Full guide to unaccompanied minor policies and fees

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If it’s your first time booking your child on a solo trip, it can be confusing trying to navigate all of the different airline regulations, procedures and fees. How old do you have to be to fly alone? Each airline is different, and it’s essential to be aware of the rules before you book. Sending children to fly by themselves by reserving unaccompanied minor flights is a significant milestone for kids and parents alike.

Here’s what you need to know about America’s leading airlines and their policies for unaccompanied minors. You can subscribe to our newsletter for more in-depth guides like this delivered to your inbox.

(Photo by myboys.me/Shutterstock)

Southwest

Age restriction

Children ages 5-11 are considered unaccompanied minors with Southwest. 

Southwest unaccompanied minor fees

The Unaccompanied Minor fee is $50 per child each way.

Meal service is not provided, but pretzels are available in-flight.

Routing rules

Unaccompanied Minors may only travel on non-stop or direct Southwest flights. No transfer or international flights are permitted.

Identification requirements

All unaccompanied minors need to show a birth certificate or another form of government identification that shows the child’s age. At check-in, your child will receive a special lanyard, and you will receive an escort pass to go to the gate.

For parents or guardians who are picking up and dropping off, valid government-issued photo identification is required. An Unaccompanied Minor Information form is also required.

Booking method

You can book unaccompanied minors by calling Southwest reservations at 1-800-435-9792.

Other restrictions

  • Guardians must remain at the airport until the flight has taken off
  • Southwest will not accept unaccompanied minors on flights that may get diverted or canceled
  • Southwest doesn’t offer a meal service so be sure to send your child with food or snacks

Delta

Age restriction

AgeIneligibleOptionalMandatory
Under age 4X  
5 to 7  X
8 to 14  X
15 to 17 X 

Delta unaccompanied minor fees

AgesCost (each way per child)RestrictionsTravel limitations
5 to 7$150Select nonstop flights only4 child maximum per fee
8 to 14$150Select nonstop and connecting flights only4 child maximum per fee
15 to 17$150All nonstop and connecting flights4 child maximum per fee

Routing rules

There are some rules for unaccompanied minors to follow on Delta flights:

  • Travel is limited to Delta and Delta Connection carriers with domestic and international itineraries
  • Connections are limited to Delta, Delta Connection, Air France and KLM flights
  • Unaccompanied minors may not fly on the last connecting flight of the day, and travel is greatly limited for overnight flights from 9 pm to 5 am

Identification requirements

To receive the unaccompanied minor wristband, children will need to provide a government-issued ID for domestic flights and a passport for international flights. Guardians will need to show a photo ID for pickup. You may also be asked to provide the four-digit PIN assigned to you at booking.

Booking method

Unaccompanied minors must be booked via phone by calling 1-800-325-8847. 

Other restrictions

  • Guardians must remain at the airport until the flight departs

Note: Delta Sky Zone children’s lounge is a special feature located at specific airports

American Airlines

Age restriction

American Airlines requires that you use the unaccompanied minor service for children ages 5-14.

AgesIneligibleOptionalMandatory
4 or youngerX  
5 to 14  X
15 to 17 X 

American Airlines unaccompanied minor fees

The unaccompanied minor fee is $150 plus tax each way. The fee also includes any siblings that will be using the same flight.

AgesCost (each way)RestrictionsTravel limitations
5 to 7$150– Nonstop and direct flights only – Gate escort and guardian contact required 
8 to 14$150– Gate escort and guardian contact requiredCharlotte, NC (CLT), Washington Reagan, D.C. (DCA), Dallas Fort Worth, TX (DFW), New York, NY (JFK and LGA), Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Miami, FL (MIA), Chicago, IL (ORD), Philadelphia, PA (PHL) and Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
15 to 17$150– Gate escort and guardian contact requiredCharlotte, NC (CLT), Washington Reagan, D.C. (DCA), Dallas Fort Worth, TX (DFW), New York, NY (JFK and LGA), Los Angeles, CA (LAX), Miami, FL (MIA), Chicago, IL (ORD), Philadelphia, PA (PHL) and Phoenix, AZ (PHX)

Due to COVID-19, American Airlines is making certain travel updates that may affect your trip. This includes limited service for food and drink service. However, children will still have access to early boarding and kids-only lounges with an included airport escort.

