Airport Parking and Coronavirus: Latest Updates

Can my child fly alone? We explain what’s meant by Unaccompanied Minors

  • 21 Jul, 2021
  • Alice Fowler
  • 263 Comments

child on plane

There are plenty of reasons for children to need to fly alone these days, from going to visit relatives abroad without parents, to logistics surrounding school terms finishing at different times. It is important to note that children flying alone are usually called “Unaccompanied Minors” and that each airline sets its own rules and regulations regarding these. Ages, prices, and routes allowed are all variable.

Headteachers now have the power to set their own holiday schedules for their schools, which can result in more schools having different term dates to each other; a problem for parents with children in different establishments!

This might result in an increase of children flying alone to join their family on holiday, or going out to stay with relatives or friends.

Of course, there are many other reasons for children needing to fly alone, so we’ve compiled the information you need to know before waving goodbye at the airport! Many airlines offer these services, from United Airlines, to Lufthansa, to Qantas and ANA. KLM even have a dedicated lounge at Amsterdam Airport!

Unaccompanied minors info

Before you book

We suggest that you thoroughly research the airline and destination that you are planning to use for your child as many airlines will not accept unaccompanied minors on routes that require a connecting flight or stop over such as Alaska Airlines (5-7 year olds), JetBlue and Norwegian. Virgin Atlantic allow this, however only if the connection is to or from another Virgin flight.

Some even have restrictions regarding the time of the flight – for instance, unaccompanied minors are may not be permitted on the last flight of the day to certain locations.

If you are flying from America, ensure your airline allows children on international flights, for example South West Airlines only allow domestic trips.

In some cases the budget airlines, such as EasyJet, WizzAir and Ryanair, do not allow children under 14 (under 16 for Ryanair) to fly alone at all. The age that a child is classed as an adult by the airline varies as well, so it is really important to double check this if you have two children flying together.

You can find a list of airlines and their policies that we have compiled at the end of this blog.

Using the services

Throughout most airlines, the service generally works in a similar way. You will have to book it separately in most cases, sometimes online and sometimes through their offices.  You will probably need to fill out some paperwork, which will include all the information the airline need to know about the child, as well as information about the parents and of whomever is collecting the child at the destination.

Children between 5 and 12 years old

Please be aware that most airlines will not allow a child under 5 to fly without someone over the age of at least 16.

At the airport, you can accompany your child whilst they check in, at which point they will be assigned a member of staff who will oversee the whole process.

In some cases, you can be granted a pass to allow you to accompany your child to certain points within the airport; this can vary from just up to security, to right through to the departure gate.

someone with child

If this isn’t available, or an option for you, your child can also be assigned an escort who will guide them through the airport, up until they board the plane. They will then be handed over to a member of the airline crew, usually the lead air steward, and will be overseen throughout the flight. They will then be escorted off the plane and handed over to the adult collecting them, after identification checks to ensure this is the correct person!

12-18 year olds

They may still be able to use the Unaccompanied Minor Service, but may not have the option to be escorted through the airport or monitored on the flight. This does differ with each airline, so just double check what their packages include!

It can also mean that they will be responsible for their travel in the same way in which an adult would –  checking in, dealing with flight delays and getting through security – so make you they are well prepared and know what to expect!

Cost

The price of a ticket can vary vastly; from a discounted rate to a full adult fare. Don’t forget, you may also be subject to an additional fee, too – in some cases, this can be upwards of £130 (if this is the case, be sure to check whether this is each way!).

Always check with the airline before you book, and be sure to do some comparisons across different airlines for the best deals.

Children flying alone – Airline Unaccompanied Minors Policies

Air France

Name of Service KIDS SOLO
Age Restrictions
  • On international flights provided by Air France, children 5 to 14 years of age who are traveling alone are required to travel as Unaccompanied Minors. They benefit from the Kids Solo service which is included in the ticket price.
  • Adolescents from 15 to 17 years of age who are traveling alone can receive Air France assistance upon request, they’ll benefit from the Kids Solo service but it is a chargeable service.
Additional Information With Kids Solo, you can track your child’s route in the app!
Prices For children between 15 and 17, this service is subject to an extra fee, between €40 on a single journey for a direct flight and €50 on a single journey for a flight with 1 or more connections.

