At what age can a child fly unaccompanied?

My daughter is about to be 12 and her mother doesn't agree for her fly alone.

I have full cost responsibility for travel with my daughter after my divorce 10 years ago. I have been paying for flights out of state 3 times a year for myself and my daughter for 7 years, 3 yrs I was close enough (5 1/2 hrs one way) to drive. I wish I could see her more, but military life always has me moving to areas that aren’t close enough be entitled to more visits. I normally pay around $2000-$3000 per visitation for tickets for both of us.
My question is, what age is appropriate for my daughter to fly without me? I will gladly drive to whatever airport will do either one trip flights without layovers or do my best if that is not available to make it the easiest flight. I also have no problem paying extra for a flight attendant to keep an eye on her, I think it’s an additional $50 cost per flight and required on most flights while a child is unage to fly alone. I’m also open to her mother flying with her to me and her paying those tickets and me flying back with her on my own dime.
Am I being unreasonable to ask for this? Thank you for all advise.


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. At what age can a child fly unaccompanied?

In 1988 I was only 6 and I was able to fly alone, I was placed next to two other children


I flew since I was 7 unaccompanied with my dad paying the extra. He was military as well. Even flew to England when I was 13.


I was flying alone at 7

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12 is old enough.
You notify them she’s an Unaccompanied Minor. You fill out the paperwork at the check in desk & can stay at the gate until boarding. The flight attendants walk the child on & off the plane. Whomever will be picking up the child can wait at they gate.
My son did it for many yrs starting at age 12. I got him a cheap phone to carry just in case of an emergency. No issues.


I do believe different airlines have different policies on flying alone if you’re a minor. My best advice is to call or look up the airline she would be on policies regarding this.

I wouldn’t let my kid fly alone until 16 atleast…too many crazies these days.


It’s not about the cost . It’s about your daughters maturity .
Personally I wouldn’t be sending a daughter of mine to travel alone until she told me she was ready … plus with the added thing of being at least 16 for my re assurance .


The 1st time I flew at 9 I went unaccompanied minor. It was free then (25 years ago). Shortly after that trip my parents divorced and I ended up flying to my dads 2-3x a year. After I turned 15 I think we stopped, and by then it was $75 to fly a child unaccompanied minor 1 way.

I flew at the age of 12 by myself. They kept a lady that works for the airlines with me for the whole flight

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When I was 12 in the early 2000s I flew alone to my dads. A 2.5 hour flight, which was the equivalent of a 20 hour drive. As an unaccompanied minor a parent was allowed to walk me to the plane, my seat was at front near the flight attendants who watched out for me. It was never a big deal and the airports were super accommodating to me and my family. When I got off the flight an attendant stayed with me until I reached my family. I don’t know what the policies are now in airports but 12 is definitely old enough to fly alone.

We also were ordered to pay cost of travel. We pay extra for unaccompanied minor, she has a chaperone. My stepdaughter started flying with a chaperone at 12. So much cheaper to pay that fee than 2 airfares, hotels etc. You’re not being unreasonable at all.

I think it depends on ur kids rather than a set age… is she responsible, knows who to talk to if she gets lost, not going to run off and look at things when she needs to stay in one spot and wait to be picked up, how busy are the airports she will be going to? I think she will probably be fine tho as they will have someone with her walking her on and off the plane and wait with her till she’s picked up and since she’s done alot of flying by the sound of it she knows what the go is with it.

Not with this kidnappings that’s going on in this world


My son starting flying as an unaccompanied minor at 14 and he was quite immature for his age. So a 12yr old girl in theory should be fine.

My son flew on his own at 7 he had a flight attendant with him at all times

Our daughter was 6 when she started flying unaccompanied minor with Southwest airlines she’s 14 now and there was never a problem! 50.00 each way and the fight attendants are great at taking care of the kiddos!


My son was around 8 years old. Southwest Airlines was wonderful with him!


I was flying at the age of 5 by myself , an unaccompanied minor always had a flight attendant escort on the plane and my dad or my mom depending on who’s house I was going to, were allowed to wait at the gate

Southwest is the only airline you can fly 12 or older without a fee or chaperone

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You should be discussing this with your daughter. Does she feel comfortable flying alone? If not don’t ask her to. If she does then I would consider it. However, I would personally as a mother feel very uncomfortable letting any one of my children fly alone these days. Waiting at airports alone and what if flights were delayed and she had to stay overnight alone. There are just too many factors that I would not feel comfortable with as a mother.


