Decoding Unaccompanied Minor Terms

A child flying alone is not a rare occurrence today. There are plenty of reasons for children to travel alone such as visiting parents and relatives living abroad, school periods terminating at different times or simply because the parents do not have the necessary resources or the time to accompany their children on the flight.

Thus, if a child is flying alone, there are many terms and policies regarding unaccompanied minors that a parent needs to take care off in order to ensure a smooth journey of their child.

Also, most of the children flying solo are sent on direct flights, thus avoiding the need of switching planes and reducing the need of transit at the airport. However, not always everything goes as per the plan and uncalled events may occur such as scheduling issues, bad weather or other unforeseen situations. Thus, it becomes necessary on part of the parents to prepare their children for any such possible circumstances that may occur on-course their air travel.

Unaccompanied Minors

Generally, kids aged between 5-14 flying without the supervision of any adult are termed as ?Unaccompanied Minors.? The term is frequently used in the airline industry; however the interpretation varies from airline to airline. There is no clear-cut definition agreed upon by all the air carrier companies and thus the parents need to clarify the specified age limit set by the specific airline concerned.

Unaccompanied Minor Traveling Alone

There are many airlines which do not permit for minors to travel without an adult. Some do not allow on international routes, some on specific routes while some on code-sharing flights. On the other hand, many allow only after they purchase Unaccompanied Minor Service (UMS) and few allow unrestricted travel between particular ages.

Cost of UMS

Generally, airlines charge anywhere from $50-$150 for a one way trip as an accompanied minor fee. The exact amount differs from airline to airline. Here are the fees charged by some of the major US airlines on domestic routes:

JetBlue Airlines: $100

American Airlines: $150

United Airlines: $150

Southwest Airlines: $50

Delta Airlines: $150

Other Considerations

Many airlines charge fee per child, while many allow more than one child to fly together under a single fee.

Some airlines do not allow unaccompanied minors on the ?red-eye? flights i.e. the last connecting flight of the day between 9 pm to 5 am.

After taking care of the required paperwork and paying the necessary fees, a guardian or a parent will be provided a special pass that will let him or her accompany the child through the security checkpoint to the gate and wait there until the flight takes off.