How Old Do You Have To Be To Fly Alone

How Old Do You Have To Be To Fly Alone

Posted on 6th Jul, 2022 by Navneet Kaur , Updated 9 months ago

Have an idea about how old do you have to be to fly alone? Or, we can say that if your child is traveling for the first time, what should their age be? Flying can be complicated, and it can be hard to imagine your child doing it alone. As a parent, it’s understandable to feel anxious about sending your child on a solo flight. Sometimes, flying alone can be an exciting adventure for kids! Also, it is important to remember that children travel alone all the time and are often able to handle the experience just fine.

Therefore, no matter how old you are, with proper planning and preparation, a safe and fun flying experience can be enjoyed! Here are the complete guidance and important points regarding airline policies and tips that can help the process go smoothly.

How To Book A Flight For Your Children?

When a child flies without a parent or guardian, it is referred to as an Unaccompanied Minor and requires supervision. But what exactly does that mean? And how can you make sure your child is safe when flying alone? 

Every day, airlines transport unaccompanied minors (UMs) safely to their destinations. Children can travel by plane using unaccompanied minor programs in the United States alone. Larger air carriers handle the transport of UMs daily and have trained staff and designated waiting areas at their hubs. It is estimated that as many as 7 million children yearly travel by plane using unaccompanied minor programs in the United States alone.

Airline Policies For Unaccompanied Minors

Airline Policies For Unaccompanied Minors

This is a great option for parents who need to travel without their children. Unaccompanied Minors flights offer supervision to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for your child. Each airline has different requirements regarding age, cost, flight limitations, and amenities, but this option is definitely worth investigating. Check out the table below to find out how old do you have to be to fly alone based on airline policies:

AirlineAge RangeDirect Flights Or Non-Stop Flights FeeConnecting Flights FeeRestrictions
Air Canada8-17 yearsUSD 100Not PermittedAvailable on non-stop flights only
Alaska Airlines5-17 yearsUSD 50USD 75 & Not Available for less than 8 years oldChildren traveling alone are not permitted to travel to or from Sun Valley, Idaho (SUN) between 12 DEC and 1 APR. Travel may not commence between 9:00 and 17:00.
American Airlines5-17 yearsUSD 150Not PermittedAmerican Airlines unaccompanied minor services are available on non-stop flights only
British Airways14-17 yearsUSD 150Not PermittedUnaccompanied Minor are not allowed to fly on a night-stop, A transfer/stopover exceeding four hours, A transfer/connection between airports within the same city, Standby basis and Connecting itineraries booked on separate tickets.
Delta Air Lines5-17 yearsUSD 150 for less than 4 childrenSame Price Not Available for less than 8 years oldUnder Delta unaccompanied minor policies, children are not allowed on red-eye flights (between 21:00 and 5:00), except for departure from Alaska or Hawaii and connections to/from international flights.
Frontier Airlines5-14 years$110 each way, per child.Not PermittedFly on Nonstop or Direct flights only.
Hawaiian Airlines5-11 years“Within the State of Hawaii: USD 35.00 for < 2 children Between North America and Hawaii: USD 100.00 for < 2 children"Not PermittedChildren are only allowed on non-stop flights, and they are not allowed on international flights. Any flight departing between 21:00 and 5:00 am unless the flight operates out of Honolulu.
JetBlue5-13 yearsUSD 100Same PriceAvailable on non-stop flights only
Porter Airlines8-17 yearsUSD 100Not PermittedAvailable on non-stop flights only
Southwest Airlines5-17 yearsUSD 50Not Permitted“Available on non-stop flights only As per southwest unaccompanied minor flight policies, children are not allowed to travel on international flights.”
Spirit Airlines5-17 yearsUSD 100Not PermittedAvailable on non-stop flights only
United Airlines5-14 yearsUSD 150Same PriceThis service is only available on non-stop flights. Service charges for ticketing with a United representative in the United States and Canada by phone are USD 25.
Virgin America5-17 yearsUSD 50USD 75 Not Available for less than 8 years oldChildren are not permitted to travel unaccompanied to or from Sun Valley, Idaho (SUN) between 1 December and 1 April annually. Travel may not commence between 21:00 and 05:00.
Norwegian Air5-15 years65 USDSame PriceArgentina, Brazil, Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Croix), Canada, French Guiana, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Morocco, Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America – Unaccompanied minor services are not available

Checking In An Unaccompanied Minor

  • When you arrive at the airport, go to the check-in and bag drop counters. 
  • Make sure you have your ID and your child’s ID, plus sender/receiver details to confirm with the airline staff. 
  • Once your child has received their boarding pass, go to the gate at least 30-minutes before departure. 
  • A flight attendant will meet you at the gate and go through the paperwork before boarding. Your child will be in great hands with our attentive attendants. They will make sure your little one is comfortable and entertained during the flight.
  • Once the aircraft has departed, wait for it to arrive at its destination in case it has to return to the gate for unexpected reasons. Once the aircraft has departed, you can relax, knowing your child is in good hands.

