Travel Tips for Kids Flying By Themselves

Summer vacation is a great time to send your little ones on a flight to visit grandparents or other relatives this summer.  But, there are so many questions parents have when it comes to sending their kids solo on a flight.   

Interestingly, there are no set Department of Transportation regulations concerning travel by these “unaccompanied minors,” but the airlines have specific procedures to protect the well-being of youngsters flying by themselves.   

These policies may differ, however, so you should check with the carrier that you plan to use for a description of its rules and services and any additional charges that may apply. 

Before you go, check out some FAQs and answers from the U.S. Department of Transportation Aviation Consumer Protection Division pamphlet titled “When Kids Fly Alone”.  This tip-guide is the most comprehensive I have found and answers the following questions:

  • Who can fly alone?
  • What are the fees?
  • What kind of flight do I need to book for my child?
  • How do I prepare my child for the flight?
  • What do I do at the airport?
  • What should I send with my child (i.e. proof of age, etc.)
  • What should my child know to expect?

All of these questions are important to ask.  Being informed – and making sure that your children are at ease and know the guidelines – will help with your peace of mind and help your child on the flight.  Independence is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.

Going away to summer camp or to visit loved ones can be a stressful time for families.  Teaching your children to expect the unexpected is a great life lesson.  Being prepared and organized with toys, books and games to keep them busy is a good start.

The pamphlet not only tips for what to pack, but outlines detailed safety procedures as well.  For example, always point out places for your child to go for assistance.  Teaching your kids not to be afraid to ask for help is a valuable lesson for traveling alone.

There is also a checklist for the person picking up your child at the destination – another very important guide. With the right research and information, your child’s solo flight can go off without a hitch.  And, then, mom and dad can have a little summer vacation of their own!

This article was reprinted with permission from CheapOair Blog and Jennifer Michaels.

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