An unaccompanied minor (UMNR) is a child who is travelling without the supervision of a person 15 years or older.
It is essential that you contact your airline direct to make a booking and understand the requirements for that airline.
UMNR bookings are generally only accepted on full service carriers. Low cost carriers do not accept UMNR bookings.
Domestic travel acceptance
- Children who are under 5 years of age are not permitted to travel as a UMNR on domestic flights
- Children who are between the ages of 5 -11 years must be booked as a UMNR for travel alone
- Children who are between the ages of 12-15 years can be accepted for UMNR travel if requested by the parent and/or legal guardian
- If no UMNR request is made then no special airline arrangements will be provided. All airlines have different procedures for the acceptance of children as UMNR
International travel acceptance
- Children who are under 5 years of age are not permitted to travel as a UMNR on international flights
- Children who are under 6 years of age must be booked as a UMNR for travel
- Acceptance of travel is dependent on flight distance and airline
- Children who are between the ages of 6-11 years must be booked as a UMNR travel
- Children who are between the ages of 12-17 years can be accepted for UMNR travel if requested by the parent and/or legal guardian
- If no UMNR request made then no special airline arrangements will be provided
What flights can I book for a UMNR?
The majority of full service carriers will allow UMNR travellers on flights.
Low cost carriers generally do not offer a UMNR service as they only sell travel from point to point –no connecting flights - and have limited staff numbers to be able to assist UMNR passengers.
UMNR travellers can be booked both on domestic flights and international flights however it can be difficult to find an airline that will transfer a UMNR from a domestic to an international flight and vice versa. If a UMNR needs to transfer between an international and domestic flight, the sponsor of the booking (the person who is paying for the ticket) will need to arrange a third party to take responsibility and transfer the UMNR between flights. Airline staffs are not able to facilitate this for a UMNR booking.
In a UMNR is to travel internationally, it is the responsibility of the sponsor of the booking to check with each countries local authorities regarding documentation that may be required by customs and immigration authorities. Failure to have the correct documents will result in the UMNR being denied boarding.
The number of UMNR that can travel on a flight is limited due to safety regulations on-board.
UMNR services are generally only provided on non-stop flights and airlines provide a limited UMNR service for connecting flights, transfer between airlines or codeshare flights. There are airlines that do make an exception to these rules such as Qantas Airways who do accept UMNR for connecting Qantas operated flights only and charge no additional fees.
How to make a booking for a UMNR
A UMNR booking needs to be made with the airline direct or via a travel agency to ensure that all relevant policies and procedures have been complied with.
In addition to the airfare, UMNR fees may apply for UMNR travel bookings. Booking fees generally do not apply but check with the airline involved.
The person completing the booking will be considered the sponsor of the booking. All changes to the booking are required to be requested by the sponsor.
Information to provide at the time of booking
After deciding on the airline, flight details and airfare, an airline or travel agent may require the following information when making a UMNR booking.
It must be noted that many airlines no longer need this information at the time of booking however it will need to be provided at check-in on the day of departure:
- Birthdate, full name and gender of the child
- The name, address and phone number of the person responsible for sending the UMNR on the flight (drop-off)
- The name, address and phone number of the person who will be picking up the UMNR at the destination airport (pick-up)
- Any special requirements that the airline needs to be aware of i.e. does the child have a fear of flying
- If a UMNR does suffer allergies or a medical condition then a Medical Clearance form may need to be completed and submitted to the airline prior to travel acceptance. Depending on the medical review, travel as a UMNR may be declined. It is always important to be upfront with the airline to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of the UMNR when travelling.
- Once a UMNR booking has been confirmed, details of the booking may be sent via email or mail to the sponsor of the booking.
Information for the day of travel
The people who have been named for the drop off and pick up of the UMNR will need photo identification for the airline staff. Failure to provide ID will result in denied travel for the child.
For a domestic flight, the UMNR needs to be at the airport 1 hour prior to flight departure. For an international flight, the UMNR needs to be at the airport a minimum of 2 hours prior to flight departure.
Paperwork will need to be completed by the person dropping off the UMNR prior to flight departure. This paperwork will then travel on-board the flight with the crew and will be presented on arrival for final signatures by the pick-up person.
The person taking the child to the airport must not leave the terminal until the flight has departed. This rule exists in case of flight delays and/or flight cancellations. If a flight is delayed or cancelled which disrupts the UMNR travel plans then the drop off contact needs to be available to collect the child as requested by the airline. If no contact is available then the airline will take control of the UMNR and any expenses incurred by the airline such as meals and/or accommodation for the UMNR will be charged back to the sponsor of the UMNR booking.
Once a UMNR has been accepted and cleared for travel by the airline, the airline staff will take control of the UMNR. Depending if the flight is a domestic or international flight, this may occur at the check-in desk or at the departure lounge.
An UMNR name tag may be required to be worn by the UMNR passenger during the flight to assist with easy identification by the flight crew.
On arrival to the destination airport, the flight crew will transfer the UMNR passenger over to an airport staff member who will complete the transfer process to the pick-up person. Depending on the type of flight (dom or intl), the arrival airport and the airline policy, the UMNR passenger can either be picked up at the arrival gate or at a designated pick-up area.
Once the identification process and paperwork has been completed the UMNR passenger is free to leave the airport with the nominated pick-up person.
Any changes to the drop or pick up person details must be provided directly to the airline by the sponsor of the booking. If these details are not provided correctly or failed to be communicated at all, the UMNR will remain in the custody of the airline and the police may be called.
On-Board Seating for UMNR passengers is completed by the airline’s operations department in accordance with the airline policy.
A UMNR passenger is generally either first or the last passenger to be boarded and generally the last person to come off a flight as they will be with the flight attendants. For further information regarding seating plans for UMNR passenger travel please contact the airline directly.
Once a UMNR passenger is on-board a flight and seated the flight crew is then responsible for the inflight travel needs of the UMNR. While airlines may provide a refreshment or meal on-board it is always a good idea to pack extra snacks for your child in case they will not eat the meal provided and to include other forms of inflight entertainment such as a book or colour pencils and paper.
Reassure your child what will happen on-board, that the flight crew are there to help them and that their instructions must be followed at all times. Explain to the UMNR passenger who will be picking them up at the destination airport and how long the flight will take. If a UMNR has any concerns prior to flight departure, it is important to take them seriously and resolve any issues. This will ensure that the UMNR will be able to travel comfortably.
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