Q. I'm currently up for a job as a tour escort. Do you know if it's possible to go through security at the airport and meet my party at their gate, without being a ticketed passenger?

A. Some airlines will issue something called a gate pass. The rules may vary from airline to airline, but here's what Northwest has to say on gate passes:

Gate passes are provided free of charge at the airport and issued under certain circumstances noted below. You will need to speak to an airport check-in agent for assistance in obtaining a gate pass. This policy is applicable to flights departing the U.S. only. Due to immigration requirements gate passes are not issued by non-U.S. airports or when an international flight is arriving in the U.S.

The following situations are eligible for the issuance of a gate pass:

  • Parent/Guardian of minors under 18 traveling alone, or children that will be met at a connecting city and picked up by a parent or guardian. Note: Children do not have to participate in the Unaccompanied Minor Program for a parent or guardian to be issued a gate pass. Please see additional information about unaccompanied minors.
  • Escort for elderly passengers or passengers with disabilities needing assistance. This may include someone who will push the wheelchair, provide transfer assistance in/out of the seat, provide extensive personal assistance not provided by airline personnel such as feeding/within lavatory or a sign language interpreter. Note: The adult does not need to participate in the Adult Assistance program for the person assisting them to be issued a gate pass. Please see additional information about the Adult Assistance Program.
  • Oxygen providers. This may be an employee from a medical oxygen company who the customer has contracted with to provide oxygen on the ground or a friend or family member who will bring the oxygen to/from the gate area.
  • Military families. Families of military service personnel are permitted through the screening checkpoint with a gate pass for both departing and arriving military family members.


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