In certain situations, circumstances require that children fly alone. When a child flies without the legal guardian, they are usually called "unaccompanied minors". As such, they require special supervision, including the support of an adult. Each airline has its own rules for unaccompanied minors, including age requirements, costs, flight restrictions, and certain amenities. So, it is important to learn the rules of the airline that you plan to select, even before the flight.
Before the Flight:
- Contact the airline in advance in order to clarify everything necessary, and to get recommendations for children traveling alone.
- As a general rule, any person under the age of 17, flying on an international flight, must have a signed paper from the parent or guardian giving authorization (and that letter's requirement may differ by airline). Don't forget to check with the airline about this.
- Parents should provide information about who will meet the child at each of the airports. Usually, children are accompanied by a Flight Attendant or other airline employees and transferred to a designated person at the child's destination.
At The Airport:
- Arrive in advance. Unaccompanied minors typically board in advance, so airlines recommend allowing sufficient time for registration, and communicating expectations, flight safety, etc.
- While it's their job, make sure the airline staff knows that your child is traveling alone. Confirm that he or she will be sitting on the plane, that the Flight Attendants will be able to be sufficiently engaged with your child during the flight[s]. Usually the front or back of the cabin is ideal.
- If possible, ask your child to contact you as soon as they land, and then again, when he or she meets the person waiting at the destination.
We hope your child has an awesome experience!