Children may travel unaccompanied on certain routes depending on their age and provided the child does not require additional care such as toileting, feeding or administering of medicine.
Who is an unaccompanied minor?
Children aged 5 to 11 travelling without an adult 15 years or older are considered “unaccompanied minors”. Any child under the age of 5 years old must travel with an adult 15 years or older. The child’s age will determine if, and where, they are able to travel unaccompanied. Please refer to the Unaccompanied Minors Age Limits chart for permitted routes based on your child’s age on the date of commencement of travel.
Children travelling without an adult 15 years or older must meet the unaccompanied minors conditions.
Medical conditions & disabilities
If your child has a medical condition that may require clearance to travel, or be affected by the flight, please seek medical advice and contact our Paxcare Team. Our staff will do all they can to ensure a safe and comfortable journey however they cannot administer medication or be responsible for ensuring your child takes medication at a specific time. If your child has a disability we will do all we can to enable them to travel unaccompanied; however this isn’t possible in all situations. To avoid disappointment on the day of travel please ensure you contact our Paxcare Team to discuss your child’s requirements and the assistance that Air New Zealand staff are able to provide - email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +64 9 255 7757.
For their safety children travelling in a different cabin to their caregiver are required to be classified as unaccompanied minors.
Air New Zealand only permits Unaccompanied Minors on Air New Zealand ticketed and operated flights. The maximum connection time for Unaccompanied Minors is two hours between domestic flights and three hours between flights involving an international sector. Please refer to the Unaccompanied Minors Age Limits chart for permitted Air New Zealand routes, which are based on your child’s age on the date of commencement of travel. When a journey involves travel on another carrier (including Air New Zealand codeshare flights), that operating carrier’s Unaccompanied Minor policy will apply. You must contact that carrier for a copy of their policy. If your child is connecting to or from another carrier they will only be accepted if a parent or guardian is available to deliver and receive the child at both ends of the Air New Zealand flight. The child must be checked in for only the Air New Zealand flight, claim baggage and clear Customs (if applicable) and be handed over to the parent/guardian to check in for the next flight. The parent/guardian will need to remain in the intermediary airport until after the aircraft departs. In the case of delays or flight cancellations, the parent/guardian is responsible for the Unaccompanied Minor's care. In the instance of connecting flights from other airlines, the relevant airline’s allocated staff member may be accepted as the child’s guardian and is responsible for the Unaccompanied Minor's care.
Booking / pricing
Travel as an Unaccompanied Minor is charged at the best available adult fare. Unaccompanied Minors have the same entitlements on board as adult fares based on the fare purchased. Unaccompanied Minor travel can be booked online or if you prefer our Contact Centre is able to help with your travel arrangements (service fees may apply).
At this time unaccompanied minors cannot be booked via Air New Zealand's mobile booking site.
Trans-Tasman and Pacific Island flights
Given the duration of some flights, Air New Zealand strongly recommends either The Works or Works Deluxe products are purchased for Unaccompanied Minors. If opting for Seat or Seat + Bag products for your child’s travel you may wish to consider purchasing vouchers at the airport so they can purchase snacks and drinks from the In-flight Bites Menu. Cash is not accepted for purchases onboard.
Completing the form
Please ensure that before checking in, the Unaccompanied Minor Form is completed and that the names and contact information for the people delivering and receiving your child at the airport match the information provided during the booking process. Please note that each person delivering or receiving your child will be required to present photo ID.
A separate Unaccompanied Minor Form is required for each one way journey, if you prefer you can complete a form for the return flight and have your child carry it with them. If there are changes to the people delivering or receiving your child we must be informed. Please let us know by contacting our Contact Centre so that the details can be updated in our reservations system. Failure to do this may result in your child not being accepted for travel. Please note that for your child’s safety changes can only be made by the person who made the original booking.
On the day of travel
Airports are busy places, we ask that you help ease any apprehension your child has about travelling alone by explaining the following processes prior to arriving at the airport. We also ask that your child understands that they must follow the instructions given to them by our ground team and cabin crew, which are for your child’s safety and best interests.
If travelling internationally, don’t forget your child’s passport, other travel documents and your own photo ID.
Please allow extra time to complete check-in formalities as staff will need to check the Unaccompanied Minor Form(s) and issue your child a lanyard which is required to be worn throughout their journey so our staff can easily identify them. Where kiosk check-in is available you are welcome to use them, however, no boarding pass will be issued until the Unaccompanied Minor Form(s) has been checked at the Special Handling Desk. Although the kiosk will print bag tags (if applicable) please do not place your child’s bag on the bag belt until after you have completed formalities at the Special Handling Desk. At most of our larger airports a Special Handling Desk is located close to the check-in areas, here the Unaccompanied Minor Form is checked and you will be required to sign the declaration at the bottom of the form. The lanyard is issued at this time to the young traveller. Where kiosk check-in is not available please use any one the available check-in counters. The check-in agent will complete all formalities with you. Please understand that Air New Zealand cannot undertake to safeguard, nor will Air New Zealand be held responsible, for any valuables your child may be carrying on their person or in their baggage.
