On Vacation: Legalities of Flying with Children

On vacation, people plan their trips through different transportation means, airplane included. What legal aspects must be considered when flying with children?
On Vacation: Legalities of Flying with Children

Last update: 25 May, 2021

Before going on vacation, people plan their trips through different transportation means, airplane included. But what legal aspects must be considered when you’re flying with children?

Despite the illusion of traveling with children, thinking about practical aspects can be stressful for parents. Destination, accommodation, itinerary, making plans for each day…there are a lot of decisions to make.

When traveling by airplane, there are many questions about the necessary documentation, waiting hours at the airport, and security controls.

Traveling by airplane with young children can be a true nightmare. For this reason, to avoid last minute problems and start your vacation in the best way, it’s necessary to stay informed and be prepared before traveling with children. Next, we’ll cover a few points in order for you to better understand the legal aspects of flying with children.

What documents are needed when flying with children?

When we plan to travel by airplane with children, an important aspect to consider is the requirement we must meet regarding documentation. This will vary based on the children’s age , your destination, and the people traveling with them.


Generally, people over 14 years old must present their ID card or their passport, according to their destination. Children under 14 years old aren’t forced to bring these documents on domestic flights. But if they don’t have them, they’ll have to present other documents, such as the family book. For this reason, it’s recommended that children have their ID card.

For international flights, in Europe or other countries, it’s mandatory that children present their ID card or their passport. It’s also important to verify the specific requirements of the country of destination, for example, aspects related to visa or vaccines.

When children under 14 years old travel alone or with people who aren’t their parents, they need to present some additional documents. On domestic flights, if children don’t have their ID card or passport, it’s necessary to present a notarial certification with their personal information and their photograph.

These documents must include the authorization of the mother and the father, or the legal guardian to allow children to travel alone, or with a person properly identified. These are security measures to protect children’s security and avoid abduction.

What happens if children only travel with their father or mother?

This is frequently the case when parents are separated or divorced. If it’s a domestic flight, there aren’t additional requirements. Children can board the flight with one of their parents without any problem.

If children don’t have an ID card, supervisory authorities can request some documents to demonstrate their family relationship, such as the family book. If it’s an international flight, there are a lot of questions to answer. For example, if authorization of the other parent is necessary.


At first, if they share their children’s custody and the parent that travels with them has an established legal period to be with their children, it’s not necessary to have authorization. But it’s recommended to have the authorization of the other parent in case it’s requested by a supervisory authority.

In some cases, the sentence of care and custody includes a prohibition on leaving the national territory without the authorization of both parents, because of the high abduction risk. In that case, the authorization of the parent that doesn’t travel with their children is essential.

Regulations of airlines when flying with children

Regulations for flying with children varies depending on the airline. Children under two years old are considered babies, and generally, they don’t occupy a seat. This means that they travel on the laps of their mother or their father, and only pay ten percent of the regular price.

Children between two and eleven years old travel in their own seat. They often have a discount percentage regarding the price and the airline, which is usually around twenty percent. Generally, lower prices, promotions, and low-cost airlines don’t have any kind of discount.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.