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Travel Safety
1. When you make reservations for your child, state that the child will be flying alone. Whenever possible, request a non-stop or direct flight. Avoid booking the last flight of the day because cancellation of such a flight may result in overnight delays. Ask for a written copy of the airline’s policies and procedures for children traveling alone, and review them with your child.

2. When booking your child’s flight, inquire about children’s meals to help ensure that your child will enjoy the food. Also, be sure to pack a healthy, “non-messy” snack for the trip. Try to reserve a bulkhead seat, so that your child may relax and airline personnel can more easily check on him or her.

3. As with any new experience, “practice makes perfect.” Thus, plan to visit the airport prior to your child’s flight. Take a tour of the gate area, introduce your child to some of the people working for the airline, and explain the basics of the flying experience. Let your child know what to expect, so that the experience will not be so daunting. Instruct your child to follow all of the cabin procedures and rules as explained by the flight attendant for his or her comfort and safety.

4. On the day of the flight, at a minimum, follow the airline’s suggested time of arrival prior to the flight’s departure. And, with the advent of additional security procedures and nature of travel with a child, you may want to arrive even earlier. Be sure to allow enough time to fill out the mandatory paperwork, pre-board your child on the plane, and ensure that your child is settled prior to general boarding. Remain at the gate until the plane takes off. Should the flight be delayed, your child will be much more comfortable in the waiting area with you than sitting on board the plane. And if the flight is canceled or redirected, you will want to be there to make alternative arrangements.

5. The airlines will not allow your child to fly if the weather is questionable because the flight may be diverted or a connecting flight canceled. Also, remember how uncomfortable and unnerved you can feel when flying in rough weather or when there is turbulence. Thus, try to avoid these flying conditions for your child. 

6. Parents must provide home and work telephone numbers, addresses, and identification. Make certain that you have a back-up plan for the person(s) meeting the plane at the final destination, in case they are delayed. Alert them that the airline will require photo identification prior to releasing the child. Make certain that your child knows the person he or she is flying to meet, so that an unfamiliar person does not meet him or her. 

7. Some airlines provide special supervised waiting rooms for unaccompanied children when waiting for connecting flights. See if the airline you choose has such an area.

8. Dress your child comfortably in layered clothing, so that he or she may adjust to various cabin temperatures. A change of clothing is a good idea as well. Give your child some spending money, including coins, in case of emergency.

9. Your child should have a carry-on piece of luggage or backpack to hold essentials such as identification, medications, reading materials, and games. Children may use hand-held video games when instructed by airline personnel that it is safe to do so and if the game is not noisy or intrusive to other passengers. Remote control toys are not permitted, as they may interfere with the plane’s electronic equipment. Your child’s photo identification and medications should be put in an envelope for safekeeping inside the carry-on luggage or backpack.

10. Basic safety rules that apply while flying include advising your child to:
 
  • Never to leave the gate area with someone he or she doesn’t know or without the supervision of assigned airline staff.
  • Not to become too friendly with other passengers because these are people the child doesn’t know. As in any social situation, it’s okay for your child to be polite but restrained. Caution your child not to reveal any personal information about him- or herself to other passengers.
  • That flight attendants are the “helping adults” to seek out when needing assistance with making restroom visits, getting answers to questions, feeling uncomfortable, or becoming confused by anything or anyone. Be sure that your child knows the flight attendant is the adult on board who can help him or her, knows how to ask for help using the call button, and feels comfortable in asking for assistance.