Purchasing the right ticket and airline services for a minor makes the difference between a problematic and smooth airport and flight experience. Airlines offer various services for minors, depending on the age of the child and whether the child is accompanied. Accompanied minors are those who fly with a parent, guardian or companion such as an adolescent sibling. Unaccompanied minors are children who fly alone and might require boarding, baggage and flight assistance, depending on the age of the child. Learn airline minor policies to ensure safety and services for your minor child.
Conduct research on the airline’s official website to find the airline’s policies on accompanied and unaccompanied minors. Buying a ticket for an accompanied minor follows the same process as if purchasing a ticket for an adult.
Read through the policy to find the minimum age, requirements. Two-year-old and younger children do not typically require a seat and can sit on the lap of a parent or guardian. The minimum age requirement for an unaccompanied minor to travel alone is 5-years-old. A teenage minor can fly without being considered an unaccompanied minor, depending upon the age requirement of the airline.
Look for information regarding extra fees for unaccompanied minors per flight. Such fees are assessed for assistance provided to the minor by airline staff. Learn about baggage allowances to find out how many bags the minor can bring and if the minor is responsible for his luggage and luggage fees, based on the airline’s minor services.
Pickup and Drop-off Policies
Parents or guardians can typically gain gate access passes at the ticket counter to accompany the minor to the departure gate and to meet the minor at the arrival gate. Parents or guardians are required to show government-issued identification such as a driver’s license or passport to pick up the child.
Learn the stipulations regarding flights on which minors can fly. Airlines typically only allow minor children to fly on non-stop or direct flights that do not require plane changes or ground transportation to gates. Some airlines do not allow minors to fly on the last flight of the evening or on overnight flights.
Contact the Airline
Contact the airline’s reservation service by phone to ask questions regarding flights for a minor and to book the flight. Speaking with a reservations representative provides clarification on the airline’s minor policies and minor services, and ensures that the minor is booked on a flight within the airline’s parameters for his age group.
Provide the Child's Information
Supply the airline's reservations representative with the minor's full name, age, parent or guardian contact information, departure and arrival airports and desired airline services. Book the flight and pay any associated unaccompanied minor fees.