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Picking up a child during a layover

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Jan 6th, 2014, 04:06 PM
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Picking up a child during a layover

The parents and daughter have booked a flight to LA from Chicago with a plane change in Denver - by design. Four year old daughter (our granddaughter) has a RT ticket to Denver. During the plane change we want to pick up our gdaughter at the gate. Has anyone done something like that and how did it work? I assume we can get gate passes to get us through security to pick her up? What kind of documentation will we need beyond usual ids.?

On return I assume it will be easier since she will have a ticket and surely they will give us a gate pass to take her to the gate when her parents change planes on the return to Chicago. Any thoughts or experiences with this?
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Jan 6th, 2014, 06:32 PM
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What airline?
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Jan 6th, 2014, 07:54 PM
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Actually Southwest but the procedures should be the same for all airlines. Will call SW before but am interested in anyone's similar experience.
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Jan 6th, 2014, 07:56 PM
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What are you going to do if her parents' flight from LA to Denver is delayed or canceled?
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Jan 6th, 2014, 08:50 PM
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Simple, then she doesn't get on the plane. That is easy to handle.
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Jan 6th, 2014, 10:56 PM
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Don't assume that you will be allowed to go to the gate just because you have a good reason to do so.

You should set this up IN advance with the airline, and arrive early just in case you encounter an agent who is an idiot...seriously.

My good friend has had some widely varying experiences doing this over the last few years.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 06:25 AM
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I agree. I've known families where one parent is traveling with the kids and the other parent wants to go to the gate to help. Their experience of getting a gate pass varies widely. You should not assume you can go to the gate.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 09:56 AM
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Simple, then she doesn't get on the plane. That is easy to handle.

Are you sure it's that simple, or easy?

It would probably make her parents' lives more complicated. Not only would they have to re-book their own travel, but they also would have to deal with matching up her travel to theirs (and the added stress that would bring).

They would have to pay to change their daughter's flight, of course. But what if the replacement flight the airline gives them out of Denver has no additional seat available for their daughter? They could end up paying a substantial amount to change both their flights and hers in order to match up the itineraries.

Can they (and you) handle their being stuck in Denver (or maybe even California) for several days until they can get flights together?

The likelihood of complications might be small—but who knows what could happen when they actually travel (just look at the havoc current weather conditions are causing). It is something to keep in mind.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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Southwest is frequently canceling flights. What happens if they change the parent's Chicago-LA flight to a flight that does not go through Denver?
This all seems risky. I would pay extra and book Chicago-Denver and Denver-LA .

We use Southwest 2-3 times a week and they are usually late.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 02:35 PM
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Cranochin did you even read or understand the original posting? None of what you posted has any bearing or makes any sense. Are you even familiar with SW operations. And our experience with SW is that they are extremely reliable.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 02:55 PM
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Cranochin's post makes sense to me. I like Goldens suggestion.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 03:17 PM
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Cranachin's post addresses complications that could occur and which you might not have considered. The likelihood might be small, but if they happen, you are all in for a very complicated situation.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 03:38 PM
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fmpden, I flew Southwest from Florida to Boston just the other day, connecting through Nashville. Both of my flights ran more than an hour late, and flights departing from neighboring gates in Nashville were delayed as well, some by several hours.

And a few of them were cancelled, creating long lines for rebooking and quite a mess for travelers. So don't assume that just because the flights are on Southwest, all will go seamlessly.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 04:02 PM
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I absolutely LOVE Southwest . . . however in the latest on-time stats they rank last of all domestic US airlines.

I think your whole plan is rife w/ problems.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 04:10 PM
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<<fmpden on Jan 6,14: Actually Southwest but the procedures should be the same for all airlines>>

Well seems reasonable to think so but it ain't necessarily so - even with the same airline at different airports. You really do need to check with Southwest as it is they who would issue the gate pass you need to get through security. How old is the granddaughter?
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Jan 7th, 2014, 04:38 PM
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Per the OP the granddaughter is 4 years old . . .
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Jan 7th, 2014, 05:37 PM
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See that now, janis - guess I read right past it.
Well that would rule out expecting her to make her own way to the baggage claim area!
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Jan 9th, 2014, 05:45 PM
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We did this once, but built a huge layover into the trip at MSP. It was a big enough layover that we could leave the secure area and make the handoff. Our complicating factor was that the grandparents doing pickup were coming from 4 hours away and got delayed by a snow storm. Of course our flight wasn't delayed. Luckily, my brother lives 15 minutes from MSP and could come get our daughter and later pass her off.

I did worry about the return getting screwed up somehow, but figured we would just deal with the costs of rebooking if the problem arose. But, again we built in a very big layover to limit the possibility of problems.
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Jan 10th, 2014, 11:47 AM
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You may be able to arrange for a pass to get to a gate but in case that doesn't work one parent could just bring the child out to meet you outside the secure area. Just be sure that parent brings their boarding pass for the next segment and their ID so that they can then go back through security.
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Apr 21st, 2014, 03:42 PM
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Just thought I would report back. It went very smooth given all of the dire predictions dreamed up by posters who had no actual experience with the question but are experts never the less. I had asked for responses for someone who had done it.

We are all very experienced travelers and understand well how airplanes and airports work. We had plenty of time on the outbound leg so our son brought her out of the secured area. He has PreCheck so it was quick and easy for him to return through security and his next plane. We made no attempt to get a gate pass.

On the return she had her SW ticket for check-in with precheck and her ID. Technically she did not qualify for an unaccompanied minor since she was too young. But the SW agent gave us the gate passes because we also have the parent's schedule showing them coming in on a United flight. We had a three hour window with enough time for breakfast. The TSA agents on the precheck line all smiled at her and hardly paid any attention to the grandparents. Could not have been easier or simpler. Will probably do it again.
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