Routing rules

  • Children cannot use the last flight of the day unless it’s the only available option
  • Children may not use unaccompanied service on other airlines, including codeshare and Oneworld flights
  • Unaccompanied minors may not use ground or co-terminal connections where they need to transfer to another airport

Identification requirements

You will need to show a birth certificate or government-issued ID for domestic flights, while a valid passport is required for international flights. Parents and guardians that pick up and drop off their children will need to show a valid photo ID.

Booking method

You must book the unaccompanied minor service via phone by calling 1-800-433-7300 for 24/7 service.

Other restrictions

  • You must arrive two hours before your flight
  • An unaccompanied minor form is required, in addition to any required immigration and Customs documents
  • The guardian must accompany the child to the gate for early boarding
  • American Airlines assumes no responsibility for the control or administration of your child’s medication

United

Age restriction

AgeIneligibleOptionalMandatory
Under age 5X 
5 to 14  X
15 to 17 X

United unaccompanied minor fees

United allows up to six children to travel alone, billed in pairs. A free snack is included on flights that offer food service.

Number of childrenOne-way fee
1 to 2$150
3 to 4$300
5 to 6$450

Routing rules

Unaccompanied minors may only travel on non-stop flights operated by United Airlines or United Express. Connecting flights are not allowed, nor are codeshare flights or any other flights operated by different carriers. 

Identification requirements

Children will need to provide a passport for international flights. Otherwise, a photo ID is sufficient for check-in. Parents and guardians will also need to show a valid photo ID to pick up and drop off the minor.

Booking method

United Airlines lets you book unaccompanied minors online. You can also book by phone if you call 1-800-864-8331, but there is a $25 fee for phone reservations.

Other restrictions

  • If your child’s flight is delayed or canceled, United Airlines will make alternate arrangements
  • You may accompany your child to the gate for domestic flights, but United will assign a uniformed representative to escort your child if it is an international flight
  • Guardians must remain at the gate or in the airport until the flight has taken off

JetBlue

Age restriction

JetBlue offers its Unaccompanied Minors (UMNR) program for children between the ages of five and 14 who are flying alone. 

Jet Blue unaccompanied minor fees

The unaccompanied minor fee is $150 per child each way.

Routing rules

All unaccompanied minors are restricted to nonstop flights. Connecting flights aren’t allowed.

Identification requirements

Children will need to show a valid photo ID for domestic flights and a valid passport for international flights. Parents and guardians will also need to show photo identification and provide appropriate contact information.

Booking method

You can book unaccompanied minors online or by calling JetBlue reservations at 800-538-2583.

The Unaccompanied Minor form must be completed online before travel, and you must supply three copies of the completed form when you arrive at the airport for your child’s departure.

Other restrictions

  • JetBlue allows a maximum of three unaccompanied minors per flight
  • Guardians must remain at the airport until the aircraft has departed
  • Children may not book Mint® or Even More® Space seats

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines welcomes unaccompanied minors through its Junior Jetsetters program. There is a free mobile app called Fly for All, which is specifically designed to educate and calm unaccompanied minors about their upcoming trip. 

Age restriction

AgeIneligibleOptionalMandatory
Under age 8X 
8 to 11  X
12 to 17 X

Air Alaska unaccompanied minor fees

The fees vary depending on your age and destination.

AgeCost (each way per child)Requirements
5 to 7$50– Nonstop and direct flights only
– No travel between 9 pm and 5 am
– Gate escort and guardian contact required
8 to 12– Nonstop/Direct flights: $50  – Connecting flights: $75– Gate escort and guardian contact required
– No travel between 9 pm and 5 am
– Unless unavoidable, no connections to the last flight of the day and no layovers for two or more hours
13 to 17– Nonstop/Direct flights: $50  – Connecting flights: $75– Gate escort and guardian contact required
– No travel between 9 pm and 5 am
– Unless unavoidable, no connections to the last flight of the day and no layovers for two or more hours

You do not have to pay unaccompanied minor fees if your children have the following status:

  • MVP® Gold
  • Gold 75K

Due to COVID-19, Air Alaska has temporarily suspended meals and entertainment flights. Parents are encouraged to provide children with an empty water bottle that can be filled after security.

