Unless mom or dad are driving the brood, family travel can entail air travel. Some planning is necessary, not only to obtain the best ticket price, but so that the kids have a safe and worthwhile experience. For example, advance seat assignments during check-in are necessary to ensure the children sit next to the parents during a flight. Mom and dad must also have the proper travel documentation for all family members.


The Transportation Security Administration is the U.S. government agency that protects the nation’s transportation system.‌ It mandates that all adult passengers, 18 and over, must show a valid U.S. federal- or state-issued photo ID form of identification at security checkpoints. real ID requirements and acceptable identification must contain the name, date of birth, proof of age, gender and an expiration date such as a driver’s license. However, it does not require an ID for minors under 18 for domestic travel; children only need a boarding pass to pass through security unless they are unaccompanied minors.

International Travel

The TSA also states that all passengers, including minors, need a valid passport when traveling on international flights.‌ This document not only identifies the holder but shows that he or she is a citizen of the U.S.A. The U.S. Department of State dictates that all passport applications generally require a Form DS-11, Application for a U.S. Passport; evidence of U.S. citizenship; a government-issued photo ID with photocopy; a passport photo; and any applicable fees. Minors under 16 also need evidence of relationship between child and parent or guardian, and parental consent. Minors ages 16 and 17 only need parental consent.


Airline’s policies can vary by air carrier, but in general, for domestic flights, they do not require identification for minors or adults beyond those specified by the TSA.‌ In other words, children do not need an additional ID. An exception exists if a child may be at the age where a ticket is either free or discounted. In those cases, the airline may demand a form of id to show proof of the child’s age such as the child’s birth certificate or passport card. If a child is traveling alone, then the adult in charge must show a photo ID and fill out a form showing the contact details of the adult dropping off the child and the one picking him or her up at the other end of the journey. Contact the airline for more information.

Consent Letter

Aside from a passport, some countries require a notarized Letter of Consent for travel with children who are not accompanied by both parents or a legal guardian.‌ The legal document must state the name of the parent(s), the flight information and destination, the name of the adults accompanying the child, the dates of travel, and contact information for the parent(s). The parents must also sign the child travel consent form. Divorced parents may also need a copy of their custody agreement. Contact the embassy of the country to which you are traveling for more information.