With summer vacation coming to an end, children of all ages are making their final trips to see loved ones, attend camps, and visit parents in different cities. While many airlines are bolstering their offers for “unaccompanied minors,” it’s essential to make sure you optimize for your child’s experience. Understanding the various options for direct and connecting flights, once you’ve booked your ticket, the reality of the next phase sets in. Traveling alone. Here are our the top 4 tips for children flying alone…
You’ve probably heard the egregious tales of airlines losing children, but let’s look at the overall statistics. Southwest estimates that over 300,000 unaccompanied children traveled on their planes last year alone. So how many children experience issues with this kind of volume? Airlines report that 99% of unaccompanied minors travel with no issues whatsoever. As a parent it’s clear to see that they are safer traveling alone on an airplane than walking alone a long distance. Because this can still be tough to handle, here are our four top tips for children flying alone:
- Give them $20.00 cash and 2 dollars in quarters. While my guess is they have a cell phone, this is back up in case they lose it or the battery dies. The old-fashioned way of calling will still work in a pinch but you may have to show them what that old metal thing is on the wall.
- Make sure they know your phone number by heart. There are easy ways to help them remember, by playing memory games to having them color the number in as a coloring game.
- Instruct them to never leave the airport with anyone except the person that is going to pick them up. Setting a firm boundary on this is essential to keeping them safe. The tactics used by people luring children away are incredibly creative, so if they know they can’t leave whatsoever, they are much more protected.
- If they do get lost or separated, they should go to the nearest gate. Your child should tell the agent that they are an unaccompanied minor and ask them to look up their information. The agent will look up the child’s information and instruct them on where to go next. Airline employees are instructed to immediately address any concerns raised by unaccompanied minors, regardless of their position or what they are working on currently.
Traveling alone provides a great way for children to expand their horizons and connect with loved ones near and far. Once you’ve picked an airline, lay out a play and use our top tips to ensure you and your child have a relaxing and safe journey.