My husband was flying unaccompanied around 8

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I was 9 my brother was 6. We were fine… loved it actually :rofl::woman_shrugging:

Sounds like she’s an experienced traveler already, she should be able to with a flight attendant to keep an eye on her.

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I flew alone at 12 & at 13 I flew with my 7 yr old sister. You just have to know your child’s maturity level.

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My sister just flew her daughter from NC to Bismarck and she is 12… they required her to have a flight rider accompany her on the flight. It was $300 each way. Till she’s 16 she has to do that

My husband is a pilot and flys unaccompanied minors around every day. It’s very acceptable!


I flew alone around 8-9yrs old.

My son flies to see his dad and his dad pays a little extra to have him accompanied by a flight attendant. I’m able to go through security with him and wait until the plane takes off, then his dad is able to meet him at the gate with his ID and collect him there. Works great especially when he has layovers :smiley:


My husband sees a bunch of kids (he works for airport) n I know many friends that do that… Under 4 is a no, your daughter is well past the age that can…
Sounds like mom is being unreasonable actually, and if your offering a compromise your doing everything you can to accommodate…
Here’s age guidelines


My son started at 6 with southwest.

They can’t even keep track of pets underneath the plane. I wouldn’t trust them with a child. Regardless of age :joy:


12 is definitely old enough. You need to sign for her show ID… and the other person also has to sign her to a specific person… usually, stewardess… and that person will stay with her and be responsible for her until she is signed to you.

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My daughter wanted to go see her dad for her 10th bday. We lived in Missouri, and he was working in Dallas at the time (had been there for awhile, and was looking at several more months.)
So, she left Kansas City on Friday, as a 9yr old, and came home on Sunday as a 10yr old.
She loved it. They treated her like she was a famous person, giving her all sorts of attention. She was able to see the cockpit, and got a pair of wings.
One of her favorite birthdays.

Former fight attendant here… you can request unaccompanied minors for certain airlines. Some are as low as 50 per leg, some an extra 300 round trip. I’ve seen kids as young as 6 fly alone. They sit in the back row near the galley for fight attendants to see them. The mom and you will get tickets to go to the gate and wait with her until she boards and the flight attendants will verify who is getting her.


My stepson has been flying by himself since he was 9 or so. We pay $50 each way through southwest and they have someone who stays with him the whole time. It has to be a direct flight.

In this day and age I would be terrified to alone my child to fly alone. To many crazies out there for my liking!!


My daughter was 12 when she started. It’s an additional 100 for an unaccompanied minor fee. A parent is allowed to go to the gate to drop her off to a flight attendant and pick her up from the flight attendant. Very safe. My daughter doesn’t have any issues and every time they have taken good care of her!!

I flew all the time when I was little. Between ages 7 and 12. :person_shrugging: I got little pilot wings, normally met the pilots, they sat all of us kids together we talked about our favorite TV shows or played Gameboy together. The stewardesses were always great and gave us extra attention. A steward/ess always escorted us on and off the plane. Probably some of my fonder memories in childhood

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12 is old
Enough. I wouldn’t stand in the way of OUR kids seeing their father. Super greatful he lives in town and this is a non issue but if something changed I would do my best to help

I’m blown away that so many people let their young children fly alone. I’m not judging, just very suprised. I would have said 15-16 would be a good age for flying alone.
I would be terrified I’d put my baby on a plane and he’d never make it home. This world is so fucking scary

It’s what ever age you and her mom agree on. There is no right age as it depends on comfort levels and the child.

I wouldn’t let my 12 year old fly alone but each parent is different.

It’s 12. We looked into it.
My mom can’t wait for my son to turn 12, so she can fly him to her every

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Here its:
8-11 mandatory unaccompanied service
12-17 optional unaccompanied service

My boys are 10 and 11 and I’d let them fly without me or their dad if it was to go see their dad. I’d let them do it at 8 for their dad. Your ex is being ridiculous she’s 12 not 2 :woman_facepalming:


Southwest you can pay extra for the child to fly with a flight attendant. You walk the child all the way to the gate, and the parent picking the child up gets to wait for the child at the gate also

I’ve flown alone since I was 10. The airlines usually have a set up where a flight attendant will keep an eye on them and check the ID of the person picking her up as listed by you. Also they have special lounges for kids in case she has a layover.

