Children travelling alone
COVID-19: Children travelling alone
From 3 December 2021, New Zealand will move from Alert Levels to the Covid Protection Framework (or, 'traffic light system'). When planning flights within New Zealand, we recommend that you check government travel restrictions, and visit our Travel alerts page for the latest information.
Before 3 December 2021
At Alert Level 3: Bookings for children travelling alone to or from a city at Alert Level 3 are restricted to essential, compassionate and court-ordered travel only and must be made through our contact centre.
At Alert Level 2: Bookings for children travelling alone between cities at Alert Level 2 are open. Please call our contact centre if your child needs to travel or has an existing booking with us. If the journey includes a destination in Alert Level 3, then the higher Alert Level restrictions apply.
International flying is restricted for unaccompanied minors. If you wish to book international travel for children travelling for custodial or compassionate reasons, you can contact us directly. If you have booked flights through a travel agent, please reach out to them directly to make changes.
From 3 December 2021
You'll be able to make online bookings for children travelling alone between most parts of New Zealand, except for any flights to, from or transiting through Auckland. This Auckland restriction will end when the Auckland regional boundary opens on 15 December.
How Airband™ works
When checking in at the airport, the child travelling will be given a special wristband. When they reach certain stages of their journey and their Airband is scanned by staff, text message updates will be sent to up to five nominated contacts (the parent or guardian and drop off and pick up contacts). Text messages* are sent at the following stages:
- On check-in at the airport to confirm registration
- When boarding the plane
- When their flight has landed and they are handed over to ground staff
- When they are picked up by the designated pick-up person
* Text message notifications are currently not available for travel from Niue due to limited mobile services.
Book for your child to travel alone
Children 5 to 11 years can travel alone provided they meet the unaccompanied minors conditions.
Travel as a child travelling alone is charged at the best available adult fare. Children travelling unaccompanied have the same entitlements on board as adult fares based on the fare purchased. Pre-selecting seats and Skycouch™ are not available for children travelling alone.
|Under 5 years||No - must travel with an adult 15 years or older, except for flights to and from Canada where the adult must be 16 years or older|
|5 - 11 years|
(travelling without an adult 15 years or older)
|Yes - eligible on selected routes and must use Airband|
|12 - 16 years||Yes - may travel alone or can use Airband at parent/guardian request, on selected routes|
Children travelling alone eligibility guide
Under 5 years
No - must travel with an adult 15 years or older, except for flights to and from Canada where the adult must be 16 years or older
5 - 11 years
(travelling without an adult 15 years or older)
Yes - eligible on selected routes and must use Airband
12 - 16 years
Yes - may travel alone or can use Airband at parent/guardian request, on selected routes
|Journey||Per child one way||Per child one way - if booked at the airport*|
|Domestic New Zealand||NZD $30||NZD $45|
|International flights||NZD $80||NZD $120|
Children travelling alone service fees
Domestic New Zealand
* Applies if the child has not been booked as a child travelling alone prior to check-in at the airport.
Multiple children travelling alone
Children under the age of 12 years must be declared as travelling alone at the time of booking if not accompanied by a person aged 15 years or over, except for flights to and from Canada where the adult must be 16 years or older. For example:
- A 14 year old person cannot travel with an infant
- A 15 year old person can travel with a 12 year old and a 2 year old
- A 12 year old person can travel with a 8 year old, but the 8 year old must be declared as an unaccompanied minor
If you have a fully refundable fare and wish to cancel your ticket, we will refund both the cost of your ticket and the children travelling alone service fee.
Drop off and pick up
Update contact details on your booking
If plans have changed, update drop off and pick up contact details online by managing your booking. Here you can also nominate and manage who you would like to receive text message updates. Alternatively, please contact us.
Save contact details in your Airpoints account
If you are regularly making bookings for children travelling alone, speed up the booking process next time by saving drop off and pick up contact details in your Airpoints account. Just sign into your account and update your travel preferences under My Profile to enable a Saved Contacts tab.
What to expect on the day of travel
Check-in for children travelling alone is available at Special Assistance counters. Please allow an additional 20 minutes to complete check-in. Staff will check your ID, contact details and issue your child with an Airband. Don't forget photo ID for you and if your child is travelling internationally, their passport and any other travel documents required.
At some airports you will be able to escort your child to the departure gate. Where this is not possible, staff will escort your child through security and to the departure gate for handover to cabin crew. Please note that the adult dropping off your child must remain at the airport until the flight has departed.
During their trip
The option to select your child's seat is unavailable for children travelling alone. Your child will be seated near crew work areas so they can easily be supervised during the flight. Cabin crew are required to activate parental locks on inflight entertainment screens of all children travelling alone.
On landing, your child will be escorted through the arrivals process to collect any baggage and be handed over to the designated pick up person after ID is checked.
Delays and disrupts
We will contact you in the event of delays that will cause impact or where the flight is diverted to an alternative airport. There may be times, due to weather, where alternative road transport is offered. We will discuss this with you prior to your child departing on alternative transport.
You can also receive real-time flight information and any changes right to your phone. Simply download the Air NZ mobile app and add your child's flight.
Food will be provided in accordance with standard delay protocols for all passengers. If an overnight stay is required, we will provide accommodation and a female team member will look after your child through the night.
To help meet the needs of our young travellers when they're flying alone, we've put some improvements in place for our unaccompanied minor's service. When flying around New Zealand, unaccompanied minors are required to have a seat+bag booking. This helps our young travellers keep track of their belongings by putting most of them in a larger bag in the belly of the plane. Carry-on luggage can then be small enough to meet our health and safety requirements for crew and fit under the seat in front.
For our trans-Tasman and Pacific Island services, young people travelling on their own are required to book theworks. This means we can make sure they enjoy the best of Air New Zealand's service, with a meal and in-flight entertainment. If your child has special dietary needs, you can request a special meal when booking online. Options include vegan, gluten-free, and children's meals.
You are welcome to supply your child with a snack box, however please be mindful of restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels flying internationally that apply to drinks and liquids like yoghurt. All uneaten non-packaged foods must be disposed of on landing.
Travelling with medical conditions and disabilities
Our staff will do all they can to ensure a safe and comfortable journey however they cannot administer medication or ensure your child takes medication at specified times. If your child has a disability we will do all we can to allow them to travel unaccompanied, however this may not be possible in all situations.
To avoid disappointment on the day of travel please contact our Paxcare Team in advance to discuss your child's requirements and if they have a medical condition that may require clearance to travel.
Phone: +64 9 255 7757