If you’re looking for a child-friendly airline, you’ve come to the right place.
While it’s always important to consider the comfort and safety of your children when traveling, this is especially true when children are flying alone. And since these kids are flying solo, you also want to take customer service into consideration: how can an airline provide an excellent experience for both parent and child?
JetBlue, Southwest, Virgin America, Delta and Alaska Airlines are the best large commercial airlines for unaccompanied minors who need that extra help on their trip.
Our preference is JetBlue. Here’s why:
JetBlue offers free entertainment options, including streaming content on Wi-Fi enabled flights with complimentary snacks and drinks. What’s more, JetBlue has all of the traditional amenities you’d expect from a major carrier such as checked bags and seat selection in advance.
For many parents, choosing between one of these many airlines may not be easy—all have strengths that could make or break your decision. Here’s what we found:
We love JetBlue for a variety of reasons, but especially when it comes to kids flying solo. Their attentive staff aim to make the experience as easy and enjoyable for both you and your child. In addition to free snacks, juice, and drinks, all of your child’s meals are included in their ticket price. They also have live television and movies at each seat (and even offer games). The video system is available on all domestic flights that are longer than two hours, so if you’re going across the country or even just a few states away, they’ll be entertained throughout the entire flight.
Of course safety is important too. JetBlue has received some great ratings from AirlineRatings.com (they’re considered a 4-star airline) and they’ve been named best North American airline by TripAdvisor multiple years in a row (2014-2018).
Plus parents rave about how friendly their staff is towards children! As one commenter on TripAdvisor said about her flight with JetBlue –
“The stewardess gave extra attention to my daughter who was flying alone – little things like offering her healthy snack options.”
With their comfortable seating arrangements and overall dedication to making sure your child has an awesome flight experience, there’s no doubt that JetBlue would be our number one airline if we were sending our kid off on their own adventure!
When it comes to family-friendly policies, Southwest reigns supreme. The airline offers free snacks on all flights, making it easy for parents to pack light and ensure their children are fed.
Travelers can take advantage of the airline’s generous baggage policy, which includes two free checked bags and one carry-on bag per passenger.
Parents will also appreciate that there is no change fee if you have to adjust your child’s travel plans at the last minute.
Virgin America also has very friendly staff and a cool in-flight entertainment system.
The airline’s staff are trained to be welcoming and kind with kids flying solo, so they can expect a warm welcome before even boarding the plane.
Children will also enjoy the snack packs offered by the airline, including healthy treats such as fruit. But the coolest part is Virgin America’s on-board entertainment: all seats have screens for watching movies or playing games.
While JetBlue has excellent youth programs, Delta is often a cheaper alternative. Plus, if you have multiple children flying as unaccompanied minors, Delta will often offer discounts on flights.
If you want a direct flight, Delta’s size and hub status mean that it may have more options at smaller airports than the smaller airlines do.
If you’re thinking of flying your child solo on Alaska Airlines, you can rest assured knowing that the airline has made a concerted effort to make the solo-flying experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
- Seats have power outlets and USB ports: So your kids can charge their phones throughout the flight (if they’re old enough to have them).
- A dedicated kids’ menu: Because most adults with kids know that children are creatures who don’t like to eat what adults eat.
- A special treat for flying by themselves: Because airlines should reward good behavior.
- Free movies and games for kids: To keep them entertained for the duration of their flights.
- Kids may get upgraded to first class: Flying by themselves is hard work, after all. First-class service is something even some adults aren’t afforded on airplanes, so this perk is a tremendous bonus if your child happens to receive it while flying on Alaska Airlines.
- Kids can get a special Alaska Airlines bear: Now this isn’t standard, but it’s happened before—and parents of animal-loving children know how valuable this could be!
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