At the airport, passengers flying by themselves are greeted by friendly staff members who are happy to help them check-in and get to their gate. Moreover, once on the plane, they are introduced to the cabin crew, who ensure they are comfortable and have everything they need for a pleasant flight.

You and your child can check in at the airport and go to the gate together. Before boarding unaccompanied minor flights, a cabin crew member will be there to meet you and help your child get settled, stow away their cabin baggage and answer any questions they might have. UMs always have priority boarding, so you can ensure your child will be taken care of.

Unaccompanied Minor Documentation

You will need to provide the following documentation for your unaccompanied minor flights: 

  • A birth certificate, passport, or ID card – as minors need an Id to fly.
  • The adult’s government-issued photo ID with their current address
  • You will also need to provide the airline with your contact information in case of any changes or delays to the flight. 
  • The name, address, and phone number of the adult meeting your child at their destination
  • If your child has special medical needs, please bring along the necessary clearance forms. 
  • Finally, to help your little one feel more comfortable during the trip, bring along some of their favorite things from home.
  • Additionally, a consent letter/affidavit is signed by both parents. The attached draft of the consent letter includes all the necessary information.
  • Photocopies of parents’ passports. Also, the original passport will be shown to the check-in supervisor for verification.
  • If one of the parents is deceased, a photocopy of the death certificate should be provided.

Important Note: 

  • Be sure that the parents’ signatures on the consent letter match the signatures on the passports.
  • A birth certificate should be provided in the rare case that the child’s last name does not match the parents’.
  • If the child is under 18, they may need additional documentation when leaving the country of residence.

Suggested Read: Top 10 Tips For Enduring An International Flight With Kids

Unaccompanied Minor Flights: A Guide For Parents

Unaccompanied Minor Flights

As a parent, the thought of sending your child on a plane by themselves can be daunting. However, with a little preparation, it can be a smooth and easy process. Here are a few tips to help make sure your child’s travel experience is positive and stress-free:

Ensure Your Kid Safety

When your child is ready to travel solo on a flight, there are a few things you can do to ensure their safety and comfort. First, check with the airline to see if they have any age restrictions for solo travelers. Then, make sure your child has a passport and any other required documents. If possible, book a seat near the front of the plane so your child can easily get off the plane if they need to. Finally, pack a small bag for your child with snacks, a water bottle, and a few toys or games to keep them occupied during the flight.

Book Direct Or Non-Stop Flights

One of the best ways to ensure your child’s success is to book a non-stop flight always when they travel. That way, they won’t have to worry about missed connections or delays. And, they’ll be able to focus on their studies and extracurricular activities without having to worry about getting to their destination on time.

Book Morning Flights

Morning flights are a great option if you’re considering booking unaccompanied minor flights. They’re less likely to be delayed or canceled, and if something does happen, you’ll have the rest of the day to make alternate plans.

Choose Convenient Seats

When you are entrusting your child’s safety to an airline, it is important to choose their seat wisely. You want to make sure they are comfortable and safe during the flight. Importantly, if your child is flying alone, be sure to choose a seat near the front of the plane. This will give them easier access to the flight attendants if they need anything. Additionally, you may want to choose a window seat for your child. This will give them something to look at during the flight.

Choose Right Baggage

Make travel a breeze for your little ones by choosing the right luggage for unaccompanied minor flights. Opt for something lightweight and easy to carry so they can easily navigate the airport. Plus, picking out a colorful bag will help them spot it on the conveyor belt in no time.

Provide Cash Or Cards

As a parent, it’s important to make sure your child has enough money to cover their needs, whether it’s for buying something, paying for food, or anything else that might come up. By doing so, you can help your child thrive and feel confident in their ability to take care of themselves. Also, note that the airline is not responsible for your child’s well-being, so it’s important to be prepared.

Track Their Location Always

It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan for communication in case of emergencies. If your child has a phone, make sure you can FaceTime them on Wi-Fi if they don’t have service. And don’t forget to be able to track your child’s location with their device. Another is to provide them with a list of printed contacts they can reach out to if needed and teach them to ask an airline employee to contact you or another designated guardian if they can’t reach you. It’s important to stay close to a phone and available throughout your child’s journey.

