Planning Your Child’s Trip As you prepare for the trip make sure to:
Check with the airline to get age ranges and other details for their unaccompanied minor program to make sure your child is eligible.
Decide who will drop off and pick up the child. Gather full contact information, including current address, to provide to the airline when you make the reservation.
Look at the airline’s website for instructions on booking a ticket online for an unaccompanied minor. You can book by phone instead, but will likely pay an additional fee to do so.
Select the right seat. Airline policies vary, so check with the airline for guidance on choosing an appropriate seat for your child. For example, some airlines recommend unaccompanied minors sit close to the front of the aircraft.
For international trips, make sure your child has a valid passport. Children’spassports are good for only five years, and it can take four to six weeks toget a passport. Also, your child cannot fly if his passport is due to expire within six months of departure.
If your child is traveling outside the United States, contact the destination country embassy to see if you need to get a notarized letter of parental consent for child travel.
Before You Go to the Airport As you’re preparing to leave, make sure you:
Verify that you and/or the other designated adults dropping off and picking up your child are carrying valid government-issued ID that shows the correct current address.
Remind the person picking up your child to go to the airport two hours before the flight arrival time, get a security pass and go to the arrival gate to meet the child. (For international flights, check to see if the adult must go to the gate or pick the child up elsewhere.)
Make sure you have a proof-of-age document for your child, such as a passport or birth certificate, to show the airline. (Some airlines allow copies, but check to make sure unless you plan to bring an original document.)
Check the flight status to verify your child’s flight is leaving on time. Depending on the time of day, a delay could mean your child will have to change flights.
Provide your child with a fully charged cell phone or a prepaid calling card and a list of important phone numbers to carry during travel.
Prepare your child by explaining the flying process, from check in to security to boarding. Remind them they need to wait for a uniformed airline representative to escort them off the plane after landing.
Give your child a healthy meal before the flight and pack a travel bag with snacks and entertainment, such as books or games.
Preparing Your Child for Flight
At the airport you will need to:
Go into the airport and go with your child to the desk for in-person check- in. (Unaccompanied minors cannot use kiosk or mobile check-in.)
Get a security pass so you can go through security with your child and walk him or her to the departure gate. (In airports outside the United States, you might not be able to do this, in which case a designated airline representative will escort your child to the gate.)
Introduce your child to the airline representatives at the gate and fill out the required unaccompanied minor form (as well as a customs declaration form for international trips).
Pay any unaccompanied minor fee.
Wait for your child to board the aircraft, escorted by the designated airline representative, during early boarding.
Stay at the airport until your child’s flight is in the air.
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