Tips for Parents of Teens Flying AloneSeptember 22, 2014
Letting your child fly for the first time by his or herself, can be nerve racking, even if they are a teenager. Here are a few tips to keep them traveling safely and you from worrying about their trip:
Plan travel well – Try to make the travel arrangements as easy as possible. Getting non-stop flights, early in the day, can help avoid possible problems with transfers or delayed flights. Make arrangements for whomever is picking up the child and double check with them the day before travel to assure everything will go as planned.
Learn airline travel rules for minors – Different airlines have different rules for minors traveling alone. Fees ($25-$150) can still be charged for escorting young teens depending on the airline and their stringent rules for unaccompanied minors. The age ranges for those rules ends anywhere from age 11 – 15 depending on the airline. You’ll also want to know what other restrictions come with their unaccompanied minor program. Some of them often include: Early check-in, only non-stop flights, and can’t be on the last flight of the day.
Educate your young traveler -Take your kid to the nearest airport. Make sure they know how to read the signs about arriving and departing flights. Make sure they know how to recognize airport personnel and what type of questions to ask. Prepare for common problems like flight delays, lost luggage, security issues, and strangers. Also, be sure to give them extra instructions if they will need to catch a connecting flight.
Pack in their travel backpack
• ID – Driver’s License or Passport if they have one, birth certificate if they don’t (adding a photo ID when possible)
• Full Travel Itinerary (which they should know how to read)
• 2 contact numbers for yourself and anyone picking them up.
• Cell phone for contacting you periodically and in case of a problem.
• Pocket money for food and unexpected expenses
• Pack plenty of food (airline snacks are traditionally small)
• Entertainment – ipods, books, magazines, home work, pocket video game players, etc.
• Just in case items: Any medications, all-natural Motioneaze for motion sickness, bandaids, toiletries, mini-tissue pack, light jacket or sweatshirt (in case it is cool on the plane).
Manage the little things, for your own sake – Check on the progress of the flight they are on. Check in with them via phone or text before and after they arrive to make sure there weren’t any delays and that they met their designated party. And, most importantly, relax. Children and teens travel all over the world every day. He or she is maturing and able to handle more responsibility. Don’t worry! Airport personnel and TSA agents will help keep your child safe and happy until they arrive at their destination.
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