Two 13 yo teens from US will be traveling without an adult to Estonia,EU, with a long layover stop in Denmark. Airline is not providing them unaccompanied minor services, they advised to contact the US embassy to make sure there is no problem.They claim there should not be. They are responsible teens experienced fliers, with valid US passports. Can they get through the security in US and Denmark (from non Schengen to Schengen area) without an adult to get to the board the flight to the final destination Estonia? Is there a courtesy service at US/Danish airport to assist them just in case, and help them through security? What documentation should they have to show they have my legal permission? I am the only guardian.In Estonia they have a family member meeting them in airport.

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    What airline is this? Are both flights on the same ticket?
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 19:34
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    Often airlines that don’t provide unaccompanied minor service don’t allow unaccompanied minors. upgradedpoints.com/travel/airlines/… See also europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/…
    – Traveller
    Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 21:18
  • Not a direct parallel, of course, but I travelled with my brother unaccompanied from Canada to England when we were 9 and 12. Of course, those were more innocent times (the 90s). Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


This assumes that this is booked as a single itinerary. I think a self-connection would be a non-starter here.

Unfortunately rules around this vary a lot by airline and by country are often vague. From https://www.cph.dk/en/practical/traveling-with-children/unaccompanied-children

When it comes to children travelling alone, the rules vary from airline to airline, and there are no international guidelines for unaccompanied minors.

What you should be doing:

  1. Write a letter that authorizes the travel, states the details of travel and is signed by all legal guardians. Make sure each kid has at least two paper copies and an electronic copy if it.
  2. The kids should also have paper and electronic copies of all important travel document. Download the app from the airline, make accounts and make sure the reservation is associated with their account.
  3. Contact the airline and confirm that 13-year old's are allowed to travel alone. Get it in writing if possible. If you are lucky, you may find it on the airline's website. If they are flying on two different airlines (e.g. a code share) contact both airlines.
  4. The kids will have to go through passport control in Denmark as this is their entry port into the Schengen area. Make sure their passports are up to date (including photos) and practice a few questions that the immigration officer might ask. "where are your parent", "why are you travelling alone", "where will you be going", etc. Showing the letter will help.
  5. Make sure the kids have access to a telephone. Most airports do have WIFI but that can be hit or miss and also depends if their phone supports WIFI calling. WhatsApp is a good choice for WIFI calls (independent of you phone's carrier). SIM card or international phone is another option.
  6. Write down the exact travel process step by step and go through it with the kids.
  7. Create some "call or text" points: when they arrive, when they are through immigration, when they are at the gate, etc. Make sure you are online during that event (even if it's the middle of the night)
  8. Make sure they have access to money, if they need some. Unfortunately the currency in Denmark is Danish Krona (not Euro). Credit cards work well there too.
  9. work together through some "what if" scenarios and write down the plan. That helps the kids to think through the travel in more tangible and they are better prepared to handle and outliers.
  10. Provided they speak English, there will be no language problem. Most people in Scandinavia speak excellent English.
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    Good answer over all, but re money: Denmark is almost cashless these days, so a credit or debit card would be preferred, but I'd assume USD or EUR cash would be accepted without a problem in the airport (though not elsewhere in Copenhagen), possibly at a bad exchange rate, but it'd be fine for buying a few snacks or whatever.
    – mlc
    Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 21:54
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    A few weeks ago I was in the EU. I notified my credit union I would be abroad and my MasterCard branded ATM card worked just fine everywhere.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 1:11
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    Regarding 8: I am quite certain that they could get by with only Euros provided they stay in the airport. Or that they would be able to exchange (albeit for a bad rate) inside
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 8:35
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    @Hilmar at least regarding Citi, that is incorrect. "Trip Notice" is one of the shortcut actions in their app for a credit card account, for example, not even burried behind seven levels of a menu. Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 14:00
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    @Hilmar EC cards are not necessary in most of Europe. When required to in places like in small stores in Germany, you can always use cash. I'm not a US person and have not US cards but I've had no issues using international mastercard or visa cards in Europe. Even Amex has decent acceptance in big stores in certain countries these days. Bring cash anyways tho.
    – ave
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 16:51

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