What To Know When Your Kids Fly Alone

Its summer and you are ready to send your children off to explore the world! Well, maybe you aren’t quite ready. However, the kids are getting older and your ex lives far away. Have you thought of flying your child back and forth between the two of you? Do you have any idea if that is even possible based on how old your child is? Do you know what the rules are about children flying alone? Here is what to know when your kids fly alone.

Luckily the airline industry has it all pretty well laid out what the rules and regulations are and they give you clear guidelines to follow. Every airline might be a bit different though, so here is an overview of some of the leading players. Check out the link below each one for more detailed information.

Southwest Airlines –

  • Must be at least 5 years old to fly alone
  • Nonstop or direct flights only (can’t change planes)
  • $50 Unaccompanied Minor fee each way
  • This airline has no meal service so pack snacks
  • No baggage fees
  • More Info

United Airlines –

  • Ages 5 – 11 are required to use the Unaccompanied Minor program and pay the fee
  • Nonstop flights only
  • $150 Unaccompanied Minor fee each way
  • $50 baggage fee each way
  • More Info

American Airlines –

  • Ages 5-7 Nonstop flights only
  • Ages 8-15 Can change planes but can not switch airline carrier, also can not be the last flight of the day
  • $150 Unaccompanied Minor fee each way
  • Baggage fees range from $25 and up, based on number of bags checked
  • Reservations can ONLY be made via the phone, not online
  • More info

Delta Airlines-

  • Ages 5-7 Nonstop flights only
  • Ages 8-17 Can change planes, no red-eye flights
  • $100 Unaccompanied Minor fee each way
  • Special rules about travel to Mexico
  • More Info

Jet Blue Airways –

  • Ages 5 – 14 Nonstop flights only
  • $100 Unaccompanied Minor fee each way
  • No baggage fees
  • More Info

Alaska Airlines –

  • Ages 5-7 Nonstop flight only
  • Ages 8-17 Nonstop and connecting flights
  • $25 fee each way for nonstop flights
  • $50 fee each way for connecting flights
  • No red-eye flights
  • $25 baggage fee each bag
  • More Info

In all cases, your child will need a form of identification, usually a birth certificate, and parties on either end of the flight will need to have valid ID to give and receive the child. Those parties will need to get a gate pass at the check-in counter to accompany the child to and from the gate. On the leaving end, the parent has to wait in the boarding area until the plane departs, and the receiving parent should arrive at the airport 45 minutes before the plane lands. This ensures that someone is with your child at all times, and now you can enjoy the summer travel!

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