Airline Rules and Tips for Unaccompanied Minors
Unaccompanied Minors (Children Travelling Alone)
Whether travelling to visit family, for school, or for any other reason, children may have to travel alone. Our guide will help you not only find out what the unaccompanied minors policies are but also offers tips on how you can help an unaccompanied minor to travel.
You can now book an Unaccompanied Minors service with Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue during the booking process on our Alternative Airlines site.
Important Notice - May 2019
In May 2019, in order to negate the threat of child trafficking, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration in Namibia changed the laws of travelling as a child. See our Air Namibia page if you're a parent/guardian travelling with a child.
Travelling as an Unaccompanied minor to and from Namibia
All unaccompanied minors must provide a number of different documents in order for them to be allowed to travel. These include:
Proof of consent for a parent or legal guardian (in the form of a letter or affidavit)
A letter from the person(s) who is collecting and accommodating the child. This letter must include the address of where the child will be staying and details on how to contact the address
A copy of ID or a valid passport and visa/permanent residence permit of the person collecting and accommodating the child
Contact details of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child
How to Book Unaccompanied Minor Service
You can now book an unaccompanied minor service with Spirit, Southwest and JetBlue during the booking process when you use Alternative Airlines. Read our step-by-step guide below showing you how to book an unaccompanied minor service with these airlines that offer this service, all through Alternative Airlines.
Using our search form at the top of the page, enter the departure and arrival airports, the dates the unaccompanied minor will be flying and the fare type. Hit the 'Search Flights' button when you're ready!
After the search results have loaded, you'll see all the available flights based on your search criteria. If you want to see all the routes operated by JetBlue, Spirit or Southwest, you can use the Airline filter above the results.
If you can't find routes operated by any of these airlines, this may be because these airlines don't offer flights based on your search criteria - try changing the dates of travel or different departure/arrival cities. Select the flight that is most suitable for the unaccompanied minor and press 'Confirm selection' to proceed.
Fill in the passenger details - this will include the name and age of the passenger. When you enter the unaccompanied minor's date of birth, the passenger will automatically be recognised as an Unaccompanied Minor.
You'll then need to fill in the contact information of the unaccompanied minor's parent/guardian. Spirit, Southwest and JetBlue all charge a fee for the unaccompanied minor service - this will be displayed in the ticket price breakdown.
Have a Question? Our Customer Service Team is Here to Help
Have you made a flight booking for an Unaccompanied Minor, or would like to do so? Our expert Customer Service is on-hand to help with any questions that you may have. You can visit our Contact Us Contact Us page to get in contact. You can also take a look at our Help Guide, which will help answer your questions.
Which airlines allow unaccompanied minors to fly?
The airlines listed below offer Unaccompanied Minors services - for each airline, we've outlined the minimum age for an unaccompanied minor to fly with that airline, any restrictions to routes operated by that airline and if the airline offers an escort service for the unaccompanied minor.
The minimum age for unaccompanied minors for Air Canada is 8. Children under 8 years of age cannot travel alone on Air Canada flights.
Unaccompanied passengers aged 8 to 11 years must have the Unaccompanied Minors (UM) service purchased for them.
For passengers aged 12 to 17 years, the Unaccompanied Minors (UM) service is optional.
The Air Canada Unaccompanied Minors (UM) service is available on non-stop flights only, for Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, or for Air Canada Express flights operated by Jazz, Sky Regional, Air Georgian GX (Flight series 7350-7499, or Exploits Valley Air 8K - Flight series 7615-7649)
The Unaccompanied Minors (UM) service cannot be purchased for connecting flights or codeshare flights.
Unaccompanied Minors (UM) cannot travel with a pet in the cabin.
Only passengers aged 16 years or over can act as accompanying adults for minors of 12 years and under.
Is an escort service offered?
Yes, the Air Canada Unaccompanied Minors (UM) service includes a member of staff escorting the children and young people from the check-in area to their destination.
The minimum age for unaccompanied minors for Alaska Airlines is 5, and this is for non-stop flights only. Children under 5 years of age cannot travel alone on Alaska Airlines flights.
Passengers between 8 and 12 years of age can travel alone on non-stop and connecting flights.
Unaccompanied Minors cannot begin their travel between 9 pm and 5 am.
The minimum age for unaccompanied minors for American Airlines is 5, and this is for non-stop and direct flights only. Children under 5 years of age cannot travel alone on American Airlines flights.
Passengers between 8 and 12 years of age can travel alone on non-stop and direct flights, as well as connecting flights through Charlotte, NC (CLT), Washington Reagan, D.C. (DCA), Dallas-Forth Worth, TX (DFW), New York, NY (JFK and LGA), Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Miami, FL (MIA), Chicago, IL (ORD), Philadelphia, PA (PHL) and Phoenix, AZ (PHX).