Contact Airline Before Flight

In order to make sure your children have the best possible experience when traveling alone, it is important to contact your preferred carrier in advance to get specific information and guidelines. By doing this, you can ensure that you are prepared for everything and that your children will have a smooth journey.

Some Of The Important Points To Keep In Mind

  • When booking flights for unaccompanied minors, you are paying for their safe transport from one destination to another. While airline employees will keep an eye on your child and check in periodically, they are not responsible for providing constant supervision. If your child needs constant supervision, they are not ready to fly without you. So, it is important to note that airline employees are there to ensure your safety and comfort during your flight. They are not babysitters but are more than happy to help your kids with anything they need during their travels.
  • If you’re younger than 17 and flying solo internationally, you’ll need a signed note from a parent or guardian indicating their permission and your destination and length of stay. Ensure to provide the right information to your parents, including who will drop you off and pick you up at each airport. Once you’re on the plane, a flight attendant will escort you off the aircraft and release you to the designated person.
  • Don’t forget to pick up your special pass at the airport! This pass will allow you to go through security and to the gate with your child. It’s always a good idea to stay at the gate even after the flight is boarded, just in case the plane returns to the gate for any reason. Once the flight is in the air, you can relax!
  • If you’re planning to have your child fly as the UMs, give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. You’ll need to complete some extra paperwork at the check-in counter, and there may be lines at both security and the check-in counter. However, the process is generally smooth, and you’ll be able to relax once your child is safely on the plane.
  • Track your child’s flight to ensure they arrive safely. You’ll be able to stay in contact with the person picking them up, and they will have your contact information in case of any issues. It’s important that your child knows to stay at the airport and not leave with a stranger. They can always approach airport personnel for help if needed.

What To Expect When Unaccompanied Minor Flights Arrive?

It is important to list a parent or guardian on the UMs forms who will be picking up your child at the gate once they arrive. The person listed on the form must present an ID in order to pick up the child from the airline. Airlines are legally required to ensure that children are only handed over to those listed on the documentation or who can provide proper identification. This protects children from being taken by someone who is not authorized to do so.

Suggested Read: 10 Awesome Airline That Give Discounts for Students in US

Parents or guardians of unaccompanied minors can rest assured that their children will be taken care of throughout their journey. The flight attendant will take care of the child from the moment they board the plane until they are delivered to the waiting parent or guardian at their destination. The forms signed at the start of the journey will be completed with the signatures of the flight attendant and the receiving parent or guardian, ensuring that the child is delivered safely to their loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: If you are wondering whether you need to book your child as a UM, the answer is yes – if they meet the unaccompanied minor age requirements. This is because many airlines would not let young passengers board if they are traveling alone and do not have the required unaccompanied minor flight booking.

However, its important to note that not all flights accept unaccompanied minors, so be sure to check with your airline.

A: There may be a small fee for UMs, which varies depending on the airline and flight route. However, this is usually a minimal charge. Additionally, many airlines offer special flights unaccompanied minor programs to ensure your child’s safety and security while traveling.

A: To ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience for you and your child, please complete the unaccompanied minor tour documentation before flying. This will include information on the sender and receiver who will accompany the child at departure and arrival points and required identification for both adults. With this taken care of beforehand, you can rest assured that your child will be in safe and capable hands throughout their journey.

A: Yes, children between 5 and 11 can fly by themselves as UM. Children younger than five are not permitted to fly alone, but parents can request an unaccompanied minor service for children aged 12 to 15.

A: Children will be seated in areas close to the cabin crew and have easy access to bathrooms and exits. In cases where there is an extra seat, the unaccompanied minor will be seated there.

A: The flight attendant always makes sure that the youngest guests feel comfortable and safe while flying. They check unaccompanied minors several times during the flight to ensure they are doing fine. They’ll show them their seats and explain how to control entertainment, use the call button, and where the bathrooms are located.

That’s all the information we have on unaccompanied minor services. We hope this gives you a better understanding of how old you have to be to fly alone.

What’s more, if you’re looking for amazing deals on unaccompanied minors flights, you’ve come to the right place! Superfares is an IATA-certified company offering great deals and always keeps our customers informed on the best prices for flights in the USA. We’ll let you know about the best airfares from different airlines so that you can get the best deal for your child’s flight. So, don’t wait any longer – if you’re thinking of booking a flight for your little one, get in touch with us today!


About Navneet | View Posts

Navneet Kaur is a Professional Content Writer with 5+ years of experience, she started her career as a Content Writer. Apart from having good knowledge of marketing and business, she firmly believes in dreaming big and making them come true. She lives with a passion to explore and learn about adventure, destinations, history and live events happening around. Including her travel writing skills, she has also written about places, arts and entertainment, personal experiences, nature and its beauty, etc.

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