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Guide to Unaccompanied Minor Policies for U.S. Airlines [2023]

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Chris Hassan
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Chris Hassan

Social Media & Brand Manager

217 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 24U.S. States Visited: 26

Chris holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and managed social media for all Marriott properties in South America, making him a perfect fit for UP and its social media channels. He has a ...
Edited by: Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

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Michael Y. Park

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Sending your child on a flight alone can be an exciting (and nerve-wracking) experience.

Whether they’ve been flying with you since babyhood or are just getting their travel legs now, you and your child need to be prepared for travel as an unaccompanied minor.

In the U.S., airlines have a wide array of rules and costs when it comes to young flyers traveling alone. Let’s look at each airline’s policy for exactly what you need to know before your big kid takes to the skies on their own.

Unaccompanied Minor Basics

For countless reasons, you may find that sending your child on a flight alone makes sense for you and your family.

Whether they are going to meet up with their other parent, grandparents, friends, family, school, or summer camp, being prepared will help ensure a safe and comfortable trip.

Although rules vary by airline, in most cases, an unaccompanied minor can be a child between the ages of 5 and 14. You can expect to pay up to $150 for an unaccompanied service from the airline to help with the travel logistics. 

Below is a chart to take a quick view of policies, followed by a more in-depth breakdown of each airline.

Girl at airport alone
Image Credit: pingpao via Adobe Stock

Unaccompanied Minor Policies

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AirlineAllows Unaccompanied Minors?Eligible AgesCost*Contact
Alaska AirlinesYes5-17$50 to $75800-252-7522
Allegiant AirNo15+702-505-8888
American AirlinesYes5-14$150800-433-7300
Breeze AirwaysNo13+501-273-3937 (SMS)
Delta Air LinesYes5-14$150800-325-8847
Frontier AirlinesNo15+flybreeze.com/support
Hawaiian AirlinesYes5-11$35 to $100800-367-5320
JetBlueYes5-14$150800-538-2583
Southwest AirlinesYes5-11$100800-435-9792
Spirit AirlinesYes5-14$150855-728-3555
Sun CountryNo14+651-905-2737
United AirlinesYes5-14$150800-864-8331

*Prices shown are for one-way flights and are in addition to the price of the ticket

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has Junior Jetsetters, an unaccompanied minor service for kids 5 to 17 on domestic and international flights.

When flying with Alaska, Junior Jetsetters receive a lanyard and a wristband so staff and crew can easily identify them. Kids will receive early boarding and a special safety briefing to make sure they are familiar with the emergency protocols.

Your child will be supervised for their entire journey for $50 on nonstop flights. Kids ages 8 to 17 can fly a more complex itinerary with connections for $75. 

Junior Jetsetters who have attained MVP, MVP Gold, Gold 75K, or Gold 100K Mileage Plan status have these fees waived.

Parents or guardians can escort the child all the way to the gate as long as they have obtained an escort pass at the ticket counter.

To book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor on Alaska Airlines, call 800-252-7522.

Hot Tip: Some Alaska Airlines routes may not allow unaccompanied minors, including for seasonal severe weather.

Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air does not allow unaccompanied minors.

The airline considers anyone 15 and older an adult. Anyone under 15 must be accompanied by an adult ticketed on the same reservation.

American Airlines

American Airlines provides an unaccompanied minor service for children ages 5 to 14. It’s optional for teens ages 15 to 17. The cost is $150, which covers the cost of siblings, as well. 

The AA unaccompanied minor service includes early boarding to get comfortable and meet the flight attendants, kids-only lounge access (in select cities), Kids’ Kits from Quaker with snacks and activities (for ages 5 to 10 in hub cities), and an escort for connecting and arriving flights.

If your child has a connecting flight, they will have access to an unaccompanied minor lounge in the following airports:

  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK and LGA)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Phoenix (PHX)
  • Washington, D.C. (DCA)

Rules vary by age and destination for international flights and can be found on AA.com.

To book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor on American Airlines,  call 800-433-7300.

Breeze Airways

Breeze Airways does not provide an unaccompanied minor service. The airline allows children 13 and older to fly by themselves without an accompanying adult on all nonstop flights. On multiple-segment flights (including BreezeThrus and connecting flights), an adult must accompany any guest younger than 18.

Children ages 13 to 17 must provide government documentation stating their age.

Delta Air Lines

Delta has an unaccompanied minor program for domestic and international travel for kids ages 5 to 14. It’s optional for teens from 15 to 17. The service costs $150 each way for up to 4 children. 

