How Old Do You Have to Be to Fly Alone?

Flying alone for the first time can be an exciting experience, but it can also be a little bit nerve-wracking. If you’re thinking about letting your child fly alone, you’re probably wondering how old they need to be.

The answer depends on the airline. Most airlines allow children to fly alone as unaccompanied minors (UMs) starting at age 5. However, some airlines have higher age limits, such as 12 or 14. And some airlines don’t allow UMs at all on international flights.

Even if your child is old enough to fly alone, it’s important to decide if they’re mature enough and comfortable with the idea. Consider factors such as their personality, level of independence, and how well they handle new situations.

If you’re unsure whether your child is ready to fly alone, talk to them about it. Explain what to expect at the airport and on the plane. And make sure they know how to reach you in case of an emergency.

a boy looking at an airplane in the sky Fly Alone
Photo by Joe Han on Unsplash

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about flying alone as a UM, including:

  • Age requirements
  • Booking and check-in procedures
  • What to expect at the airport and on the plane
  • Tips for helping your child prepare for their flight

Age requirements

As mentioned above, the age requirements for UMs vary by airline. However, most airlines require UMs to be at least 5 years old. Some airlines have higher age limits, such as 12 or 14. And some airlines don’t allow UMs at all on international flights.

It’s important to check the age requirements with the airline(s) your child will be flying with before you book their ticket.

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Booking and check-in procedures

To book a ticket for a UM, you’ll need to contact the airline directly. You can usually do this by calling their reservations line or visiting their website.

man in gray shirt holding black dslr camera
Photo by Westwind Air Service on Unsplash

When you book your child’s ticket, be sure to provide the airline with the following information:

  • Your child’s full name
  • Your child’s date of birth
  • Your child’s contact information (phone number and email address)
  • The name and contact information of the person who will be meeting your child at their destination
  • Any special needs your child may have
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Once you’ve booked your child’s ticket, you’ll need to check them in at the airport. When you arrive at the airport, go to the airline’s check-in counter and tell the agent that you’re checking in a UM.

The agent will need to see your child’s passport or birth certificate, as well as a completed UM service form. You can usually get this form from the airline’s website or at the check-in counter.

Once the agent has checked in your child, they will give you a tag to put on your child’s clothing. This tag will have your child’s name and contact information on it.

The agent will also give you a receipt for the UM service fee. This fee is typically around $150 per flight.

What to expect at the airport and on the plane

Once you’ve checked in your child, you’ll need to take them to the security checkpoint. UMs are required to go through security with a parent or guardian.

After you’ve gone through security, you’ll need to take your child to their gate. At the gate, you’ll need to say goodbye to your child and give them to an airline representative.

The airline representative will escort your child to the plane and make sure they’re seated safely. Once the plane has taken off, the airline representative will hand over your child’s care to the flight attendants.

The flight attendants will keep an eye on your child throughout the flight and make sure they’re safe and comfortable. They will also provide your child with meals and drinks.

When the plane arrives at its destination, the flight attendants will escort your child to the gate and meet up with the person who is supposed to meet them.

Tips for helping your child prepare for their flight

  • Pack your child a comfort kit with items such as a stuffed animal, a book, and a favorite snack.
  • Give your child a change of clothes in case they spill something or have an accident.
  • Label all of your child’s belongings with their name.
  • Arrive at the airport at least two hours before your child’s flight is scheduled to depart. This will give you plenty of time to check in, go through security, and get to the gate.
  • Say goodbye to your child at the gate and let them know that you’ll be waiting for them at their destination.

Additional tips

  • If your child is flying on an international flight, be sure to check the passport and visa requirements for the country they’ll be visiting.
  • If your child has any special needs, such as food allergies or a medical condition, be sure to let the airline know in advance.
  • You may also want to consider purchasing travel insurance for your child. Travel insurance can protect you against unexpected events such as flight cancellations, lost luggage, and medical emergencies.
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Conclusion

Flying alone can be a great experience for children. It can help them learn to be more independent and self-reliant. However, it’s important to make sure that your child is ready to fly alone before you book their ticket.

