Most parents find themselves asking before preparing for a family vacation “Does my child need a passport or ID to fly?” Not knowing whether your child may need identification to board a plane may appear a little confusing and overwhelming at first. The answer depends on where you are traveling to, as well as which airline you are traveling on. An ID for your child may not always be required to board a plane. So, what do children below the age of 18 need to fly? Find out below!
One of the most recommended places to check for any air travel-related questions is through the Transportation Security Administration website (TSA). According to the TSA, anyone over the age of 18 must present a valid form of identification to travel on an airplane. Most airlines will allow minors to board planes without any form of ID. However, if the child is traveling and they have a discounted rate for their ticket, they may need to show ID such as a passport or birth certificate for proof of age. Nonetheless, parents should always reach out directly to the airline they plan on traveling with to confirm the proper identification requirements for their minor children.
Kids flying alone
Airline rules vary, but here’s good guidance of what to expect. Keep in mind that the ages listed below reflect your child’s age on the date of travel, not at the time of booking.
- Children ages 5 – 7 are permitted to take a direct flight to a single destination but not connecting flights.
- Children under the age of 17 flying alone on an international flight may need to provide a signed letter of consent from a parent or responsible adult.
- Airlines charge a fee anywhere from $50 to $150 each way for an unaccompanied minor. The exact amount will depend on the airline, the age of the child, and whether the flight involves connections. Some airlines may charge a fee per child, while other carriers will allow multiple children to travel together under a single fee.
- Certain airlines do not allow unaccompanied minors to fly on the last connecting flight of the day, also known as “red-eye” flights between 9:00 P.M. and 5:00 A.M. To avoid any surprises, read your airline’s policy carefully prior to booking.