Only children 8 and older can travel on itineraries with connections. Younger children must be booked on nonstop flights.

Minors traveling with the unaccompanied minor program receive a trackable wristband, access to the Sky Zone lounge for kids, and a personal escort throughout their travel day.

Sky Zones are children-only areas where children who are flying alone can use the complimentary phones to call their parents, wait for connections, play with toys and video games, and have the support of Delta representatives.

Delta Sky Zones are available in the following airports:

  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Cincinnati (CVG)
  • Detroit (DTW)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Memphis (MEM)
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Salt Lake City (SLC)
  • Seattle-Tacoma (SEA)

After check-in, a parent or designated accompanying adult must take the unaccompanied minor to the departure gate and remain until the flight has taken off. The person meeting the child at the other airport must be registered and provide an ID and signature.

To book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor on Delta Air Lines, you must call 800-325-8847.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines does not allow unaccompanied minors.

The airline allows anyone 15 and older to fly by themselves. Anyone under 15 must be accompanied by an adult ticketed on the same reservation.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines offers Unaccompanied Minor Service Assistance, but the requirements vary based on age and final destination. The service costs $35 per flight segment on flights between the Hawaiian islands and $100 per flight segment on flights between Hawaii and continental North America for up to 2 children from the same family. 

Children ages 5 to 11 are considered unaccompanied minors and must pay for the Unaccompanied Minor Service Assistance. The service is optional for kids 12 to 17. Unaccompanied minors are not allowed on international flights.

A child aged 5 to 11 can travel with a passenger 15 or older without Unaccompanied Minor Service Assistance.

At drop-off, the parent or responsible adult must submit a completed Request For Unaccompanied Minor form and inform the airline who will be picking up the child at the arrival airport. Pickup locations vary by airport and can be found on the Hawaiian Airlines website.

To book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor on Hawaiian Airlines, call 800-367-5320.

JetBlue

JetBlue allows for unaccompanied minors between the ages of 5 and 14 years old to travel on their own. Tickets can be booked online and carry a fee of $150 per person each way.

There is a limit of 3 unaccompanied minors per flight, and they cannot occupy Mint or Even More Space seats. Seats A, B, and C in the plane’s last row are reserved for unaccompanied minors so that the crew can easily assist if needed.

Only nonstop flights can be booked for unaccompanied minors, with some international flights included. Service for the U.K. and Europe is not available at the moment. Unaccompanied minors, even on Blue Basic Fares, can bring a carry-on at no extra charge.

A photo ID and 3 copies of a completed Unaccompanied Minor Form are required at drop-off. Gate passes may be available at the discretion of the TSA.

At pick-up, the guardian listed on the Unaccompanied Minor Form must be at least 18 years old and present an ID.

To book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor on JetBlue, go to jetblue.com or call 800-538-2583.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest allows Unaccompanied Minors ages 5 to 11 to travel independently on domestic flights. There is a $100 fee each way. 

Children 12 and over can use the Young Travelers service for no fee.

Parents cannot accompany their child all the way to the gate.

Unaccompanied minors can only fly on nonstop or direct flights in the U.S., and parents or guardians must provide proper identification during drop-off and pickup.

To book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor on Southwest, you can go to southwest.com, book at the ticket counter, or call 800-435-9792

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines allows unaccompanied minors ages 5 to 14 on select flights for a fee of $150 each way. 

Flights must be domestic, nonstop flights. Unaccompanied minors receive a lanyard with their information on it and a snack, and drinks during their travels.

The drop-off parent or guardian must provide a valid ID and escort the child all the way to the gate (with a gate pass) and wait for 15 minutes after the flight takes off. The child will be preboarded and introduced to the flight crew.

The pick-up parent or guardian should request a gate pass at the ticket counter with a valid ID and be waiting at the arrival gate so that the flight attendant can release the child to the adult listed on their Unaccompanied Minor form.

To book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor on Spirit Airlines, you can go to spirit.com or call 855-728-3555.

Sun Country

Sun Country does not have an unaccompanied minor service and, therefore, doesn’t allow children under 14 to travel alone.

On domestic flights, kids ages 15 to 17 can accompany 1 child between the ages of 5 to 14. Children under 5 must be accompanied by an adult ticketed on the same reservation.

United Airlines

United Airlines has an unaccompanied minor service for children ages 5 to 14. There is a fee of $150 each way for every 2 children using the service. 

