Accompanying your child on their flight isn’t always an option. Luckily, there are several measures you can take to ensure they arrive at their final destination without issue. Keep reading to discover the top six tips for keeping your child safe on their next solo flight.
1. Research Airline Policies
Airlines have vastly different policies regarding unaccompanied children flying alone. First, you’ll want to make sure that your child is old enough for this service. Children four and under need a parent with them to fly. Most airlines allow kids five and up to travel with the help of an accompanying employee.
Although an employee will accompany your child to their gate, they may not be watching them closely at all times. Call the specific airline you’re considering to verify details including how much supervision will be provided, additional chaperone fees, and more. Have them inform you about any required paperwork you’ll need to fill out ahead of time.
2. Technology That Keeps Them Safe
Keep track of your child’s specific location with the help of a GPS tracking device. Pack a small asset tracker in your child’s carry-on backpack to keep an eye on them in real-time.
Consider including a portable power bank in case your child’s phone dies while traveling. Portable power banks need to charge before they’re able to be used. Make sure you leave plenty of time to charge them ahead of time. Some are capable of fully charging a phone more than once.
Thankfully, the internet provides an easy way to keep track of your ticket information online. By utilizing e-tickets, rather than paper ones, you can preempt losing a physical ticket. To avoid the hassle of a printed ticket, simply check your child in with their confirmation number.
3. Inform Your Child Ahead of Time
Make sure to go over your child’s itinerary with them long before the date of their departure. Familiarize them with the process of flying, including how long the flight will be, what boarding will be like, how to acquire help, and more. Ensure your child knows only to ask airline employees for help, and more specifically their provided escort.
Make sure they know how to use power banks for their phone and how to dial phone numbers if applicable. Physically write down phone numbers that they may need such as emergency numbers, your number, the airline’s number, and the number of the person picking them up at their arrival point. Show them pictures of help desks and employee uniforms to help them correctly identify safe avenues for help.
4. Consider Little to No Flight Connections
Generally, only children eight or above are allowed to make connecting flights. Check with your specific airline to learn about their age restrictions. Nonstop flights with no connections provide a more direct way for your child to fly without the added worry of waiting through long delays or mid-travel flight changes. As a bonus, direct flights may also lower the overall chaperone fee. Try to book their flight for the morning so they don’t feel tired or have to wait and feel anxious throughout the day.
5. ID All Items
Attach ID tags on your child’s carry-on, luggage, and even on their wrist or necklace. The number of tags reduces the likelihood that employees miss important information like allergies, medication information, their name, and the contact info of their guardians and the person who’s picking them up.
6. Pack Light
Fill your child’s carry-on backpack with activities that are lightweight and engaging. This will make it easier for your child to keep track of and carry their items. This extends to their checked luggage as well. Consider including snacks so that your child can eat regardless of if or when they receive an in-flight meal.
Even though millions of children travel successfully on solo flights every year, the prospect can still be daunting. By implementing any or all of these six safety tips above, you’ll be able to alleviate your worries. That way you can get back to the excitement that their travels will bring.