Unaccompanied Minor Policy

Unaccompanied Minor Policy

Unaccompanied minor policies can be confusing because they are unique for each airline. The prices can differ, as can age qualifications and routing rules, so there is much to keep track of.

This article discusses the fees and significant requirements for the most popular U.S. airlines. I then detail the unaccompanied minor process so that you know what to expect from booking to arriving at the airport and through the flight and pick up.

What is an Unaccompanied Minor?

When a child becomes five years old, their parents can pay a fee to register their Child as an unaccompanied minor with numerous airlines. This allows the youngster to travel without an accompanying adult. In exchange for this charge, the airline will offer the youngster supplemental monitoring, help boarding and deboarding the aircraft, escorting through any connections, and service if there are irregular operations.

A parent or defender will do the inside work and acquire the boarding pass at the check-in counter, obtain a gate pass, lead the kid through security, and then wait at the Child's gate until their aircraft is in the air. This procedure takes place in an airport. On the other end, when the passenger gets to their destination, a chosen adult will go through a process similar to the one they went through before and wait at the gate until the aircraft arrives.

Guide to Unaccompanied Minor Policies for U.S. Airlines

Sending your Child on a flight alone may be an exhilarating experience (but also nerve-wracking). Whether they've been flying with you since they were a newborn or have never done it before, getting their travel legs now, you and your Child must be prepared for travel as an unaccompanied minor.

In the U.S., airlines have many rules and costs regarding young flyers travelling alone. Before letting your grown Child fly by themselves, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with each airline's policies.

Unaccompanied Minor Basics

For countless reasons, sending your Child on a flight alone makes sense for you and your family. Whether they are going to see the other parent, their grandparents, friends, relatives, school, or summer camp, being prepared will guarantee a pleasant and secure journey.

Although the restrictions differ for each airline, an unaccompanied minor is generally considered a youngster between the ages of 5 and 14. If the airline provides an unaccompanied service to assist with the trip arrangements, you may anticipate paying up to $150 for the privilege. 

Unaccompanied Minor Policies

Several airlines allow children to travel alone; however, the age criteria and route requirements vary from one airline to the next. Ensure you do your homework to protect your youngster's safety when they can fly in a specific way, whether there's an added fee, the age requirements, etc. Here's some info on some of the major US airlines:

Alaska Airlines

$50 each way nonstop, $75 each way connecting

Required ages 5-12, optional 13-17

5-7 nonstop only, 8+ some connecting


No children travelling under 15 years of age


American Airlines

$150 each way

Required ages 5-14, Optional ages 15-17

5-7 nonstop only, 8-14 some connecting

Breeze Airways

No children travelling alone under 13 years of age



$150 each way

Required ages 5-14, optional 15-17

5-7 nonstop only, 8-14 some connecting


No children travelling under 15 years of age



$35/segment, $100 from continental U.S. to Hawaii

Required ages 5-11, unavailable ages 12+ (15+ can accompany 5-11)



$150 each way

Required ages 5-14, unavailable ages 15+

Nonstop only


$50 each way

Required ages 5-11, unavailable ages 12+ (12+ can accompany 5-11)

No connecting flights (only nonstop or stop with no plane change)


$150 each way

Required ages 5-14, optional 15-17

Nonstop only


$150 each way

Required ages 5-14, optional 15-17

Nonstop only

Do All Airlines Charge for Unaccompanied Minors

To make things even more difficult for families, airline policies for unaccompanied minors are all over the map. Each U.S. airline has a different cutoff age, rules, or fees. Parents must carefully research numerous options before looking at flight schedules and prices.

One airline might have more expensive tickets but a much cheaper unaccompanied minor fee, making that airline a better choice for your Child’s travel.One airline may charge the Child, while another may let siblings fly together by paying only one fee. One may allow kids to take connecting itineraries, while another may only permit unaccompanied minors to pass on nonstop or direct flights.

Travel Tips For Parents Of Unaccompanied Minors

Consider The Unaccompanied Minor Fee

Every airline charges unaccompanied youngsters differently. The alone little service usually includes pre-boarding, airport escorts for connecting flights, leading the Child to the adult meeting them, and lunch—research airlines with minor programs that provide kids-only lounges at major hubs. Airlines have different age limitations for alone kids. Recheck the age restrictions with your youngster.

That additional price is significant when purchasing flights online. The unaccompanied minor fee may raise a cheap flight's price over the airline's online rivals. To estimate flying costs, including each airline's unaccompanied little fee.

Pack A Carry-On Full Of Snacks And Things To Keep Your Child Entertained

Never know when the kid will become hungry, or the journey will be delayed. Give your youngster drinks, a comforter, and entertainment. All this in a carry-on. A backpack or bag under your Child's seat is most accessible.

Use A Travel Neck Wallet For Your Kid's I.D. When They Fly

Do solo-flying kids require an I.D.? Yes! Check-in requires a copy of your Child's birth certificate or passport if they fly alone. They must pass with them because they need these objects for their return.

Be Prepared To Arrive Early And Stay Late

The exact time frame depends on the airline, but when your children travel alone, you must arrive at the airport very early. In most cases, unaccompanied minors cannot check in online or at airport kiosks and must check in at the airport ticket counter.

You will need this extra time to check in, check your kid’s bags, and get your gate pass, allowing you to accompany your child to the gate.

Check Your Child’s Bags

This one was so hard for me because we usually travel carry-on only. But Buddy would need help to navigate, placing his backpack under the seat and his luggage in the overhead bin alone. So we checked his bags.

Track The Flight

In the case of delays, or if you are just curious, you can track your kid’s flight. I used both the airline’s app and FlightAware. It was fun viewing Buddy’s flight path.

Cheapest Airline for Unaccompanied Minors

Southwest Airlines is the Cheapest Airline for Minor travelling. This airline lets 5–11-year-olds fly alone on domestic flights. The cost is $50 each trip. Youths 12 and older may utilize Young Travelers for free. However, parents cannot accompany youngsters to the gate. Unaccompanied minors may only travel nonstop or directly in the U.S. Parents/guardians must present ID at dropoff and pickup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ans. Although age and route restrictions differ, several airlines allow children to fly alone. Do your research to ensure your Child's safety while flying a particular method, if there's a price, age limits, etc.

Ans. The parent or attendant must remain at the airport until the flight departs. During the flight, our cabin crew will watch an unaccompanied minor/Child and ensure that the alone little/Child has what they need.

Ans. Yes, It's standard for most airlines to allow children over the age of 5 to fly alone.

Ans. A valid photo I.D. for the unaccompanied minor and the parent/guardian is required at check-in.

Ans. A 14-year-old teenager can travel alone on a domestic flight, but they must have the proper documentation.

Ans. Delta Airlines is famous for its excellent service. The airline provides unaccompanied minor services for kids between the ages of 5 and 14.

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