As a parent, you always want to be with your child. However, sometimes it’s necessary to let them venture out into the world alone before the age of 18.
With relatives spread far and wide, special scholastic and sports opportunities, and co-parenting situations, families nationwide are sometimes faced with making the decision to let a child fly alone.
A plane ticket for an unaccompanied minor is subject to additional fees. Recently, American Airlines expanded their mandatory fee for flying an unescorted minor from ages 5 to 11 to include minors ages 12 to 14. All U.S. airlines charge a fee for flying children by themselves to offset the need for increased flight crew assistance.
While airlines take precautions to keep your child safe when flying alone, you can also help prepare him or her for the experience.
Here are three ways to prepare your child to fly on an airplane alone:
Go Over The Flight Plan
Before the trip, sit down with your child and go over the flight plan. If the child is young, it’s a good idea to buy a map and show them the flight path. Advise your child of any layovers and explain how the flight crew will assist him or her. Always let your child know who will be meeting them at the final destination of the trip. And, if warranted, give them photos of those people to carry with them.
Teach Them To Speak Up
Although the flight crew will ensure that an unaccompanied child gets onto the plane safely and is comfortable, crew members are busy throughout the flight and may not be available to check on your child. Ensure that your child is comfortable getting the attention of the crew and speaking up if they need anything. If they are tall enough, teach them how to use the crew call button above the seats. Children should treat a crewmember like they would a teacher; instruct them to raise their hand or politely call when they need help.
Provide A Cell Phone
If your child is traveling alone, giving him or her a cell phone to use in an emergency can help keep them safe. If you don’t want to sign up for an ongoing service plan, there are plenty of prepaid options to take advantage of. Before giving the phone to your child, make sure to load it with the necessary contact numbers. These numbers should also be listed on an informational sheet that your child keeps in his or her travel pack. Confirm that the phone is fully charged before your child boards the plane, and ensure that he or she has the charger with them.
Sending your child alone on an airplane can be nerve-wracking for parents. However, engaging in these preflight precautions, in addition to adhering to all of the unescorted minor guidelines from the airline, will make their trip more comfortable.
If you want more information, or have questions about keeping your child safe, please call us at 1-800-676-5295 or send us a message for a free consultation. We frequently handle child protection cases, and our attorneys can help give you peace of mind.
View other blog posts about child protection.