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 March 2018.
|Airline||UM cost for non-stop flights||Can UMs take trips with connections?||UM for age 13-14?||More Info|
|Air Canada||$100 CAD/USD each way||Not permitted||OPTIONAL||more info|
|Alaska Airlines||$25 USD/CAD each way||$50 USD/CAD each way||OPTIONAL||more info|
|American Airlines||$150 USD each way||Permitted, through some airports||REQ 13-14||more info|
|Delta||$150 USD/CAD/EUR each way||Permitted, except for last connecting flight of the day||REQ 13-14||more info|
|Frontier||$110 USD each way||Not permitted||REQ 13-14||more info|
|Hawaiian||N/A||N/A||Not available for 12+||more info|
|JetBlue||$100 USD each way||Not permitted||REQ 13||more info|
|Southwest||N/A||N/A||Not available for 12+||more info|
|Spirit||$100 USD each way||Not permitted||REQ 13-14||more info|
|Sun Country Air||$75 USD each way||Not permitted||OPTIONAL||more info|
|United||$150 USD each way||Not permitted||REQ 13-14||more info|
|Virgin America||$25 USD each way||$50 USD/CAD each way||OPTIONAL||more info|