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Anyone know the rules for 12 and olders flying alone?


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My two oldest are going to be flying alone at the end of the month. Their aunt has bought them tickets to fly non-stop to FL. I tried to find info on the internet about rules but can't find specific answers. This is what I want to know:

 

Will I be able to accompany them all the way to the gate and will their aunt be able to go all the way to the gate to receive them?

 

Will I have to show proof of age for them?

 

Will a flight attendant be "responsible" for them while they are on the flight?

 

Any other helpful info would be great. Thanks!

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My two oldest are going to be flying alone at the end of the month. Their aunt has bought them tickets to fly non-stop to FL. I tried to find info on the internet about rules but can't find specific answers. This is what I want to know:

 

Will I be able to accompany them all the way to the gate and will their aunt be able to go all the way to the gate to receive them?

 

Will I have to show proof of age for them?

 

It depends upon the airline/airport, but generally, yes to both of these, *if* you are using the unaccompanied minor service. You are not required to do so if they are older than 12.

 

Will a flight attendant be "responsible" for them while they are on the flight?
No.

 

One note, they are generally required to fly on non-stop, direct flights and it generally cannot be the last flight of the day.

 

What airline are they on?

Edited by Mrs Mungo
fixing quote boxes
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Each airline has different rules. Most all of them have the rules for "unaccompanied minors" on their website or you can call the airline. Often there is a fee for the escort on/off the plane (there is a fee for everything these days).

 

You will need your ID to accompany them to the gate and the adults on the other end will need ID and all the flight info to pick them up. When we did this in the past, we provided all the pick up info when we checked in the kids.

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The rules probably vary slightly by airline. You could look for "Unaccompanied minor" on your airline's website. For example, southwest seems to basically equate children over 12 with adult passengers (http://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/family/unaccompanied-minors-pol.html ). You can PROBABLY escort the child to the gate - you have to ask at baggage check, generally.

 

A flight attendant generally is NOT responsible for them. When we've flown with UM's on other flights, they're put on the plane first (with wheelchair passengers) and general seated towards the front (again: this is Southwest, so it's open seating). Flight attendants have so many responsibilities that I think it's a bit unreasonable to think that they'll be giving a lot of attention to your kids. They're also dealing with safety issues, 100+ other passengers, etc.

 

There are often fees associated with transporting UMs, so be sure to check the airline website. US Airways charges a $100 fee EACH WAY, per child: http://www.usairways.com/en-US/traveltools/specialneeds/unaccompaniedminors.html if your children are under 15.

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Thanks ladies! They are traveling on Southwest but their Unaccompanied Minor rules are for those under 12. My girls will be 12 and 13 so I wonder if the same rules will apply. My biggest concern is being able to accompany them to the gate and having someone else be at the gate to pick them up. I don't want them walking from the gate to security or baggage on their own. I'm probably being overly nervous about nothing...I guess I should just call the airline.

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When my 13-year-old flew last summer, not as an unaccompanied minor, the check-in people were very accommodating about letting me get a gate pass so I could accompany the kid through security. And his camp counselor got a similar pass on the other end and went to the gate with the kids going home, so I don't think it's unusual.

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When my 13-year-old flew last summer, not as an unaccompanied minor, the check-in people were very accommodating about letting me get a gate pass so I could accompany the kid through security. And his camp counselor got a similar pass on the other end and went to the gate with the kids going home, so I don't think it's unusual.

 

You can walk to the gate, but I am pretty sure there is no special treatment on the plane unless you pay the fee to have someone with them.

 

This is what I wanted to hear...thank you! I'm not super concerned about on the plane...just didn't want them to have to navigate the airport alone.

 

:DThey are super excited!:D

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Thanks ladies! They are traveling on Southwest but their Unaccompanied Minor rules are for those under 12. My girls will be 12 and 13 so I wonder if the same rules will apply. My biggest concern is being able to accompany them to the gate and having someone else be at the gate to pick them up. I don't want them walking from the gate to security or baggage on their own. I'm probably being overly nervous about nothing...I guess I should just call the airline.

