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I'm going to pick up my son from out of state and I'm going to buy my round trip ticket. How would I buy the ticket for him when he's only 3? I know you need to be a certain age to fly unaccompanied, which is how I need to buy his ticket, but how do I make the purchase if it thinks he's traveling alone?

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    Call the airline. They can help you and link the bookings together. – Greg Hewgill Jun 22 '17 at 2:05
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Since you say "out of state", I'm going to guess that this is domestic travel within the United States.

At the major US airlines, a domestic round-trip ticket is generally the same total price as the two corresponding one-way tickets. (Years ago you could expect a round-trip ticket to be cheaper, but that's generally not true anymore.) So you can book a one-way ticket for yourself from A to B, and a separate one-way ticket with two passengers (you and your son) from B to A. The total fare will likely be the same as if you had bought a round-trip for yourself and a one-way for your son.

This has the added advantage that you can use different airlines for A->B and B->A, in case one airline has a lower fare on A->B and a different airline is lower on B->A.

  • The same is true for international travel with low-cost carriers. Unfortunately, not with mainline carriers. – ugoren Jun 22 '17 at 20:27
  • I've done similar strategies. Once I flew alone (one booking) from Regina to Toronto. Then my wife flew to St. John's, Newfoundland, via Toronto (one booking) and I booked a flight on her connecting flight from Toronto (another booking). We then booked a final booking with two passengers for the trip home. Domestic and some transborder flights (e.g. US<->Canada) have no price advantage on return flights, but many international flights are much cheaper if booked as return flights. – Jim MacKenzie Jun 22 '17 at 22:17

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