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Unaccompanied child waiting for flight

Kids Traveling Alone? Here’s How to Ensure a Smooth Ride

Kids Flying Alone? Here are some tips!

Planning and preparing for a trip can be taxing, but sending an unaccompanied child to fly alone can be particularly stressful. Each of our airlines takes special precautions to ensure that your child is safe and comfortable throughout their first flight on their own.

What are my choices?

Before sending your child on an unaccompanied flight, there are a few details to keep in mind. Below you will find details on specific documents, identification, and programs that each of our airlines offer for kids flying on their own. 

Tips for Kids Flying Alone

Kids flying alone for the first time? Whether or not they’re seasoned flyers, here’s some advice for preparing your child for takeoff: 

  • Talk to your child about the day ahead, reminding them to only speak to uniformed representatives if they need anything
  • Remind them of the importance of staying near the gate area
  • Write down important phone numbers in case they need to contact you
  • Attach ID card and contact info to their carry-on or jacket
  • Pack snacks, books, and money in their carry-on 
  • Be sure to fully charged electronic devices before leaving the house
  • Pack headphones and chargers for electronics

 


Children under the age of 15 are not eligible to travel on their own without an accompanied adult under the same reservation. Children 15 years or older, are considered an adult and can travel on their own. Keep this in mind before booking flights.

 

American Airlines requires a unique service for unaccompanied minors 14 years or younger. This $150 service fee (each way) includes any siblings traveling on the same flight, in addition to their ticket price. For children 15-17, this service is optional. 

Program Eligibility

  • Four years or younger
    • Children under the age of 4 are not eligible to travel on their own
  • 5 to 7 years old, $150 each way (Required)
    • Requires gate escort and guardian contact
    • Includes siblings traveling on the same flight
    • Nonstop flights only
  • 8 to 14 years old, $150 each way (Required)
    • Requires gate escort and guardian contact
    • Includes siblings traveling on the same flight
    • Nonstop flights or flights connecting through Charlotte, NC (CLT), Washington Reagan, D.C. (DCA), Dallas Fort Worth, TX (DFW), New York, NY (JFK and LGA), Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Miami, FL (MIA), Chicago, IL (ORD), Philadelphia, PA (PHL) and Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
  • 15-17 years old, $150 each way (Optional)
    • Requires gate escort and guardian contact
    • Includes siblings traveling on the same flight
    • Nonstop flights or flights connecting through Charlotte, NC (CLT), Washington Reagan, D.C. (DCA), Dallas Fort Worth, TX (DFW), New York, NY (JFK and LGA), Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Miami, FL (MIA), Chicago, IL (ORD), Philadelphia, PA (PHL) and Phoenix, AZ (PHX)

Program Details

Reservations
Contact Reservations to book tickets for a child 15 years or younger who is traveling alone, here.

Unaccompanied Minor Lounges
Flying through any of these ten airports? Your child will have the option to wait in these child-only lounge areas. American Airlines staff members will take your child outside of the lounge to purchase food or drinks. Your child will always be steps away from an AA representative.

Flight Day
Please allow up to 2 hours before takeoff to get through the ticketing process. Kids flying alone cannot check-in online or at the kiosk. Upon checking in, you’ll need to fill out an unaccompanied minor form and any additional customs/immigration documents. You’ll need to provide the following documents:

  • Birth certificate or passport for the child
  • Your government-issued photo ID with their current address
  • Your contact information
  • The name, address, and phone number of the adult waiting at their destination

An adult is required to accompany the unaccompanied minor to the departure gate and remain with the child until the flight has left the ground. Kids flying on their own will board the plane early so that they can get familiar with the crew and safety features.

Once the child has reached their destination, a valid ID and signature must be presented by the named adult to receive a gate pass.

Some countries have additional restrictions for unaccompanied children flying internationally. These countries include Brazil, Italy, Mexico, and Spain.

 

 

Delta offers an unaccompanied minor program that includes premium features like a trackable wristband, Sky Zone lounge for kids, and a personal escort for your child throughout their travel day.

