Whether you want to accompany your little or elderly parents or are simply willing to wait for a military friend/family member at the airport without a ticket, airport gate passes can help you a lot. By having it, you can easily access certain airport areas such as the terminal.

How to Get Airport Gate Passes?

At some airports, you will find free gate passes while others may charge a minimal fee. Speaking about the airlines, most US-based carriers offer easy access to those who are accompanying a military member, a child with special needs, accompanied minors, and so on.

How to Get Gate Passes with Airlines?

Gate passes or escort passes are typically issued by the airlines, not the airport. When it comes to the airport gate pass requirements, they will vary from one carrier to another. Hence, visitors/guests must check with their respective airlines about the gate passes and related rules.

Below are the details about the top US-based air operators that you can consider to grab gate passes easily:

1. Alaska Airlines

Being a popular airline, it aims to provide its passengers as well as visitors with a smooth and pleasing experience. Speaking about the visitors accompanying a passenger, they can obtain escort passes from the airline.

However, it is essential to note down the following beforehand:

  • These passes can only be obtained by the family members and guardians assisting an unaccompanied minor.
  • They can get these passes from the Alaska Airlines counters at their departure airport.
  • A maximum of up to two adults along with all kids who are below 13 years of age can get the passes.
  • To get the passes, the suggested time to reach the airport is at least 90 minutes before the flight.
  • In case a pass is needed to assist someone with special needs, 1 or 2 non-traveling passengers can get it.
  • Due to security reasons, such passengers will need to avail of the airport security gate pass.
  • For this, they should visit the airport at least 2 hours before the expected time of departure.

2. American Airlines

In order to grab escort passes, one should head to the ticket counter of American Airlines. Every form related to escorting people such as elderly people, minors, persons with special assistance, etc. is available at the ticket counter of this carrier at every airport.

3. Delta Air Lines

With this carrier, every person who is offering assistance to their little ones, elderly members, etc. at the airport will get gate or escort passes. To obtain these passes, Delta has certain requirements.

These include:

  • Anyone who needs to provide assistance to a special flyer can pass airport security checkpoints with these passes.
  • To get the passes, they will have to check in at the airline’s ticket counter.
  • With the gate passes, they can easily enter the airport and through the security without any ticket.
  • To accompany minors who are traveling alone, Delta gives passes to designated or legal guardians or parents.
  • These passes allow them to stay with their child until Delta flight departs.
  • While availing passes to receive an arrival child, the designated person will need to show a valid ID.
  • In case the name of the designated person does not match with the ID, Delta will not let them meet the child.
  • When someone needs a gate or escort pass, they will need to inform the departure airport at least 2 hours before the expected arrival at the airport.

4. JetBlue Airways

Although the rules of JetBlue for assisting minors at the airport are convoluted, one can definitely request passes.

In order to accompany a child to or from the airport gate, one will need to remember the following caveat:

  • The guidelines may vary from one airport to another. Hence, it is suggested to check with the departure/arrival airport before submitting a request for escort passes.
  • The policies of JetBlue regarding the passes are quite straightforward.
  • Every companion can get gate passes to assist a passenger with special needs at all domestic airports in the USA.
  • The request for these passes can be submitted at JetBlue ticket counters.
  • A valid ID issued by the government will be needed to get these passes.
  • The ID should have a photograph.
  • The issuance of visitor passes at the airport is subject to the airport’s security conditions.
  • Family members of military personnel can get the passes at the airport and enter the security area.

5. United Airlines

Being a top-rated airline in the country, it never disappoints its customers. When it comes to gate passes, it contains easy-to-follow rules while departing within and outside the USA. They are:

  • Gate passes can be collected from the check-in counter to get through the security and gates with a minor.
  • At the airport gate, companions will need to introduce themselves to the officials of the airline.
  • After this and thorough checks, you will be allowed to sit with your child until he or she boards the flight.
  • When outside the USA, a designated official of United Airlines will meet you at the airline’s ticket or check-in counter.
  • They will assist you along with your child through customs and security.
  • In case you are an active military member, you can get gate passes as well as special passes to access the airline’s lounge – United Club.

6. Southwest Airlines

Non-ticketed visitors can also avail of escort passes with Southwest Airlines.

The airline typically issues these passes to those who are coming to meet or accompany any of the below:

  • Unaccompanied minors who are below 5-11 years of age and traveling alone.
  • A traveler with any kind of disability.
  • Young passengers who are under the age of 18 years.
  • A family member of the USA military services departing or arriving.
  • In order to get the passes, one will need to head to the ticket counter and ask the customer service agent of this carrier.

How to Receive a TSA Military Family Gate Pass?

In 2004, the Transportation Security Administration or TSA said that family members of active military services will get special passes to accompany or escort.

