Air New Zealand’s new Airband for unaccompanied children (Credit: Air Zealand)
Air New Zealand’s new Airband for unaccompanied children (Credit: Air Zealand)

Today Air New Zealand announced a brand new way to keep worried parents less worried when their children fly unaccompanied domestically or internationally. Each child traveling alone will now receive an “Airband” from Air New Zealand when they check in. This electronic wristband has a chip that’s scanned at key stages of the child’s flight. The band then triggers text notifications, which go to any five contacts’ cell phones, letting the contacts know exactly where the child is.

Sounds better than just watching a flight tracker show the route of your child’s plane and where they are, right?

The wristband is given to children ages five to 11 who are alone, but children up to age 16 can opt into the service. It’s no doubt a way to help ease the minds of parents whose kids must, for whatever reason, fly solo. We hope US airlines will look into a similar approaches since there have been instances of airlines losing unaccompanied minors.

“We believe this is the first time this type of technology has been used by an airline anywhere in the world for the purpose of providing caregivers greater peace of mind when their child is traveling alone,” said Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Carrie Hurihanganui.

“We have been [testing] it across our network over recent months and the feedback from parents and guardians has been very positive with many welcoming the additional reassurance of knowing where in the journey their child is.”

The wristband is free now through February 3. After that date the price is $15 for each one-way domestic flight and $40 per child for each one-way international journey. Seems like a small price to pay for a lot more peace of mind. Of course, nothing beats flying with your child, but you have to give it to Air New Zealand for coming up with a creative way to help kids and parents when unaccompanied flying is the option.

Caitlin Martin

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