Unaccompanied children

Getting your kids from A to B without you

Bundling your kids onto a flight by themselves can be a rather daunting experience for both parent and child. The last thing anyone wants is a real-life Home Alone scenario, which is why airlines ensure that underage passengers are escorted and monitored at all times. These Unaccompanied Minor services must be requested at the booking stage, with a surcharge usually being added to the standard adult fare.

Most carriers require that an adult drop off the child at the check-in counter and wait in the airport until their flight has departed. Airline staff will then chaperone the young flyer through every stage of their journey. Upon arrival at the destination, minors will only be released into the custody of a pre-approved adult with photo ID.

It’s best to check with your airline prior to requesting this service as conditions vary according to the carrier and destination, with restrictions applying to routes in France and Portugal in particular. To check the details of your airline’s Unaccompanied Minor service, simply consult our handy table below.

AirlineChild faresUnaccompanied Travel
Aer Lingus2-11 on transatlantic routesChildren under 12 are not permitted to travel alone on Aer Lingus flights. Those aged 12 to 15 can do so, but their parent or guardian must sign a Form of Indemnity.
Air France2-12 on flights within France, departments and territories
2-15 on international
Children aged between 4 and 11 can travel unaccompanied on France flights and overseas departments and territories flights. On international flights the age range is 5-14 years. Unaccompanied Minor Assistance fee applies.
Air New
Zealand
2-11Children aged 5-11 may go as UMs on flights with a maximum connection of 2 hours on domestic and 3 hours on international flights. Travel as an UM is charged at the best available adult fare.
American
Airlines
2-11Children aged 5-14 may travel alone with Unaccompanied Minor Assistance. Adult fare applies for UMs.
British
Airways
2-115 to 12-year-olds can travel alone but must be registered with BA’s Skyflyer Solo service (fees of $125-150). Restrictions apply to journeys which include a stop-over lasting more than six hours.
Cathay
Pacific
2-11Children aged 6-11 must register as Unaccompanied Minors in order to travel alone. Those aged 12 to 18 can also make use of the service by request, while kids under 6 are not allowed to fly without an adult. Restrictions apply to journeys which include a stop-over lasting more than five hours. Fees vary.
Delta2-12 on international routesAn Unaccompanied Minors service is mandatory for 5 to 14-year-olds and optional for 15 to 17-year-olds. Those aged 5-7 can only travel on nonstop flights. The service costs $150 each way.
easyJetInfants onlyeasyJet does not accept unaccompanied minors under the age of 14 for travel.
Emirates2-11Children aged 5-11 are classified as unaccompanied minors and are cared for by dedicated ground staff. UMs are charged full adult fare. Special attention can be provided for 12 to 15-year-olds, classed as Young Passengers.
Gulf Air2-11Children aged 5-11 must be booked in advance as an unaccompanied minor and pay the full adult fare.
Jet2.comInfants onlyChildren under the age of 14 can only travel with a person aged 16 years or older.
KLM2-11The Unaccompanied Minor service is available to 5 to 14-year-olds. 15 to 17 year olds may opt to fly as UMs, but can also travel independently. Fees are €50-90 one way.
Lufthansa2-12Children aged 5-11 must make use of the airline’s supervision service, or travel with someone who is at least 12 years of age. 12 to 17-year-olds can also be looked after at the request of a parent or guardian. Fee of €40 within Europe and €80 on intercontinental flights, per route, applies.
Malaysian
Airlines
2-11Special Assistance Crew is available for children aged 5 to 14.
MonarchInfant fares, no child discountsMonarch does not allow unaccompanied children under 16 to travel on its flights.
Qantas2-11Children aged 5-11 must travel as Unaccompanied Minors and parents must complete UM travel documentation. Children aged between 12 and 15 may travel as UMs upon request. Fees, per minor, are $50 for domestic flights and $90 for international flights.
Qatar
Airways
2-11Escort Service is available to children aged 5-15 years.
Royal
Brunei
Airlines
2-11Children aged 6-11 travelling alone are considered “Unaccompanied Minors” and pay a higher fare.
RyanairInfant fares onlyRyanair does not permit children under 16 to travel unaccompanied.
Singapore
Airlines
2-11Children aged 5-11 must travel in the Unaccompanied Minors programme. It’s optional for passengers aged 12-18. Download the “UM Handling form” from the website and then contact the local Singapore Airlines office.
Thai
Airways
2-11Children aged 5-17 must register as unaccompanied minors if travelling alone. UM must travel on an adult published fare ticket. The Unaccompanied Minor form needs to be completed and a fee of $60 per flight applies.
Thomas
Cook
Airlines
Infant fares onlyUnaccompanied minors between 5 and 12 require special assistance. It’s optional for children aged 12-15. Fee is €50 per child per flight. Request in advance via the Contact Centre.
US
Airways
2-14Children aged 5-14 can travel unaccompanied on direct flights, with assistance from US Airways staff. Assistance is optional for 15 to 17-year-olds. The fee is $150 each way.
Virgin Atlantic2-11Children aged 5-15 are allowed to fly unaccompanied. Arrange this via Reservations or a travel agent, not online.

(Feature image: Katsuhito Nojiri)

Article by Oonagh Shiel (3389 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!