View Full Version : unaccompanied children travelling ..

7th Feb 2006, 19:50
Anyone here an expert on that .. eldest daughter aged 12 is going on her own to the States in summer and need all the advice I can get! .. Where is the proper forum to ask, thank you .. :ok:

Please pm if you can ..

7th Feb 2006, 20:19
Chacha, are you asking about travel arrangements, or the trip in general?

7th Feb 2006, 20:37
Yes, she was booked today by the ex and he said he never had enough time to ask the airline regarding all the paperwork! .. I am phoning the airline in the morning .. What I want to know is! .. What is the usual procedure and has anyone else sent their children unacompanied? .. How did it go and how was the child after the trip? .. This is a first time for me and she really wants to go. Well she is and now my belly is in my mouth! .. :yuk:

Experiences in general would be appreciated. Thanks :ok:

7th Feb 2006, 20:46
All American airlines I know have an 'unaccompanied minor' program. I think they are now charging for the service which used to be free.

Contact the airline reservations number with your 6 character locator for the purchased ticket. Identify the child as an unaccompanied minor and designate who you authorize to pick the child up at destination. The child will appear on the passenger manifest as unaccompanied and the F/As and crew will be aware. Upon arrival, the child will be escorted to the designated pickup point for delivery to the person identified to meet him/her. If there is a connecting flight, the child will be escorted to make the connection. Good luck.

7th Feb 2006, 20:51
I was regularly sent travelling on my own. First time, I was 8, put on a coach at Bedford, coach driver said he would show me where to change coaches at Cheltenham and then on a coach to Paignton.

There was always someone to look after me and I never bothered for a moment.

First time on my own on a plane was over to Belfast where family would be waiting at the other end. But again, there was always someone to watch over me. I think I may have been adopted a few times!

But, as you can see, that was in the early 70s, a different age, a different time with different attitudes.

I think if your daughter has an independent mind and is sensible, she'll be fine. She'll have your number or his number for emergencies and at 12, I'm sure she's savvy enough to know who to ask if she's stuck.

The airline will probably endeavour to make sure she seated with a family. They didn't bother with that in my day; I sat next to a priest once! They'll probably make sure that someone will accompany her to arrivals. But have a chat with them; I'm sure your mind will be put at ease and she'll love it as she'll feel like a grown up. And, to be honest, I think it'll do her good - too many children get molly-coddled till too late an age!



Send Clowns
7th Feb 2006, 21:39
Did the priest survive with his faith intact, Whirls? :E

7th Feb 2006, 21:39
Fairly sure I saw a TV prog. featuring BA and their procedures for the safe transit of 'UMs', as they referred to them.

surely not
7th Feb 2006, 21:44
all traditional carriers have an Unmin programme and this is usually voluntary for the parents after the 12th birthday. No probs if you call the airline and tell them your concerns.

tall and tasty
7th Feb 2006, 21:48
Chacha - I was a nanny/auntie call it what you like for a summer when I started in the aviation business and the best summer I could possibly have. If you get to escort the unmins down to the flights it is brilliant fun and they are looked after from handover to the air crew all the way to the other end and then to the waiting relative so don't worry.

The first thing as BenThere has stated is contact the airline or the travel agent and say you have a minor traveling along. The ticket should state that it is a Miss/Mster and the age and that the child is also an unaccompanied child.

When you have checked in and make sure the comment is put in the system you will be sent around to the appropriate desk. Fill in all the paper work and make sure the person you are saying is collecting the child has appropriate documents on them ie passport or photo ID alos make sure you spell names correctly as that can cause problems especially if relatives have not seen little ones for a few years children change so fast.

Then you will be asked to stay with your child until called back or asked back at the desk for the walk to departures, please make sure you give them all their paper work including return tickets and passports no end of trouble has occurred with parents walking off with them. If it is domestic flight going on to international please make sure they have absolutely everything and it will be in a wallet around their necks to ID easily. Then you say your goodbyes and have to stay until the flight has gone airborne. At the other end they will be escorted through the system, make sure they know what their bag looks like and that they have their hand baggage written on the cards somewhere as little ones can forget they have not got teddy and cries of I am sure I have left him behind when they were not there can occur.

The person meeting will be asked for ID and a signature to verify who they are and that paper work is then kept by the airline for a time.