American Airlines does not accept unaccompanied minors where their flights include:
The last flight of the day (unless it is the only scheduled flight offered for that route)
Overnight connecting flights (unless it is the only scheduled flight offered for that route)
Connections to and from other airlines, including Oneworld alliance and codeshare partners
The minimum age for unaccompanied minors for British Airways is 6, and the Openskies Solo Flyer service must be purchased for these passengers.
For passengers between the ages of 12 and 17 years, the Openskies Solo Flyer service is optional.
Children under the age of 5 cannot travel alone on British Airways flights.
The Openskies Solo Flyer service is only available for flights departing from the U.S. or France.
Is an escort service offered on British Airways flights?
Yes, the Openskies Solo Flyer service includes an escort by Openskies staff throughout the service user’s journey.
Delta Air Lines
The Delta Air Lines Unaccompanied Minor service is required for all children aged 5-14 years old when not travelling in the same compartment with an adult of at least 18 years of age or the child’s parent/guardian.
Young children under the age of 5 cannot fly unaccompanied on Delta Air Lines flights.
Children between the ages of 5 and 7 can fly using the Unaccompanied Minor service on nonstop flights only.
Children between the ages of 15 and 17 are not required to use the Unaccompanied Minor service, however, Delta will provide this service when requested.
Unaccompanied minors cannot be booked onto the last connecting flight of the evening, nor are they permitted on red-eye flights, with exceptions for:
Flights to or from Alaska or Hawaii
Markets with only one connection that is the last flight of the day
Domestic short-haul flights (non-stop, 2 hours or less)
Is an escort service offered?
Yes. Before the flight, a Delta Air Lines employee will take the unaccompanied minor onto the plane and spend time helping them to familiarise themselves with the attendants, crew and the aircraft itself.
Regarding transfers, a Delta employee will meet the child’s arriving flight; if the connection time is short then the escort will take the child directly to the connecting departure and escort them on board. If the layover is longer, the child will be taken to a secure location such as the Delta Sky Zone, and turn the ticket and Unaccompanied Minor over to the next Delta Air Lines employee in the room, and then the child’s onward travel would then be as a regular flight.
The Frontier Airlines unaccompanied minors service is available for children between the ages of 5 and 17. Passengers aged between 15 and 17 do not need the unaccompanied minors service, but if requested can be provided with it. Frontier Airlines does not accept unaccompanied minors less than 5 years old.
Unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop Frontier Airlines flights.
Is an escort service offered?
The Frontier Airlines unaccompanied minors service includes hand-off from the gate agent to the flight attendant, flight attendant oversight, and hand-off from flight attendant to gate attendant, as well as gate agent oversight for as long as the unaccompanied minor is not picked up by the allocated guardian.
Hawaiian Airlines offer an Unaccompanied Minor service to children between the ages of 5 and 11.
Unaccompanied minors cannot fly on:
International Flights (including those to and from American Samoa)
Flights departing between 9 pm and 5 am (unless the flight operates out of Honolulu and is the only flight of the day)
Any codeshare flights
Connecting flights to or from another carrier (apart from connecting on flights between Hawaiian Airlines and 'Ohana by Hawaiian operated by Empire Airlines)
Certain Hawaiian Airlines to Hawaiian Airlines connecting flights (such as the last connecting flight of the day, or where the connection time is longer than 2 hours)
Icelandair offers an Unaccompanied Minor service for children between 5 and 11 years of age who are not accompanied by another passenger of 12 years of age or older with the same reservation status and capable of taking full responsibility for the child. The service is also available for 12-15-year-old passengers on an optional basis.
There is a maximum of 4 unaccompanied minors to be carried on each flight. Unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop Icelandair flights - not codeshare and other partner flights.
Passengers aged between 5 and 13 (inclusive) and travelling alone are considered by JetBlue as unaccompanied minors. A child must have reached their 5th birthday prior to travel to be able to travel as an unaccompanied minor with JetBlue, and those children who have reached their 14th birthday and is travelling alone is not considered an unaccompanied minor unless additional assistance has been requested.
Unaccompanied minors can only travel on nonstop flights - they are not permitted on connecting flights, direct flights, or in Mint seats.
Unaccompanied minors cannot travel with an infant between the ages of 3 days and two years, or a child between 2 and 4 years of age.
There are additional restrictions and permissions for flying between the US and other countries such as Costa Rica, Colombia, and Bermuda, for example, so if the unaccompanied minor is flying internationally, it is the responsibility of the person booking the service to check with the airline whether there are additional requirements.
Norwegian Air offers an unaccompanied minors service for children aged between 5 and 15 years. Children under 5 years of age are too young to travel using the Norwegian Air unaccompanied minors service, and children over 15 years of age need to travel as an adult.
