As career safety professionals, we understand our role in the transfer of custody of Unaccompanied Minors (UMNRs) to appropriate Customer Service personnel. In our continuing effort to ensure the security of UNMRs, United recently announced enhanced policies and revised procedures for unaccompanied minors (UMNRs) that were initiated this past spring and into the early summer months.
On July 30, 2019, United will engage in yet another step of safety concerning UNMR travel as they launch the new Unaccompanied Minor App as a key component of protection in regards to UMNRs entrusted to our care.
The new app is designed to allow tracking of UMNRs as they transition from check-in to the final parental or guardian hand-off. The app provided process will allow Flight Attendants to utilize their Link to scan the barcode located on the UMNRs wristlet as the customer service representative transitions the UMNR to the Flight Attendant during the boarding process and again once the Flight Attendant transitions the UNMR to the customers service representative.
The company has issued an user guide, that provides detailed functionality of this new app available on Flying Together. Additionally, Revision #29, which is effective August 1, 2019 contains the details of the new UMNR app procedures and is currently available for download.
Despite these new tools, the best and most secure place for Flight Attendants to secure the custody of UMNRs is onboard the aircraft. Some years ago, AFA and the company settled an MEC Grievance (MEC 17-93) with an agreement where it was mutually understood that Flight Attendants secure unaccompanied minors onboard the aircraft and ground personnel have an obligation to come to the aircraft for the transfer of custody. While management might prefer that we escort the UMNRs off the airplane, we’re receiving reports that when agents are required to manage the transfer of custody in the gate room, they are subject to multiple competing priorities, including the timely dispatch of the next outbound flight.
We have reminded Inflight management of the terms of the Settlement of MEC 17-93 and have advised that we believe it is in everyone’s best interest to maintain that time-tested process. That is, the transfer of custody of UMNRs is best accomplished planeside. For this reason, we encourage you to maintain custody of the UMNR on the aircraft and that you call for an Airport Operations Agent to come to the airplane to secure the UMNR.