Alaska Airlines

Name of Service Unaccompanied Minor Service
Age Restrictions
  • For 5-17 year olds – No departures between 9pm and 5am.
  • F For 5-7 year olds – No connections.
  • F For 8-12 year olds – no connections to the last flight of the day or more than 2 hours stopover.
Additional Information Service is available on domestic and international flights
Prices
  • 5-7 year olds – $50 USD/CAD each way per child
  • 8-17 year olds – $50 USD/CAD each way per child for non-stop/direct flights,$75 USD/CAD each way per child for connecting flights

American Airlines

Name of Service Unaccompanied Minor Service
Age Restrictions
  • Ages 2 – 5 must be accompanied by adult over age of 16.
  • Children aged 5-14 who will be traveling alone will be required to use the Unaccompanied Minor service unless accompanied by someone else over the age of 16.
  • Ages 5-7 require the service and can only travel on non-stop or direct flights.
  • Ages 8-14 require the service and can travel on direct flights as well as journeys that connect through the following airports: CLT, DCA, DFW, JFK, LGA, LAX, MIA, ORD, PHL, PHX.
  • Ages 15-17 are not required to use the service but can request it.
Additional Information
  • Unaccompanied minors cannot travel on the last scheduled flight of the day from the connection city, and their journey cannot include any overnight connecting flights.
  • Anyone travelling internationally under 18 may need to present a Letter of Consent.
Prices $150 surcharge plus tax each way if you want to use unaccompanied minor service, plus the adult fare. However, if there are 2 unaccompanied minors but they belong to the same family and are travelling on the same flight as well, they won’t be charged the fee twice. They will only pay the $150 surcharge plus taxes.
Prices Please note that the child fare does not apply to unaccompanied children, adult fares will be applied. The applicable fare varies depending on the country of departure.

British Airways

Name of Service None
Age Restrictions
  • Only children above the age of 14 may travel alone on British Airways. Any child under the age of 14 wishing to fly will need to be accompanied by someone over the age of 16.
  • Although, SUN-AIR is an exception. If you’re flying with them, children from the ages of 5-11 can travel alone but the airline needs to be aware of this beforehand.
  • Children over 12 can travel alone but they do have the option of SUN-AIR Unaccompanied Service, should they require it.
Additional Information British Airways have removed their Unaccompanied Minors Service as of May 2018. No assistance will be given to those flying alone.
Prices Children will have to travel as an adult, and therefore the cost is the price of their adult ticket.

easyJet

Name of Service None
Age Restrictions
  • 14 days – 2 years are only allowed to fly with an adult
  • 2 – 15 years cannot travel unless they are accompanied by an adult who is at least 16 years old and who will take full responsibility for them. If there’s no accompanying adult, they’re not allowed to travel by themselves because easyJet doesn’t provide an unaccompanied service.
Additional Information N/A
Prices N/A

Emirates

Name of Service Unaccompanied Minors
Age Restrictions
  • Children above 5 and under 15 years of age.
  • It can also be used for children travelling in a different cabin from their parents.
Additional Information There are lounges available especially for unaccompanied children, it’s near the check in area.
Prices Cost of an adult fare and may vary depending on the flight.

Iberia

Name of Service Minor Companion Service
Age Restrictions
  • 5 – 11 years old – They must book this service as it is mandatory for them.
  • 12 – 17 – They have the option of booking this service should they wish it.
Additional Information
  • It is recommended that you book in advance as seats of this kind can be limited.
  • This service is available for transfers as well but there is an extra fee for that.
Prices Domestic flights – £40
Europe, the Canary Islands, the Middle East and North Africa – £65
Long Haul – £110

Flights with transfers:
Domestic flights – £65
Europe, the Canary Islands, the Middle East and North Africa – £90
Long Haul – £135

Lufthansa

Name of Service Unaccompanied Minors
Age Restrictions
  • Ages 5 – 11 can only fly alone if using the service or flying with someone over 12.
  • Ages 12-17 don’t have to use the service but can request it.
Additional Information
  • Partner airlines may vary.
  • Cannot be booked online.
Prices Price of the flight with an additional surcharge:

  • Within Germany or Europe – 70 Euros/80USD
  • Intercontinental – 150 Euros/170 USD

Qatar

Name of Service Escort service
Age Restrictions
  • 0 – 5 years old – the service is not available
  • 5 – 15 years old – the service is available
Additional Information
  • Must be booked through the office and 72 hours prior.
  • An adult fare will be charged for the child.
Prices Return fare will be charged for the airline representative

RyanAir

Name of Service N/A
Age Restrictions Children under the age of 16 years must always be accompanied by a passenger over 16 years.
Additional Information N/A
Prices N/A

South West Airlines

Name of Service Unaccompanied Minors service
Age Restrictions Ages 5-11 – Must use South West’s Unaccompanied Minor service unless accompanied by someone else over the age of 12.
Additional Information Can only fly on nonstop or direct domestic flights, and not on international flights.
Prices $50 each way