 

My daughter is 13 and flied SWA regularly, and has been since she was 10. Now that she is over the unaccompanied minor age, things haven't changed much. We check in, check in any bags, and I fill out a form to accompany her to the gate. They give me something that looks like a boarding pass but is not an actual boarding ticket. Then we go to TSA. They look at her ticket and boarding stuff, sometimes they'll ask her her full name, or date of birth. I *always* carry her birth certificate, though, just in case. Then they look at my pass and ID. We head through to the metal detectors (haven't had the imaging or anything yet). We get to the gate :) I stay until they actually take off, just in case there are any last minute issues, I don't want to be 15 minutes away. All in all it's pretty painless. When we pick her up, we don't go to the gate, but she has a cell, and we meet at baggage claim.

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One note, they are generally required to fly on non-stop, direct flights and it generally cannot be the last flight of the day.

 

 

 

Not true, at least not for SWA. My daughter has flown on the last flight of the day and it wasn't a problem, she may have even been an unaccompanied minor back then too.

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Not meant to offend... sorry...

 

I wasn't offended, just explaining. :) When we flew my cousin to Hawaii because she was bringing our dog to us, we investigated a bunch of different airlines. Finding a non-stop plane to Hawaii was tricky, and eventually my aunt drove her 3 hours away to a large airport.

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It sounds like your dc won't be traveling as unaccompanied minors. You would know because there is an additional fee.

 

Minors don't have to have ID to go through security, but it doesn't hurt for them to have something. If you have time, you can go to the DMV and get a State ID card for your dc. Ours had it once they started flying as unaccompanied minors. It didn't cost much and is a legal ID. The number became their driver's license number once they got a driver's license. One ds did need it once when he was flying with some friends. He looks young, and the security person didn't believe he was as old as he said he was. Security insisted he should be traveling as an unaccompanied minor and thought he was lying about his age. He was flying home with friends, so there was no adult to verify his age. His state ID card did, though, and the security person apologized.

 

When you check in their luggage at the counter ask for a pass so you can go to the gate with them. Tell them your dc are flying alone and not used to the process, and you want to supervise them until they are on the plane. Airlines are usually accommodating and allow one parent to do this. It is less likely that someone will get a pass to meet them at the gate when they arrive. They should be fine following all the other people on the plane and finding their way to baggage claim, though.

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When you check in their luggage at the counter ask for a pass so you can go to the gate with them. Tell them your dc are flying alone and not used to the process, and you want to supervise them until they are on the plane. Airlines are usually accommodating and allow one parent to do this. It is less likely that someone will get a pass to meet them at the gate when they arrive. They should be fine following all the other people on the plane and finding their way to baggage claim, though.

 

 

When elder ds was 16, he took his first flight by himself. United would not let me go back with him through security since I had not bought the "unaccompanied" service. The gate agent and her manager said if I felt he could fly by himself, then he didn't need "mommy" to go through security with him. I was sooooo mad but didn't show it as I was afraid it might not take much to get arrested. He went by himself. The funny thing was that on the return trip, the gate agent on the other end offered my dad a pass to walk ds son to the gate and wait with him, and my dad hadn't even asked for one.

 

Word of advice, get your older child a credit card. Ds plane was re-routed due to weather on his way home, and he spent the night in that airport. He had plenty of cash with him for a day but I didn't want him to spend it all "just in case" so he was able to buy food and what not without worrying about having enough if he got stuck longer. They gave him vouchers but that didn't cover much.

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Word of advice, get your older child a credit card. Ds plane was re-routed due to weather on his way home, and he spent the night in that airport. He had plenty of cash with him for a day but I didn't want him to spend it all "just in case" so he was able to buy food and what not without worrying about having enough if he got stuck longer. They gave him vouchers but that didn't cover much.

 

If you don't want to worry about a credit card? Many banks have teen debit cards. That's another option. Definitely get a state id for them if you do this. My eldest has a teen debit card. Parents and child can check the balance and expenditures online, by phone or by phone app. We can transfer money instantly to the card via any of those methods as well.

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