Kids Flying Solo: What You Need to Know

First and foremost saying goodbye to your kids hurts no matter how they are leaving, by car, train or a plane. Though letting them fly unaccompanied is a whole different challenge, I admit. It’s not just about them going away for a few days, boarding a plane without you definitely marks a new step towards their independence. And yours. But believe it or not, this is often your best choice of transportation. So, if it’s an option, don’t hesitate to use it. We answer all the questions you might have about kids flying solo, so that you worry less and kids enjoy it more.

20160213_1426031.Why?

Once kids start school there is this thing they have called school holidays. As it turns we working adults don’t have it in abundance. Luckily there are grandparents who are up to spending a few days with our kids. From then on, it’s just logistics of making this exchange work.

After calculating all the costs, it turned out that the cheapest option was to put our eldest daughter on the plane. Well, it would’ve been way cheaper if she could ride the bus, but that would be severely frowned upon to say the least. But even the plane sounded ludicrous to us when we first realized it.

So, I asked her if that was something she’d be willing to do and by her excited and happy cheers, we knew the answer. If your kids have been on the plane before and they’ve enjoyed, then this is a valid option for getting them alone from point A to point B.

It’s often cheaper than you driving them and a whole lot faster for all involved.

 2. When?

Every airline company has specific rules about what they called unaccompanied minors. Most classify it as children aged between 5 and 12 flying alone and entrusted to the carrier’s care. To be sure on the age limit, check the specific airline company, because some allow even younger kids to fly alone.

But you know your kid, he might be five and not be up to going alone. It’s a prerequisite that your child is all for it.

I admit that I was worried, that she’d change her mind at the last moment – when it was time to leave us. It never happened, I just don’t know if I should be happy or a bit upset by it. Because she so eagerly marched away, not even once looking back.

3. How?

You usually can’t buy the ticket on-line, but have to call their sales office. Once at the airport you are also required to pay an unaccompanied minor fee and that also varies from airline to airline. Croatia Airlines charges about 30 Euros. This is almost more expensive than the ticket itself.

Before finally letting them board you have to fill out and sign a special form, which contains all the important contact information.

They put all the needed documents in a little bag and she then carried it around her neck.

4. Now?

We packed a backpack full of snacks and things for her to do on the plane. We also let her pick a magazine at the airport just to make the trip even more special. Then we waited for that dreaded – for me and exciting – for her moment. After repeating all the warnings for umpteenth time, the airport steward came over and it was time to say goodbye.
She was treated like royalty the whole time and was first to board the plane, while the other passengers had to wait. The airlines do go an extra mile for the young ones.
The airline demands you wait until the airplane leaves the runway before leaving, so if anything delays the flight, you are there. But we didn’t need this rule, we weren’t able to leave without knowing she is safely up in the air.
So, we watched in awe and I was both proud and scared. This was a giant step for all of us and a realization that she truly is growing up.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. tina says:

    Wow, how old is she? THey really leave just a 5 year olds on the plane? Mine is 4 and a half and my heart would be broken and i got tears in my eyes just reading you. Having a husband from abroad i know this is waiting for me in nearby future as well, though flying to Amsterdam alone i would feel less relaxed than to Croatia! No, well a mom is never relaxed in this situations, great for you and your little (big!) one!

    1. Inga Batur says:

      Hi Tina, yes kids 5 ages old can fly alone but I think every parent knows their kid best. Some can be ready others aren’t. Ours is six and a half now but she flew with us a couple of times and loved it. So, as soon as I mentioned the possibility she was begging for it, so I did feel pretty confident. But I admit I was a bit worried she’d get scared when it was time to actually leave us. She wasn’t. 🙂

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