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Children alone on board

18.12.2018

Flying alone as a child? This is often the only option if mum, dad or important caregivers live far away. Many airlines even make it possible for small children to fly alone by providing special care. You will find everything you need to know in this article as well as information on how to prepare yourself and your child well for the flight.

From what age are children allowed to fly alone?

Individual airlines have different regulations as to the age at which children may travel alone. Most airlines allow children aged twelve and over to fly unaccompanied. Five- to eleven-year-olds may only travel alone if they use the fee-based care service provided by the respective airline. Some airlines (e.g. Lufthansa, British Airways) offer such care up to the age of 17 if this is requested by the parents or children. However, not all airlines, including many low-cost airlines, offer a special service where a member of staff accompanies the child. If there is no special service, children may actually only board the aircraft from the age of 14 (e.g. easyJet) or 16 (e.g. Ryanair).

What does the support service do?

Alleinreisende Kinder

Please check with your airline in advance about the support service, as there are different regulations here as well. Essentially, the care service is responsible for the children before take-off, during the flight and after landing. Before departing, your child is usually handed over to the airline before security. Upon arrival, unaccompanied children are handed over by the crew to local airport staff, who then accompany them to meet the people who are collecting them. The people collecting the children have to prove their identity with their identity card.

How do you book the flight?

Some airlines do not allow tickets for children travelling alone to be booked online. If this is the case, you can book via the travel agency or the airline's Service Center or at the ticket counter. You must check in your child yourself before departure.

Checklist: important travel documents

These documents should be carried by children travelling alone during the flight - preferably well packed in a neck pouch:

  • Boarding pass
  • Booking confirmation
  • Special service form
  • Valid passport/children’s identity card
  • Visa for the destination country (if necessary)
  • Travel insurance certificate (if necessary)
  • Allergy pass/vaccination card (if necessary)
  • Receipt for the special service fee
  • Declaration of consent from the parent or guardian
  • Contact details of the family

What belongs in the child’s hand luggage?

It is best to pack the child’s luggage for the hold and their hand luggage with them. The child should carry their own hand luggage. It is important to observe the dimensions specified by the airline. Please pack warm clothing (for if it gets cold in the plane), snacks, some pocket money, a familiar toy and, if necessary, your child's mobile phone or tablet in their hand luggage. If your child has to take medication, it is advisable to provide a medical certificate in addition to the medication.

Have a good flight!

Good preparation helps so that your child knows what to expect during their journey. Children should also know what they can and cannot do at the airport and on the plane. It is best to go through all the stages of the flight with your child well in advance.

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