Does South African Airways offer a special service for children traveling alone?
South African Airways’ Unaccompanied Minors service ensures that, from check-in to final arrival, children who have to travel alone are always under the best care.
What are the age restrictions for South African Airways’ Unaccompanied Minors service?
Children under the age of 5 years are not accepted for the Unaccompanied Minors service. They must be accompanied by a passenger who is 16 years or older.
Children 5 to 11 years old who are traveling without the supervision of a parent or guardian who is 16 years or older will be accepted on SAA flights only when booked as Unaccompanied Minors.
Children 12 to 15 years of age are considered young passengers. For the purpose of fares, they are considered adults. Therefore, no special handling is required unless requested by the parent.
Unaccompanied Minors Service
Unaccompanied Minors may travel only with prior authorization from South African Airways, for which you must contact SAA Central Reservations Office (reservations for Unaccompanied Minors cannot be booked online). For security and safety reasons, SAA has the right to refuse acceptance of the child who was not booked as an Unaccompanied Minor. At the time of booking, you should inform South African Airways of any critical information such as date of birth, the language that the child speaks, first-time flyer, medication, etc. You can also place any meal requests for your child from the time of booking until 24 hours before departure.
Unaccompanied Minors may travel on direct flights only if they reach their destination before 20:00 (8 PM). This is not mandatory in the case of connecting flights, but connecting flights may not be on the next day.
Unaccompanied Minors must be in possession of written consent from their parents/guardians. At the departure airport, a responsible adult must escort and check in the child. After check-in, an SAA representative will escort the child through the passport control and security checks, taking care of all travel documents, right up to finding his/her seat. Parents should remain at the airport until the flight takes off.
The cabin crew will be notified of the child’s name and age and any special requirements and will regularly check that your child is comfortable throughout the flight. At transit stops, Unaccompanied Minors will always remain in the care of either cabin crew or ground staff. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that all airlines the child is traveling on has confirmed the service. SAA’s partner airlines may have different age limits, restrictions, and charges, so you should check the conditions of the Unaccompanied Minors service directly with them.
Upon arrival, the Unaccompanied Minor will be introduced to an SAA host who will escort the child through airport immigration to arrivals. The child must be received at the destination by an authorized adult. The SAA host will personally hand over the child to the parent or guardian who must carry proof of identification.