Traveling is always a bit grueling, but traveling with children presents a whole new set of challenges, no matter if its on domestic or international flights. Some airlines require specific documentation when it comes to your kids, even those who are one year old to five years old, believe it or not. Before you board your flight, you'll need to do some research on your airline to see what is required of you; this can help you avoid an unnecessary hassle. Read below to know what documents will be required for travelling and making your way through TSA.
The Transportation Security Administration -- as well as each individual airline -- sets policies in order to keep passengers and airline staff safe from harm. Policies include having passengers present a form of photo I.D. when boarding a plane as well as requiring that passengers show a valid passport when flying internationally.
However, some of the security rules do not apply to people under the age of 18. If your child is not old enought o have their own photo ID, you may find it to be beneficial to print off a copy of their birth certificate as identification. Do not bring the original copy of your child’s birth certificate however.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, children under the age of 18 do not need to present a photo I.D. or other form of identification when boarding a domestic flight and when accompanied by a companion. It's always a good idea to visit the airline's website in advance, however, as some airlines may ask for an I.D. to verify a child's age; this is because children often fly at a cheaper rate than adults.
Children -- even infants -- will be required to have a valid passport card during international travel. This may mean you need to plan ahead; if you are booking a flight and think your baby may be born by that date, you'll need to apply for a passport before the child is born. Remember that it can take months to apply for a passport and receive it in the mail, so you'll need to make arrangements well in advance of your projected international trip.
While you may think this is extreme for a small lap child, or that the rule won’t be enforced, be assured that security checkpoints during internal travel is serious and all legal documents and ID requirements must be present.
It's often a good idea to get a photo I.D. card made for your child before boarding a flight, to prevent any inconvenience. There are several companies that specialize in creating identification cards for children that are designed for airport travel situations, for both domestic travel and international travel.
Another thing to keep in mind is that children ages 5 to 17 can travel on a plane as an "unaccompanied minor;" an adult will need to be present with a photo I.D. at both the departure and arrival points.