Does Thai Airways offer services for children traveling alone?
For children between the ages of 5 to 17 years old traveling alone, Thai Airways offers a service called Unaccompanied Minor service. Understanding the potential risks that this fact represents, the THAI policy implies that the minor will be in the company of the airline staff, during all stages of the flight. To ensure the child’s comfort and safety, Thai Airways staff will provide assistance on board, at the airport, and during connections. The Unaccompanied Minor Service charge is included and clearly stated on the ticket purchased.
Which are the special conditions for children traveling alone on THAI flights?
To begin with, parents, or failing that, the guardians of the child should apply for Unaccompanied Minor Service with the airline and complete the “Unaccompanied Minors Form”.
Special assistance and handling for minors has to be requested. A handling form will need to be completed. In order to do so, parents must provide the age of the minor, his/her birth date, and two contact numbers of guardians or parents who can always be reached, one at the departure airport and the other at the destination airport. All aspects of the information mentioned above are necessary for the airline to provide appropriate assistance and help the unaccompanied minor to feel safe and protected.
In order to provide the safest service for minors, Thai Airways specifies some limiting conditions:
- THAI does not allow children under 5 years old to travel alone, and they must be accompanied by an older child of 12 years old or more, who is perfectly capable physically and mentally.
- The service is mandatory for children aged 5 to 11 and optional for children aged 12 to 17.
- THAI allows only children aged 8 to 11 to travel as unaccompanied minors in Business Class and First Class.
- The airline will not accept an Unaccompanied Minor who travels with pets.
- If the entire trip includes a transfer, an overnight stop, or a stopover that exceeds a 6 hours period, Thai will not allow an unaccompanied child to travel unless an arrangement at the transfer point is provided for the minor’s assistance.
- The Unaccompanied Minor service assistance is not provided by THAI for children with mental or physical disabilities.
- The Unaccompanied Minor service is not available for any itinerary that includes the transfer between Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang Airport.
- When the minor has to travel with other carriers on the same trip, other regulations may apply, for example, the age limit may be different, as well as other conditions for providing the service. So, please inform yourself about the other carriers’ policies regarding the Unaccompanied Minors service.
- It is important to confirm that the child has all the needed visas and any other formalities which are always needed to travel.
Unaccompanied Minor (UM) Service
Parents can book a ticket for the child who needs to travel alone, indicating that the minor will travel unaccompanied in order to benefit from the correspondent service. They must contact the local THAI office to make the reservation and request a special assistance & handling form for Unaccompanied Minors. Parents must apply for the Unaccompanied Minor Service 72 hours prior to the departure date and time and not after. Parents will be asked to complete some forms, one of which includes very important information referred to the designated persons responsible for the minor on departure and arrival. This has to be signed by the minor’s parents or guardians at the time of booking the ticket and needs to be attached to it.
At the Departure Airport
It is compulsory that before the flight, parents or guardians go to the airport with children who are traveling alone. Also, they must remain there until the flight departs because sometimes, in cases in which flights suffer a delay for any reason, passengers are asked to return to the terminal. The completed forms will need to be presented at the check-in counter before the flight. After the check-in process is finished, the airline ground staff will transfer the minor to a pre-boarding area and, when the flight departs, the child will be looked after during the entire flight.
At the Destination Airport
Upon landing, at the destination airport, the unaccompanied child will be met by the Thai Airways ground staff and will be escorted from the airplane, all the way through the arrival proceedings, until the terminal in order to meet the person designated to pick up the minor. A Thai ground attendant will check that the identity of the person who is waiting for the child corresponds to the information in the minor’s file (provided when applying for the Unaccompanied Minor Service). This is absolutely necessary because Thai Airways considers extremely important the safety and welfare of children traveling alone and, of course, handing over the child to the appropriate person.
For international flights, any Unaccompanied Minor, in order to travel, needs to pay the price of an adult ticket, considering the published fare at the moment of purchase. This means that the discounted child fare ticket cannot be used in this situation. Thai Airways will charge a service fee of USD 60 per each Unaccompanied Minor between 5 and 17 years old, per international flight.
If the parents or guardians of the minor are traveling on the same aircraft but in a different class than the child, the Unaccompanied Minor fee must be applied to this case, as well as all the forms and pre-approval process have to be completed.
For domestic flights in Thailand, THAI will charge 75% of the normal fare (C or Y fares) for any Unaccompanied Minor aged 5 to 11 years. There is no service fee when Unaccompanied Minors are traveling on domestic routes.