When children’s parents live far apart, whether due to a move after a divorce or any other reason, it may be easiest for the children to fly on a plane to reach the other parent’s home for a visit. If any of the children are under 15 years of age (sometimes younger), there are certain restrictions the children will have to adhere to and extra fees the parents will have to pay for the travel. Each airline has its own policy about transporting children when there is no parent traveling with them. The best way to get the specific information you need is to search “unaccompanied minor” for each airline you intend to use when the children will fly. Also, the Travel Guy has compiled a pretty inclusive list in an article he posted a few days before this blog post.
Depending on the airlines, the general specs are: children who are flying without a person 12-15 years (sometimes older) will have to fly as an unaccompanied minor on a direct flight and the parent will have to pay a fee for the extra attention the airline will provide to the child during the flight. Parents can often request from the airline an in-flight status for the unaccompanied minor for older children, who are 12-15 years (sometimes older) when flying on a direct flight and if the child feels they want that extra support, or when the parent want the children to be together. Note: Some airlines do not allow children to fly without a parent despite the fact the parent is willing to pay an extra fee for the service.
Like everything else about raising children, planning is key. Transporting children by plane requires planning and extra cash. It also requires a child with an easy disposition, so parents need to consider each child’s personality before booking flights. It is not recommended that your children’s first-ever flight is as an unaccompanied minor, so parents should fly with their children first to assess how things will really go once the wheels are up.