The short answer to this question is “probably,” as long as your child is at least 5-years-old. The airlines generally consider children between the ages of 5 and 14 flying alone to be “unaccompanied minors.” Once your child is 15, they can fly alone without a special designation. But there are special considerations to keep in mind.

Special Paperwork for Unaccompanied Minors

When you send a child on a flight alone, you’ll fill out a form with important information about your kiddo. When he or she arrives at the destination, they will be escorted from the airplane by an airline rep and only released to someone you designated prior to their departure. This person must be a responsible adult.

General Guidelines by Child’s Age

Even if your child is “technically” permitted to fly alone, most airlines won’t allow plane changes for safety issues. When the airlines do permit connecting flights, they will assign a staff member to chaperone your little to their connection. These guidelines can help you see what the airlines generally permit:

  • Ages 0-4 May only travel with a responsible adult
  • Ages 5-7 Can take a direct flight (no connections)
  • Ages 8-15 Can sometimes fly connecting flights (will usually be accompanied by an airline
    staffer to connection)
  • Ages 15-17 Can generally fly domestically without special considerations; those under 17 flying internationally may be required to show letter of consent from parent or guardian

Fees and Rules for Unaccompanied Minors by Airline

Alaska Airlines
Alaska has a “Junior Jetsetters” program to facilitate unaccompanied minor travel. The program assures participants are supervised at all times. Children receive a wristband that identifies them as Junior Jetsetters so they can be easy to identify to flight crew staff. They also benefit from early boarding and a special safety briefing from flight attendants before the flight. For kids 13-17, Junior Jetsetters is optional; those under 13 must participate.

Ages 0-4
Cannot travel alone

Ages 5-7
Fee is $50 each way per child
Nonstop/direct flights only
Gate escort and guardian contact required
Travel may not begin between 9pm and 5am

Ages 8-12
Fee is $50 each way per child for nonstop/direct flights
Fee is $75 each way per child for connecting flights
Gate escort and guardian contact required
Travel may not begin between 9pm and 5am

Ages 13-17
Junior Jetsetter service optional
Fee is $50 each way per child for nonstop/direct flights
Fee is $75 each way per child for connecting flights
Gate escort and guardian contact required
Travel may not begin between 9pm and 5am

American Airlines
Children 5-14 must utilize American’s unaccompanied minor service. The service is optional for children 15-17, but the unaccompanied minor fee still applies. One fee for all siblings on a flight will be assessed. Services include early boarding, kids-only lounges in hub airports for flight connections, airport escorts at connection airports and to the authorized adult picking the child up from airport. Unaccompanied minor travel must be booked over the phone.

Ages 0-4
Cannot travel alone

Ages 5-7
Fee is $150 each way per group of siblings on flight
Nonstop flights only
Gate escort and guardian contact required

Ages 8-14
Fee is $150 each way per group of siblings on flight
Gate escort and guardian contact required
Nonstop flights or any 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)

Ages 15-17
Fee is $150 each way per group of siblings on each flight
Gate escort and guardian contact required
Nonstop flights or any 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)

Delta Airlines
The Delta unaccompanied minor program features a trackable wristband, Sky Zone lounge for kids (at hub airports) and a Delta personnel escort for your child throughout their travel day. Travel is not permitted on the last connecting flight of the day, or on redeye flights.

Ages 0-4
Cannot travel alone

Ages 5-7
Fee is $150 each way for up to 4 children per flight
May travel on some nonstop flights
Gate escort and guardian contact required

Ages 8-14
Fee is $150 each way for up to 4 children per flight
May travel on nonstop and some connecting flights
Gate escort and guardian contact required

Ages 15-17
Fee is $150 each way for up to 4 children per flight
May travel as unaccompanied minor or standard passenger (standard passengers will need to present valid ID

Frontier Airlines
Effective November 1, 2018, Frontier no longer allows unaccompanied minor travel for kids under 15. Any child under 15, must be on the same reservation as an accompanying adult.

Hawaiian Airlines
The Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor program does not permit travel on the last connecting flight of the day, or on red eye flights.

Ages 0-4
Cannot travel alone

Ages 5-11
Fee is $35 each flight segment within the state of Hawaii, and $100 each flight segment between Hawaii and mainland North America (for two children max on one fee)
May travel with a companion who is at least 15 years old as long as they are traveling on the same flight, in the same compartment.
Minors ages 5-11 may not travel alone on international flights.

Ages 12-18
Fee is $35 each flight segment within the state of Hawaii, and $100 each flight segment between Hawaii and mainland North America (2 children max on one fee)
May travel alone on international flights, but may require additional documentation from parents or guardians.

JetBlue
JetBlue does offer special services for unaccompanied minors between the ages of 5 and 14. The airline’s UMNR program is mandatory for children between the ages of 5 and 14. Minors who have reached the age of 14 traveling alone will be booked as an adult and can travel without extra services.

A fee of $150 per child per-way is charged at time of booking. Unaccompanied minors may not travel on JetBlue flights between the United States and London.

The designated person who will pick up the child must be 18 years of age, must have a valid ID and must be listed in the drop-off/pick-up information.

Southwest Airlines
Southwest has arguably the most lenient policy, allowing children 5-11 to travel alone. If they are traveling with a sibling who is 12+, they are not considered unaccompanied at all.

Ages 5-11
Fee is $50 each way.
Unaccompanied minors are not permitted on any international or connecting domestic flights.

Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines does permit unaccompanied minors on select flights, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Unaccompanied minors are not permitted on any connecting domestic flights.

Ages 0-4
Cannot travel alone. May travel with a passenger 15 years of age +.

Ages 5-14
Fee is $100 each way and includes an on-board snack and drink

Ages 15-17
Guests 15 years old and older are not required to have Unaccompanied Minor service, but they may be asked to present a picture ID or birth certificate to verify their age. The Unaccompanied Minor service charge will be collected if guests 15 and older if the service is requested.

United Airlines
While a lot of the airlines do not permit unaccompanied minors on international flights, United does. United offers early boarding for unaccompanied minors, as well as a free snack on-board. The unaccompanied minor service is required for passengers age 5-14.

Ages 0-4
Cannot travel alone, even when traveling with an older child.

Ages 5-14
Fee is $150 each way for every 2 children.
Unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop United or United Express flights. They can’t use the unaccompanied minor service on codeshare flights and other flights operated by partner airlines.

Ages 15-17
Young adults ages 15-17 can travel alone on any United- or United Express®-operated flight, or they can choose to opt in to our unaccompanied minor service.

As you can see, booking a flight for an unaccompanied minor has nuance and special information for each airline. If you’re booking a child traveling alone, please be aware that we will reach out to you and in some cases you may be required to furnish extra documentation to finalize the ticket.

Please let us know of additional questions you might have in the comments section below, or reach out via email at help@cheapair.com. We’d love to help you book travel for your family!

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*All information in this post is current as of publication date, but please be aware that all fees and policies are subject to change. 

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