Unaccompanied minor (passenger)

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An unaccompanied minor (sometimes "unaccompanied child" or "separated child") is a child traveling without the presence of a legal guardian.

Airline policy[edit]

In airline policy an unaccompanied minor is typically an airline passenger aged between 5 and 14 years old (airline regulations vary) who travels without an accompanying adult. Minors whose accompanying adult travels on the same flight but in a different class may also be classified as unaccompanied minors.[1] A parent or guardian who requests for this service fills out a release form, identifying another guardian who will pick up the minor at the destination airport. Airline personnel are responsible for escorting the child through immigrations and customs and boarding the flight in time. A fee may be payable for this service.

During the flight, no special attention is given to the minor until the flight enters final descent to the destination. On descent, the minor is moved to the nearest exit, which could be in business or first class, so that he or she can leave the aircraft at first opportunity and be transferred to the local ground staff. After clearing immigrations and customs, the child is released only to the adult identified on the paperwork.

Some airlines have controversial unaccompanied minor seating policies which discriminate against adult male passengers on the basis of gender. The policies bar unaccompanied minors from being seated next to adult males and have led to significant criticism and successful legal action.[2][3]

Some airlines, including Ryanair,[4] will not carry unaccompanied minors.

Airline Policy
Airline Minimum Age Mandatory Until Age Optional Until Age Minimum Solo Age Reference
Air Asia NA NA NA 12 Please note that the Skyrider Young Flyer program has been cancelled, effective 24 June 2013.[5]
Air China 5 11 17 12 [6]
Air New Zealand 5 11 16 12 Not available on flights NZ1 and NZ2 (LHR-LAX-AKL)[1]
American Airlines 5 13 17 14 [7]
Asiana Airlines 5 12 NA NA [8]
Belavia 5 15 NA 16 [9]
British Airways 12 NA NA 12 Service Ends 31 Jan 2017[10]
Cathay Pacific 6 11 17 12 [11]
China Airlines 5 11 NA 12 [12]
EasyJet NA NA NA 14 [13]
Emirates 5 15 NA 16 [14]
Eva Air 5 11 NA 12 [15]
FlyBe 5 11 16 12 [16]
Frontier Airlines NA NA NA 15 [17]
Korean Air 5 11 16 12 [18]
KLM 5 14 17 15 [19]
LATAM 5 11 17 12 [20]
Lufthansa 5 11 17 12 [21]
Malaysia Airlines 5 14 NA 15 [22]
Norwegian Air Shuttle 5 11 15 12 Norwegian Air Shuttle does not currently offer Unaccompanied Minor Service to or from Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Croix), Israel, Kosovo, Morocco, Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the U.S.[23]
Pegasus Airlines 7 13 17 14 [24]
Qantas 6 11 15 12 [25]
Ryanair NA NA NA 16 [26]
Southwest Airlines 5 11 NA 12 [27]
Transavia 5 11 15 12 [28]
United Airlines 5 15 NA 16 [29]
Virgin 5 15 NA 16 [30]
Westjet 8 11 17 12 [31]
WizzAir NA NA NA 16 Children under 14 years old cannot fly unless accompanied by an adult at least 16 years of age. [32]
WOW air 5 11 17 12 [33]

In popular culture[edit]

The 2006 Christmas film Unaccompanied Minors is about a team of six unaccompanied minors, portrayed by Tyler James Williams, Dyllan Christopher, Brett Kelly, Gina Mantegna, Quinn Shephard, and Dominique Saldaña.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Children Travelling Alone". Air New Zealand. Retrieved 13 July 2014. For their safety children travelling in a different cabin to their caregiver are required to be classified as unaccompanied minors.
  2. ^ BA changes child seating policy following court case BBC News, 23 August 2010
  3. ^ BA compensates man 'humiliated' over child seat policy BBC News, 24 June 2010
  4. ^ "Children, Infants and Young Persons". Ryanair. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  5. ^ AskAirAsia - Can children below 12 years old travel alone?, accessed 4 Jun 2017
  6. ^ Air China: Children Flying Alone, accessed 29 May 2016
  7. ^ Unaccompanied minor - Special assistance American Airlines, accessed 28 May 2017
  8. ^ Asiana Airlines: Unaccompanied Minors, accessed 19 Jun 2016
  9. ^ Belavia - Belarussian Airlines - Categories of the passengers, accessed 28 May 2017
  10. ^ Children travelling alone, accessed 29 May 2016
  11. ^ Cathay Pacific Unaccompanied children and minors, accessed 29 May 2016
  12. ^ China Airlines Other Special Needs, accessed 29 May 2016
  13. ^ EasyJet Flying with Children, accessed 19 Jun 2016
  14. ^ Emirates Unaccompanied Minors, accessed 29 May 2016
  15. ^ Special Assistance - Eva Air, accessed 30 May 2016
  16. ^ FlyBe Children and Infants, accessed 29 May 2016
  17. ^ [1], accessed 17 May 2019
  18. ^ Korean Air Unaccompanied Minors, accessed 29 May 2016
  19. ^ KLM Unaccompanied Minor service, accessed 29 May 2016
  20. ^ Unaccompanied children - LATAM, accessed 4 Jun 2017
  21. ^ Unaccompanied children - Lufthansa, accessed 28 May 2017
  22. ^ Malaysia Airlines Services and Faciliities for Children, accessed 19 Jun 2016
  23. ^ Children Travelling Alone - Norwegian, accessed 28 May 2017
  24. ^ General Rules - Pegasus Airlines, accessed 28 May 2017
  25. ^ Qantas Children Travelling Alone, accessed 29 May 2016
  26. ^ Does Ryanair carry unaccompanied Minors?, accessed 19 Jun 2016
  27. ^ Unaccompanied Minor - Southwest.com, accessed 28 May 2017
  28. ^ Children travelling alone - Transavia, accessed 28 May 2017
  29. ^ Information About Children Traveling Alone - United Airlines, accessed 28 May 2017
  30. ^ Virgin Children Travelling Alone, accessed 29 May 2016
  31. ^ Unaccompanied minors, kids, children flying alone - Westjet.com, accessed 28 May 2017
  32. ^ [2], accessed 3 July 2018
  33. ^ What rules apply for unaccompanied children aged 5-17? - WOW Air, accessed 30 May 2017