At some domestic airports, and all international airports, your child will be escorted by our ground team through security and to the departure gate where they will hand over your child to the cabin crew for their flight. There will be times when your child will wait in a dedicated “unaccompanied minor room” until boarding; in this instance they will still be in the care of our team. Once the ground team member arrives to escort your child they will let you know when they are ready to go, giving you the chance to say goodbye. At this point you will be asked to sign and give our team member the Unaccompanied Minor Form(s). This form will remain in the possession of our staff at all times. Depending on the airport, you may have the opportunity to escort your child through security and all the way to the departure gate. This allows you to be with your child until the last minute before boarding. In these instances you will sign the Unaccompanied Minor Form(s) at the gate and give it to our staff. Please note that the person seeing your child off must remain in the airport until after the aircraft has departed. Should there be an extended delay it is likely your child will be returned to the parent/guardian seeing them off.
Once cabin crew have completed their pre-flight safety checks they will be ready for your child to board the aircraft. Your child will be shown to their seat and given information on safety while on board. Their Unaccompanied Minor Form and passport, where applicable, will be retained by cabin crew.
During the flight
Where possible your child will be seated in the vicinity of crew work areas and with a vacant seat at the end of the row, this enables cabin crew to have your child in their sight, and if needed to be able to be seated next to them. For their safety we suggest that all passengers keep their seat belt fastened throughout the flight, even when the seatbelt sign is switched off. While cabin crew will activate the parental lock on individual seat back inflight entertainment units (if applicable), Air New Zealand can not be held responsible for any restricted content your child may view via unauthorised access to another passenger’s screen or main screen entertainment.
On landing your child will be instructed to remain seated until the cabin crew collect them, this is to enable a smooth hand over to our ground team, who will escort your child through the arrivals process.
On international flights where meals are served you can request to have a child meal or choose a meal for your child from our special meal list, which is based on diet or religious requirements. This should be done at the time of booking but can also be requested via your original booking agent or our Contact Centre up to the day before travel. If no request is made then a standard meal will be offered where the fare purchased includes a meal.
Please note that for flights where the Seats to Suit product is offered movies, meals and drinks are only provided when The Works or Works Deluxe products are purchased. If opting for Seat or Seat + Bag products for your child’s travel you may wish to consider purchasing vouchers at the airport so they can purchase snacks and drinks from the In-flight Bites Menu. Cash is not accepted for purchases onboard.
You are also welcome to supply your child with a snack box for the flight, however please be mindful that the liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions that apply to international flights include drinks and other liquids like yogurt. In addition, when flying internationally any uneaten food other than pre-packaged items such as confectionary food must be disposed of upon landing. Failure to do so may result in local authorities imposing fines or travel restrictions.
We know your child will be excited about finally arriving at their destination and wanting to see the people who are there to meet them. However, it’s important that your child knows to stay with the Air New Zealand ground team member who is escorting them, even when they can see the person meeting them. Ground team members will meet the aircraft and escort your child through to the arrivals area and where applicable through baggage collection, customs and immigration. The Unaccompanied Minor Form and passport, where applicable, is retained by our ground team; once the Unaccompanied Minor Form has been signed and ID presented by the receiving adult the child will be released into their care and travel documents returned (if applicable). The Unaccompanied Minor Form stays in Air New Zealand’s possession and the lanyard must be returned at this time.
Delays and disrupts
Despite our very best intentions and efforts, there are many factors that can contribute to us not departing or arriving on time, rest assured that regardless of the reason for the delay we have processes in place to ensure your child is looked after until they arrive at their destination. It’s important that both the delivering and receiving parent/guardian can be contacted at any time throughout the planned journey time, we suggest cellphone numbers be provided. Where a flight delay is such that it will cause undue concern or impact, or the flight is diverted to an alternative airport, our ground team will call to let you know what’s happening. During the delay we will provide care for your child and ensure that they have access to food in accordance with our standard delay protocols for all other passengers. If an overnight stay is required we will provide accommodation and a female team member to stay with your child throughout the night. There may be times where, due to diversions or inclement weather, road transport is offered. When this is the case we will call to discuss this with you prior to your child departing on the transport provided. If at any time you want to know the status of your child’s flight you can check flight information online. Alternatively you can phone our Contact Centre.
Unaccompanied minors are not permitted to travel on the Economy Skycouch.