Navigating Children’s Airline Travel and Summer Breaks

Navigating Children’s Airline Travel and Summer Breaks

With summer quickly approaching, children are soon to be on summer break and the routine of the school year is at a standstill until the fall. Most children are enrolled in summer camps, summer school, or have family vacations lined up to account for these breaks. However, there are also children who live in two different households with each of their parents. These summer activities impact visitation times with each parent, which can result in changes to the custody and visitation schedule that is followed during the school year.

Follow Court Orders, ATROS, and Stipulations

In order to prepare for a seamless transition to summer and the summer itself with respect to child custody and visitation are court orders, ATROS (Family Law – Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders), and stipulations. These documents provide guidance directly from the court, are inherent in the dissolution proceedings, or agreements previously made between the parents.

It is crucial to review these orders before summer breaks begin. These court orders, ATROS, and stipulations all provide guidelines on the custody and visitation arrangement during the summer break. Many child custody and visitation schedules change during the summer, and these changes often require extensive parental planning and cooperation. As such, pre-established guidelines either through Court orders or stipulations are the place to turn when planning the children’s summer activities during the summer break.

Review Airline Procedures, Fees, and Routes

Making summer plans can become especially tricky if a child has a parent living in a different location than the child A recent New York Times article suggested ways to relieve the fear and stress of having your child fly unaccompanied. Airlines have clear guidelines allowing children to travel on a flight alone. Depending on the child’s age, there are different options. An unaccompanied minor will generally have a flight attendant receive the minor from the gate attendant, check on the minor during the flight, and return the child to the gate attendant at the destination. The parents should verify the guideline on unaccompanied minors that is specific to the airlines you choose to use.

As your child gets older, they have the option of opting out of flying as an unaccompanied minor, however, these rules are airline specific and should be reviewed. Regardless of whether you opt in or opt out as an unaccompanied minor, most airlines require the parent or guardian to accompany the minor to the gate and wait at the gate until the plane takes off. The receiving parent or guardian must receive the minor at the gate at the destination as well.

Ultimately, it is the parents’ duty to ensure all court orders are followed when it comes to summer breaks and summer vacations.  Parents must also be well-versed in the airlines procedures with respect to an unaccompanied minor on a flight. Reviewing the court orders and airline procedures will help alleviate some of the fear and stress associated with making plans for the summer breaks.

You can read the New York Times article here.