Children who fly alone need to know what to expect of their journey and may regard the ENTIRE TRIP as an adventure that can be both stressful as well as worrying. Therefore, they need to be explained a few essential facts about AIR TRAVEL and should also know how to behave when they come across other passengers or members of the airline staff. You may use the following tips to get your kid ready for his or her future journey by plane.
- Depending on your traveling needs, you should consider the following alternatives when booking your ticket: a nonstop flight (a direct or ‘through’ flight, an online connection or an interline connection). The majority of the airlines do not permit children under 8 to travel by connecting flights when they are UM. You need to check with the airline before deciding which way to use.
- Ask the carrier if they use an “electronic ticketing” service. This means that there is no paper ticket involved so there are less chances to have the ticket lost of forgotten. The electronic records are stored in an electronic ticket database and a confirmation code is issued instead of a paper ticket. For example, American Airlines allows children traveling under the Unaccompanied Minor program to use electronic ticketing.
- Make sure you verify all the times, dates and locations recorded on your child’s ticket. Also, do not forget to check whether your kid’s name is written correctly. Furthermore, ask the carrier if they can give you a “gate pass” in order to be able to accompany your kid through security to the departure gate. For instance, US Airways points out that parents or guardians may be issued gate access passes at the ticket counter so that they accompany the child to the departure gate. This applies only to domestic U.S. Cities. Nevertheless, you need to arrive early in this case. Moreover, you’ll also have to stay in the gate area until the child’s flight has departed. American Airlines call it a boarding pass and it may be obtained from the airport ticket counter.
- If your child is travelling alone for the first time, than you may consider taking a pre-trip to the airport to accustom your child with the airport environment. Furthermore, you may also introduce your kid to the personnel at the ticket counter and the departure gate. If you child will understand the whole process of getting aboard a plane, the journey will be less harrowing.
- Do not forget to teach your child how to behave and express own ideas before unknown people. If they know how to express themselves, they’ll have more courage to ask for help with the way to the toilet, for example. However, encourage your kid to ask for assistance from an airline representative rather than a complete stranger.
- Keep their hand baggage to a minimum. Have everything well organized. It would be better to ask your kid to help you with the packing of the carry-on so that he knows where are his or her things. You should also make sure to place and identification tag on the bag. You may also consider the fact that kids feel more COMFORTABLE when they have a familiar object with them such as a favorite teddy or an activity pad. Do not forget to pack whichever favorite pastime your kid has. You may pack things such as books, magazines, interactive toys and crayons, stuffed toys, etc. Remote-control toys may not be allowed as they may interfere with the plane systems. In all cases, remember to check you kid’s bag before leaving home. Toy guns are not allowed on the plane and need to be left at home. Also tell your child to pay attention to the flight attendant or pilot as they may make an announcement requesting that all electronic devices need to be turned off for takeoff and landing and that he or she should behave as asked.
- You may also put a succinct medical history as well as a copy of you kid’s complete itinerary. Write your phone numbers alongside with the phone numbers of the person meeting the flight on this itinerary. Tell the airline representative of where such information can be found as it is of great assistance in case of an emergency.
- You can also pack at least one calling card as well as some money that you kid may use to buy snacks or drinks on board a flight, during the waiting time between connections or .in case the flight is delayed. Some airline charge for the headset if there is a film on the flight. If you child is on flights that offer food for purchase, than he or she will receive one complimentary food item. When you choose to pack some snack do avoid packing those that consist of gels or liquids in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces because these fall under the restrictions imposed by TSA.
- Finally, use SeatMaestro to get information referring to airplane seating, in-flight amenities, as well as airlines. You need to be well informed especially when your child is traveling alone.