British Airways has hit the headlines – for all the wrong reasons. The airline has been berated for refusing a 12-year old girl with Down’s Syndrome the right to fly unaccompanied.

Alice Saunders was due to be flying from Gatwick to Glasgow to visit her aunt, but when her mother Heather tried to book her a ticket, she was told that Alice was not permitted to fly without adult supervision.

The BA customer service agent told Ms Saunders that it was “company policy” not to allow passengers with Down’s Syndrome to travel alone.

Ms Saunders told the Daily Mail, “I explained I wanted her to travel as an unaccompanied minor, she was 12 years old, she had Down’s Syndrome and was very independent.” But the customer service representative, said, “Our policy says we don’t take children with Down’s syndrome… because we’ve had problems in the past.”

A BA spokesman has since said that it was not company policy to refuse a ticket to an unaccompanied minor with Down’s Syndrome. “We will carry any child over five years old as an unaccompanied minor provided they can go to the toilet unassisted, feed themselves, and behave in a socially acceptable manner.

“This includes children who have Down’s Syndrome and other additional needs.

“We apologise unreservedly for the upset caused to Ms Saunders and her daughter,” added the spokesman.

See our handy table of the major airlines’ policies for children flying solo.

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About the author

Oonagh ShielContent 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!

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