Routing rules

The rules are more strict for younger children, with kids aged between five and seven limited to nonstop and direct flights only. Children ages 8 through 12 may fly on transfers and connecting flights if operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, SkyWest Flight Series 3300-3499, PenAir or Ravn Alaska.

Regardless of the child’s age, there is no unaccompanied travel permitted overnight between 9 pm and 5 am. The airline also prefers not to book unaccompanied children on the last connecting flight of the day and also tries to prevent layovers of more than two hours.

You will also need to provide guardian contact information, as well as an escort to the gate.

Identification requirements

To confirm your child’s identity, a birth certificate, passport or government-issued ID will need to be presented at check-in. Children will be given a lanyard and wristband for easy identification, and they will receive early boarding, as well.

Booking method

When booking unaccompanied minors, reservations cannot be made online. You will need to call 1-800-252-7522.

You can pay the Alaska Air unaccompanied minor fees online, at a check-in kiosk or with a representative at a counter. If you plan on making a payment at a Mexican station, you will need to make payment using pesos or a debit or credit card. American dollars are not accepted. 

Other restrictions

There are some restrictions when you fly Alaska Air:

  • Unaccompanied minors may not travel to or from Sun Valley, Idaho (SUN) between December 1 and April 1 each year
  • Book early, because Alaska Airlines limits the number of unaccompanied minors
  • Alaska Airlines may not accept your child if Inclement weather or other factors may affect the flight
  • Alaska Airlines assumes no responsibility for the control or administration of your child’s medication

Air Canada

Age restriction

AgeIneligibleOptionalMandatory
Under 8X 
8 to 11  X
12 to 17 X

Air Canada unaccompanied minor fees

All children under eight years old must be accompanied by an escort aged 16 or older, and they must sit together in the same cabin. However, children ages 12 to 17 have the option to fly alone or as an unaccompanied minor.

The unaccompanied minor fee is $118 each way per child per flight. Here’s what you need to know:

  • A meal or hot snack is included with flights offering Air Canada Bistro service
  • Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages are included
  • You can purchase additional Air Canada Bistro vouchers online for your child to use in credit card only cabins

Guardians must remain at the airport until your child’s flight departs.

Routing rules

Air Canada allows unaccompanied minors flying non-stop on Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. You may also fly non-stop on an Air Canada Express flight that is operated by Jazz, Sky Regional, and Exploits Valley Air 8K – Flight series 7615-7649.

Unaccompanied minors may not use connecting or codeshare flights.

Identification requirements

ChildrenGuardians
Travel within Canada
– Birth certificate, health card, passport or other government ID International flights
– Passport
– Government-issued ID
– Complete a Request for Carriage form with your child’s flight information, name and contact

Booking method

To book an unaccompanied minor on an Air Canada flight, you must call 1-888-247-2262 for 24/7 booking service. 

Other restrictions

Air Canada also places some restrictions on unaccompanied minors traveling alone.

  • No pets are permitted in the cabin
  • Accompanying adults must be 16 years or old
  • The child cannot be blind or deaf
  • The child cannot have a severe allergy to cats, peanuts and peanut products
  • Any children with a medical condition must obtain a special medical clearance from the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk

Virgin America

Age restriction

AgeIneligibleOptionalMandatory
Under age 5X 
5 to 11  X
12 to 17 X

Virgin America unaccompanied minor fees

Virgin America’s unaccompanied minor fee depends on the type of flight that the child is taking.

ItineraryCost
Short-haul flights$75
Medium/long-haul flights$100
International (Mexico) flights$125

The fee includes a snack on short-haul flights, while longer flights serve a snack or meal and a free movie.

Routing rules

Virgin America only allows unaccompanied minors on connecting flights operated by Virgin America itself; otherwise, minors are restricted to non-stop domestic flights. International flights are permitted with additional documentation.

Identification requirements

Both children and guardians will need to supply a government-issued photo ID or passport to confirm identity. You will also need to complete a Declaration of Indemnity form at check-in.

Booking method

Unaccompanied minors must be booked by phone using the Virgin America reservations line at 1-877-359-8474. The typical phone reservation fee will be waived. 

