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It's getting more expensive for unaccompanied minors to fly

Every airline has its own policy that guides its handling of unaccompanied minors. And as written in a recent Consumer Reports story, many of these policies are becoming less forgiving—and more expensive—for travelers.

For starters, some airlines (like British Airways, Allegiant and, as of November, Frontier) don’t allow unaccompanied minors onboard flights. Age restrictions and per-plane limits also vary by airline. JetBlue permits a maximum of three unaccompanied minors per flight, for example. And per the story, “the standard fee for transporting an unaccompanied minor has risen to between $200 and $300 round-trip (in addition to airfare) on many major U.S. airlines (with the exception of Alaska and Southwest, which charge $100 round-trip). A little more than a decade ago, the fees were more in the range of $50 to $150 round-trip.”

The changes, according to Consumer Reports, fit into a larger pattern. “Airlines have been steadily increasing fees for lots of different services across the board, and watching over unaccompanied minors is no exception.” It is primarily flight attendants that are charged with looking after unaccompanied travelers. Noting that fact, Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, told CR that “aircraft are fuller than ever, and that limits our ability to check in regularly on the unaccompanied minors aboard.”

The Department of Transportation leaves each airline free to write its own unaccompanied minor policy, so the biggest takeaway here should be that you should check in with the airline before booking a flight for a child/family member/whoever. Begin the process as soon as you can, and read the full Consumer Reports story for more tips.

More tips for families and unaccompanied minors

 

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