Rules of Thumb When Your Child is Flying Alone


in Family Vacations

When you have a child flying alone there are some things you will want to do to help ensure their safety. Follow some of these rules of thumb to help ensure their safety and protect them from getting lost, stranded, etc.:

1.Put them on direct flights. Most airlines will not allow children under seven to be on connecting flights. However, no matter what age your child is, if they are flying unaccompanied, it is always safest not to put them on connecting flights. There is always a chance they will get lost, or that they will miss their connection and be stuck overnight in a strange city. Avoid this possibility from even happening, as if it does you will probably be scared out of your mind. Book direct flights only. If there are no direct flights, then make sure you put them on one of the earliest flights of the day, that way if they do happen to miss their connection, they can catch a later flight, and at least not have to spend the night in a strange city.

2.Use the Unaccompanied Minor service if your child is younger, or if you are a little worried. This means they will be assisted by airline personnel. Usually a fee of $40 – $100 will be charged for this service, but this is well worth the price if your child has a connecting flight. This service means that they will make sure once your child is checked in that they will end up on the plane, and stay on the plane. It will make sure they call you if someone is not there to pick up your child. So, check out the option, and weigh the cost versus the possible benefits.

3.Make sure you fill out the right forms, and make sure any pertinent information is listed. For example, on the forms you will be asked to detail medical considerations. Don’t forget anything, just in case. You will be putting their full name, information on how to reach you, etc. You can go as far as listing their pediatrician if that makes you feel better.

4.Make sure that upon arrival, the airline will have any unaccompanied children escorted from the aircraft by a flight attendant and released to the person named by you prior to departure. Many airlines require ID and the signature on a release form saying they picked them up.

Beyond that, just know what the rules are for kids to fly alone. They are as follows:

Children ages one to four may fly only when accompanied by an adult. A child must be at least five to fly alone.

Kids ages five through seven can only take a direct flight to a single destination but not connecting flights.

Those eight and up may change aircrafts, but if they’re ages eight to eleven, they will be escorted by airline personnel to their connecting flight, but you will probably be charged for this. You can request that older kids, ages twelve through fifteen, are escorted as well.

Anyone under the age of seventeen who is flying alone on an international flight must have a signed note from a parent or responsible adult giving permission, destination and length of stay.

Minors must be met at the destination by another parent or responsible adult that is named by the person who booked the flight.

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