Other restrictions

  • Guardians must remain at the airport until the flight has taken off
  • Children on the same flight as their parents but seated in a different cabin are also considered unaccompanied minors
  • If your child requires medical assistance or needs medication dispensed to them, they may not be eligible to fly as an unaccompanied minor
  • Unaccompanied minors may not use a connection with more than four hours between flights or airports that use inter-airport connections

Spirit

Age restriction

AgeIneligibleOptionalMandatory
Under age 4X 
5 to 14  X
15 to 17 X

Spirit unaccompanied minor fees

Spirit charges an unaccompanied minor fee of $100 per child each way. The price includes a snack and beverage.

Routing rules

Unaccompanied minors may only travel on direct Spirit flights. Transfers and international flights are NOT allowed. However, unaccompanied minors may travel on flights to and from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Identification requirements

Both you and your child will need to provide a valid photo ID. An unaccompanied minor form is required, and the contact provided there must be the same as the person who picks up the minor at the airport. 

Booking method

You can book your unaccompanied minor by calling 855-728-3555.

Other restrictions

  • You must check in a minimum of one hour before departure
  • Parents/guardians must remain at the gate for 15 minutes after the flight has taken off

Hawaiian Airlines

Age restriction

AgeIneligibleOptionalMandatory
Under age 5X  
5 to 14  X

Hawaiian Airlines unaccompanied minor fees

Hawaiian Airlines charges just one single fee for up to two children traveling together from the same family.

ItineraryCost (each way per child)Travel limitations
Within Hawaii$35Two child max per fee
Between Continental US and Hawaii$100Two child max per fee

Routing rules

  • Codeshare or connecting flights on another airline aren’t allowed, except for ‘Ohana by Hawaiian operated by Empire Airlines
  • Overnight flights between 9 pm and 5 am are not permitted for unaccompanied minors unless it is the only flight on the child’s itinerary. The flight must operate from Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Children may not connect using the last flight of the day
  • The airline tries to avoid connections last less than one hour or more than two hours
  • All connecting flights must also be Hawaiian Airline flights

Identification requirements

Children may be asked to show a birth certificate on domestic flights, and a valid passport is required for international flights. Guardians will need to show proof of photo ID and provide contact information. You must also complete the Request for Unaccompanied Minor Form (HA 020).

Booking method

To make a reservation, call Hawaiian Airlines reservations at 1-800-367-5320.

Other restrictions

  • Guardians must escort children to their gate and remain at the airport until the flight departs
  • If a flight or connection looks like it will be delayed, Hawaiian Airlines may rebook your child on a different flight or date

WestJet

Age restriction

AgeIneligibleOptionalMandatory
Under age 5X 
5 to 12  X
13 to 17 X

WestJet unaccompanied minor fees

You’ll pay a fee of $100 each way for each unaccompanied minor. A headset, snack and drink may be included on the flight. 

Routing rules

Unaccompanied minors are only permitted on direct flights within Canada. No transfers, U.S. or international flights are allowed, and overnight flights are not permitted between the hours of 5:30 am and 10:00 pm. WestJet must also operate the flight.

Identification requirements

At check-in, children are required to provide a photocopy of the child’s birth certificate or other government-issued identification. It must show the child’s date of birth and gender. 

Guardians will also need to show a valid photo ID and must remain at the airport until the flight has taken off.

Booking method

WestJet requires that you first submit an Unaccompanied Minor request form online. They’ll review the request and get back to you within 24 hours. Then you’ll have 24 hours to complete the reservation and pay the unaccompanied minor fee. If you do not submit payment within the allotted window, you will have to rebegin the process. 

Other restrictions

WestJet accepts a maximum of up to four unaccompanied minors per flight. However, the airline will not accept children who:

  • Are deaf or blind
  • Require an emotional support or service animal
  • Have an allergy requiring the use of an epinephrine auto-injector (like an Epi‑pen)
  • Require assistance to take essential medication
  • Have a disability which requires them to travel with a familiar guardian (however you could book a guardian fare)
  • Are not able to communicate in English or French

Bottom line

Sending your child to travel as an unaccompanied minor is an exciting adventure. Still, it’s always important to make sure that your child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of a solo trip. 

If you think your child is up for the challenge, this post is for you. Each airline has different age limits, restrictions, and fees, so it’s always best to check the airline’s most current policies before booking your child’s travel. While you’re at it, don’t forget to sign your child up for the airline’s frequent flyer program. It’s never too early to get a head start on earning miles and points!

Lena Borrelli is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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