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:
- The child's name, age and flight itinerary.
- The name of the person bringing the child to the airport.
- The telephone numbers and home address of this person (telephone includes home, business, cellular, pager, bicycle messenger, FedEx account, smoke signals PIN number, etc.).
- The name and phone number of the person meeting the child, even if they child will certainly recognize Grandma.
- 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.