Tips for Children Traveling Alone

The good news is that the pilot knows where to take the plane and, if you have scheduled a direct flight, your kid can't get off at the wrong bus stop. That all said, after you have learned your airline's policy and procedures, here are some additional tips.

  • Every child alone on a plane, with or without connections, should have memorized (with a note is his pocket in case he forgets) the following:
  1. The child's name, age and flight itinerary.
  2. The name of the person bringing the child to the airport.
  3. The telephone numbers and home address of this person (telephone includes home, business, cellular, pager, bicycle messenger, FedEx account, smoke signals PIN number, etc.).
  4. The name and phone number of the person meeting the child, even if they child will certainly recognize Grandma.
  5. An emergency contact person and phone numbers in the event of a flight cancellation or delay). It is best to have a contact number for someone who won't be stuck in traffic enroute to the airport to pickup her granddaughter, as well as Grandma's cell.
  • Give your children a calling card and teach them how to make collect calls so they can always reach you. If you give them a cell phone, make sure it can be used out-of-state or overseas, as appropriate. Make sure the kid has change (including foreign money if you can get it) in case of a problem with the cell phone.
  • Arrive at the airport early and plan to stay until the plane actually takes off. That way, should anything delay the flight, you are available to deal with any problems.
  • If possible, select early morning flights. These are delayed less often and, if there is a problem, the airline still has the whole day to sort things out and still deliver your child.
  • Make sure the person picking up your child at the other end has proper photo ID. If the airline is doing its job, they won't release your child to a person without ID no matter how loudly your kid shouts “Grandma! Grandma!”.
  • At the receiving end, if the receivers are two people without a cell phone, consider having one stay home to field calls if something goes amiss while the other goes to the airport.
  • While the cabin staff will do their best to take care of your little one in flight, they are busy folks. Make it easy on everyone by packing your child a carry-on bag with a sweater, a snack, and whatever else seems like a good idea. Make sure your child can eat by him/herself, but also knows to ask for help opening or unwrapping airline food is necessary.

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