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Common Sense

The most important rule for both parents and children to remember is to plan ahead. Parents should explain to children exactly what will be expected of them as solo travelers. They should also let children know that inappropriate behavior by adult passengers (such as unwanted physical contact) should be reported to airline personnel. If the child has traveled alone before on a different airline, it is not a good idea to assume that the current airline has the same policies. Most airlines list their policies clearly and comprehensively on their websites.

Increased concern for flight security has made the travel process slower and more cumbersome. These new procedures should be explained to the child. It should also be made clear that no matter how accommodating airline personnel may be, they have no obligation to children traveling alone before or after a flight.

Checking out the airlines’ websites is a good way to become familiar with each carrier’s policies on solo child travelers. Groups such as ASTA ( and the U. S. Department of Transportation ( can provide additional information. The Department of Transportation offers a free publication, Kids and Teens Traveling Alone, which can be obtained by writing to 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, D. C., 20590.

Inside Common Sense