paid UA flight. Sure enough, I received a survey request from UA asking about her flight experience :) She enjoyed jumping on the seat while the plane was delayed at the gate!
     
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  18. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    I would book the tickets, call immediately (24 hour cancellation allowed) - and ask them to put a note on the PNR that your child is traveling with you and not to separate.

    This gives you some flexability in case of IRROPs, or a plane change to keep seat assignments together.
     

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