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Can a 13 yob fly on an airplane by himself?

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Each airline had their own policy but I think they all want a direct flight. If he missed the connection or the second flight was cancelled, they don't want to have to baby-sit over night.


The age at which they require a "minder" at the airport varies too.


You'll probably have to pick the airline and flight around this.

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My sil wants to send a ticket to my son to go from Texas to the West Coast. He would need to make a connecting flight. He has traveled before. Would you allow this? Do the airlines allow it?




My teens have been flying alone for years. They're just regular little jet setters. On the other hand, I wouldn't let my almost 12 yr. old do it. It really depends on the maturity of the dc. I would think that most 13 year olds would be fine. The airlines are really great about handling unaccompanied minors.

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Two of my sons will be flying from Boston to Atlanta this summer. We bought non-stop flight tickets for "unaccompanied minors", which cost $25 more. That way, DH will get a pass to take them to the gate and the flight attendant will board them first and seat them together. When they reach Atlanta, the flight attendant will hand them over to a member of the ground crew, who will take them to the baggage claim, directly to my mother.


We had to specify who will bring and pick up the kids, as photo I.D. is required.


DH must wait at the gate until the plane actually takes off.


My mom thought the boys would think traveling thus would be babyish, but the boys are relieved. They have always traveled with me. A kid can fly as an "unaccompanied minor" until s/he is 15 or 16 years old.


It would be over my dead body that my kids would travel without some sort of adult supervision. This is my big experiment with giving them some independence.


Opinions vary. My mother thinks school-aged kids should be permitted by their parents to travel alone, and I think she is nuts.


I think the airlines allow kids 12 and up to travel alone (not as unaccompanied minors) -- but I'm not absolutely sure. You can go to the airline's website to check because different airlines may have different policies.

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It's a direct flight though. He's flying with BA who appear to have a good program for unaccompanied minors. He's also flown often with the family so he's familiar with the drill.


I'm not sure I'd be too thrilled about a connecting flight unless I could rustle up a friend at the connection to be there in case of trouble.

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My kids are veteran fliers, but I will not allow it until they're a minimum of 14y/o. I've heard a couple horror stories of layovers caused by weather or plane maintenance, and DCs end up spending night in hotels b/c of connection issues. THAT'S my issue--kids get roomed with a stranger and stuff happens.


I think airlines require adult supervision until 14y/o now, or there is a fee associated for them to 'watch' the child.

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There was no change of planes, and we paid for the unaccompanied minor service. I asked and was told that he would be fully looked after if there was a delay of any kind.


I would make sure that it was one airline all the way through, and would pay to have the child looked after/accompanied during the layover.


Edited to add: this was meant to go under the OP.


Best wishes



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I flew as an unaccompanied minor the very first time I flew, at age 11--to spend the summer with my aunt in Florida (and go to Space Camp, but it was my aunt who met me at the airport). I had to change planes somewhere (not too many direct flights out of Amarillo), but they had an escort for me to a kids-only waiting area and then to my connecting flight. I think I flew Delta.


I don't remember if I flew with the extra service when I went to Huntsville for Space Academy at thirteen. I think maybe not, but that was back when you could be met and have people see you off at the gate, which I was. And I may have had a direct flight for that trip. I know for sure I flew as an adult when I was fifteen/sixteen, on several short hops from Dallas to Amarillo and back, when I had to go home from school for closed weekends.


I think it would depend on the thirteen year old, his temperament and how familiar he is with the routine.

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I'm sure they would allow it, but many airlines have policies that make this more difficult and more expensive.


For example, we have looked into flying our 13-year-old daughter back and forth from school and discovered it's not a simple process. She is not in a major city, so there aren't any direct flights from there to here. Because of her age, she has to fly as an "unaccompanied minor," which adds something like $50 to each leg of the trip (or $100 each way if she has to make a connecting flight).


In addition, no portion of the trip is allowed to be the last flight of the day out of that airport. I guess they don't want to have a minor stuck overnight in the airport.


In her specific situation, this means there is exactly one flight available to her on any given day. And the unaccompanied minor charges nearly double the price of the ticket.


We've decided it is not only less hassle but actually less expensive--even with the current price of gasoline--for me to drive her back and forth.

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