4 Things to Know About Kids Flying Alone, Kids Flying With You

PHOTO: Young solo travelers must pay the regular ticket price plus an unaccompanied minor fee that varies from airline to airline.

The story about the enterprising 9-year-old who managed to get past security and onto to a flight to Vegas without buying a ticket got me to thinking about kids on planes, especially since I've been flying with one for the past 13 years.

My daughter and I have flown a lot of miles together ever since she was an infant and she's got the elite status to prove it.

But if this is your first trip with a child, or maybe you're sending your kid off on a solo flight, you've probably got some questions. I've got some answers.

For more travel news and insights view Rick's blog at farecompare.com

1. Children Flying Alone

How young is too young for kids to fly on their own? Only you, the parent, knows the answer to that but a lot depends on your child's maturity level, independence and simple common sense. If you ask the airlines, many say 5-year-olds are okay to travel solo and that includes American Airlines. But US Airways allows a child as young as 2 to travel as an "unaccompanied" minor if this very little one is traveling with someone who's at least 15. Yes, rules vary from airline to airline.

Don't forget: Young solo travelers must pay the regular ticket price plus an unaccompanied minor fee and that also varies from airline to airline. Southwest, for example, charges $50 each way. JetBlue charges $100 each way. The fee at United is $150 each way.

By the way, many airlines drop unaccompanied minor fees for kids once they hit age 12 although Delta puts the cut-off at 14. On the other hand, Allegiant won't accept unaccompanied minors at all (but at age 14, a child can travel on Allegiant as an adult). What's the rationale for 12 or 14 being the "age of reason"? No one seems to know for sure.

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