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Rules and Airline Policies for Unaccompanied Minors Traveling by Flight
Rules Unaccompanied minors traveling by flight require their parents/guardians to know. Did you know, they vary from country to country and from airline to airline?
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For any parent, the thought of allowing your child to travel unaccompanied while still a minor is daunting. Some situations cannot be helped, in which case its good to be prepared. We made a country-wise comparison of the regulations by law regarding minors travelling solo. We hope it helps you while planning your trip. You can visit our Tips For Unaccompanied Minors Travelling By Aeroplane for more help planning your journey. If you’re looking for detailed policies of each airline, you could find them on their respective websites.
Rules that are consistently the same in all countries include:
Children younger than 5 years old are not allowed to travel unaccompanied.
Children between 5 and 11 are considered minors. They are allowed to travel alone subject to certain specific rules in each country or region.
Compulsory documentation that minors need to carry while traveling unaccompanied include.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The U.S Department of Transportation has issued a guide to parents on this topic.
Legal age for unaccompanied minors to travel by plane and corresponding rules:
- Kids aged 5 – 11 can travel unaccompanied. However, they would have to undergo an unaccompanied minor procedure with the airline they choose.
- Children between the ages of 12 – 15 are considered young adults. Some airlines will not apply unaccompanied minor procedures on them in this case.
- In the event of the flight being cancelled or delayed, they will not inform the parent about the development. They would leave it up to the minor to make their own arrangements.
- Children aged 13 – 17 can avail the unaccompanied minor services with airlines at an extra fee, thereby preventing the possibility of them being stranded.
Parents of minors have the following booking options to ensure their child’s safety and prevent them from being stranded at an airport alone.
Nonstop / direct flight
Online connection – plane change within the same airline.
Interline connection – plane change between different airlines.
Proof of age
Minors should carry their birth certificate, a copy of which should be given to the adult who will pick them up at the destination.
Flights across America charge between $50 to $100 extra from unaccompanied minor services. This is in addition to the airline fee. The fee may also rise for international trips.
For international trips
Minors should carry their passport or visa (same as adults). The requirements may be different for every destination and should be verified with the U.S embassy in that country. Certain countries require a letter of consent signed by both parents and notarized while leaving the country.
In the United Kingdom rules regarding minors travelling unaccompanied vary.
Parents must specify that the tickets are for unaccompanied minors. So that passengers meet all the requirements of the airlines regarding unaccompanied minors before booking the ticket. Or parents risk the child being denied entry on the plane while travelling alone.
Every airline has Unaccompanied Minor Travel Documentation to be filled by the parents or guardians sending and receiving the child. They must carry the same documentation and filled forms while collecting and sending the minor.
The kids should carry the required unaccompanied minor documentation. Their birth certificate, passport or ID card and medical clearance forms while travelling
Each airline charges a different fee for unaccompanied minor services along with the ticket charges.
The rules are similar in Australia with some exceptions as listed below.
Only a few airlines offer any special services, like assistance and supervision for minors travelling with them unaccompanied.
There will be a lot of paperwork similar to the requirements in other countries before booking. It is also recommended that parents avoid booking tickets last minute.
Parents are advised to inform the adult receiving their child at the airport to carry proper ID Proof with them, in line with the paperwork otherwise the airline will not let your child go with them.
In Canada, children under the age of 18 or 19 are considered minors or children. They are therefore required to carry proper documentation with them while travelling abroad.
Some Canadian Airlines do provide adult supervision while travelling, but it should be confirmed on their website.
We hope you have a clearer idea of what documents you need and the rules about your country. For details about the extra unaccompanied minors service charges, visit the website of the airlines you wish to fly with. Their pricing and services would be listed more thoroughly.
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