Can Children Board the Plane Alone?

Many children take international flights to immigrate, study abroad, and other various reasons. Sometimes, parents cannot accompany them all the way to their destination. In such cases, can children board alone?

Flying can be confusing even to adults—then what about children flying alone? Don’t worry! There is something called the Unaccompanied Minor service that helps children fly and travel alone. Let’s find out how children can travel safely with the Unaccompanied Minor service.

What is the Unaccompanied Minor (UM) service?

Unaccompanied Minor (UM) service is provided by airlines. While there are some differences depending on the airline, children at age 5 or older are allowed to fly alone without their parents.

The UM service not only helps children board the plane but also takes care them throughout their entire flight from departure to arrival.

To begin with, designated staff ushers children to their plane and hands them over to the flight attendants after the boarding process in the departing country. After the plane lands, designated staff in the destination country takes them over from flight attendants and walks them to their parents. The UM service provides full assistance until parents and children meet at their destination.

Are there requirements to apply for the UM service?

The UM service is available mostly for children aged 5 or older, and while normal adult airfare is applied, there may be additional fees for some parts of travel. However, since airlines have different age requirements and fees, you must check your airline’s website in advance. Here we introduce age requirements for Korea’s two largest airlines: Korean Air and Asiana Airlines!

  • International flight: Ages 5 to 11
  • Domestic flight: Ages 5 to 12
  • International flight: Ages 5 to 11
  • Domestic flight: Ages 5 to 12

How do I apply for the UM service?

Since it is provided differently by each airline, you need to check how to apply for service on your airline’s website.

For Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, you need to apply for service with their reservation center at least 24 hours before departure and provide information about parents in the departing/arriving country. Then, you submit a service application form in the departing airport and receive instructions from airport staff.

In general, this is how it works, but some countries require additional documents or conditions. For instance, Vietnam requires passengers under age 14 entering the country without their parents to apply for the UM service. Canada requires passengers under age 18 entering the country without their parents to carry a parent consent form. This is why you must check how to apply and country-specific requirements on your airline’s website to use the UM service!

Today’s post looked at airlines’ UM service, which accompanies children from the moment they receive their boarding pass in the departing country to when they meet their parents in their destination! J Make sure to keep this service in mind for when you have to send children alone for inevitable reasons!

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