Children on a Plane – Alone: Cheapflights.com Issues Guide to Airline Policies, Fees on Unaccompanied Minors
Free “Parents Guide to Kids Flying Solo” Provides Valuable Information For Parents of Kids Traveling Alone This Summer
BOSTON– Few things can be as nerve racking to a parent as sending their young child on a flight alone. From two worst case scenarios uncovered this week – where a 10-year-old Boston girl was accidentally sent on a flight to Newark instead of Cleveland, and an 8-year-old-girl heading from Texas to Charlotte, N.C. ended up in Fayetteville, Ark. – to more minor concerns about strangers with whom they will interact, foods they will eat and who will comfort them if the jet hits turbulence, there’s plenty for mom and dad to worry about.
Each airline has different policies and most airports only allow ticketed passengers past security, creating more questions than answers for parents with children flying alone this summer. The travel experts at Cheapflights.com have compiled an easy-reference chart including 12 major airlines and policies for unaccompanied minors including age restrictions, escort services and flight time limitations.
Millions of children under 18 fly solo each year, with many expected to do it again this summer. To help parents and kids alike alleviate the stress associated with traveling alone, this new guide highlights a bevy of tips including what to pack, do’s and don’ts before the flight and at the airport, as well as a chart highlighting specifics for each airline: age limitations, associated fees and important restrictions.
“A number of airlines have changed the rules associated with transporting unaccompanied minors, so even if a parent or guardian has been through it before, it’s best to brush up on the regulations associated with your preferred carrier,” said Mike Bennett, general manager for Cheapflights.com. “Sending children off on a summertime adventure gives them the sense of independence they yearn for, and as long as you both know what to expect before, during and after the flight, the experience will be well worth it.”
In addition to each airline’s specific rules and restrictions, topics to keep in mind include:
What to pack
· Cell phone: If your child doesn’t have one, consider a pay-as-you-go phone so they have an easy form of communication for emergencies and check-ins. Make sure your child knows how to place a collect call and provide a calling card as a backup.
· Entertainment. Make or buy a travel pack to keep them entertained while in flight. Include things such as coloring books, crayons, books, Play-Doh, handheld video games, etc.
· Photographs and medication: Provide a picture of the person(s) your child will be meeting at the arrival airport, and write out the person’s complete contact information on the back. Also, make sure your child has all medications they need and are comfortable taking it themselves.
Do’s and Don’ts
Before the flight:
· Educate yourself. Before making a reservation, contact your preferred carrier for specific information regarding children traveling alone.
· Be smart. Make sure your child doesn’t wear clothing that has their name on it, making it easier for a stranger to convince them that they can be trusted.
At the airport:
· Arrive early. Unaccompanied minors are usually pre-boarded, so airlines recommend allowing at least 90 minutes to check in and clear security. A relaxed pace will also be less stressful for your child.
· Speak up. Make sure flight attendants know that your child is traveling alone. Confirm that he or she will be seated in an area that’s convenient for them to keep an eye out; the very front or very back of the aircraft is ideal.
Visit www.cheapflights.com to download or print a complete copy of the “Parent’s Guide to Kids Flying Solo.”
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