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Welcome to FlySAA

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Unaccompanied Children

Unaccompanied children information

Our Unaccompanied Minors service ensures that from check-in to final arrival, your child is always under the best care. So, when your child has to travel alone, book a flight with South African Airways (SAA). It's the next best thing to being there yourself.

Who is eligible?

  • An unaccompanied minor is a child (5-11 years old) who is travelling without the supervision of a parent or guardian who is 16 years or older.
  • Children, under the age of five, are not accepted for the Unaccompanied Minors service, if they are accompanied by a guardian who is 16 years or older.
  • A young passenger is a child who is at least 12 years old, but under 16. 
  • For the purpose of fares, any passenger between the ages of 12-16 is considered an adult; therefore, no special handling is required unless requested by the parent.
  • Reservations for unaccompanied minors cannot be booked online, so please contact our call centre. Place any meal requests for your child at time of booking, or at least 24-hours before departure.
  • Inform us of any critical information such as the language of the child if he / she cannot speak English, first time flyer, medication, date of birth etc. Some children might need to be cleared by our medical reservations office.

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Conditions of travel

Unaccompanied minors may only travel if:

 

  • Prior authorisation from SAA was received – contact our call centre
  • Unaccompanied minors should reach their destination before 20:00 for all direct flight, in cases where connecting flights are applicable it is not mandatory. Connecting flights may not be on the next day. 
  • Booking was done through the Central Reservations Office
  • They are in possession of written consent (see reverse of last coupon on unaccompanied minor booklet - AW615) from their parents or guardians
  • They are escorted to the airport and checked in by a responsible adult, and received at destination by an authorised adult

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Before you fly

Baggage allowance: Children travelling alone are entitled to the full adult baggage allowance for the class in which they are travelling, if they are paying at least 50% of the adult fare.

Travel documents: On international flights your child must be in possession of the necessary documentation: a valid passport, visas and health documents.

Travel companion: Encourage your children to take a favourite toy onboard, and charge them with the responsibility of looking after it throughout the flight. This will help your child feel more secure and ‘at home’.

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At the airport

  • For safety and security reasons, SAA has the right to refuse travel if the child is not booked as an unaccompanied minor. Please ensure that the necessary arrangements are made with the call centre.
  • Check-in times:
    • Domestic: at least one hour before departure.
    • International: two hours before departure.
  • For international flights, please ensure that the necessary documentation is completed and in order.
  • At check-in a SAA representative will escort your child through the passport control, taking care of all his/her travel documents, and security checks right up to finding his/her seat.
  • Parents should remain at the airport until the flight takes off.

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In the air

Before the flight, the cabin crew will be notified of your child's name, age and any special requirements. They will regularly check that your child is comfortable and entertained throughout the flight.

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On arrival

Upon landing, your child will be introduced to a SAA host, who will escort him/her through airport immigration to arrivals, and personally hand over him/her to the parent or guardian. This person must carry proof of identification. Kindly make sure that the appointed guardian is not late, causing unnecessary distress to the child.

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Transit

At transit stops your child will always remain in the care of either cabin crew or ground staff. It is each parents responsibility to ensure that all airlines the child is travelling on has confirmed the service.

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Onward & return flights

Should you need to change your child’s travel plans, inform SAA at any time before or during the trip as restrictions do apply to some airfares. Please check that the request for travel as an unaccompanied minor or escort provision is transferred to the new flight.

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Inform your child

We will do our best to ensure that your child has a pleasant journey from start to finish. However, there are a few things that you can do to make it just that bit easier.

 

  • Make sure your child knows who is to meet them upon arrival at their destination.
  • Explain the importance of their passport and tickets, and ensure that they can recognise both.
  • The Unaccompanied Minor identification lanyard cannot be removed as it is a form of classification.
  • Children must not leave the aircraft unattended, and must wait for the cabin crew’s assistance before they exit the plane.

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