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.