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12 year flying alone - how much ID?


bktx1

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My son is flying alone. Since he is going on Air Tran, he can go without all the unaccompanied minor stuff (and without the charge!), and he is an experienced flyer, so his trip is not a concern. He doesn't have a government ID because he doesn't drive. He does have a passport, but he is 12 and I'd rather not have him take his passport - he has a hard enough time keeping up with his ipod. Anyone have experience with this issue in flying a young teenager? I read the TSA webpage, and it offered no guidance.

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My son is flying alone. Since he is going on Air Tran, he can go without all the unaccompanied minor stuff (and without the charge!), and he is an experienced flyer, so his trip is not a concern. He doesn't have a government ID because he doesn't drive. He does have a passport, but he is 12 and I'd rather not have him take his passport - he has a hard enough time keeping up with his ipod. Anyone have experience with this issue in flying a young teenager? I read the TSA webpage, and it offered no guidance.

 

 

Make him take the passport. ;)

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My son is flying alone. Since he is going on Air Tran, he can go without all the unaccompanied minor stuff (and without the charge!), and he is an experienced flyer, so his trip is not a concern. He doesn't have a government ID because he doesn't drive. He does have a passport, but he is 12 and I'd rather not have him take his passport - he has a hard enough time keeping up with his ipod. Anyone have experience with this issue in flying a young teenager? I read the TSA webpage, and it offered no guidance.

 

I don't think I understand. You are suggesting that your son fly alone on an airplane without ID? IF you don't want him to travel with his passport (I am thinking that he is going domestic) go to your local Motor Vehicle Departmant and get your son an official ID. Our grandson flies with us and he has his id with picture and all. And yes the airlines will check his id. (And they may also ask the child questions about his ID.) What I don't understand is why your son is flying alone. Is he maybe catching up with you on a cruise? :confused: If he has trouble keeping up with his IPod I would be more than nervious with him flying alone. I am hoping he doesn't need to change planes. Anyway good luck to you and him.

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Children fly alone all the time. This isnt something new. The airlines (sometimes at cost) will allow the childs parents to escort him to the gate and make sure he gets on the plane. If the child has to change planes an airline employee will take him off his original plane and make sure he gets onto his connecting flight.

 

Reasons vary as to why a child flies alone. Sometimes the parents are divorced and the child wants to visit his mom or dad in another state. Or grandma wants to spend time with the grand children and will buy them tickets to come visit in Florida. Frankly its none of anyones business why but there is nothing wrong with it.

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I knew this post would head into the direction of the "Why's" and personal opinions of a minor child travelling alone.

 

Come on folks... stick to the topic and the question of the OP rather than question why this child is travelling alone, much less giving your personal opinions of a child traveling alone !

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Here's my experience of my son and my stepdaughter who both frequently fly alone - NOT as an unaccompanied minor, which is a different story.

 

Your minor child, at this age, needs no id whatsoever and can go through security by himself. Don't send him with his passport! Sometimes, younger kids have a school id and like to use this. That's fine, but a 12 year old doesn't need it. However, it's easier if you walk through the security line with him and show your id and let him go through after his ticket is stamped by TSA. You can then tell him goodbye and get out of line while he goes to the gate himself.

 

Something I often do, is just go up to the ticket counter and ask for a gate pass. I say I am taking a child to the gate. It's easy and I've never been refused one. Usually, you don't get this in the regular ticket line; ask before you wait in the wrong line! Gate passes are FREE. The other poster is incorrect about a fee for this.

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Here's my experience of my son and my stepdaughter who both frequently fly alone - NOT as an unaccompanied minor, which is a different story.

 

Your minor child, at this age, needs no id whatsoever and can go through security by himself. Don't send him with his passport! Sometimes, younger kids have a school id and like to use this. That's fine, but a 12 year old doesn't need it. However, it's easier if you walk through the security line with him and show your id and let him go through after his ticket is stamped by TSA. You can then tell him goodbye and get out of line while he goes to the gate himself.

 

Something I often do, is just go up to the ticket counter and ask for a gate pass. I say I am taking a child to the gate. It's easy and I've never been refused one. Usually, you don't get this in the regular ticket line; ask before you wait in the wrong line! Gate passes are FREE. The other poster is incorrect about a fee for this.

 

Some airlines do charge to have an airline employee take care of your child and escort him/her around.

 

There is no fee for you to take your child through security. Maybe I wasnt clear about that sorry. I re read what I wrote and should have seperated my thoughts. My apologies.

 

As far as your son taking his passport with him, I would say yes do it. If something happens its might be easier to identify him and contact you in the event of an emergency.

 

Personally I would also take my kid through security and make sure he actually gets on the plane. If you walk him to security and leave him on his own there could be trouble. What if there is a gate change? What if he gets bumped? What if the flight is canceled.

 

Also whats the difference between a minor flying alone and an unaccompanied minor?

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My 15 year old has flown as a UM (unaccompanied minor) since he was 6. It's been from the LA area yearly to Spokane and once to St. Louis to spend time with relatives. He's flown Southwest, Alaska, Horizon, American, and TWA. Airlines vary slightly on policies and procedures, so be sure to read up on the specific airline's website.

 

Answering your question, UM's have never been required to carry official ID on domestic flights. Don't worry about the passport unless the airline tells you otherwise. If he's in intermediate school his ASB card is more than adequate. Parents can accompany their UM to the gate...in fact the airline requires you to hang around until the plane takes off just in case they return to the gate due to some problem.

 

BTW, around 13 or 14, some airlines allow your child to fly as a regular adult for no extra UM fee, but let you "buy up" if you want UM services.

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I am going to get the National Child Identifcation Program ID for my son. If I don't get it in time, or don't feel comfortable with it, I will send him with his passport.

 

I will probably try to get a gate pass when he leaves, as suggested. He is going to visit his aunt, as he does every year. This is the first year he is not treated as accompanied minor ("like I'm a baby" according to him) but we parents always worry. . .

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