Turkish Airlines

Name of Service N/A
Age Restrictions
  • 2 – 7 years old – must be under supervision of one of the cabin staff
  • 7 – 12 years old – they may travel alone
Additional Information Unaccompanied Minor Declaration Forms are required to be filled in at the check-in counters and must be signed by parents or guardians
Prices N/A

United Airlines

Name of Service Unaccompanied Minor Service
Age Restrictions
  • Ages 5-14 – must use unaccompanied minor service
  • Ages 15 or over – the service is not available to them. They can fly unaccompanied on direct flights from United and United Express
Additional Information They can only travel on nonstop flights which are operated by either United or United Express
Prices 150 USD on top of flight price for any destination


A full list of airline policies can be found here


How to apply for unaccompanied minors service?



process for parents

About Alice Fowler

I love to travel and working in the airport parking world for nearly five years has given me inside out knowledge of the industry. I love to help travellers get the best out of their trip, and their journey to the airport is an important part of that. Whether it's using our data to spot trends and pinpoint when people can save money, or opening the lid on airport parking tips and tricks, if it helps our customers, I'll write about it!

Related Posts

263 responses to “Can my child fly alone? We explain what’s meant by Unaccompanied Minors”

  1. Hey
    So my boyfriend (16 y) lives in another country than I do and he wants to come over for the holidays… but the thing is his parents don’t live in the same country as him. What are they supposed to do to get him a ticket to fly alone to my country?

    • Hi Vanessa,

      Whether or not he can travel without consent will depend on the country (as different countries will have different rules) and the airlines.

      Best to figure out which airline he’ll use and if he can fly as an adult or not.

  2. Hi, fantastic list – suggestion: could you add details for Iberia? I see a lot of comments for it too.

    Thank you

  3. My son is nearly 4 year old. He can travel alone with the care of airhostress from india to uk. I can’t go because of quarantine there. Can you help me. I have no anyone who bring him in uk from india.

    • Hi Nirmaljit,

      Your son can only travel unaccompanied if the airline allows it; I’m not sure of the current rules due to COVID. If he is able t, he will need to have an adult escort him to the collection point in the airport in India nad have a named adult, with identification, to collect him from the airport in the UK.

      If you need your son to travel without you, it’s best to speak to the airline directly.

  4. Hello
    I am 17 years old and I want to fly from Manchester UK airport to Ciampino Rome and take a 5 year old child.
    Is this possible on Ryanair?

    Thanks

    Kasia Lovell

  5. Hello I am 16 and I am travelling from budapest airport to the Dublin with a 18yr old friend but with separately bought tickets would I need anything a parenteral consent to enter Dublin (I also live there)

    • Hi Emanuel,

      It would depend on your airline but most will class a 16yr old as an adult so you should be ok to travel. If you’re still worried, contact your airline to ask.

      Safe Travels

  6. I have 2 girls that would like to travel from UK to Spain and back, they are 15 and 17. Do they need anything in passport control in Spain (to enter or leave) or UK (to enter or leave). Not so much the airline is the passport control I am worried about as I can’t get a straight answer,they will be traveling with British passport. The way back will be in January.
    Thanks

    • Hi there,

      The girls should be fine to travel as long as they have valid passports. Although travel in and out of the UK is restricted at the moment due to Covid-19 so they would require a valid reason to be travelling.

  7. Hi me and my friends are planning to travel to Gran Canaria next year for holidays and we are also planning on flying with Ryanair which I know allows children over 16 to travel alone. We will all be 17 and one 18 year old with us and I was wondering if me and my friends need a parent permission when entering Gran Canaria or when entering Ireland where we live. No website is being helpful as it just says we will be considered adults but others say we still need parent permissions.

    Thank you

  8. Hi,
    My child who is Indian and have valid UK dependent visa. He is 10 years old and is presently in India. He need to travel to UK. I as his father is working here in UK and on work visa. His mother is in India and cannot travel with him because of personal reasons.
    Can my child travel alone as unaccompanied minor to UK.
    If yes then what all documentations and formalities are required to ensure his safe travel.
    Thanks

    • Hi Samir,

      You would need to have this discussion with the airline and airport you wish your son to use as we are unsure how the UK International Travel Ban will affect this.

      Good Luck!

  9. Hi ……my sons are 16 and 13 they are traveling alone to Porto Portugal with easyJet in July they have British passport…..do they need an authorization from parents to go out of the country…does the authorisation need to be certified by someone like solicitor.
    Thanks

    • Hi, as long as your eldest is 16 or over at the time of flying they are classed as an adult, and therefore your 13 year old can fly with them. Easyjet do not allow anyone under the age of 16 to fly unless they are accompanied by someone over the age of 16.
      I hope that helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You must be 13 years old or older to comment on this blog.
By submitting your comment, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.