Whether you are planning for your child a trip by plane to grandparents or for studies abroad, you can ask the airline for the unaccompanied minor service. With this service you can rest easy, the airline will take care and will make your child’s travel experience a positive and unforgettable one. I recommend you to check the below information and hope it will be useful for you. Please note that the rules for unaccompanied minor vary depending on the age of the child, country of departure/arrival, the duration of the journey and the airline.
Steps you need to follow:
– For children under 5 years old the service cannot be provided and only adults of 18 years old and over can be nominated to accompany the child.
– Children between ages 5 and 12 (for some airline until 15) can travel without parents or legal guardian, accompanied only by airline stuff (the service is mandatory for this category of age). Such service is called – unaccompanied service. For children aged 12 to under 18 years old, the unaccompanied service is optional (exception are some countries that does not permit to leave countries unaccompanied even if your child is 17 years old).
– Whether your child is traveling alone or with you, always check the entry and travel requirements for minors by contacting the proper embassies or consulates. Also, take into consideration the transit country where your child has the connection flight. Make sure that your child has all travel documents needed for its entire journey and always check with the relevant country authorities for the latest information. Find out more by checking iata travel centre.
The service can be booked only for flights departing at least 48 hours by calling the reservation offices of the travel agency or airline. The service cannot be arranged through booking online.
– Before booking you should check the availability by calling the airline or travel agency. When the unaccompanied minors are not accepted:
• on code-share flights operated by other airlines
• there is a limited number of minors allowed on the board (depending on the route and the size of the aircraft)
• on flights with stop: more than 2 hours, overnight stop, change of the airline or transfer between airport (different airports or different terminals). Please note that some airlines can provide this service only on nonstop flights operated by the same airline.
• low cost airline
– When you contact the airline or travel agency you will provide information about the child’s age, date of birth, the person escorting the minor to the airport and the person that will receive the minor at the final destination. The minor should be accompanied by the parent or legal guardian to the airport and should be taken at the destination by the adult mentioned in the form. Both will be identified by an identity card.
– The fees and surcharges for unaccompanied minor service differ depending on the airline company and on the trip and are calculated per flight direction, per flight segment or sector. Some airline companies allow the fees to be collected by the travel agency, in other cases the fee will be paid at the airport. For more details check here.
– The passengers will come at the airport at least 2 hours before the flight (for intercontinental flights at least 3 hours), accompanied by their parents, or legal guardian having all necessary documents for travel. At the check-in desk they will fill in a form, provided by the airline, with the contact details of the parents and the person who will receive the minor at the destination. It is recommended that you arrive at the airport well in advance and use the check-in desk dedicated for special passengers. Some airlines have forms for unaccompanied minors on their website, so you can complete it before check-in, to avoid delays. Make sure you complete the entire form.
– After the check-in procedure the child is taken by the airline representative and is accompanied to the aircraft seat. In some airports it is possible to accompany the child all the way to the departure gate, provided that you have your passport with you. Please consult the check-in desk.Unaccompanied minors will be allowed to board the aircraft first. In the aircraft there are special seats reserved for unaccompanied minors (close to flight attendant). During the entire flight the child will be supervised with priority by cabin crew to ensure his comfort and safety. On intercontinental flights the young traveler will enjoy in-flight entertainment. Also, you can check and choose in-flight menu for your child.
– On arrival the airline’s ground staff will escort your child through the border control and baggage claim to the arrival hall. The young traveler will be handed over to the adult nominated to meet your child, that will provide the identity card.
– In case the flight is delayed or canceled, don’t worry, the airline will let you know about the new schedule. You will be informed by telephone, e-mail and text message about any changes. The airline ground stuff will offer your child special attention and assistance and will be under supervision at all times.
It is recommended to stay at the airport until your child’s flight departs.
– Some airports have Lounges for Junior, where your child can stay during transfer. The young traveller can enjoy soft drinks, computer games, films, books in various languages and a variety of toys.
– In some countries young traveller should fly accompanied even if they are 17 years old and there are airlines that offer unaccompanied service only until 14 years old.
– If it looks like there’s the possibility of the flight landing at another airport due to bad weather, or other extraordinary circumstances, the airline will not allow unaccompanied minors to travel on the flight.
– Remember that the staff may not speak your child’s language.
– Children flying alone cannot travel with pets (either in the cabin or the cargo hold).
– If the child has a medical condition that may require medication during the flight, they must have the ability to administer this themselves. The cabin crew cannot administer medication or store the medication in a cool place.