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Helpful Advice When Your Child Flies Alone

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Every child has his or her own set of precious firsts. You saw your child ride his bike for the first time, lose his first front tooth, go to his first day of school, and now you will see him fly on an airplane for the first time. Today, a number of children fly alone. When your child flies alone, you need to take all necessary precautions to ensure his safety. The majority of the children flying alone each year reach their destination without incident; however, if this is your child’s first time flying, make sure that both of you are prepared for the trip. To ensure your child’s safety, here is some helpful advice.

Children Flying Alone

Children between five and 14 years of age who travel without a parent or guardian are called unaccompanied minors. Most airlines do not allow children under the age of seven to make connections; however, in the event that a child is old enough to change planes, airline personnel will assist him. Generally, a fee of $75 to $100 is imposed for this service.

Requirements That Your Child Should Take

If you do not intend to accompany your child on his upcoming flight, you need to fill out a form with his name, age, any medical considerations, and other important information. Upon arrival at his destination, your child will be accompanied from the aircraft by an assigned flight attendant to the person you specified prior to departure. Additionally, you must agree that the airline has no responsibility or liability of guardianship during your child’s flight.

Tips to Follow

While most airlines have developed their own set of Unaccompanied Minors (UM) programs, you are still not 100% sure about what will happen when your child flies alone. While you cannot have control over everything, here are a few tips to follow before and after your child’s flight.

1. Book as early as you can. Inform the reservations department that your child is flying alone. You also have to make sure that your child has been listed as a UM. Call the airlines a few days before the departure to confirm everything.

2. Prepare for possible problems. Read the airline’s policies, particularly its policies on delays and unforeseen problems.

3. Get to the airport early. Since your child is flying alone, you may need to process other important documents before his departure. You should make your child comfortable, not only in the plane but also with his escorts.

4. Take the necessary documents to the airport. Before you leave your home, check that you have all of the required documents. To be safe, bring your child’s birth certificate and other identification papers needed to verify his identity.

5. Do not rush. Stay in the airport until the plane is in the air. Unforeseen problems may occur even when the plane is on the runway.

6. Provide your child with items that will make him comfortable on the plane. Since your child is flying alone, he may feel anxious on board. Lessen his anxiety by giving him card games, snacks, and calling cards in case he needs to make an emergency call.

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