How to Book Unaccompanied Minor Flight Tickets

Traveling by air can be an exciting experience for children, but it can also be nerve-racking for guardians when flying alone. Airlines provide a service called “Unaccompanied Minors” (UM) to ensure the safety and comfort of child travelers. In this article, we will look at what it means to be an unaccompanied child, the airlines’ responsibilities to them, and the process for reserving and traveling as an unaccompanied minor.

What is an Unaccompanied Minor?

An unaccompanied minor is a youngster aged 5 to 12 (age limits vary by airline) who travels alone without a parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult over 18. This program is intended to provide adequate care and help to young travelers throughout their journey.

The Responsibility of Airlines Towards Traveling Unaccompanied Minors

Airlines take the responsibility of caring for unaccompanied minors very seriously. They have special procedures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of these young passengers during their entire travel journey. Some key responsibilities of airlines towards unaccompanied minors include:

  1. Designated Supervision: Airlines represent staff members to accompany unaccompanied minors through the check-in, security, boarding, and arrival processes. These staff members are specially trained to handle the needs of young travelers.
  2. Safe Seating: Unaccompanied minors are typically seated close to flight attendants or in specific aircraft sections where cabin crew can quickly assist them.
  3. In-Flight Assistance: Flight attendants keep a close eye on unaccompanied minors, ensuring they are comfortable and have everything they need during the flight.
  4. Connection Assistance: If the unaccompanied minor has a connecting flight, the airline ensures a smooth transition between flights, often with a designated staff member escorting the child to the next departure gate.
  5. Communication with Parents: Airlines maintain constant contact with the parents or guardians of unaccompanied minors, providing updates about flight status and any changes in the travel plans.

Process for Booking and Traveling as an Unaccompanied Minor

The process of booking and traveling as an unaccompanied minor can vary slightly between airlines, but the general steps are as follows:

  1. Booking: When making a reservation for an unaccompanied minor, it is essential to inform the airline about their age and their desire for UM service. Some airlines may require you to book directly through their customer service or website instead of using online booking platforms.
  2. Special Forms: Airlines often require specific forms to be filled out, including information about the child, the person dropping off and picking up the child at both ends and any special instructions or medical conditions.
  3. Fees: There is usually an additional fee for unaccompanied minor services, so be prepared for the extra cost.
  4. Check-in and Documentation: On the day of travel, the child and the accompanying adult must provide valid identification and travel documents at the airport check-in counter.
  5. Pre-Flight Instructions: The airline staff will brief the child and the accompanying adult about the process, and the child will receive a UM lanyard or badge to wear throughout the journey.
  6. Boarding and Handover: The accompanying adult will take the child through security and to the boarding gate. The airline staff will take over during boarding, and the adult must remain at the airport until the flight departs.
  7. Arrival and Pick-up: Upon arrival at the destination airport, the designated person, as specified in the forms, must be present to pick up the unaccompanied minor. After verifying their identity, the airline staff will only release the child to the authorized person.
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