How to Get a Gate Pass at the Airport [Through Security]

Your Answer

Sign up or log in Sign up using Google Sign up using Facebook Sign up using Email and Password

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Holiday Entertainment  

Many airports have brought back free live concerts

Many airports have brought back free live concerts, performances, and other forms of entertainment just in time for the holiday season. For example, Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) has a bright red mailbox set up to collect letters to Santa and promises a personalized response to anyone who includes their address.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) has a robust holiday performance series underway, and the 25-foot-tall water feature in Terminal B at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is rotating in a holiday-themed show with its signature program


Gate pass programs expanding

The pilot DTW Destination Pass program at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) which allows non-ticketed passengers past the security checkpoint began in October and was supposed to end this week.

But so many non-ticketed visitors are interested in visiting DTW airport to shop, dine, check out airplanes and spend more time with friends and family starting or ending their travels that airport officials have decided to keep the program going indefinitely.

“We understand that our facility is more than just an airport—it is a place where memories are made,” said WCAA CEO Chad Newton, “One participant of the program shared with us that she was able to bring her 3-year-old nephew to the airport to greet his parents and see airplanes for the first time.”

The DTW Destination Pass program is limited to 75 visitor passes per day. Passes can be used from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Check the DTW website for details about applying for a pass.

Delta Air Lines

Delta offers escort passes to people providing assistance to travelers:

Individuals who are not ticketed for travel but need to provide assistance to a customer are allowed past security checkpoints. They must check-in at the ticket counter to receive a pass that allows them through security without a ticket.


Delta requires parents or guardians to assist their unaccompanied minors, and gate passes are provided:

A parent or designated accompanying adult must take the unaccompanied minor to the departure gate and remain until the flight has left the ground.


A valid ID must be presented and signature captured of the person meeting the child. Delta will not release to anyone other than the person named. A parent or accompanying adult should report to the destination airport two hours before scheduled arrival to obtain a gate pass.


Another way to get a gate pass

If the airline just isn’t cooperating with you and getting that gate pass is extremely important to you, then considering buying a fully refundable airline ticket and just getting your money back after it has served it’s purpose. To me though, this is a lot of trouble and I would most likely just skip the idea of the gate pass.

If you have a legit reason for needing a gate pass and not just a reason for wanting one, then you shouldn’t have trouble in getting one.

Southwest Airlines

Non-passenger escort passes are issued to people accompanying or meeting any of the following passengers:

  1. An Unaccompanied Minor (children age 5 to 11 traveling alone)
  2. A person with a disability
  3. Young travelers under 18
  4. Family members of arriving and departing U.S. military service members who have been deployed or are being deployed


To get an escort pass, visit a Southwest Airlines Customer Service Agent at a ticket counter.

Can you get through airport security without a boarding pass?

Usually you need the two items above, but exceptions can be and are made. In most cases it’s only when there is good reason. Below is a list of common reasons why people might need to get a gate pass.

If you are simply worried about a child who is flying alone then an unaccompanied minor service is available for a fee at most major airlines. You may see people being pushed through terminals in wheelchairs or even riding gold carts, these services are provided by the airlines for people who can’t make it to their gates safely alone.

How to get a gate pass at the airport

  • Fill out an air carrier authorization form for escorting someone to their gate.
  • Getting a security pass at the ticket counter if picking someone up.

How to Find My Gate Number?

Your gate is written on your boarding pass and you need to find the section written “gate” with the codes consisting of letters and numbers. This code is your gate number. To be able to locate your gate, you can follow the signs or screens at the airport. Passengers can learn their gate numbers through these screens. Once the time for boarding comes, announcements regarding the gates are made through these screens. After completing your check-in prior to boarding, you can go to your head and wait for your flight. 

Why Do We Need Gates at the Airports?

Gates separate the passengers with upcoming flights from the other passengers and it is also the waiting area for these passengers. For domestic terminals, gate rules are generally not as strict as in international terminals. In some cases, the airport may not allow opening the gates and passengers are expected to follow the rules. 

What does “Gate Open/Gate Closes” mean?

Gates are divided into two as closed and open gates. An open and closed gate system saves time for passengers and it is widely used around the world. In normal circumstances, passengers pass through two security checkpoints while traveling abroad. One is at the entrance of the airport and the other one is before heading to the gates. A closed gate term is used for these cases. An “gate open” means the second security checkpoint is not active.  


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.