Each airline has their own policy regarding unaccompanied minors and we strongly recommend you call and speak with a Travel Specialist at 1-800-CHEAP-AIR (1-800-243-2724) if you are planning to have your child fly alone. This way, while the specialist helps you find the best deal on a ticket, they can also ensure there will be no problems and you are fully aware of the policies held by the airline you select.
To help with your planning there are a few general policies held by nearly all airlines. Plan on arriving at the airport at least 30 minutes to an hour earlier than you normally would, as you will have to fill out an “Unaccompanied Minor” form at the airline counter. You will also be asked to provide the name of the adult who will be meeting your child at the destination and that individual will have to provide identification before they can take your child. Also, keep in mind that many airlines do charge a fee for the Unaccompanied Minor service, which can range from $25 to $150, per direction. These fees are not part of the ticket price and must be paid at the counter before they will issue a boarding pass.
There are also certain flights that unaccompanied minors are simply not allowed to fly on. For example, all airlines prohibit them from flying on the last non-stop or connecting flight of the day. This is another reason we recommend you speak to a Travel Specialist as it is not always obvious if a flight is the final one. More than once we’ve had customers tell us afterward that a child was booked online to fly on the 5:30pm flight only to be turned away at the counter because the customer was not aware it was the last flight. Our agents can review the airlines entire flight inventory and ensure your child is not on that prohibited flight. Also, some airlines have rules stating that minors can only fly unaccompanied on “non-stop” flights and they can and will deny boarding on a connection flight.
Again, much of this information is general to all airlines but each will have their own specific policy. In addition each airline has their own age limit on what they consider an unaccompanied minor so it is important to check that as well. Most allow children 15 and over to fly without a guardian or adult without being considered an unaccompanied minor but this is also something you will want to confirm before booking travel. If you have any questions please call and speak with a specialist at 1-800-CHEAP-AIR (1-800-243-2724) or if you know the airline you will be booking travel on you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to provide you with all of the information you will need.