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First Steps

Each airline has its own rules about when and how children may fly alone.

Most have four layers of age groups: too young to fly alone (varies, but usually under 5 years old is a no-go), OK to fly if parent uses the airline's unaccompanied minor program (usually, 5-7, see below) and there are no connecting flights involved, OK to fly if parent uses the airline's unaccompanied minor program and connections OK (usually 8-11) and finally OK to fly no matter what.

To get you started on researching each airline's policies, here are some handy links right to the info:

  • United Airlines:
    General Policy on Unaccompanied Minors
  • Northwest Airlines:
    General Policy on Unaccompanied Minors.
    For more information, ask for a copy of Northwest's Unaccompanied Minor brochure available at their airport and city ticket offices, or by phone from their Distribution Center at 1-800-358-3100.
  • American Airlines:
    General Policy on Unaccompanied Minors

    For airlines not listed, look for information on their policy on Unaccompanied Minors under “Services”, or “Travelers with Special Needs”, or search their site with the term “minor”.

    Hmm.

    If you want to call the airlines, but hate navigating their awful phone trees, try a new site called Bringo. They'll actually fight through the phone tree for you and then ring your phone once they've finished. Pretty cool. Try it for the airlines here.

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