Program Eligibility

  • Four years or younger
    • Children aged four years or younger aren’t eligible to travel alone and must be accompanied by a passenger 18 years or older
  • 5 to 7 years old, $150 each way (4 children max)
    • May travel on selected nonstop flights only
  • 8 to 14 years old, $150 each way (4 children max)
    • May travel on selected nonstop and connecting flights
  • 15 to 17 years old, $150 each way (4 children max)
    • May travel on nonstop and connecting flights

Program Details

Reservations
Before booking a ticket for an unaccompanied minor, contact Reservations at (800) 325-8847 to ensure correct documentation. When making the reservation, the adult will need to provide a 4-digit PIN required for any changes.

Delta Sky Zone
If your child is flying through any of these nine airports, they have the option to wait in children-only areas. These areas include complimentary phones, books, toys, and video games. Your child will only be steps away from a Delta representative.

Flight Day
Upon checking in, your child will receive a wristband to wear in-flight, as well as a package of boarding documents for them to use as they travel. Please bring the following documents with you:

  • Photo ID
  • Address
  • Contact phone number
  • Name, address, and phone number of the adult waiting at their destination

An adult is required to accompany the unaccompanied minor to the departure gate and remain until the flight has taken off. Children connecting in another city will be seated in the rear so that they’re near a flight attendant at all times.

Once the child has reached their destination, a valid ID and signature must be presented by the named adult to receive a gate pass.

 

 

 

United offers an unaccompanied minor service that includes early boarding, seating near the front of the plane, a complimentary food item, and a personal escort for your child throughout their travel day.

Program Eligibility

  • Five years or younger
    • Children 5 years or younger aren’t eligible to travel as unaccompanied minors, even if they’re traveling with an older, unaccompanied child
  • 5 to 14 years old, $150 each way (Required)
    • Children 5-14 years old traveling, without an adult, are required to purchase unaccompanied minor service
    • Only travel on United or United Express flights
  • 15 years or older
    • Children 15 years or older aren’t eligible for unaccompanied minor services

Reservations

You can make a reservation for an unaccompanied minor online or by phone. When booking online, please select the child’s age based on their age on the date of travel. You can also make a reservation by calling the United Customer Contact Center. Please note that there is a $25 booking charge for reservations made by phone.

Only children between the ages of 5-14 are eligible for this service. You’ll be automatically charged at the time of booking when making your reservation online or by phone. However, you’ll have the option of paying during check-in if you book by telephone. When purchasing a Basic Economy ticket, you won’t be able to select a seat during the booking process. You’ll need to contact the United Customer Contact Center to receive a seat assignment. During the booking process, you’ll need to provide information on who will be dropping off/picking up your child at their destination. 

Flight Day

Check-In

Please allow for an additional 30 minutes for your child’s check-in process. Unaccompanied children aren’t eligible for online or mobile check-in. Upon checking in, the representative will verify the information listed for the adults present during drop-off and pick-up. Your child will receive a wristband to wear in-flight, as well as a special unaccompanied minor envelope to use as they travel. You’ll also receive a customer service phone number if you have any questions during their travel. 

If traveling domestically, the adult can obtain a gate pass to accompany the minor to their departure gate. You have the option to take a seat until it’s time to board. If you choose not to get a gate pass, you agree to stay on-site until their flight departs. Before other passengers, unaccompanied minors will be pre-boarded to allow more time to get familiar with the plane.

While in flight, our attendants will check-in with your child throughout the trip. For flights offering food for purchase, they will receive one (1) complimentary food item.

Once the child has reached their destination, a United representative will escort them to meet the person designated to pick them up. To greet the child at their arrival gate, adults must obtain a gate pass. 

 

Learn more about kid-friendly travel at South Bend International Airport in South Bend, IN.

South Bend International Airport offers nonstop daily flights to 13 destinations and connections worldwide. We offer affordable parking options, great eats, and better commuting to and from your destination. Want to learn more about our flights or want to crunch the numbers? Contact us at (574) 282-4590 ext. 230, or check out flysbn.com! Fast. Smart. Affordable.