Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What to Do When Your Child is Flying Unaccompanied!

When your child is flying unaccompanied…
In addition to Child Identification, we here at Ident-A-Kid are also concerned with your child’s safety. When flying unaccompanied, there are many things that you and your child need to know. Below are some rules and tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for when your child is flying unaccompanied. Just remember, it is always good policy for your child to have an Ident-A-Kid card with them when they are flying unaccompanied.

1. When you make reservations for your child, specify that the child will be flying alone. Whenever possible, book a non-stop or direct flight. Avoid booking the last flight of the day because cancellation of such a flight may result in overnight delays. Ask for a written copy of the airline’s policies and procedures for children traveling alone, and review them with your child.

2. When booking your child’s flight, inquire about children’s meals to help ensure that your child will enjoy the food. Also, be sure to pack a healthy, “non-messy” snack for the trip. Try to reserve a bulkhead seat, so that your child may relax and airline personnel can more easily check on him or her.

3. As with any new experience, “practice makes perfect.” Thus, plan to visit the airport prior to your child’s flight. Take a tour of the gate area; introduce your child to some of the people working for the airline, and explain the basics of the flying experience. Let your child know what to expect, so the experience will not be so daunting. Instruct your child to follow all of the cabin
procedures and rules as explained by the flight attendant for his or her comfort and safety.

4. On the day of the flight, at a minimum, follow the airline’s suggested time of arrival prior to the flight’s departure. And, with the advent of additional security procedures and nature of travel with a child, you may want to arrive even earlier. Be sure to allow enough time to fill out the mandatory paperwork, pre-board your child on the plane, and ensure that your child is settled prior to general boarding. Remain at the gate until the plane takes off. Should the flight be delayed, your child will be much more comfortable in the waiting area with you than sitting
onboard the plane. And if the flight is canceled or redirected, you will want to be there to make
alternative arrangements.

5. Airlines will not allow your child to fly if the weather is questionable because the flight may be diverted or a connecting flight canceled. Also, remember how uncomfortable and unnerved you can feel when flying in rough weather or when there is turbulence. Thus, try to avoid these flying conditions for your child.

6. Parents must provide home and work telephone numbers, addresses, and identification. Make certain you have a back-up plan for the person(s) meeting the plane at the destination, in case they are delayed. Alert them that the airline will require photo identification prior to releasing the child. Make certain that your child knows the person he or she is flying to meet, so that an unfamiliar person does not meet him or her.

7. Some airlines provide special and supervised waiting rooms for unaccompanied children with time between connecting flights. Check to see if the airline you choose has such an area.

8. Dress your child comfortably in layered clothing, so he or she may adjust to various cabin
t e m p e r a t u r e s. A change of clothing is a good idea as well. Give your child some spending money, including coins, in case of emergency.

9. Your child should have a carry-on piece of luggage or backpack to hold essentials such as identification (like an Ident-A-Kid card), medications, reading materials, and games. Children may use hand-held video games when instructed by airline personnel it is safe to do so, and if the game is not noisy or intrusive to other passengers. Remote control toys are not permitted, as they may interfere with the plane’s electronic equipment. Your child’s Ident-A-Kid card and medications should be put in an envelope for safekeeping inside the carry-on luggage or backpack.

To view the source of this article or for more information about Child Safety, please visit

For information about Child Safety and Child Rescue, please visit the Child Rescue Network at

For information about Ident-A-Kid and Child Identification, please visit our website at