In order to get these passes, the family members have to go through the following process:

  • They will need to go through the ticket line while the ticketed passenger is checking in.
  • After this, they should proceed through the security station.
  • Upon request, the airline will issue the gate pass.
  • In case they want to meet an arriving passenger, they have to inquire about the USO Office first.
  • Since this division works closely with TSA, smooth and secure access or passes can be obtained by the family members of military personnel.
  • A valid photo ID will be needed to get the pass.
  • As per TSA, every airport and airline has the facility to issue to gate passes to the family of the active military service members.
  • To meet or accompany the military members, their families should inform the airline/airport in advance.
  • This will ease the process and save a lot of time.

What Does Mean by Escort Passes?

Escort passes are just like boarding passes. Through this pass, he or she can easily accompany the following to the departure gate:

escort passes at the airport
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Passengers with special needs or a disability
  • Elderly parents
  • Military members

However, airport security will need to be cleared by the escort pass holders. The same rules as ticketed passengers will be abided by them. Please note that escort passes are not issued to meet arrival passengers at US airports due to immigration and customs regulations.

How to Get an Escort Pass at the Airport?

To get an escort pass at the airport, the visitor will need to go to their airline’s check-in point or counter. After this, they will need to show a photo ID and request a pass. Besides, you can also inform the airline in advance to get the passes. 

Once you obtain the pass, you will be permitted to go through the security screening along with the passenger who needs your assistance. The pass can help you go to the departure gate.

Please remember that no visitor with an escort pass can enter the Hall of Customs and Immigration while receiving an arriving passenger.

What is a Visitor Pass at an Airport and How to Get It?

A visitor pass is more like a permission letter for non-traveling people to enter the airport. Additionally, they can avail of amenities and services post-security. With this pass, one can spend more time with their loved ones or simply dine and shop at the airport.

In the USA, different airports have different visitor pass programs to ensure convenience. For instance, non-traveling persons can opt for the Tulsa International Airport Visitor Pass Program to avail of the attached benefits.

Here are the visitor or airport gate pass requirements:

  • One can apply for the visitor pass online by visiting the airport’s website.
  • This can be done on the travel day or at least 7 days in advance.
  • To prevent slot filling, it is good to apply in advance.
  • A photo ID issued by the government will be needed to request a visitor pass.
  • Once the form is submitted, TSA will thoroughly review the request.
  • The approval and pass will be sent by email.
  • Non-traveling guests will have to showcase the printed visitor pass and approval mail at the airport gate.
  • Authorities will not accept digital copies in any case.
  • The same ID will also be presented at the gate.
  • These passes are usually given on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
  • Pass holders will need to follow every TSA rule i.e. liquid rules to enter the airport.
  • The airport has the right to deny or cancel the entry due to security concerns.

What is the SeaTac Visitor Pass Program?

SeaTac (derived from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) visitor pass is also called SEA visitor pass. It is a program that helps the general public or non-flying public to visit this airport and avail of the amenities available post-security.

Just like other visitor programs, it is also intended to enable accepted visitors to have some extra time with their family and friends.

Furthermore, this pass also allows them to dine as well as shop at the airport. Kindly note that it is only for personal use. Business or commercial uses along with other unlisted uses are forbidden. In case someone does so, the participation will result in termination.

How to Apply for SeaTac Visitor Pass Programs?

Applying for the SeaTac program to obtain a visitor pass is an easy program. It can conveniently be done online by visiting the website of Port Seattle. One can do it on the same day when they want to visit or 7 days in advance.

When applied on the same day, the approval will be received within 30 minutes upon TSA’s check. In case the request is submitted 7 days before the visit, TSA will send the approval after midnight.

TSA typically shares a QR code for approved requests. Anyone who receives this will need to take a printout of the code along with a photo ID to present at the airport gate.

he entries with approved requests are allowed only between 8:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M. Since only 300 passes will be issued per day, it is good to submit a request in advance to avoid any issues.

How Much is a Gate Pass at the Airport?

When it comes to the airport gate pass charges, they may vary because it is an airline-based service. In addition to this, a variation can be seen in the fee depending on the passenger type you want to accompany or escort. For instance, to accompany an unaccompanied minor, the fee will be somewhere between USD 50 and USD 150.

To know the accurate charges, visitors can do the following:

  • Contact the airline at the time of the booking to know their gate pass and related policies.
  • The same is the best way to know the exact charges.
  • In case these are not done, head to the airline’s ticket counter for details.
  • Here, visitors can request the gate passes by paying directly.

How to Get an Airport Gate Pass?

Getting airport gate passes is an easy process. A person coming to receive or accompany an unaccompanied minor, an active duty military member, an elderly parent, or a person with any disability can use this pass.

To get a pass, one can directly approach the airline with the ticketed passenger is going to fly. After filling out the gate pass form and paying the applicable fee, they will obtain the same. Along with this, family members of military services may also get special passes to access lounges.

A visitor/gate/escort pass is intended to allow the non-traveling or general public to access the airport facilities while accompanying or assisting their loved ones. This is generally an airline-based service but some airports also offer passes through special programs. One can get an airport security gate pass and spend extra time with unaccompanied minors, elderly parents, military members, etc.

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Anne Burke

I am a globetrotter with a passion for exploring the world's diverse cultures and landscapes. Alongside, I write articles for airports and related services, offering insights into travel experiences and airport amenities.

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