There Are New Rules And Prices For Children Flying Alone
By Parker Diakite
There’s been an increase in baggage fees, amenities, and some airlines are even charging for meals on international flights.
With that being said, it should come to no surprise that some airline companies have decided to increase the fees for an unaccompanied child to fly.
In the past, the fee for a child to fly without an adult would range anywhere from $50 to $150 round-trip.
The standard fee for transporting an unaccompanied minor has risen to between $200 and $300 round-trip, in addition to airfare, on many major U.S. airlines, as reported in Consumer Report.
The exception (as of now) is with Alaska and Southwest Airlines, charging $100 round-trip.
“For years it didn’t cost very much, but the prices have shot up,” says Kyle McCarthy, editor of the Family Travel Forum. “And the rules have changed, too,” she notes, with carriers raising the minimum ages for kids flying solo and capping the number on any given flight.
As the number of people opting to fly increases, analysts are attributing the rise in costs to the record crowds.
“Aircraft are fuller than ever, and that limits our ability to check in regularly on the unaccompanied minors aboard,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants told Consumer Reports.
Consequently, airliners are now limiting solo trips for the youngest fliers to direct flights that depart during the day.
Other airlines have stopped flying children altogether.
Frontier stopped accepting minors under the age of 15 unless they’re traveling with a companion above that age last November; Allegiant doesn’t allow kids to travel; and British Airways last year said it would no longer accept any unaccompanied minors under the age of 14.
Most carriers, however, accept children as young as 5 to fly unaccompanied, as reported in Consumer Reports.
The best thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the airline company and its policies and plan ahead of time.