If your child or children are flying without you, here's what you need to know before they set off on their travels.
Unaccompanied minors - can children fly alone?
If your child is travelling without you, don’t worry, we’ll make sure their flight goes smoothly.
We’re happy to accept unaccompanied children on flights from the ages of 5 to 18 – and it goes without saying we’ll make sure they're OK throughout their journey. Just let us know they’ll be unaccompanied and follow the process below.
Before you book your travel it is worth noting:
Children aged between 5 and 11 are always classed as unaccompanied minors when travelling alone and must use the unaccompanied minors service as detailed below.
Children aged between 12 and 18 may choose to use the unaccompanied minors service, if they wish. However, ordinarily we assume they will not require it.
The parent/guardian of the unaccompanied minor must stay at the airport until the child's flight has departed
Children under 5 must always travel with someone aged 18 or over – we can't fly them on their own*
We also regard children aged 5 to 18 as unaccompanied minors if their parents or guardians are travelling on the same flight, but in a different cabin. This is because our crew will be responsible for them in the event of an emergency or the seatbelt signs are switched on, as you won't be able to attend to them
If you're travelling in Upper Class separately from your children they aren't permitted to visit you, but you are of course free to come and check on them
*Except when a child is travelling with their own parent or legal guardian who is less than 18 years.
Organising a flight for an unaccompanied child
Make sure you let us know the child will be travelling alone when you book, by calling our reservations team on 0344 209 7777 (open 24 hrs a day), or through a travel agent. You can't book online
If the child has any special needs or medical conditions, again please be sure to let us know at the time you book
We'll send you a Declaration of Indemnity form for you to complete and sign. One part of the form needs to be returned to the UK Support centre
Keep hold of the remainder of the form to present at check in on the day of departure. If the form is not completed and signed we won’t be able to accept the child for lone travel
Please check whether your child needs any visas or documentation for their destination, and organise these if necessary
After check in, a member of our ground staff will take your child to the aircraft, where our cabin crew will then look after them
Once landed, another member of Virgin Atlantic staff will take them through immigration and customs and hand them over to the adult noted on the Declaration of Indemnity form. This adult will have to show formal identification before we end our care of your child.
We won't be able to accept your child if:
They are not brought to check in by a parent or guardian.
They arrived from a connecting flight, other than one operated by Virgin Atlantic.
They are travelling on another connecting flight, other than one operated by Virgin Atlantic.
They are not going to be collected from Virgin Atlantic directly by a parent or guardian upon arrival.
The transit time between flights is over four hours, if the flight includes a stop-over or if there are inter-airport connections by road or rail such as between Gatwick or Heathrow.
Extra things to be aware of:
Children travelling alone in Upper Class cannot use shared lounges, Clubhouses or the limo service.
The Unaccompanied Minor service is charged as an adult fare.
Unaccompanied minors travelling into, out of or via South Africa
Since 1 June 2016, the South African immigration department have changed the requirements for children under 18 years of age travelling into, out of or transitting through South Africa, with or without a parent or guardian. Please make sure you have all the correct paperwork: