FAQs 2018-06-09T10:37:42+00:00

Things You Should Know

We have put together some useful guides of both frequently asked questions and essential information you should know regarding our services. If you have any questions please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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As a general guide you should aim to arrive at your terminal:

  • Long-haul Flights : three hours before scheduled departure
  • UK and European flights: two hours before scheduled departure.

Even if you have already checked in online you should still allow plenty of time.

Arriving Early?

Airport Angels are always willing to provide Chaperone care at the airport for any young people that have to be bought in a lot earlier than their flight check-in or for any reason have to wait for transport after their arrival. As per our rates, this is charged at an hourly rate over and above the 2 hours (Landside) and 3 Hours (Airside) which is inclusive in our Meet / Check-In rates.

It is however very important that we are advised in advance of the requirement for this service. Our staff are often not available if drivers call them outside the 2 hour window they are booked for. We require an estimated Drop-Off time and this is the time that our staff member will be available to meet with the passenger/s. We will of course always try to accommodate early arrivals but cannot confirm that we can especially in our busy summer months.

Running Late?

If you are running late, please keep in touch with our office or your Airport Angel.

The cut-off time for Check-In varies between 45 minutes and an hour. These are the times that you are required to be checked in by.

British Airways has increased the minimum check-in time for long-haul travellers from 45 minutes to one hour.

Boarding passes include a bar code in which the passenger’s flight details are embedded, including the gate and terminal. Instead of being read by airport staff, the pass is scanned by an automatic gate.  If the passenger turns up less than 30 minutes before departure — the cut-off time set by airlines to reach the gate — the traveller is sent back to the check-in desk. It is not something that we have any power over.

  • Make sure that you have a copy of your child’s travel itinerary. This should include dates, airline, flight numbers, departure and arrival times and booking reference numbers.
  • It is important that children under the age of 16 carry documentary evidence of the school they are attending in the UK and details of the person that is meeting them at arrivals. This is best carried in the format of a CONSENT TO  TRAVEL LETTER  (Download here).Often this information is requested at immigration and if there is no evidence of someone meeting them at the airport they will keep them there whilst phone calls are made to clarify there is someone there for them. If Airport Angels are meeting them just ensure they have our Emergency Phone number so immigration can quickly confirm with us.

    Certain countries and airlines require children travelling without either parents or a legal guardian to have a letter of consent. Some countries require this letter to be notarised, to guarantee the authenticity of the document (please check prior to your child travelling). British Airways have now made it mandatory that all children under the age of 16 travelling alone carry a consent form completed by their parent/guardian. http://www.britishairways.com/cms/global/pdfs/young-flyer-consent-form.pdf

  • It is important that your child carries documentary evidence of the school they are attending in the UK and details of the person that is meeting them at arrivals. Often this information is requested at immigration and if there is no evidence of someone meeting them at the airport they will keep them there whilst phone calls are made to clarify there is someone there for them. If Airport Angels are meeting them just ensure they have our Emergency Phone number so immigration can quickly confirm with us.
  • Certain countries require children travelling without either parents or a legal guardian to have a letter of consent. This letter should include; the dates of travel and return, where the child will be travelling to, where the child will be staying or the school they attend and who will be collecting / meeting the child at the airport. You should also note if your child has any specific medical needs or allergies. By having your travel permission letter notarised, you are guaranteeing the authenticity of the document. It is recommended that you have your form notarised, especially if the minor child will be travelling internationally.
  • Mobile phones should be fully charged before they depart and maybe a ‘power bank’ in case their battery runs out. It’s a good idea to ensure that your home, work and mobile numbers are in your child’s phone plus the number of whomever is meeting them at the airport.
  • Keep hand luggage to a minimum!!
  • Remember a small amount of cash for drinks and snacks on their journey or in case of delays. If flights are delayed Airport Angels are happy to take them for something to eat or drink and it helps pass the time.
  • If your child is travelling as an Unaccompanied Minor with the airline they must keep their UM identity pass round their neck – even if this isn’t cool!! Once your child has been handed over to the airline staff, the person responsible for them at check-in must remain in the airport until the child’s flight is actually in the air. If there are any issues that bring the plane back to the gate, the person named on the form at Check-In must be there to collect them should your child be required to disembark. If Airport Angels are part of the departure process our staff always remain in the airport until the child’s flight is airborne. If a taxi driver is dropping your child and checking them in please check that they will remain in the airport.
  • If your child suffers from any medical conditions we must be advised at the time of booking. Airport Angels are unable to administer medication.
  • If your child is being met at the airport by a family member or friend identification or advance notification must be provided to Airport Angels. We will not release any child without this.
  • When in the care of Airport Angels, children are monitored and cared for continuously throughout their time at the airport. They will be accompanied at all times and we will happily assist them with any purchases they may need to make or accompany them for food or drink, please just let us know.

All you need to know about Unaccompanied Minors

This article is intended as general information only. We strongly recommend that you contact the airline that the Unaccompanied Minor will travel with for clarification on their terms and conditions. Different airlines have different rules and these are often updated.

What can Airport Angels offer?

Airport Angels can provide Unaccompanied Minor Check-In services and Meet & Greet services for UM’s, our staff members are conversant with the paperwork and procedures required by the airlines.

