Kids flying solo

Summer is the busiest time of the year for airline travel. Airports are congested with not only vacationers, but the annual 100,000 plus children flying solo between divorced parents, or simply going to visit Grandma.

Here are some solo travel tips from airplane personnel, and the parents and children who know the ropes of kids flying alone:

  • Put your child's name on everything, from clothing to toys.
  • Don't let your nervousness invade your child. Believe it or not, most kids find flying alone an exciting adventure.
  • Find entertainment for your child. The airline's only responsibility is to get your child safely from one destination to the other. Children under 12 are supervised by airline personnel, but you must specifically request assistance if your child is older.
  • Remind older children never to leave the airport with a stranger, if their flight is delayed or canceled. They should seek an airline official for help.
  • Want a special kids' meal (fun foods plus crayons or activities)? Reserve it a day in advance. Don't forget to pack your child's favorite snacks, too.
  • Does your child have a medical condition?If so, be sure to let the flight attendants know ahead of time.
  • Make sure the person picking up your child at the other end has suitable identification to prove they are the ones named in the child's permission form. Remember to tell the airline that your child will be flying alone when you book the flight, and again at the gate.
  • Teach your child what to do in emergencies, and how to use public telephones. Be certain that she has a place for her tickets and extra cash and don't forget to give her a list of important phone numbers.
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