A few tips when children have to travel alone by plane…

Avatar photo

To leave or return from vacation, it is not uncommon for children are required to travel alone. AirHelpa passenger help site, provides some advice for each stage of the journey.

When booking a ticket
First of all, it is important to know which airlines allow children to travel unsupervised. In France, it is possible for a child to travel alone from the age of 4, but until the age of 12 they must be registered as an unaccompanied minor (Unaccompanied Minors-UM) and travel as part of support programs offered by the airlines. However, not all airlines operating in France offer this type of service or have more restrictive rules for travel by unaccompanied minors. This is why it is essential to inquire before booking the ticket.

Once the reservation has been made, you should ask the airline which documents are necessary for the minor to travel alone. These documents may vary depending on the origin and destination of the flight. Of course, the airline must be informed that a child will be traveling alone at least 48 hours before the flight.

When taking the plane
As part of the accompaniment service offered by the airlines – for an additional cost when purchasing the ticket – the child is taken care of when the boarding pass is issued. He then receives an envelope or a bag containing the plane ticket, his identity document, the authorization to travel from his parents or guardians, as well as the identification and contact details of the person who will pick him up at his destination.

In French airports, a family member in charge of the child is authorized to enter the boarding areas. To do this, the adult must request an accompanying card at the flight check-in counter. But the adult can stay with the child only until boarding and cannot enter the plane with him.

Some airports have lounges and activities designed for unaccompanied minors to make their waiting time more enjoyable. In many cases, airlines also offer toys or games to entertain them.

Upon exiting the plane
As a general rule, minors leave the aircraft last, accompanied by airline personnel. After baggage claim, the minor is handed over to the designated person, after verification of their identity.

What happens if an unaccompanied minor’s flight is delayed or cancelled?
European legislation EC261 protects all air passengers, whatever their age, as long as they have a ticket issued by the airline or a travel agency.

In this regard, a child has the same rights as any other passenger. After two hours of delay, he must receive food and water. In the event of a delay of more than three hours or cancellation, the airlines are obliged to pay compensation of up to 600 euros and offer another flight or refund the price of the ticket, including the cost of the service. of accompaniment. Where applicable, the airline must also bear the necessary hotel accommodation and travel costs.

John Walker Avatar