Kids Have Something New To Looking Forward To Flying American Airlines On Their Own

In time for the holidays, American Airlines is introducing new ‘Kid Kids’ for young passengers flying as unaccompanied minors.

Children 5-14 years old flying solo have to be registered as unaccompanied minors, where airline staff escort them to the plane and meet the guardian picking them up on the other side. (The escort service is optional for children 15-17).

For $150 each way (no matter how many siblings are traveling together) unaccompanied minors get:

  • early boarding
  • a kids-only room in hub airports to wait for connections (children under 8 must fly non-stop)
  • escort to the gate and to meet the designated adult at their destination

And starting now, rolling out through the fall, according to internal documentation unaccompanied minors also receive a “Kid Kit” containing an activity book, snacks, puzzle, crayons, and a kids face mask. The box is actually given to the parent or guardian at check-in to give to the child at their discretion, so some aviation geek parents might take it home and keep it for themselves.

I asked American Airlines about the kits and a representative shared this photo:


Credit: American Airlines

I traveled alone often as a young kid, though one of my early flight memories was of my father flying from Los Angeles to pick me up in New York and flying back with me to LA the same day. Sadly this was before modern frequent flyer programs.

Later flying solo I’d often travel on People Express out of Newark, and I loved buying their snack baskets and a soda on board. I was expected to dress in a shirt and tie, even flying out of Newark and even with what that terminal was like back then.

However I never had to connect. American will allow this for children 8 years and older, however they won’t allow it on the last flight of the day from the final connection city unless that’s the only flight the airline operates on the route.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I wish we could pre-order this for kids that are not unaccompanied. My first thought was the activity kit – but maybe even the kids lounge would be a nice upgrade.

    JAL gave out great toys for kids on a plane as part of a standard service. Doesn’t cost a lot to keep some toys for kids, but means so much to them.

  2. I remember Delta Airlines had Dusty the Air Lion as its mascot for kids back in the 80s/90s. I thought it was great marketing and wish Delta continued it but somehow Dusty just became history. I still remember the flight attendant offering me pawberry punch and as an 8 year old I felt so special. lol! They also had this quarterly magazine which I loved. Ahh… the 90s!

  3. In the 1970’s, Lufthansa regularly gave out small packs of toys, cards, activities for kids. I remember getting a red model biplane kit from them. Made me want to fly and made me interested in planes.

  4. Do NOT send your kids on a plane with American Airlines as their only protection. The travel is not safe and the staff is lacks customer service. They might just lose your kid right along with your luggage. I would not trust my kids under their watch. This kit they’ve created will not fix that.

  5. As a teenager flying solo I’d pass time in the air by fondling my genitals.

  6. This mandatory UM program is a rip off. When I was 12 years old the airlines encouraged me to fly by myself (no UM supervision) by allowing youths 12-21 to fly standby for half price. Now 12 year-olds have to pay $300 round-trip extra instead of getting a discount.

    Of course it’s safer now – much easier to keep track of a 12 year-old kid with a cell phone which didn’t exist in the days of “youth fare.”

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