Children travel alone for many reasons, from parental visitation to summer vacations with their grandparents. Although many kids find the flight exciting, some parents worry about the child’s health and well-being. All major airlines have provisions in place for unaccompanied minors, although the specifics vary. JetBlue’s policy, available on the airline’s website, includes specific measures designed to enhance the child’s safety.
On JetBlue, children aged 5 through 13 are considered unaccompanied minors. Passengers aged 14 and over are not unaccompanied minors, but are entitled to assistance from JetBlue staff if needed. Those under age 5 must be accompanied by a passenger aged 14 or older.
When booking your child’s ticket, indicate that he or she is an unaccompanied minor. Jet Blue charges $75 each way for children traveling unaccompanied. You are required to provide the full legal names, addresses and phone numbers of those who are responsible for dropping off and picking up the child at each airport. These items must exactly match the responsible adult’s government-issued ID.
At the Airport
Most airports permit a parent or legal guardian to accompany a young child to the gate, although policies vary by airport. You must obtain a gate pass at the JetBlue counter in order to accompany your child through the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) security checkpoint. Leave other children at home, if possible, as the gate pass is valid for only one person.
Allow an extra 30 minutes at the airport to fill out forms. Feed your child and encourage him or her to use the restroom before the flight. Minimize frustrations at the security checkpoint by ensuring that neither you nor your child is carrying a prohibited item. The latest TSA regulations are listed on the agency’s website.
Provide the gate agent with your cell phone number before leaving the airport. If the plane is directed to return to the airport for any reason, you will need to meet the child.
During the Flight
Flight attendants are aware of all unaccompanied minors on board. If several are traveling on the same flight, they may be directed to sit together. This allows the children to make friends, and the flight attendants to keep an eye on them. Most flight attendants make a special effort to make unaccompanied children feel important by providing extra snacks or engaging them in conversation.
Jet Blue flies to international destinations including the Dominican Republic, Aruba, Jamaica and Colombia. All air travelers, including minors, must have a valid passport to return to the United States. Most countries require minor children to carry a notarized authorization to travel that is signed by both parents. If one parent has sole custody, additional regulations may apply. Check the State Department website for the latest travel advisories shortly before your child’s trip.
Under JetBlue policy, unaccompanied minors must fly non-stop or direct. On a direct flight, which stops at one or more intermediate airports, the child must remain on the plane with the in-flight crew. If you choose to book a connection to another airline, JetBlue does not provide an escort or any assistance to the next gate. Speak with a JetBlue representative before booking the itinerary, as a responsible adult may be required to meet the child at the end of the JetBlue leg of the trip.