At what age can a child travel alone by plane?

Do you dream of sending your child to explore new lands alone, but you wonder at what age this is possible by plane? This is a legitimate question that we will answer together to allow you to calmly consider this important stage in your child’s life. Let’s discover together the rules and recommendations to follow for a safe plane trip!

What is the minimum age to travel alone?

The children of 4 years has 12 years can travel alone by plane, provided they use the airline escort service. This service ensures that the child is taken care of from check-in until arrival at the destination, where they are handed over to the person previously designated.

However, it is important to note that some airlines allow children under 4 years old or over 12 years old, sometimes up to 18 years old, to travel alone with an accompaniment.

Which airlines offer escort services?

Most traditional airlines offer this escort service, often free of charge or as an option depending on the age of the child and the route. For example, Air France offers the service Kids Solo for children from 4 to 17 years old on domestic flights and from 5 to 17 years old on international flights. During the flight, the child sits in a dedicated area close to the cabin crew.

Support services for low-cost companies

On the other hand, traveling with a low-cost airline can be more complicated. Here are some examples :

  • At easyJet, children aged 15 or under must be accompanied.
  • At Vueling and Ryanair, the minimum age for traveling alone is 16 years old.
  • Volotea allows children to travel alone from 12 years old.
  • Transavia is an exception among low-cost airlines, offering an accompaniment service for children.

Documents needed to travel alone

Minors traveling alone in the European Union or abroad must have a authorization to leave the territory (AST) in addition to their identity document. This document, reinstated in 2017, is essential for boarding, whatever the reason for the trip.

Please note that AST is not necessary for overseas destinations, unless the flight includes a stopover in a foreign country.

How does the support service work?

The accompaniment service offers complete care for the child during the trip. Here are the main steps:

  • Check-in: The child is taken care of upon check-in at the airport by company staff.
  • Boarding: The child is accompanied until boarding and taken care of by the on-board crew.
  • Flight: During the flight, the child is seated in an area dedicated to minors traveling alone.
  • Arrival: On arrival, the child is handed over to the person previously designated.

This system is similar to the service Junior & Co. of the SNCF for train travel.

Tips for parents

Before letting your child travel alone, here are some tips:

  • Check the specific rules of your chosen airline.
  • Make sure your child is comfortable with the idea of ​​traveling alone.
  • Prepare all necessary documents, including AST and ID.
  • Inform your child about what the trip will be like and who will help them along the way.

Allowing your child to travel alone can be a source of stress for parents, but with the right airline support services and adequate preparation, the trip can go ahead safely. Make sure you understand the rules and services offered so that your child can enjoy their adventure with complete peace of mind.