Is the any international regulatory body which restricts as to how old a minor needs to be until he is allowed to travel alone on an aircraft internationally?

Are there any rules which might dictate this situation to differ in the case of a non-stop flight or a flight with a layover.

You can assume that on both airport i.e the Departure and the Arrival airport, there will be some trusted individual to pick the minor up and take care of him/her.

Alone means that he may be assisted by the airline during the flight i.e with or without assistance.

Are there any international regulations governing this matter? If not, what would be the relevant regulations governing travel between India and the United States?

  • This is different from a country to another and from a carrier to another. I think it is broad as it stands now. Jun 13, 2014 at 4:31
  • @MeNoTalk I see. So no international regulations regarding it then? Jun 13, 2014 at 4:36
  • I do not think so. Plus, define travelling alone? do you mean alone as an adult would? or alone (without parents) and the airline provide someone to accompany the minor? two different things, each of them have different age limits. Jun 13, 2014 at 4:37
  • @MeNoTalk With or without assistance Jun 13, 2014 at 4:39
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    Very much depends on the airline.
    – Mark Mayo
    Jun 13, 2014 at 4:56

1 Answer 1


No, there is no international standard, these policies are entirely up to the airline. As rough guidelines:

  • For "unaccompanied minors", meaning traveling alone but with support from airline staff (usually a paid service), most airlines draw the line at 5 or 6 years. However, many impose additional restrictions if there are connecting flights, especially to other airlines.

  • From (around) 12 years, minors may be permitted to fly entirely solo, with a guardian's permission.

In addition, policies for international flights are typically stricter than for domestic flights. As a typical example, here's the policy from Qantas.

  • 2
    So the only way to know for sure would be to talk specific and there is no controlling body internationally that defines this. Right? Jun 13, 2014 at 4:37
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    @MeNoTalk that'd depend on the airline, but usually yes, they'd arrange for someone to escort the child to the aircraft, where a flight attendant would be dedicated to oversee the child and hand over responsibility to another airport worker at the destination. Don't want to get sued for losing a child, it's more about protecting the airline than about protecting the child.
    – jwenting
    Jun 13, 2014 at 6:48
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    An Unaccompanied Minors service is generally only offered by Full Service airlines, generally only on their own metal, and the rules vary between airlines. Try searching on flyertalk and you'll find reports about whatever program you're interested in
    – Gagravarr
    Jun 13, 2014 at 9:12
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    IKeelYou -- yes, very surprisingly 6 years olds (I don't know specifically about "5") can and do relatively often travel -- completely unaccompanied! -- even on the longest flights. Alll major airlines have unaccompanied minor programs in place. They get walked through airports, etc etc. At DBX for example there's a whole lounge purely for U/Ms on Emirates. Like you, I find it sort of incredible, but it does happen, even 6 yr olds!
    – Fattie
    Jun 7, 2015 at 8:15
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    "you mean with the airline arranging someone to accompany the minor, right" someone does not accompany the minor. (that would be incredibly expensive, and no airline offers that service. you'd just hire someone from a bodyguard service, or use your au pair, or whatever) the airline has someone (a) at the airports walk them through from where you have to say goodbye to the gates, same at connections, and (b) on the plane, the crew are told there's going to be such and such U/Ms ... and they "keep an eye on them". that's all there is to it, nothing else.
    – Fattie
    Jun 7, 2015 at 8:22

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