To check eligibility and book a reservation for an unaccompanied child, call Reservations at 800-325-8847 to confirm that the trip is legal and properly documented. If approved, you will be provided with the name and telephone number of an airline employee who can help you make the booking.
The employee will ask you questions about the age and requirements of your minor travel companion. They will also need to know how you would like them to refer to you and your child during the booking process (i.e., as "parent" or "guardian").
After you have been confirmed as eligible to make a booking, follow these steps:
1 Find the right price level on our website based on the age of your child. Be sure to include any applicable discounts such as those for senior citizens or students.
2 Book your flight online at http://www.united.com/aeroplan/index.jsp - click on "Book Now" under "Aeroplan Miles" and follow the instructions.
3 Receive an email confirmation from United when your booking has been processed.
When not accompanied by a person over the age of 15, children aged 5 to 14 must travel as unaccompanied minors. Unaccompanied minor service is available to children aged 15 and above. Unaccompanied minors are only permitted on direct flights that do not need a change in aircraft or flight number. They can be joined by a friend or family member at the airport or on board the plane.
Children under the age of 5 cannot sit without support from an adult. They may also require special assistance such as a seat, food or water when traveling by air. Therefore, infants should be transported by a parent or other responsible adult. Children may experience some anxiety about flying, but this will decrease with time. Discuss common concerns such as illness during travel, noise-induced sleep problems and fear of the unknown with your child prior to their departure.
As part of its security protocol, each airline requires that passengers provide certain information upon check-in. This includes confirming that you are not carrying any weapons or explosives onto the plane, and if you are carrying a bag, checking it into the cargo hold. You will also be asked to complete additional forms relating to your trip (such as health questions or police reports). These documents are required by law and are called "declarations" or "certificates".
Some airlines allow you to fax these documents from home before your trip; others accept email submissions.
Never wait until you get at the airport to notify the airline that you are flying with an unaccompanied youngster. Always submit this information over the phone to customer care, and have them advise you of all your alternatives, costs, and so on. This is especially important for low-cost carriers since they often have very limited flight schedules and may not be able to accommodate changes or cancellations due to passenger issues.
If you have a delay and need to stay in a hotel, ask whether there are any children your age traveling alone in your party's name. Many hotels will look after these youngsters while their parents sleep in another room if you give them enough notice. Some even have clubs for minors who would like to stay up late!
Minors under 18 years old must also have a passport to travel abroad by themselves. If they do not have one already, they can apply for an International Travel Document (ITD) which is free and includes an ID card, an emergency contact list, and more. These can be downloaded from the Department of State website.
Finally, make sure that your minor understands what to do in case of an emergency. It is recommended that you print out a copy of the American Academy of Pediatrics' "It's My Party, I'll Call 911!" pamphlet and have it available during travels to help educate them on how to deal with different situations that may arise.