Most airlines offer an "unaccompanied minor" (UM) service for children flying alone. The precise policies for this service vary. Usually, parents accompany the child to the boarding gate. From there, the flight attendants are required to keep track of the child, help her get to her connecting flights, and hand her off directly to the adults meeting her at her destination. UMs are generally not allowed on the last flight of the day or on red-eye flights. The UM service costs from $25 to $150 each way (in USD), depending on the airline (see below). More detailed information about the UM service can be found at each airline's webpage or here.
The service is primarily meant for younger kids: the overwhelming majority of Mathcamp students are quite capable of flying on their own. In many years of running Mathcamp, we have never had any trouble in this regard. If several students are flying from the same airport, we do try to put them in touch so that they can arrange to fly together. However, even if a student has to travel alone, we generally recommend against the UM option (though of course, the final choice rests with the student and his/her parents). Note that once a student arrives at the airport, they will be met immediately at the baggage claim, and will remain under Mathcamp staff supervision from that point onward.
However, many airlines require all children under 15 to fly as UMs. Sometimes we are able to arrange for an older student from the same city to "accompany" the younger student. Failing that, however, the student will have to fly as a UM. Since this can easily add $200 or more to the cost of the trip, it may be worth looking into other airlines first.
Below is a list of the major airlines with a summary of their UM policies. The cost shown is in USD, and is charged in each direction. Most airlines offer an optional UM service for travelers aged 15-17, for the same price. These policies are subject to change, so double-check before you book; this page was last updated February 2023.
|Airline||UM cost for non-stop flights||Can UMs take trips with connections?||UM for age 13-14?||More Info|
|Alaska Airlines||$50 USD/CAD each way||Yes, $75 USD/CAD each way||OPTIONAL||more info|
|American Airlines||$150 USD each way||Permitted, through some airports||REQ 13-14, unless traveling with companion age 16+||more info|
|Delta||$150 USD each way||Permitted on some flights||REQ 13-14||more info|
|Frontier||Effective November 1, 2018, Frontier Airlines will no longer accept children traveling alone under the age of 15 yrs of age. Any child under the age of 15 must be in the same reservation as an accompanying adult.||more info|
|Hawaiian||UM service is not available for passengers ages 12+.||NONE||more info|
|JetBlue||$150 USD each way||Connections not permitted||REQ 13, unless traveling with companion age 14+||more info|
|Southwest||UM service is not available for passengers ages 12+.||NONE||more info|
|Spirit||$150 USD each way||Connections not permitted||REQ 13-14, unless traveling with companion age 15+||more info|
|Sun Country Air||Passengers ages 13-14 must travel with a companion age 15+. There is no UM service.||more info|
|United||$150 USD each way||Connections not permitted||REQ 13-14||more info|
|Air Canada||$100–118 CAD/USD each way||Connections not permitted||OPTIONAL||more info|
|Air France||varies (very expensive)||Permitted, through some airports||REQ 13-14 for international flights||more info|
|Hainan||UM service is not available for passengers ages 13+.||NONE||more info|
|KLM||100–150 EUR each way||Yes, 250–300 EUR each way||REQ 13-14||more info|
|Lufthansa||95–170 USD per segment||Yes||OPTIONAL||more info|
|Turkish||UM service is not available for passengers ages 12+.||NONE||more info|
|WestJet||Not required for ages 12+, and not available for flights outside of Canada.||NONE||more info|