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Old May 21, 08, 6:08 am   #1
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Question Traveling alone AS a minor

I know general policy on this is that a minor can travel unaccompanied, but what if there is no adult at either end?

At what age is it legal for someone to travel independently? Or in a group of similarly aged individuals (without an adult) ?

If anyone knows anything about this (particularly with regard to Australian and European legislation), please let me know

Thanks, Michael (14 at time of traveling)
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Old May 21, 08, 6:29 am   #2
 
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Welcome to flyertalk.

Policies vary by airline.

For example, see policies on NW and UA.

Note that NW requires that minors use their unaccompanied minor program through age 14, and it's optional for 15-17yos, while UA only requires it through age 11, and makes it optional for 12-17yos.

Note, however, that many hotels won't take kids under 21 and most won't take kids under 18, so if you get stuck en route, that can be an issue.

Also, if you're traveling internationally by yourself, you'll need to research what kind of paperwork would be needed to get through immigration in any countries you'll be visiting or transiting.
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Old May 21, 08, 6:39 am   #3
 
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I did a search in this forum for the word "immigration" and came up with the following relevant threads. None of them directly addresses what would be required for a kid traveling alone (or with friends) without someone to meet him (or them) at the other end, but from these threads, you should be able to get a decent idea of what the issues are so you can maybe focus your searches around the internet a bit better:
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Old May 21, 08, 10:27 am   #4
 
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In the EU it isn't an issue. There are actually 14 year olds that vacation without parents.

Last edited by erik123; May 21, 08 at 2:33 pm..
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Old May 23, 08, 12:31 am   #5
 
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Yeah, I'd be interested in knowing the answer to this question too. I will be 16, almost 17 at the end of my senior year and I'm looking at an unaccompanied trip with some friends (most of whom will be 18) in the EU, Russia, Mongolia, and China.
Any idea as to this situation?
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Old May 23, 08, 3:23 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lei123 View Post
Yeah, I'd be interested in knowing the answer to this question too. I will be 16, almost 17 at the end of my senior year and I'm looking at an unaccompanied trip with some friends (most of whom will be 18) in the EU, Russia, Mongolia, and China.
Any idea as to this situation?
Once my son was 14, no airline questioned him about flying alone to or from the US or within the EU.
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Old May 23, 08, 2:11 pm   #7
 
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I understand that I could fly with just some friends, and not a guardian, but if I want to stay in a hotel or a hostel, don't you usually have to be 18? What if temporary guardianship is given over to one of my friends who is over 18? Would that be Ok?
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Old May 23, 08, 3:00 pm   #8
 
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Welcome to FT gmichael225 and lei123.

Note that minors flying alone (ie no parent or airline employee escort) will need to have their own ID for the TSA checkpoint. Yeah yeah, you don't have to have ID to fly but if you want to avoid the SSSS treatment then the minor needs his/her own ID. For a 14 year old I'm guessing that would be a passport, military dependent ID or state ID card assuming your state issues (nondriver) IDs to minors.

Indeed the hotel issue is something to be concerned about. I once stayed at a crappy mote that had a sign saying guests 18-20 were required to use a credit card in their own name to secure a room AND the room would be checked for damages upon checkout. You might be able to get away with mom or dad faxing a 3rd party credit card authorization to the hotel in advance of your arrival. Book the room in their names, they contact the hotel for the form (even toss in that their plane was diverted and you're coming from a school trip) then they fax the completed form to the hotel. Some hotels will want a copy of the credit card and/or their ID. Anyway, with this form on file, you'll be able to get the room and it gets billed to their card or you can pay cash when you checkout.

lei yes, if your parents were to present your over 18 friend with temporary guardianship papers then there would be no issue. Well, y'all might get hassled a little so it would be helpful if the guardianship papers were notarized AND your parents draft a letter stating you may travel with XYZ even though the guardianship papers should cover all that.

Last edited by jonesing; May 23, 08 at 3:05 pm..
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