Airport Angels Landside UM Check-In Service : This service includes meeting children from their transport on arrival to a UK airport, assisting them with the check-in procedure and caring for them until they hand them over to the airline staff at which point the Airport Angel will remain in the airport until the flight has departed.

Airport Angels Landside UM Meet & Greet Service: For young ones arriving into the UK, our Airport Angel will be waiting for them at Arrivals and will carry out the handover from the airline staff. They would then be chaperoned to their onward transport or taken to the school bus meet point where we will remain with them until their departure.

On booking our Meet & Greet service for UM’s the Airport Angels office will provide the name and contact details of the Airport Angel that will be meeting them so that this can be passed to the airline who require these details at the time of booking the service.

 

What is an unaccompanied minor?

An ‘unaccompanied minor’, commonly known as ‘UM’ is a child who is travelling alone without a parent, guardian or responsible adult. The term is frequently used in airline policies. Unfortunately, there is not a single clear definition or age that is agreed upon by all airlines so it can be confusing as each airline has its own set of rules.

Can an Unaccompanied Minor travel alone on an aircraft?

It depends on the specific airline rules.  Some airlines do not allow minors to travel without an adult; other airlines allow them to travel only if they purchase the airlines Unaccompanied Minor Service, some airlines do allow unrestricted travel between certain ages.

Airline Unaccompanied Minor Services

Unaccompanied Minor Service is a special service which airlines provide for unaccompanied minors.  This service is commonly abbreviated to ‘UMNR or UM’.

Booking UM Services: The person who requests the unaccompanied minor service (typically the parent or guardian) will need to complete and sign a UM booking form. This requires naming the responsible adult who will deliver the child to the airline staff on departure and also naming the adult who will collect the child at their arrival destination.  It is essential that this information is accurate and the adults have official ID to show the airline staff. The airline staff may refuse to allow the child on the flight or release the child into the care of the adult on arrival at their destination if they do not have acceptable ID.

Departure:  Airline staff will collect the UM from the check-in desk usually around an hour to forty five minutes prior to flight departure, escort the minor through security and immigration, take them to the gate, and ensure they board the flight.

Transit Connections:  If the flight includes a connection, airline staff will escort the minor throughout the connection period. The airline staff will collect the minor from their flight, stay with them throughout the stop-over, take them to the gate of the connecting flight and ensure that the minor boards the plane. If a minor misses a connection, the escort will assist with ensuring they are booked on an alternative connection.

Arrival:  When the minor reaches their destination airport, the responsible adult named in the UM booking form will need to show formal identification before the airline staff release the minor into their care. The person who collects the minor must have ID to prove who they are, and this must be the identical to the named person on the original UM booking form.

Is the UM Service compulsory?

It depends on the airline’s rules. Most airlines have specific rules about unaccompanied minors. The UM service is compulsory for certain ages but the compulsory age is different for each airline. There is often also an optional UM service available for children who are older and the age for this also varies.

Important things to think about when travelling as a UM

  • Some minors may require extra documentation when travelling as an unaccompanied minor. For example, passengers with Russian nationality are sometimes required to have a notarized statement in Russian from both parents confirming that they consent to the child leaving the country unaccompanied. Check with your airline if this is necessary when you book your plane ticket and make your UM booking.
  • Certain countries require children travelling without either parents or a legal guardian to have a letter of consent. This letter should include; the dates of travel and return, where the child will be travelling to, where the child will be staying or the school they attend and who will be collecting / meeting the child at the airport. You should also note if your child has any specific medical needs or allergies. By having your travel permission letter notarised, you are guaranteeing the authenticity of the document. It is recommended that you have your form notarised, especially if the minor child will be travelling internationally.

Passengers require assistance navigating between terminals at Heathrow for various reasons; this can be to meet with other groups, children meeting with school staff or to join a taxi or coach transfer.

The other main reason is for connecting flights, if baggage is not checked through. It’s not always practical or even possible to book all connecting flights under a single reservation, with many travellers arriving at the airport with two or more separate bookings and hoping their bag will reappear at their final destination. It’s often not that simple, many airlines may only check you and your luggage as far as your first ticket takes you, even if your connecting flight is on a common alliance partner, such as of Oneworld, Star Alliance or SkyTeam. If your baggage is not checked through you are then required to clear immigration, collect your luggage and go Landside to Check-In for your onward flight. It is advised that you confirm this at the check-in desk prior to your departure. Also check your luggage tags to verify that the code is present for your final destination.

For whatever reason you are required to transfer between terminals at Heathrow, please use the following as a guideline for the minimum time required to make this transition Landside, also taking into consideration the time required for clearing immigration and time spent at baggage reclaim.

From Terminal 2 (T2)
To Average Time Required to Transit
T3 10 minutes to walk (Heathrow Express not available)
T4 30 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)
T5 30 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)
From Terminal 3 (T3)
To Average Time Required to Transit
T2 10 minutes to walk (Heathrow Express not available)
T4 20 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)
T5 20 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)
From Terminal 4 (T4)
To Average Time Required to Transit
T2 30 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)
T3 20 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)
T5 40 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)
From Terminal 5 (T5)
To Average Time Required to Transit
T2 30 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)
T3 20 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)
T4 40 minutes (4 Heathrow Express trains per hour)

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Security, Local Laws, Passport & Visa Info
www.travelaware.campaign.gov.uk

Current travel Health News
www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

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