Do you also have to pay child support? So why don’t the mom have to pay for half?

I flew by myself from Tennessee to Texas when I was 11.

Myself, my son both flew from age 6, today age 12 would be good.

My daughter flew home from vacation to visit Gram & Uncle by herself this past summer. She was 13. She flew United, as an “unaccompanied minor”(extra fee). Mom was able to walk her to the gate, she sat by the flight attendants & was walked straight to me after the flight. ALSO, United does not allow unaccompanied minors on flights with layovers, it has to be a direct flight.

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The airlines will help with this.

My children have flown by their self at that age. They have a flight attendant helping them find seats and get off the plane and help them where they need to go.

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Depends if her wings have set in properly and if she can handle the wind current in certain areas :grin:

Sorry :see_no_evil::rofl:
Couldn’t resist!


I flew alone at 12 and it wasn’t even the slightest bit difficult. The flight attendants check on unaccompanied minors at every stop and make sure you get off and on where you’re supposed to.

My daughter is 13 and there is no way I’d let her fly alone. Nope


I and my siblings flew alone all round the globe from the age of 5.


I was like 6 or 7 the first time I flew alone. A flight attendant will stay with her until she finds you.

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My sister and I flew unaccompanied minors since she was about 9/10, I was 6/7.

I flew alone at 12… it was amazing

It may be acceptable legally, but as a woman and a mother I would feel uncomfortable flying by myself. I’d not let a child either.


I’m sorry but I would never agree for my child to get on a plane. I know some might see that as selfish but so much could happen let along something happening on a flight and they have to make a unexpected stop in a different state or city and that child be alone anything could happen or the thought of the plane going down with my child dying alone. Maybe I’m just to much of a overthinker but I have 3 daughters and I just couldn’t imagine. This world is so cruel. I hope yall find something that works best for yall but also for your daughters safety.


In today’s world I would not want her flying alone. Too young with so many bad ppl in this world. However I think it would be ok if mother flew one way and you the next. Maybe even pay 50/50 on tickets…


Most have age I think is 5 to 12 yrs need a flight attendant 13 to 16 its optional 17 up don’t need one only if it especially need child if X give u a problem w this u can go bk court to take it out of her hands

They have people that will fly with them just gotta ask the air port

This day and age never. Maybe you all can share in each way? You fly with her there and she flies with her back? We’ve been doing that for about a decade now.

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Speaking from experience the flight attendants don’t always stay with you until you find family. My first flight by myself I was let off the plane alone and had to find my own way to baggage claim and my mother. If there wasn’t a really nice new mother who I sat next to with her baby the whole flight I would have had a much worse time finding my way to my family.


How reliable is your daughter? Does she follow multi step directions? Does she need constant supervision to complete tasks? You can pay the airline for the unaccompanied minor fee, but stories I’ve heard the kids are on their own. So I would recall buying tickets and checking for the cheapest dates and going with if you can. Or fly mom out and back once.

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Do NOT send a 12 year old to fly alone. Too many things can go wrong, including your child being sexually assaulted by those who are supposed to supervise her. It’s a stupid thing to do.


She’s old enough imo. I’d take it to court if mom won’t agree.

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My daughter was 12 for an hour on a plane alone meeting her grandmother ( before covid) 3 years ago
So they can go to Europe together, she had blast , amazing experience.
It was hard to let her but also she had amazing expectations and that’s what I was hoping for .
I did pay for her to be accompanied .

We just paid for our sons who is 12 to fly the unaccompanied minor way for round trip was 400 dollars

No way. Too dangerous, gambling with your child’s safety.

  • There’s a fee you can pay for unaccompanied minor where they assign someone to her. I’m not sure how it works but I think it’s like $50-$125?? I feel 12 is to young* even for using this service. If something happened and your daughter disappeared- You. Would. Wish. You. Took. The. Flight. With. Her.

I flew alone from the age of 3, 4 times a year. Depending on where you are there are strict rules regarding sign in & out of UM’s, you still can’t trust everyone to follow the rules though.

By 12 I would definitely feel confident, but it’s a very personal choice. Alternatively, the best option is one parent pays each way. My parents agreement was mum paid for tickets to her, dad paid for tickets home. I think that’s a really fair deal.