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By following the tips above, you can help your child prepare for their flight and ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Additional information

Here are some additional things to keep in mind when helping your child prepare for their flight:

  • Talk to your child about their fears and concerns. It’s normal for children to be a little nervous about flying alone. Be sure to listen to your child’s concerns and address them honestly.
  • Reassure your child that you’ll be there for them. Let your child know that you’ll be waiting for them at their destination and that you’re just a phone call away if they need anything.
  • Give your child a sense of control. Let your child choose their own seat on the plane and pack their own carry-on bag. This will help them feel more in control of the situation.
  • Make the flight fun for your child. Pack your child’s favorite snacks and activities to keep them entertained on the plane. You may also want to download some movies or TV shows onto your child’s device.

By following these tips, you can help your child have a positive and memorable first experience flying alone.

Here Are Some Airlines And there Minimum Fly Age Details

AirlineCountryMinimum Fly Alone Age (Domestic)Minimum Fly Alone Age (International)
American AirlinesUnited States512
Delta Air LinesUnited States512
United AirlinesUnited States512
Southwest AirlinesUnited States512
Spirit AirlinesUnited States512
Air CanadaCanada512
WestJetCanada512
British AirwaysUnited Kingdom512
easyJetUnited Kingdom512
RyanairIreland512
LufthansaGermany512
Air FranceFrance512
KLM Royal Dutch AirlinesNetherlands512
QantasAustralia512
Virgin AustraliaAustralia512
Air New ZealandNew Zealand512
Singapore AirlinesSingapore512
EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates512
Etihad AirwaysUnited Arab Emirates512
Qatar AirwaysQatar512

FAQs about flying alone as an unaccompanied minor (UM):

1. What is the minimum age to fly alone?

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The minimum age to fly alone varies by airline. Most airlines allow children to fly alone as UMs starting at age 5. However, some airlines have higher age limits, such as 12 or 14. And some airlines don’t allow UMs at all on international flights.

2. How do I book a ticket for my child to fly alone?

To book a ticket for a UM, you’ll need to contact the airline directly. You can usually do this by calling their reservations line or visiting their website.

When you book your child’s ticket, be sure to provide the airline with the following information:

  • Your child’s full name
  • Your child’s date of birth
  • Your child’s contact information (phone number and email address)
  • The name and contact information of the person who will be meeting your child at their destination
  • Any special needs your child may have

3. What is the UM service fee?

Most airlines charge a fee for their UM service. This fee is typically around $150 per flight.

4. What should my child do at the airport on the day of their flight?

Once you arrive at the airport, go to the airline’s check-in counter and tell the agent that you’re checking in a UM. The agent will need to see your child’s passport or birth certificate, as well as a completed UM service form.

Once the agent has checked in your child, they will give you a tag to put on your child’s clothing. This tag will have your child’s name and contact information on it.

The agent will also give you a receipt for the UM service fee.

5. What happens to my child after they go through security?

After you’ve gone through security, you’ll need to take your child to their gate. At the gate, you’ll need to say goodbye to your child and give them to an airline representative.

The airline representative will escort your child to the plane and make sure they’re seated safely. Once the plane has taken off, the airline representative will hand over your child’s care to the flight attendants.

6. What happens to my child on the plane?

The flight attendants will keep an eye on your child throughout the flight and make sure they’re safe and comfortable. They will also provide your child with meals and drinks.

7. What happens to my child when they arrive at their destination?

When the plane arrives at its destination, the flight attendants will escort your child to the gate and meet up with the person who is supposed to meet them.

8. What if my child’s flight is delayed or canceled?

If your child’s flight is delayed or canceled, the airline will contact you and let you know what they’re doing to accommodate your child. In some cases, the airline may rebook your child on a different flight. In other cases, the airline may provide your child with a hotel room and meals until their next flight.

9. What if my child needs medical attention on the plane?

If your child needs medical attention on the plane, the flight attendants are trained to provide first aid. If your child needs more serious medical attention, the flight attendants can divert the plane to the nearest airport.

10. What if I have other questions or concerns?

If you have any other questions or concerns about flying alone as a UM, be sure to contact the airline directly. They will be able to provide you with more specific information about their policies and procedures.

Sachin
Sachinhttps://www.voyageroams.com/
Traveling isn’t just about places, it’s about experiences. I’m Sachin, curating unique tales of exploration at Voyage Roams. Journey with me!

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