Sending your child on a flight for the first time, alone, can be a nerve-wracking experience. There are many things to keep in mind when preparing a child for a solo flight. The age of the child must be taken into consideration as well as their level of maturity. Seating arrangements for children flying alone, pick-up at the airport and behavior all need to be discussed.
1. If possible, book a direct flight for your child as connecting flights can prove to be a problem. Use the following safety checklist before sending your child on their first solo flight.
2. Consider your child’s age and maturity. Children may be more mature for their age at certain levels, but flying alone is a major responsibility. Your child needs to be able to handle social situations, being around strange people and being able to follow detailed instructions before you allow them to take a solo flight.
3. Direct flights are the best option. Connecting flights can lead to disaster, especially if your child misses the connecting flight due to a delay in the air or not being mature enough to know where to go and how to find the next flight. If a connecting flight cannot be avoided, be sure to give your child specific instructions and enlist the help of the airport staff in getting your child to the right flight.
4. Escort your child to the airport gate and stay with them before they board and hang around the airport until the flight departs. You never know when there will be a last-minute cancellation due to weather or mechanical failures. Being at the airport will also instill a sense of security in your child, knowing that someone is there to guide them.
5. In addition, see your child to their seat and speak with the flight attendant personally. Many airports are especially accommodating to the guardians of children flying alone.
6. Make sure you review the airport and airlines policies. This is a very important safety tip. Many airlines have an age limit imposed on children who fly alone. Be sure your child is old enough before booking the flight.
7. Make a point to discuss appropriate behavior with your child. Certain activities or actions can get your child kicked off the plane and oftentimes without immediate parental notice. Children should be old enough to understand what appropriate behavior on a plane is.
Making the decision to send your child on a flight by themselves can be a bit difficult. Sometimes, however, it is the only option. In order to keep your child safe while they are flying alone, follow the above safety tips.
Make sure your child is old enough, according to airport/airline policy to fly solo. Discuss appropriate behavior and be there to guide your child through the entire process. If you follow the safety tips above, you will have no reason to fret when it comes to your child flying alone.