12 is old enough, and I’m willing to bet that you could take it to court even and make it so mom has to pay for the flights to accompany the child if she is that against it. I flew at 8yrs old with my 6yr old brother without an adult. There is an extra fee for unaccompanied minors to make sure that they have adults checking in on them regularly and helping them get to parents at the gates.

Too many parents here listening to crime podcasts and crippled with fear :laughing:


My 12 year flew by herself this year. She did fine and had a great experience and was taken care of by the flight attendants!

You can walk unaccompanied minors to the gate, leave them with a flight attendant, and pick up party Can also pick them up at the gate. The only time alone is in the plane with a airline attendant. They are fine. I started flying alone at 3-4 years old.


I was flying by myself at 12 the attendants don’t leave you’re side really and once I landed my dad was always right outside of the gate

Ain’t no way in hockey still H-E-L would I allow my 12 year old to fly alone in this day and age. Too much happening in this world to even allow that.

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I was 7 the first time I flew unaccompanied from Bradley International in Hartford Connecticut to SeaTac in Seattle.

When I was 8 one brother was 7 and one was 5 we all flew from California to Alabama by ourselves. I personally wouldn’t do this because I was real freaked out when we flew alone we weren’t all alone we had a couple people watching us they took us to a place to wait one had a McDonald’s in it the other was a room full of video games tvs and stuff like that with other kids waiting too then they took us to the plane and someone else watched us until we got to Alabama. I wouldn’t do it though because people are weird and you never know what will happen!

As long as you’re willing to pay the extra cost for a flight attendant to accompany your daughter, there shouldn’t be a problem with her flying alone at 12.

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No way! 12 is too young!!! Pay someone to watch her the whole flight. Nope nope nope.


I was flying by myself way before age 12. You’re not being unreasonable.

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Get a tile, air tag, galaxy smarttag, etc. Put it in her pocket. Put one on her bag. So you can track her location while in areas where she wouldnt have a parent.

I think 12/13 is about right for that

Legally children 5 and up can fly alone accompanied by a flight attendant

I mean my cousin was about 8 or 9 years old when she started flying by herself, but that was back in the early 2000’s

I’ve seen a lot of kids flying by themselves, ofcourse, its under airline watch.

My son flew to his dad at 8yrs old. It was terrifying for me although I never let him see that! He has now travelled all around Australia and plenty of places overseas. Not all unaccompanied because he’s now 25. They are really taken care of with Qantas and even get to go into the cock pit.

I know alot seem to be worried about flying in this day but honestly, kidnapping and everything was happening before too. we just didn’t have as much means to expose it as we do now.
12 is old enough if she’s responsible and you trust her to not talk to strangers and what to do should she be in danger. if she’s familiar with flying and can find her way around an airport, then I see no hard. even if she wasn’t familiar, having you or her mom fly with her or having a worker walk her to her gate- there are many ways for her to travel safely.


My granddaughter flew by her self but the airline had a chaperone to make she was safe getting on and off and delivered her to us when she came home

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I wouldn’t. I don’t trust it.

I don’t even let my grandchildren walk from their house to mine I would be livid if they had to fly alone somewhere this exploitation of children is crazy in this time. Human trafficking holy geez really !!!

If someone brought her to her gate and someone was waiting for her at the other end and you paid the extra $50 for flight attendant to watch over, I don’t see a problem… I know people who have flown alone since they were 8… I would say 12 is appropriate!

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My daughter was 18 and terrified even then. There are certain credit cards like Alaska airlines visa that have buy one get one free. Our closest family is 4500 miles away so we have gotten pretty savvy on saving money on flights. But some of them are at weird times.

12 is old enough but I think it would be up to your daughter if you and your ex are cool with it. You have to talk to her and make sure she’s 1000000% comfortable with it. As long as someone is RIGHT THERE when she’s boarding the plane and exiting it.

Check with airlines for this. I believe they will charge you the extra for unaccompanied minor until age 14 then on their own, but still can get help if want it, it is not required. But my kids were flying to see grandparents since little. You bring them to gate, an attendant takes them on plane and someone must get them and be released on other end. They are not left alone at gates. They sit in front of the plane so attendants can keep an eye on them. Go to each airline and look at their policy on unaccompanied minor. I usually did jet blue to Florida. They charge $150 till age 14 mandatory