Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

How Do I Send an Unaccompanied Minor on a Flight?

The idea of placing a minor on a flight unaccompanied might sound crazy. Many of Held Law Firm’s clients understandably balk at the thought of sending their kid on a plane with no parent. However, certain situations arise in which they may not have much of a choice. If a child is visiting a cross-country family member, parents may not have the money or flexibility to travel with them and then hop on the next flight back home.

Thankfully, there are procedures in place for just such a situation. Flying a child from point A to point B without a parent present is not an impossible or particularly dangerous feat.

Before the flight…

The procedures for sending an unaccompanied minor on a flight vary considerably between airlines. Some do not allow minors to fly unaccompanied at all. Others do not provide the service for international flights, or only provide it for direct domestic flights. A fee is generally required for the service, ranging from under 50 to around 150 dollars. Rules vary depending on your child’s age. Even factors like the time of day can affect airline policy. Therefore, you’ll want to carefully review the airline’s policy before purchasing your child’s ticket.

On the flight…

Airlines will often provide a snack and sometimes even a tablet to keep your kid entertained during the flight, and attendants will check on your child often. If it helps you feel better, you can try to choose a seat for your child that is close to the front of the plane and in the aisle, so that flight attendants can keep a close eye on them at all times.

Back on the ground…

Parents or relatives may receive a gate pass and wait for their children right at the spot where they will disembark from the plane. If you want to keep up with flight progress before landing, many airlines have apps available that allow real-time tracking. Upon landing, an airline employee will check the adult’s identification to make sure the child is supposed to be released to them. Then, they’ll be good to go!

Perhaps most importantly…

You’ll want to prepare kids for the flight to make sure that they are comfortable. Talk to them about what they can expect both on and off the plane. Let them know that they can always ask airline staff for help. Remind them to stay in their seat, be polite, and to follow the instructions of the captain and flight attendants. Finally, you should go over what to do in case of an emergency, especially regarding oxygen masks and emergency exits. They might not remember all of it, but giving them that small bit of preparation might provide everyone with some peace of mind.

Putting an unaccompanied minor on a flight sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to familiarize yourself with your particular airline’s policy, and to talk to children about what it will be like. Let kids ask questions, and if you don’t know the answer, go find out! Staff are there to help ensure your child’s flight goes smoothly. Make use of them as a resource! Don’t be afraid to advocate on your kid’s behalf so they (and you!) can have the least stressful experience possible.