Children flying alone – Everything parents should know

If you are willing to take your child on a flight as a minor, then make sure that you take all the necessary precautions for your child’s safety. Millions of people travel with their child every year to a tourist destination, or on a business journey.

As per reports, about 44,000 of flights fly across 29 million square miles every day carrying 2.7 million passengers. Out of these 2.7 million passengers, about thirty to forty percent of the people have children with them.

In this particular year, it is expected that the total number of passengers travelling by air will increase up to 4.6 billion passengers.

With the increase in the number of passengers, there will be a significant increase in the number of children who will either be travelling alone or with their parents.

What is the age for a child to fly alone?

The airline is considered to be the safest mode to travel across the world. What’s important to know is how safe is it for your child to travel alone by air?

Children whose age ranges from between 5 to 14 and are travelling alone on the flight, are considered to be “unaccompanied minors”. For the kids whose age ranges between 15 to 17, the service provided to unaccompanied minor becomes optional.

Most of the airlines usually don’t allow children who are below the age of 7 to make appropriate connections in the first place, but in circumstances where the minor is old enough to switch flights, they are the ones helped by the airline attendants.

Some airlines will not even allow a minor who is below the age of 11 to switch planes. Besides this, some airlines don’t take the risk to allow unaccompanied children who are willing to travel internationally. To check further on the policies of different airlines, you could consider taking assistance from Faremart customer care, who help you detail everything for 450 + different airlines.

If you are willing to send your child as an unaccompanied minor by air, then you will be asked to complete a form, filling in all the necessary personal details of the child. This would include the name of the child, his or her age, and other important and relevant information.

Once the child arrives in the destination, he or she will be assisted by the airline representative and will be escorted out of the airport once the responsible adult referred by you (while filling in the form, you will also have to mention the referred person’s details who will be visiting the arrival airport) receives him or her.

General Guidelines

The rules of the airline vary from one service provider to the other, but here are some of the best things to remember and expect.

You must keep in mind that the below-listed age criteria will reflect on the travel date, and not during the time you are booking the flight.

–    Children whose age ranges between 1 to 4 have to be accompanied by their parents or a guardian who is an adult. Children who are above the age of 5 can fly solo in some circumstances.

–    Children whose age ranges between 5 to 7 are allowed to board direct flights to a specific destination. They are not allowed to fly if there are connecting flights between their journey.

–    Children who are above the age of 8 can change flights. This also depends on the airline service providers and their rules and regulations. While changing flights, they will be assisted by the airline personnel.

–    Children who are under the age of 17 and travelling outside the country are required to submit a signed authorisation letter, as a letter of consent from their parents or guardians stating that they are travelling alone, on the responsibility of the responsible guardians or parents.

As most of the guidelines vary from one flight service provider to another, you have to contact the air carriers in order to know and understand their policies.

Other considerations

Some of the airlines usually don’t allow minors who are unaccompanied by their parents or guardians to fly on connecting flights that are scheduled to arrive or depart within 9:00 pm to 5:00 am.

To know more about the policies, you can read the terms and conditions mentioned while booking the flights.

After completing all the necessary paperwork and paying all the fees at the check-in counter, a parent or an adult will have to obtain a special pass that allows the person to pass through the checkpoints within the airport.

The parent or the guardian has to accompany the child to the boarding gate, and have to wait for the plane to take off completely before leaving the airport.

As a parent, you will also have to take care of the baggage of the children.

For example, if you are travelling with Air Canada, then you will have first read the policy and guidelines for Air Canada unaccompanied minor and understand its procedure.

Important tips for parents of unaccompanied minors

As your child will be travelling alone to the destination for the first time, you will have to take additional care of your child and make him or her aware of things that they should be doing in the flight.

As a parent or guardian, you will also have to ensure the safety of your child and make sure that he or she reaches the destination safely.

We have come up with a list of important tips that will help you in sending your child to a different place all alone by air.

  • Never wait to inform the airline service provider that your child will be travelling as an “unaccompanied minor” on their flights. Don’t wait to reach the airport and then informing them about your child.
  • Always provide the appropriate information to the customer service representatives and flight attendants so that they can take care of your child in case of any issues or concerns.

Make them aware of any health issues your child is suffering from, so that they know how to treat or control it when the flight is in the air.

  • Try to buy non-stop flying tickets rather than choosing connecting flights in order to save money.

Non-stop flights ensure that your child reaches directly to the destination, while there is always a certain amount of risk involved in connecting flights.

If the child is in a position to make connections easily, i.e. if he or she is old enough to understand how to make connections, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, it is always advised to choose non-stop flights over connecting flights.

  • Ensure that your child carries all the necessary emergency information, so that in case of any issues or complications, he or she can contact you directly. Besides this, it will also be easy for the airline attendants or any other person to contact you easily.

Final Words

Your aim should be to make sure there are enough safety arrangements that you have made from your side, so that nothing goes wrong for your child.

As a parent, you might feel nervous or anxious, but you don’t need to worry too much. The flight attendants and crew are highly skilled professionals and will take care of your child.

*Colloborative post* 

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