Children flying alone, otherwise known as the unaccompanied minor, is a very common occurrence and is allowed by all airlines under specific conditions. The airlines definition of unaccompanied minor is a child traveling alone without a parent, guardian or any trusted adult that the child knows. If you are going to send your child flying through the skies without any of the previously mentioned, you’re going to have to pay an extra fee…and in many cases, it is not cheap. The airlines charge this fee because of extra responsibilities that include but are not limited to: extra check-in procedures, escorting to the gate, supervision during the flight and escorting to the meeting party at the destination. This is how the airlines provide safe, reliable and comfortable travel for children flying alone.
The chart below gives detailed info on costs and procedures for the specified airlines and mandatory, if applicable, circumstances of when a child will be labeled as an unaccompanied minor. Most programs allow you to see your child all the way to the gate, and the destination party to be waiting at the next gate. Although the fees can be steep, that's a nice feature to make sure your child is comfortable. And since fees are constantly changing, always make sure to check back each time you fly.
The unaccompanied minor program for children flying alone on international flights is required for all children 5-14 years old and is optional for children 15-17. Children 5-7 years old can travel on nonstop flights only and 4 years and younger are not allowed to fly alone. Delta unaccompanied minors can only connect on other Delta, Delta Connection, Air France and KLM flights. Only one fee will be charged for up to 4 children flying together
Children flying alone on US Airways international flights 5-14 years old are required to purchase US Airways unaccompanied minor service. Under 5 years old may not travel without parent/legal guardian. 5-14 years old may fly alone on nonstop flights only. Children 15-17 years old can travel on nonstop and connecting flights without US Airways assistance. Children 15-17 who require assistance may travel alone on nonstop flights only. If an unaccompanied minor is traveling on a flight operated by one of United’s Star Alliance or codeshare partners, you must contact the carrier directly for their policies. One nice benefit to United is that the first and second checked bag fees will be waived. However, if three or more bags are checked, excess baggage fees will apply.
United unaccompanied minor program for children flying alone internationally is required for children 5-11 years old that are not flying with a parent/legal guardian or someone 18+ years of age. Under 5 are not permitted to fly alone, and 5-7 years of age can fly on nonstop flights only. Ages 8-11 can fly on any flight, nonstop or connecting, with the exception of the last connecting flight of the day – unless the connecting flight is the only published service to that destination. Children flying alone are not accepted on flights which require an overnight stay in order to make a connection. Ages 12-17 have the option to use the service, but are not required.