Traveling under the age of 15

Travelers under the age of 15 are typically required to enroll in an “Unaccompanied Minor” service. The rules and regulations of these services vary greatly from one airline to another, so it is important to check the airline’s website before booking airfare. Understanding how this service works and how to set it up will help to make your teen’s travel experience run smoothly. For many younger teens, this may be their first solo travel experience, so TFT absolutely wants it to be an amazing one!

If you are required to fly your child as an unaccompanied minor, please contact TFT ahead of time so that we can work with you to ensure we have the staff to handle the added responsibilities at the respective inbound and outbound airports. Whenever a student travels as an unaccompanied minor, we usually need to bring additional staff to the airport to handle the added responsibilities. If we have to pay for an additional staff member to go to the airport, these costs will be billed to the parent.

What does it mean to travel as an Unaccompanied Minor with an airline?

Traveling as a “UM” with an airline means that the airline will personally monitor a minor throughout the duration of a flight.

It also means that a designated adult must remain in the airport until the flight is in the air, and then once they land at their destination a designated adult must sign for their release.

All airlines have their own unique rules and requirements for the Unaccompanied Minor service.  TFT works hard to stay informed, but airlines can change these policies at anytime.  We always recommend going to the airline in question directly for their requirements and restrictions.

What are parents responsible for?

Once an airline ticket is purchased through TFT where a UM service is required or will be used, a parent or guardian will need to contact the airline to formally arrange this service.

Although this service can be set up at the airport on the travel day, we strongly recommend doing it a week in advance.  This will help prevent travel stress for both you and your teen.

Most airlines will charge a fee ranging from $150 – $300 for this service.

TFT cannot set up this service since we do not have legal custody over your child, but we will be happy to help in anyway we can.

What can I expect from TFT?

The specific TFT staff person meeting your child may not be finalized until one week before their flight. We appreciate your patience and will provide their required contact information once it is finalized.

At the time you book your child as an unaccompanied minor, we may be able to give you the name of the designated adult we expect to be in charge on that day but please know that name could change. You can typically update the designated adult details with the airline right up until check in. However, changing this person after the flight has taken off is very difficult.

Once the service is set up with the airline, you can expect TFT staff to do their part in meeting and/or escorting your child through the airport.

We are always happy to answer questions about this service, how to make the arrangements and what to expect when you get to the airport.

Opting in to travel as an Unaccompanied Minor (ages 15-17)

Travelers age 15 to 17 are not required to use the Unaccompanied Minor service with any of the airlines we use, however they typically have the ability to opt in to the service voluntarily. You may choose to use the service for a first-time or less confident traveler for your own peace of mind. As always, TFT is happy to help you understand the process!

Once you decide to opt in, you are beholden to the rules and regulations of the airline. The details of these services vary greatly from one airline to another, so it is important to check the airline’s website before booking any airfare.

Please also contact TFT ahead of time so that we can work with you to ensure we have the staff to handle the added responsibilities at the respective inbound and outbound airports. Whenever a student travels as an unaccompanied minor, we usually need to bring additional staff to the airport to handle the added responsibilities. If we need to pay for an additional staff member to go to the airport, these costs will be billed to the parent.

Understanding how this service works and how to set it up will help to make your teen’s travel experience run smoothly. For many teens, this could be their first solo travel experience, so TFT absolutely wants it to be an amazing one!

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