Are your kiddos flying Solo
for the first time this Summer?
Let’s help ease everyone’s anxiety by being as prepared as possible!
- Choose direct flights. Direct flights may be more expensive, but they minimize the risk of problems making connections. If you have to purchase flights with connections, try to schedule them through a smaller airport for easier navigation and allow plenty of time (at least 90 minutes) between flights in case of delays.
- Carry the card. Make sure your child carries a card listing:- child’s name, age, flight destination and flight itinerary
- name of the person bringing the child to the airport along with all available phone numbers (home, business, cell, pager)
- name and phone number of the person meeting the child, along with a picture
- an emergency contact name and phone number in case of a flight cancellation or problem
- Stash some cash. Send your child off with a little extra cash in case they need it. If your child is old enough, have them carry a temporary credit card so they’ll have money in case of an emergency.
- Get to the airport early and stay late. Get to the airport at least 90 minutes in advance and don’t plan on leaving until the aircraft leaves the runway.
- Stay calm. Keep a positive attitude and remain composed. Your child senses your feelings and it’s important for them to relax. If a problem arises, keep your cool and don’t panic. Talk with airline personnel, review your options, contact the individual who will be meeting your child, and stay in a problem-solving mode.
- Make your own rules. Here’s the bottom line – you need to evaluate whether your child is truly old enough to fly alone. Airline rules and guidelines really don’t matter. You know your child and his/her capabilities better than anyone else. Airlines offer unaccompanied minor options and should be responsible if parents take advantage of these services. If everything goes as planned, children as young as 5 should be fine traveling on a direct flight alone. But, sometimes everything doesn’t go smoothly no matter how well you’ve planned for it. Evaluate your child’s maturity and flight experience. Think about whether your child is old enough to ask questions, carry a cell phone, and handle the unexpected. Then make your decision accordingly.