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Hobbitchild

Anyone Know about Airport Policies? Wrote About It Wrong Possibly...

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Hi!

So, I published an ebook and I hope to release it as a paperback soon. I first want to make sure it is pretty much rid of mistakes first. Although it has been edited, every so often someone brings something to my attention that struck them odd. Sometimes, they are not mistakes, but I like to know about the ones that are.

Today, someone brought to my attention that my main character didn't have an ID when he went on an airplane. Now, I've never been to an airport or traveled by air before, so I had to research it while I was writing about it. To give you more context, my character is an eleven-year-old boy (Travis) with amnesia who, at this point in the story, is alone and needs to travel somewhere immediately. He befriends a teenager (Lewis) who is traveling where he is going who offers him a pre-paid ticket.

I never mention ID or boarding passes or whatever kids need. I would like to figure out some way to fix this part in the story (if it even needs fixing as there might be some way around the situation) without making significant changes to my book. Does anyone have any ideas? I've researched it, but I'm confused by the amount of different information about minor air travel. I was hoping someone with actual experience could help me.

Thank you so much!

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There are numerous YouTube videos on dealing with airports. Here are a couple I found right away:

 

 

 

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To me, according to an article I read through, it looks like although it is encouraged for an unaccompanied child to bring ID and his or her birth certificate, it is not absolutely required. Anyone find something different?

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6 hours ago, Hobbitchild said:

offers him a pre-paid ticket.

I haven't traveled with a minor recently, but I have done a lot of national and international travel. 

 

Can I ask a little more about this ticket? After 9/11 air travel procedures have become extremely strict. Tickets are registered to a person, and they are registered using a form of ID (for adults). In this US, this is your driver's licence or passport. How did the ticket come to be in Travis' name? Or is Lewis over 18 and the adult accompanying him?

 

Also, if they are travelling "together" but the airline does not know, a little research has just told me that booking an unaccompanied minor ticket for Travis would be a very difficult procedure for Lewis. 

 

Edit: Just found this as well, if Lewis is the "adult accompanying Travis":

 

For those who are not the parent or guardian of the child being traveled with, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recommends to have a notarized documentation stating that the accompanying guardian has permission to take the child on the trip. The same applies in cases where children are not accompanied by both parents. CBP recommends that both parents sign a letter stating, “I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/she/they has/have my permission to do so.” While this documentation is not a requirement in the U.S., other countries, such as Canada, may refuse entry without it.

https://traveltips.usatoday.com/tsa-underage-flyer-identification-109907.html

 

It looks like there are quite a few hoops your characters may need to jump through, here. 😕

Edited by PenName

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3 hours ago, Hobbitchild said:

To me, according to an article I read through, it looks like although it is encouraged for an unaccompanied child to bring ID and his or her birth certificate, it is not absolutely required. Anyone find something different?

I came across this when I was researching for you. It seems a TSA agent (US organization) or airline staff may ask a minor to prove their age with ID or a birth certificate, depending on circumstances.

 

If you let me know if this is a domestic or international flight, and if Travis is classified as unaccompanied, I can probably get more specific info for you. :)

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@PenName, 

It is a domestic flight. The tickets were pre-paid for Lewis by Lewis' grandmother (who wanted to buy the seat next to him because she didn't want him sitting next to a stranger). I found an article that says: 

 

"Children ages 5-14 are not required to show an ID at time of check-in, however, they are always encouraged to have some sort of ID on them during travel.

If your child already has a passport, at least send them with a copy of it in case of an emergency."

 

So, Travis doesn't necessarily need an ID (it is recommended but not enforced). 

 

It's crazy to think of the technical stuff I didn't think of (well, actually, I couldn't really have known)! 😬 I wish there was just some way to fix it.

 

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12 minutes ago, Hobbitchild said:

It is a domestic flight. The tickets were pre-paid for Lewis by Lewis' grandmother (who wanted to buy the seat next to him because she didn't want him sitting next to a stranger).

Ah, okay. So I assume the ticket for that seat has Lewis' grandmother's name on it? Airlines do not allow the purchase of a "dummy ticket" - each ticket/seat must be registered to an individual. 

 

Oh, edit again: Lewis would have needed to be prepared to answer questions about why the other member of his traveling party (empty seat) was not there yet and would they be expecting her. He would have to say no and explain (or lie, but hopefully not!)

 

If his grandmother purchased the tickets then she could change the name on it to be Travis' name. Perhaps the solution is to let her in on the plan?

Edited by PenName

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@PenName,

Interesting. I wonder if she do that without actually being there? 

 

I wonder if I should just it so that the airport doesn't have a lot of policies about minors. This is only semi-realistic children's fiction. Obviously, in reality, an airport would have to have certain policies but since it isn't an important part of the story...hmmmm....

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3 minutes ago, Hobbitchild said:

@PenName,

Interesting. I wonder if she do that without actually being there? 

 

I wonder if I should just it so that the airport doesn't have a lot of policies about minors. This is only semi-realistic children's fiction. Obviously, in reality, an airport would have to have certain policies but since it isn't an important part of the story...hmmmm....

That is all up to you. 🙂

 

Different airlines have different policies, but she could definitely change the ticket online without being there, at least up to a point. The closer it gets to the day/time of the actual flight, the more likely it will be that the airline has strict policies about how/if the ticket can be changed. 

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@PenName,

 

I think I should have the tickets paid for and sorted out in advance by the adult (Larry) that was responsible for Travis  (he wasn't his official guardian, but he was heading up the mission until he was compromised). I wonder if that would work? Could a responsible adult pay for a child's ticket without being their parent? Actually, since Larry is a secret agent, he could have connections that could make it work...

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23 hours ago, Hobbitchild said:

Actually, since Larry is a secret agent, he could have connections that could make it work...

All bets are off when secret agents are in play! Love that!

 

23 hours ago, Hobbitchild said:

Could a responsible adult pay for a child's ticket without being their parent?

The info I find says that the purchaser of the ticket must be the parent or guardian. 😕 It also may give Lewis some problems when he tries to fly with Travis, especially if he is over 18. Check this out:

 

"If you’re traveling with someone else’s child and the parents are not with you, be prepared to show documentation that you have permission to travel together. There’s no official consent form, so you’ll need to make one yourself. We recommend a signed and notarized consent letter from the child’s parent or parents, such as our Child Travel Consent Form. Be sure to include the child’s name, the companion’s name, the dates of travel, the destination, the parents’ names and contact information, and a statement of permission from the parents. You may never be asked for a consent letter on a domestic flight, but it’s good to have just in case."

https://www.rocketlawyer.com/blog/travel-kids-dont-share-last-name-924312

 

Honestly, I think the secret agent route is a great idea. He can pull strings and circumvent all of this!

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13 hours ago, PenName said:

Honestly, I think the secret agent route is a great idea. He can pull strings and circumvent all of this!

I did it. 😀 I made it so that, before the agent was compromised, he pulled strings because he has connections so that, if any of them want to get on a flight (which they were planning on anyway),  they simply had to use a code (I can't tell you what it is, it's top secret...just kidding, it's 7593), and they are free to go. Thanks for the help!

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By the way, @Hobbitchild, how did your giveaway go? And have you sold any books since then? I hope things are going well. Are you planning the next book?

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@Zee My giveaway went great! I sold one pre-order copy before the promotion started, then I gave away eighty-six copies and sold one more. So, for sales practically nothing. But for free giveaways a lot!

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