United unaccompanied minor
Image Credit: United

Unaccompanied minors can travel on both domestic and international flights, as long as they are nonstop on United or United Express. Teens ages 15 to 17 can travel alone on any United or United Express flight or opt into the unaccompanied minor service.

The young flyers receive a wristband, special bag tags, and an envelope with their unaccompanied minor forms. They also receive early boarding to get settled and a free snack after takeoff.

The drop-off parent or guardian can accompany the child to the gate if the airport allows it.

The pick-up parent or guardian can wait by the arrival gate if gate passes are available. A United representative will meet the child at the plane and bring them to the designated pick-up person.

To book a ticket for an unaccompanied minor on United Airlines, use united.com or call 800-864-8331.

Tips for Unaccompanied Minor Flights

Girl watching iPad on Delta A350-900 economy
Be sure that iPads are charged up and movies are downloaded! Image Credit: Chris Hassan

You’ve made the decision to send your little one on their first big adventure by themselves and confirmed that the airline will assist them, but there are still some things you can do to help set them up for a successful journey.

Here are tips from fellow parents and directly from the airlines to help your child fly as an unaccompanied minor.

Explain the Process

You are likely nervous. Your child probably is, too. Making sure that they are emotionally and mentally prepared will be extremely important.

Going over exactly what the trip will entail, what is expected of them, who they can rely on, and what to do in an emergency can be calming and helpful.

Remind them that the flight crew is there to help them and that someone will be waiting for them at the other end of the flight.

Charge the Gadgets

For kids, nothing is worse than their favorite piece of technology running out of battery.

Let them indulge in screen time and ensure their phones, tablets, and other devices are all charged up for the trip. And don’t forget the chargers!

This will also ensure they can stay in touch with you if needed.

Use an AirTag

Apple AirTags have exploded in popularity to keep track of checked luggage.

Well, there is no more precious cargo than your child. Toss an AirTag in their backpack (Apple sells a single AirTag for $29, or a pack of 4 AirTags for $99), or, better yet, use an AirTag bracelet.

With an AirTag, you can see almost exactly where they are, which can be handy during pick-up.

Write Down Emergency Contacts

Yes, there will be cell phones and proper documentation from the airline, but you never know.

It can’t hurt to have a list of emergency contacts and phone numbers on a piece of paper, if needed.

Pack Snacks

We all function better when we aren’t hungry, right?

Even though some unaccompanied minor services offer snacks, it’s a good idea to make sure your kid is well-fed before their flight and has a bag full of snacks to munch on during their journey.

Send Money

You’ve packed snacks, and the airline will likely provide some as well, but it’s a good idea to give your kid some spending money just in case of a long delay.

Whether they’re waiting to board or on the plane for longer than planned, having a little cash or a credit card can come in handy if they need to buy something.

Minimize Carry-Ons

This goes for all travelers, but the less you board with, the less likely it will get left behind.

A backpack is probably the easiest for smaller travelers, so they don’t have to deal with reaching into overhead bins.

Track the Flight

Being able to track the flight will help calm a parent or guardian’s nerves and keep the person picking up the unaccompanied minor informed if there are any delays.

Whether using the airline’s app or a third-party app such as FlightAware, a little bit of technology in your pocket is nice.

Final Thoughts

Girl walking through airport with Away bag in Rio de Janeiro airport GIG
Traveling together when they are young will be great practice for when they need to fly solo. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

Sending your little one on a flight by themselves is a huge moment filled with a plethora of feelings with everything from excitement to fear. But with the right preparation, your unaccompanied minor could make their first successful trip of many to come.

Many airlines will make sure that your child has a safe and enjoyable flight, and if they are flying Alaska Airlines and have elite status, they won’t even charge you!

Many factors go into whether or not you and your family are comfortable enough with this type of travel. Hopefully, the information you found here will help with your decision.

Safe travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I board the aircraft with my child?

No, but in some cases, the parent or guardian can get a gate pass and stay with the child until they have boarded at the gate.

Can unaccompanied minors travel internationally?

Depending on the airline and destination, yes. You will need to check directly with your carrier.

How much does it cost for my child to fly alone?

Prices vary depending on the airline and itinerary, often around $50 to $150 each way. This is in addition to the cost of the ticket.

Can my 13-year-old fly alone?

On many U.S. airlines, yes. You will likely need to pay an unaccompanied minor fee, as well.

Chris Hassan's image

About Chris Hassan

Chris holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and managed social media for all Marriott properties in South America, making him a perfect fit for UP and its social media channels. He has a passion for making content catered toward family travelers.

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