Sunday, July 19, 2009

Are Your Kids Traveling Alone This Summer?

There are many kids who fly alone during the summer. And to get from one destination to another, everything must be organized and hopefully you have a contingency plan in place if something doesn't go according to schedule. That's why it's cool that Cheapflights.com has a Free “Parents Guide to Kids Flying Solo”, which provides valuable information for parents who have kids flying solo.

And things can go wrong. Just last month two girls were sent on wrong flights - one was 10 and the other was 8. The 10-year-old Boston girl was accidentally sent on a flight to Newark instead of Cleveland, and the 8-year-old-girl heading from Texas to Charlotte, N.C. ended up in Fayetteville, Ark. And no only do you have to worry about wrong flights, but there is also interaction with strangers, eating, helping anxiety and more.

Plus, now thanks to airline security, often only ticketed children are allowed past security, creating more questions than answers for parents with children flying alone this summer. The “Parents Guide to Kids Flying Solo” from travel experts at Cheapflights.com have an easy-reference chart including 12 major airlines and policies for unaccompanied minors including age restrictions, escort services and flight time limitations to help answer many of those questions.

This new guide highlights a bevy of tips including what to pack, do’s and don’ts before the flight and at the airport, as well as a chart highlighting specifics for each airline: age limitations, associated fees and important restrictions.

In addition to each airline’s specific rules and restrictions, topics to keep in mind include:

What to pack

· Cell phone: If your child doesn’t have one, consider a pay-as-you-go phone so they have an easy form of communication for emergencies and check-ins. Make sure your child knows how to place a collect call and provide a calling card as a backup.

· Entertainment. Make or buy a travel pack to keep them entertained while in flight. Include things such as coloring books, crayons, books, Play-Doh, handheld video games, etc.

· Photographs and medication: Provide a picture of the person(s) your child will be meeting at the arrival airport, and write out the person’s complete contact information on the back. Also, make sure your child has all medications they need and are comfortable taking it themselves.


Do’s and Don’ts

Before the flight:

· Educate yourself. Before making a reservation, contact your preferred carrier for specific information regarding children traveling alone.

· Be smart. Make sure your child doesn’t wear clothing that has their name on it, making it easier for a stranger to convince them that they can be trusted.


At the airport:

· Arrive early. Unaccompanied minors are usually pre-boarded, so airlines recommend allowing at least 90 minutes to check in and clear security. A relaxed pace will also be less stressful for your child.

· Speak up. Make sure flight attendants know that your child is traveling alone. Confirm that he or she will be seated in an area that’s convenient for them to keep an eye out; the very front or very back of the aircraft is ideal.


You can visit www.cheapflights.com to download or print a complete copy of the “Parent’s Guide to Kids Flying Solo.”


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