My girlfriend, our daughter and I will be flying from Montreal to Italy. I'll fly directly there with my daughter, which is 3 years old, and stay a couple of weeks. My girlfriend will first stop in London and reach us later, but she will stay longer than me and come back to Canada later with my daughter.

To make it simple:

  • Father and daughter fly from Canada to Italy
  • Mother flies from Canada to England
  • Father flies early from Italy to Canada
  • Mother and daughter fly later from Italy to Canada

Is it possible to buy a return ticket for our daughter in which we specify that she'll travel with a different parent?

My problem is that I have to buy her ticket separated from ours, because everybody has a different flying schedule. Buying separate legs would be an option, but this would very likely result in more expensive tickets.

I hope I managed to explain the situation, thanks in advance

  • 2
    Just to be clear, is you girlfriend the mother of your daughter? I ask this, because at first you said "My girlfriend, our daughter and me", but in the end you said "she will stay longer and come back to Canada with my daughter."
    – gmauch
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:37
  • 1
    yes, she is, I'll edit to be more clear
    – Costantino
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:38
  • 1
    How about using mother and father? I've edited the question accordingly, feel free to rollback if needed. ;)
    – JoErNanO
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:43
  • If you read the introduction it says that my girlfriend will first stop in London and reach us later
    – Costantino
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 16:56
  • 6
    This is exactly the kind of circumstance when talking to a travel agent would be a good idea. A good one will probably know the answer, and is more likely to be able to talk to an airline and make this happen. Commented May 21, 2015 at 19:09

3 Answers 3


I suggest you get a travel agent to work this out for you. It will be worth the $100 or so.

You and your girlfriend will also need to carry a letter signed by by both parents outlining your travel plans and saying that you give permission for your daughter to travel alone with the other parent. Canadian customs can be especially picky about this when returning to Canada, and all customs people pay special attention when small children are travelling with one parent. This is a mechanism to prevent international abduction of children.

EDIT: Further to this - my wife and I have different last names. Our children have both last names (but not hyphenated - my last name is their last name, and my wife's list name is a middle name), but even so, my wife has had problems travelling with the children because of the name mismatch. If this is your situation (i.e. last names are different), I strongly advise that the parent travelling with the children also carry a copy of your child's long-form birth certificate that lists the mother's and father's names. i.e. you may need some proof that you are the parent. Again, this is particularly the case for young children that cannot convincingly speak for themselves (i.e. it's different if you are 4 years old, vs 14).

  • I have heard of teens not being allowed to travel with one of their parents when the names did not match, one time other parent had already gone ahead into the secure zone and was out of reach when the other parent and the child were stopped and the child not allowed to travel that day.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 11:38

It depends on the airline.

Online booking systems (at least the three first I tested) usually don't allow separate tickets for children to be booked.

Since most airlines require smaller children (e.g. below the age of four) to always be accompanied by an adult, they may or may not also require that the child and the guardian is booked on the same ticket, in which case you might end up with six one-way tickets (probably very expensive) instead of three return tickets.

  • 2
    No booking system will permit this; the PNR [passenger name record] can only handle by technical limitation passengers travelling on the exact same itinerary. Instead a raft of different tickets will have to be issued and the separate PNRs extensively annotated and cross-referenced.
    – Calchas
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 13:17

Technically there is no issue with you creating 3 separate itineraries for 3 separate people and flying in any way you see fit.

There are restrictions that countries and airlines place when a minor child is flying out of the country of residence/citizenship with only one or no parents with them.

You will need a letter from your girlfriend that says that your daughter is allowed to leave the country with you. This particular subject had been discussed many many times on this forum.

How old does a child need to be to sit separately from parents when flying?

Do both parents need to apply for a US passport for minors?

Travel Consent letter for child traveling with parent to Netherlands

When a mother travels with baby (2 years) without father, what documents she needs to have for baby?

Just to list a few.

  • I'm aware of the documentation needed to let my daughter fly with her mother or with me alone, but my question regards problems that may arise when buying 3 separate itineraries for 3 separate people if one of them is a child. When you say "technically there is no issue", do you mean that I can buy a ticket for her independently from our tickets?
    – Costantino
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 16:35
  • @Costantino You can buy them all at the same time but since dates will be different and flights there and back will be different you're creating 3 separate itineraries. And hence 3 separate tickets. Or you will have to buy legs separately You+1 and gf and you and gf+1.
    – Karlson
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 16:41
  • Maybe I should have specified that buying legs separately would be a solution, but it would be more expensive, since often buying a return ticket is much cheaper than buying separate legs
    – Costantino
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 16:48

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