It is mandatory that children between the ages of 5 and 11 years travel as an unaccompanied minor (if they are travelling alone or without an adult aged 16 years or older). For children between the ages of 12 and 15, the Norwegian Air unaccompanied minors service is optional, however, if the service is not booked for children in this age group, it is advised that documentation stating who will pick them up at the destination airport, their accommodation and contact information for parents/legal guardians is brought with them.
The Norwegian Air unaccompanied minors service is not available for connecting flights.
Porter Airlines offers an unaccompanied minors service for children aged between 8 and 17 years inclusively. For children aged 8-11, the Porter Airlines unaccompanied minors service is mandatory, however, the service is optional for passengers aged 12-17 years.
The Porter Airlines unaccompanied minors service is not available on interline, connecting, or through flights (flights with a stop-over).
There is a maximum number of 4 unaccompanied minors accommodated per flight.
Unaccompanied minors cannot travel with pets, and the service will not be provided under extreme weather conditions or during labour disruption.
The Southwest Airlines unaccompanied minors service is available for children aged from 5 to 11 years, and the service is mandatory for this kind of passenger.
The unaccompanied minors service is only available on non-stop and direct flights on Southwest Airlines, and is not available for flights to and from international destinations. If there is bad weather, or there are operational disruptions, then the service may be cancelled by the airline.
The Spirit Airlines unaccompanied minors service is available on domestic (including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) direct flights. The service is mandatory for children aged between 5 and 14; children aged 4 years and younger may not travel alone, and those aged 15 and over are not required to have the unaccompanied minor service.
Unaccompanied minors are not allowed to travel on international flights.
The United Airlines unaccompanied minors service is mandatory for children aged between 5 and 14 years (inclusive).
Unaccompanied minors can only fly on nonstop flights operated by United or United Express. Unaccompanied minors cannot fly on codeshare flights or other flights operated by United partner airlines.
Westjet offers a mandatory unaccompanied minors service for children aged between 8 and 12 years, and an optional service for 12 to 18-year-olds.
Flights for unaccompanied minors are only for travel between two Canadian cities and not on international flights (including to the US).
The flight must be a WestJet flight, and cannot be used on flights operated by WestJet travel partners
The flight must not require a connection to a different flight
The flight must not depart before 5.30 am or arrive after 10 pm (unless it is the only scheduled flight to that destination that day)
The flight must not be a red-eye flight - ie one that takes place overnight
WOW Air offers an unaccompanied minors service for children aged 5 to 17 years inclusive. Children under the age of 5 cannot travel as unaccompanied minors or alone on WOW air flights. Children aged between 5 and 11 can travel as unaccompanied minors on WOW air flights as long as this is registered at the time of booking and the appropriate procedures have been carried out.
Children aged between 12 and 17 can travel alone, without the unaccompanied minors service, however, it is available as and when necessary. Unaccompanied children in this age group cannot act as another child’s guardian on a flight.
The WOW air unaccompanied minors service is not available on connecting flights between North America and Europe. Children aged 16 and older can travel alone on these flights, however, those aged 15 cannot travel alone.
Unaccompanied Minors Travel Tips
What to pack for Unaccompanied Minors:
It is really important to ensure that the Unaccompanied Minor has what they need for their trip. Here are a few suggestions of what to pack for them:
Copy of passport and other ID
Details of the schedule for the day(s)
What to do before the flight:
Here are some tips to help you ensure that an unaccompanied minor is fully prepared for their journey:
Contact your carrier in advance to ensure all information, guidelines, etc are clarified
Try to book a morning flight
Write out the details
Provide the right information
Familiarise your child with the itinerary
Make smart clothing choices
Choose the right luggage
Arrive at the airport early
Inform the flight attendants and airline staff
Get confirmation from your child as and when you can
Best Airlines for Unaccompanied Minors
Can travel from aged 5 years and up
Can travel to most international destinations
Children's meals available
Person to accompany the child (depending on destination)
Free kids meal in-flight
Free kids entertainment in-flight
Kids snack pack available
Puzzles and games provided
Can travel from aged 5 and up
Can travel to most national and international destinations
Junior jet lounge available with food, computer games, films, books and toys
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Unaccompanied Minors FAQs
Which airlines allow unaccompanied minors to fly?
Airlines that let minors (children) fly alone include Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Icelandair, JetBlue, Norwegian Air, Porter Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, WestJet and WOW Air.
What is the minimum age to fly alone?
This will depend on the airline, but the absolute minimum age for flying alone is 5 years old. This will vary by the airline; many of which offer this service from the age of 8. Please see the information we have provided above about unaccompanied minors flying with specific airlines.