Flying with children who aren't yours: What are the rules?

child in airplane looking at the window
child in airplane looking at the window

DEAR TRAVELER — My husband and I soon will be flying to California with our granddaughter. She is 11 years old and has the same last name as we do. What documents would be sufficient to make sure there are no problems at the airports? We want to ensure a smooth and drama-free trip. — Good Grandmother

Dear Good: Children younger than 18 do not need to show ID for domestic flights. However, it’s a good policy to bring the child’s birth certificate. You might also want to bring a notarized letter from both parents that gives you permission to take the flight with your granddaughter and also to obtain medical care for her in case of emergency.

If a non-parent (or one parent) drives or flies internationally with a child, he or she needs to do much more. Bring the child’s birth certificate for those younger than 16, plus a notarized letter giving permission from both parents for that person to travel internationally with the child.

Dear Traveler: I found a great way to fly to London. Drive to Toronto, stay overnight at an airport hotel that lets you park for free while you’re gone and fly Air Canada. We got round-trip nonstop flights for $987 instead of the $2,000 we would have paid from Detroit for a trip in July. — Deal of Deals

Dear Deal: If you have the time and don’t mind driving the four hours across the border to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, it’s a deal. It will become less so by late August, when fares from Detroit Metro to London usually fall.

Both Air Canada and British Airways fly nonstop from Toronto to London Heathrow. A small carrier, Air Transat, flies nonstop from Toronto to London Gatwick.

Dear Traveler: Any suggestions on where to go for this Christmas or New Year’s, somewhere warm? I’m sure there aren’t any deals then, but thought I’d ask. — Thinking Ahead

Dear Ahead: The period between Dec. 15-Jan. 3 is definitely not a deal time. However, if you can go between Dec. 1-15 or after Jan. 3, you will find a lull in airfares, resort prices and cruise fares. If you are not picky about where you want to go, ask a travel agent to keep an eye out for something good on your behalf.

Here are a couple of examples of the holiday premium: Detroit to Orlando airfare on Dec. 1-8 is $199 round-trip but jumps to $470 round-trip if you fly Dec. 22-29. A week’s vacation to the Riu Palace Las Americas in Cancun, including airfare, is $1,680 per person Dec. 8-15 on Priceline, but it jumps to $2,496 for Dec. 22-29.

One other option? Cozy up to a friend or relative who owns or rents a place in Florida, Mexico or the Caribbean and talk them into letting their new best friend (you) visit over the holidays.

Contact Detroit Free Press Travel Writer Ellen Creager: ___


This article was written by ELLEN CREAGER from Detroit Free Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.