Travelling alone can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a source of anxiety and concern for parents or guardians who need to send their children on a trip unaccompanied. To address this, many airlines, including Air Canada, offer an unaccompanied minor service. This service provides extra support and assistance for children travelling alone, giving parents and guardians peace of mind that their child is safe and well-cared for throughout their journey.
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What Is An Unaccompanied Minor Policy
An airline unaccompanied minor policy is a set of rules and procedures that govern how airlines handle the transportation of children who are travelling without a parent or legal guardian. Unaccompanied minors (UMs) are typically children between the ages of 5 and 17 who are travelling alone or without a parent or legal guardian. The policy is designed to ensure the safety and well-being of these children while they are travelling.
The specifics of an airline’s unaccompanied minor policy can vary but typically include age restrictions, fees, documentation requirements, escort service, special seating, and communication with parents or guardians. Take, for example, British Airways and Cathay Pacific’s policies.
Not all airlines offer an unaccompanied minor programme, but many airlines do. It’s important to check with the specific airline you plan to use to determine if they have a programme, as well as to understand the specific rules and requirements of that programme. Some airlines may only offer the programme on specific routes or during certain times of the year, so it’s important to do your research and plan accordingly.
What Is Air Canada’s Unaccompanied Minor Policy
Air Canada’s unaccompanied minor policy is designed to ensure the safety and well-being of children who are travelling alone on Air Canada flights.
- For children aged 7 and under, the service is not available.
- For children aged between 8 and 11, using Air Canada’s unaccompanied minor service is mandatory.
- Children between the ages of 12 and 17 may also use the service, but it is optional.
Regardless of age, parents or guardians may choose to use the service for their child’s safety and peace of mind while travelling.
Booking and Fees
Parents or guardians can book the unaccompanied minor service for their child when they make their flight reservation. The service can be added to the booking online, by phone, or in person at an Air Canada airport counter. It is recommended that parents or guardians book the service as early as possible to ensure availability and to allow time for any necessary arrangements to be made.
Air Canada charges a service fee for the unaccompanied minor service, which is in addition to the cost of the child’s airfare. The fee varies depending on the route, and it applies to each way per child per flight. As of the time of writing, the service fee for flights within Canada, the continental United States, and the Caribbean is $100 CAD/USD each way per child per flight. For international flights, the fee is $118 CAD/USD each way per child per flight.
It is important to note that the service fee for the unaccompanied minor service is mandatory and is applied regardless of the fare selected for the child’s ticket. The fee covers the cost of the dedicated escort and any additional services provided to ensure the child’s safety and well-being during the flight.
When a child is booked as an unaccompanied minor, parents or guardians must provide identification for themselves and the child, as well as a completed and signed consent form. The form includes information about the child’s itinerary, contact information for the parents or guardians, and any special instructions or requests.
Air Canada’s unaccompanied minor service includes a dedicated escort who will accompany the child from check-in through to the destination. The escort will ensure that the child is boarded safely onto the aircraft, and will check on the child regularly throughout the flight. Upon arrival, the escort will remain with the child until they are released into the care of the designated adult.
Parents or guardians should ensure that they arrive at the airport with enough time to complete the check-in process and meet with the escort. If the parent or guardian will not be present at the destination, they must provide Air Canada with the contact information of the person who will be picking up the child. The person picking up the child must be at the airport at the scheduled arrival time and must provide valid government-issued identification.
Escort Service and Special Seating
On the day of the flight, the escort will meet the child and parent or guardian at the check-in counter. The escort will then accompany the child through security, customs (if necessary), and to the gate. During the flight, the child will be seated in a special section of the plane, usually near the front of the aircraft. The escort will check on the child regularly throughout the flight and assist with any needs or requests.
If the child has a medical condition, it is important to inform Air Canada at the time of booking. Air Canada’s agents will work with parents or guardians to determine any specific needs the child may have and ensure that they are met. The airline will also do its best to seat the child in a location that is convenient for medical equipment or medication, and near the washroom if necessary. It is important to note that Air Canada does not provide medical services or attendants for children with medical conditions. Therefore, parents or guardians must ensure that their child is able to manage their condition independently or arrange for a personal attendant to accompany the child on the flight.
Connecting Flights and Layovers
If the child has a connecting flight, Air Canada allows unaccompanied minors to travel on connecting flights, but only if the connecting flight is also operated by Air Canada or its regional partners. The escort will accompany the child to the connecting flight and ensure that they are checked in and boarded. If the child has a layover, Air Canada will provide supervision and care for the child until their next flight.
Communication with Parents or Guardians
Parents or guardians can check on the status of the child’s flight by contacting Air Canada’s 24-hour customer service line. Air Canada will also provide regular updates on the child’s travel status to parents or guardians via phone or email.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions and answers about Air Canada’s unaccompanied minor service:
- Can I Escort my Child to the Gate?
For select airports, Air Canada allows one parent or guardian to escort the child to the boarding gate, but only if permitted by the local Airport Authority. The escort may be required to fill out a “Passenger Escort Form” and show photo identification. If the parent or guardian is unable to escort the child, Air Canada will provide the escort. However, for international flights and flights to the U.S., the passenger escort service is not available due to security regulations, and an Air Canada agent will escort the child to the gate.
- Can unaccompanied minors travel on non-stop flights?
Yes, unaccompanied minors can travel on non-stop flights.
- What if the child has a connecting flight on another airline?
Air Canada’s unaccompanied minor service is only available for connecting flights operated by Air Canada or its regional partners. If the child has a connecting flight on another airline, the child will need to be accompanied by an adult or the parent or guardian will need to arrange for another unaccompanied minor service with the other airline.
- What if my child has a layover?
If the child has a layover, Air Canada will provide supervision and care for the child until their next flight.
- What happens if my child’s flight is delayed or cancelled?
If the child’s flight is delayed or cancelled, Air Canada will provide assistance to the child and ensure that they are cared for until the next available flight.
Air Canada’s unaccompanied minor service is designed to provide parents and guardians with peace of mind when sending their children on a trip alone. The service provides a dedicated escort and various other measures to ensure the child’s safety, comfort, and well-being throughout the flight. Parents and guardians who wish to use the service should book it as early as possible and be aware of the service fees, requirements, and other relevant information. By doing so, they can be assured that their child will have a positive and safe travel experience. Overall, Air Canada’s unaccompanied minor policy demonstrates the airline’s commitment to the safety and well-being of all passengers, regardless of their age or travel requirements.