Passenger manifest will show that your little one is traveling alone and if you want to order children's meals and remember to specify faddy things including any allergies medication etc that is necessary for him/her

If you are worried about anything ask to see a supervisor at check in and they will be more than happy to help

Tell your daughter what the procedure is so she is not worried about anything and make sure she has enough to keep her occupied and silly things that she know where the toilets etc are on the flight. (especially anyone who has really little ones who travel some airlines allow them as young as 5-6)

Then all you have to do is relax and know she is in safe hands


7th Feb 2006, 22:43
I travlled to Spain and back alone at age 12, with Iberia, and was escorted onto and off each flight (and through baggage reclaim etc.) with a couple of other kids, and at each end the adult picking me up had to sign to say they had done so... so if that system still exists your daughter should have no problems.

Howard Hughes
7th Feb 2006, 23:26
I travelled from Melbourne to London on QF1 on the 25th of December 1976, I was 12. The flight stopped in Sydney, Singapore, Bahrain and Amsterdam before finally making it to London. On the flight there were 6 other UM's aged 9 to 15 (by the way UM's are up to 15 on International flights, 12 for domestic), just after we departed Bahrain we were all brought up to first class as it was empty and the crew thought that they could keep a better 'eye on us', rather than being spread all over economy.

Well, what a great time we all had, eating the best foods and the crew were great, taking it in turns to keep us entertained. Now whilst times are slightly different the general care of UM's that I have witnessed is still great, this will be a life altering experience for your youngster and something that she will cherish forever! As you can see the details of my flight are etched in my memory forever! Go for it, I say!!:ok:

As other's have stated all you need to do is advise the airline when you book. It's that simple really, just make sure the people meeting her have some photo ID, you would be surprised how many people turn up without it and legally the child can't be handed over without it! Even if the child is wildly hugging their relative....:hmm:

Anyway hope it all goes well and fill us in on the details.
Cheers, HH.:ok:

10th Feb 2006, 18:55
Thank you for the replies and information requested. ;)

10th Feb 2006, 22:04
Missed connections, though rare, can be problematic as she may have to be put up in a hotel.

So make sure she has the telephone numbers for both ends and knows how to call from wherever she is.

10th Feb 2006, 22:32
The procedure has been pretty well covered; however, one point might be of interest. An ex is mentioned; the girl should be accompanied by a document signed by both parents noting the planned travel and notarized, the custodial parent should be identified - Child abduction and all that.
In my experience, the UM fee; payable at check-in, is about US$100.
If you are the receiver; you can often get a 'gate pass' to meet her at some point. You have to identify yourself and go through security - may or may not be worth the hassel. Two years ago, in San Salvador, we were able to greet him at the jet way, sign for him and escort him through immigration and customs. Fluency with spanish helped, but arrangemnts were made with the airport autority well (weeks) before.
Btw: The receiving parent/guardian ( it doesn't have to be a parent) - just whomever the sender puts on the form should have ID; I am told be staff the they don't often bother depending on the child's reaction to the greeter.
My now 14 yo will be returning from Europe twice this summer alone and has been to Cenral America and various US locations on his own.
Bon voyage.

10th Feb 2006, 22:34
Missed connections are indeed rare. A UM should be identified at booking because they are not allowed to be booked on the last connecting flight of the day unless there is only one flight.

jon s gull
10th Feb 2006, 22:35
Our boy has been flying unaccompanied on short haul in Aus since he was about 7. It has spoiled him for life and he is quite blas'e about it. The biggest negative is that he has developed an unhealthy appreciation for the female cabin crew. His mother and I have tried to explain that not all women exist to look after his every need.

12th Feb 2006, 12:59
I flew many times between the UK and Oz with Qantas as an UM in the early and mid 80's. Before Landing at LHR on all the flights I was on, all UM's were moved up to the spare seats in Business so that we were near the number 2 door. The reason for this is UM's are either the 1st or last off a flight, depending on the airline. You can guess the Qantas policy! :}

Another time I was flying between Auckland and Brisbane over the Christmas New Year period when their is a mass migration of UM's over the Tasman. My flight had about 10 of us and I heard one of our escourts say " God, I hate this time of year!". :ooh: :E