We know that even the though of having your child fly alone can be a bit nerve wracking, especially if you have never done it before and aren’t familiar with the process.
Below, we’re breaking down the exact steps you’ll take from booking the flight to having your child picked up at the airport.
Note, that you will have to pay an additional unaccompanied minor fee on top of your airline ticket. We’ve included a table of the fees by airline below, note this list is exhaustive and could be out of date, we suggest checking with the specific airline on their requirements:
The Step by Step Process
Booking the flight
- Call the airline to book (United allows this online)
- Give them the name, address, phone number of the person dropping off and picking up
Arriving at the airport for drop off
- Arrive 2 hours early minimum
- Go to the ticket counter and check-in
- Your child will receive their boarding pass and you’ll receive a gate pass
- You will be asked to review the documentation that includes the drop off and pick up details and to sign the drop off. This will go with your child.
- Proceed to the gate
- Let the gate agent know you have an unaccompanied minor
- Give your kiddo a big hug because they’re about to be a solo traveler!
- Your child will typically board first and be introduced to the crew (maybe even the pilot!)
- You will need to remain at the gate until the aircraft has taken off
- Say a prayer, meditate, take a breath – whatever you have to do to stay calm!
- If you want to, you can track the flight with FlightAware using the flight number
Arriving at the airport for pick-up
- Arrive 1 hour before landing time, minimum
- Go to the gate and request a gate pass, you’ll need ID and the flight confirmation #
- Proceed to the gate and let the gate agent know you’ve arrived
- When the flight has landed, unaccompanied minors typically get off the flight last
- The flight attendant will escort the child to the designated pick-up person
- The attendant will check their ID against the documentation
- THey will be asked to sign the document
- The child will be released
- They better call you and let them know “the eagle has landed, target acquired”
If you or the pick-up person is late, someone from the airline will escort the child to their “holding area” where they can sit and color, read, or watch tv until you arrive. There is someone there who will check the pick-up person’s ID prior to releasing the child.
And that’s it! Easy breezy!