Many parents are nervous when their children are travelling alone on a plane for any reasons. While Major Airlines now days allow children between age 5 – 11 to travel alone, some of the airlines name this program “YPTA for carriage”, which means Young Passengers Travelling Alone.
Flying is always still the safest transportation in the world now, but taking important safety precautions can help make your child’s trip smoother and easier, and ease some of your fears as a parent too. Here are some helpful hints for the child flying solo:
1. Arrange for a Non Stop Flight : Having your child to change plane or transfer making them to have a higher risk of getting lost. International Airport are usually huge and if your child have no choice and really need to change plane, ensure there is someone from the airline to escort your child from gate to gate to ensure safety.
2. Pre-Book an Appropriate Seat : Many Airlines now offer pre-book or pre-arrange seats in advance. Make sure you pre-arrange seats for your children. A seat on the First Row where Cabin Crew can always have a clear view of your children. Best advice is to pre-book 2 seats for your child so that he/she could have an empty seat next to her away from any stranger to let them feel more comfortable.
3. Prepare Your Child Before Flying : Especially for Child who are flying alone for the first time, it is important for all parents to educate and be well inform to your child what to expect during a flight. Make their first flight feel fun, tell them what to expect during a flight.
4. Be Well Aware on Airline Policies : It is important for parents to be well aware of the Do’s and Dont. Major airlines many have different Minor Travelling Alone Policies. Ensure you are a parents should read thru all the terms and policy before you even book the specific airline flight.
5. Be Early At The Airport : Spend time with your children at the airport, as more of the time some flight many change gate or delayed last minute. Be there for your children and arrange all neccesaries until your child is safely boarded on the plane. If your child has not flown before, you may want to visit the airport before departure day to familiarize him or her with the surroundings. Point out places where assistance is available. Your son or daughter should dress for both the outbound and return flights in comfortable clothes that are easy for him or her to manage in small aircraft lavatories.
6. Have a ID Tag On Her : Pin a half palm size tag and pint it her cloths. Prefer to have a vibrant colour tag like Red or Orange tag. On the tag, input simple information such as Your Children Name, Parents Name and Flight Number. So Cabin Crew could identify her easily.
7. Communication With the Person Who Are Picking Your Child Up : Have communication with the person who are picking up your child at the destination airport. Inform them on all latest information especially Flight Number, Arrival Time and Head Cabin Crew Name. This 3 are the most crucial pieces of information for them to look out for your kids upon arrival and wait them at the right gate to pick your children up.
8. Always Be Encouraging & Supportive : Always praise your children on how brave they are every time they fly alone (and especially on their first flight ever). Simple act such as Have a Skype Call with your child upon their arrive make them feel so much greater.
9. Child Medication : Many airlines do not permit their employees to administer medication to passengers. If your child requires medication that he or she cannot take unassisted and which would normally be necessary during the time of the flight, consult your doctor about alternatives.
10. What to Pack for Your Kids On Board : You may want to consider having your child bring a carry-on bag that is small and light enough for him or her to deal with. Some useful things to bring would include:
Books & Simple Interactive Toys on board.
A copy of the child’s complete itinerary, including dates, airline name(s), flight numbers, departure and arrival times, and the reservation record locator number. Make sure that he or she is aware that this is in the bag.
Any essentials that your child will need in the first 24 hours in case his or her checked bag is delayed (e.g., medicine, a sweater, a change of underwear, a change of shirt).
Remember, being a parent is all about educating and encouraging your children to try new things. Never create unnecessary fear to them on any flight. Put aside the culture of fear, liability, and protecting children from learning how to be a well-adjusted adults by not letting them learn and try.
CHECKLIST FOR THE PERSON AT THE CHILD DESTINATION
Picking up the child
• Be accessible by phone on the day of the flight.
• If your community has more than one airport, know which one the child is going to.
• Don’t send someone else at the last minute; the airline will only release the child to the person named on the Unaccompanied Minor form.
• Bring government-issued photo ID when picking up the child.
• Bring a copy of the child’s itinerary (flight numbers, etc.).
• Flights sometimes arrive early; get to the gate in plenty of time. Check the monitor at the airport—gate assignments often change.
• Airlines typically will give gate passes to clear security to persons meeting unaccompanied minors. (This may require additional time.)
• You may want to call the parent in the origin city after you have picked up the child.
THE RETURN FLIGHT
• Dress the child comfortably rather than formally.
• Make sure the child’s carry-on bag contains a light snack (be alert to security restrictions on liquids), a copy of the itinerary with flight numbers, flight times and ticket/reservation number, the child’s name (in case the carry-on bag is lost), phone numbers, essentials such as eyeglasses and medicines (in case the checked bag is delayed), cash for a meal, and quarters for phone calls.
• The child may want to bring a sweater in the cabin; airplanes can get chilly.
• Bring a copy of the child’s birth certificate if he or she might appear to be under 5, under 8 for a connecting flight, or over that airline’s unaccompanied-minor age limit.
• Remember the ticket if a paper ticket was issued.
• Point out to the child any enroute stops or change of planes during the trip.
• Plan to get to the airport a couple of hours before departure (more than that for an international flight), and to accompany the child to the gate. Adults should have government-issued photo ID.
• Have the child use a bathroom shortly before boarding.
• You should stay at the departure gate until you are reasonably sure that the flight has taken off. Arrange your schedule so that you can remain at the airport if departure is delayed.