Airline Travel Beginners
Tips for Children Traveling Alone
If you are thinking about sending your child on a flight by themselves, here are some things to consider:
Every airline accommodates children traveling alone differently. Some do not accept at all. Most major airlines do. The airline I work for considers under 15 a child and must have UM (unaccompanied minor) services. Under 5, not allowed. 5-7 are allowed on non-stop flights only. But check with the airline you are considering for more information.
It is best to book first flight of the day, less delays. If there is a problem with a connection then there usually is another flight to connect to. Do not book on the last flight of the day, we do NOT want your child having to spend the night in a connecting city (how frightening!).
You must get a gate pass to take the child to the gate. You need to wait for the flight to take off before leaving the airport.
If you have more than 1 child going to the same destination, there will be only one charge for all. If you have a child over 16 that can and will handle the responsibility of other children, that is acceptable too.
There is paperwork to fill out. Your name/address/phone contacts. All persons meeting the child, their name/address/phone contacts. We do not allow the UM to go with someone not on the paper work.
I have seen parents try to send children without getting assistance. They lied about their age or just did not check in with an airline representative. I DO NOT recommend doing that. If we do not know about a child traveling, we cannot assist them in case of off schedule operations.
I have seen young travelers leave security, get lost at the airport and miss their flights. Not Good.
Please make sure your child has all phone contacts. Make sure they know where they are going. Who they are meeting. VERY IMPORTANT. We always ask, but sometimes paperwork gets mixed up. You do not want your child going to the wrong city.
We try to keep UM's seated together in the back of the aircraft. We also try to put the kids traveling alone in the same area. It is easier for the Flight Attendant to assist them.
On arrival to the connecting city or the final destination. The Flight Attendant will release the child to an airline representative or the person that is on the paperwork.
The person meeting them must get a gate pass to meet them at the gate. That can be obtained at the airline ticket counter. Be there early. We have had children wait a long time for someone to come pick them up.
Have a great journey!