Our Unaccompanied Minors service ensures that your child receives the very best care from when you check-in your little traveller, to the final arrival. When your child has to travel alone, booking a flight with SAA is the next best thing to being there yourself.
- Definition of an Unaccompanied Minor: An Unaccompanied Minor is a child aged 5-11 years old travelling without the supervision of a parent or guardian who is 16 years or older.
- Children under the age of 5 years old are not accepted for the Unaccompanied Minors service.
- A Young Passenger is classified as a child who is between the ages of 12 and 16 years old.
- For the purpose of fares, any traveller 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 your local SAA office. 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 date of birth, language of the child if he or she cannot speak English, if they are a first-time flyer, or need medication, etc. Some children might need to be cleared by our medical reservations office.
- Our partner airlines and codeshares may have different regulations, age limits and charges so please check with them directly.
Conditions of travel for unaccompanied minors
Unaccompanied Minors may only travel if:
- Prior authorisation from SAA was received
- Unaccompanied Minors should reach their destination before 20:00 hrs for all direct flights. In cases where connecting flights are applicable it is not mandatory. Connecting flights may not be on the next day.
- They are escorted to the airport and checked-in by a responsible adult, and received at their destination by an authorised adult.
- They are in possession of written consent on the reverse of last coupon on unaccompanied minor booklet which must be completed by their parents or guardians when the minor is accepted at check in.
- The correct booking procedures, as outlined below, have been followed.
- Parents or guardians of children with disabilities or additional needs must inform SAA at the time of booking so the necessary care and facilities can be arranged.
Booking an unaccompanied minor ticket
The child’s parent or legal guardian must call their local SAA office to arrange for their travel and obtain authorisation from SAA.
Children travelling alone are entitled to the full adult baggage allowance for the class in which they are travelling.
Travel documents: Your child must be in possession of the necessary documentation: a valid passport, visas and health documents or any documentation required by a country such as unabridged birth certificates or letters of consent. Please note the South African travel requirements for minors travelling to and from South African, and ensure you have put in place the relevant documentation.
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, as outlined above. At check-in an SAA representative will escort your child through the passport control, taking care of all their travel documents, and security checks right up to finding their seat.
Parents should remain at the airport until the flight has departed.
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.
Upon landing, your child will be introduced to an SAA host, who will escort them through the airport immigration to arrivals, and personally hand them over 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.
At transit stops your child will always remain in the care of either cabin crew or ground staff. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure that the child is a confirmed Unaccompanied Minor on all connecting airlines the child is travelling on.
Onward and return flights
Should you need to change your child’s travel plans, please inform us 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.
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 you can do to make it easier:
- Make sure your child knows who is to meet them at their destination.
- Explain the importance of their passport and tickets, and ensure 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.