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 airline; many of which offering this service from the age of 8. Please see below for more specific information for each airline.
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
- Norwegian Air
- Porter Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- WOW air
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 flight 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 9pm and 5am.
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 do 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 8 and 14 can fly on nonstop or connecting flights, but may only connect to other Delta, Delta Connection (excluding AA Eagle), and Air France flights.
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 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 gate agent to 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 9pm and 5am (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 offer 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 or 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, 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 and 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 flights.
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 offer 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 5.30am or arrive after 10pm (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 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.