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What is the minimum age to fly as an adult? Can a 17-year-old do it

Hi Mel,

The answers: younger than you may think, and a 17-year-old can definitely fly as an adult would!

The golden rule of booking a ticket for a minor is to call your airline before booking, but airlines agree that a 17-year-old can book and fly as an adult. In fact, some airlines allow children as young as 12 to fly alone without having to use the airline’s unaccompanied-minor services.

Even if your airline is happy to transport your littlest travelers without imposing their youth service (and its fees), bear in mind that some restrictions may apply, even for teens. It’s common for an airline to restrict children to non-stop flights or to ban them from the last flight of the day (if a flight cancelation results in an overnight stay, children younger than 18 may not be accepted by hotels).

Here are links to some domestic airlines’ minor policies so you can compare:

American Airlines
Continental Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Southwest Airlines
United Airlines
US Airways

A wonderful flight and safe travels to your teen!



My name: Michelle Doucette

How I earn my keep: I'm an editor at

Favorite way to get around: Some of my favorite trips involved renting cars in foreign countries and driving through the countryside, stopping on whims. You get a feel for the culture away from the big cities and meet interesting people on the road, including, I must admit, an embarrassingly high number of local policemen. I suppose it would be prudent to learn all of the traffic laws ahead of time.

Best meal I've had while traveling: Since a succession of gelato cones probably doesn't count as a meal, my favorite must have been a fresh crabmeat lunch prepared by a St. John sailboat captain while we took a break from snorkeling in the Caribbean. Sharing baklava as the sun came up over Paros, Greece, (while, once again, not technically a meal) was also memorable.

Travel ambitions: Since climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I've figured out that I'd like to keep trekking while traveling. I've got my eyes on epic hikes in Nepal, Bhutan, and Peru.



Hi this is so very true even the Greyhound and Amtrak has about rules my daughter is 17 and had to pay full price for Greyhound Buses recently. Airlines and Hotels ask for age due to responsibility of being a minor. Never lie about age for can be charged adult price. No matter how you travel be honest.

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