Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How does an unaccompanied minor fly

How does an unaccompanied minor fly?
Right, so my question isn't so much about the actual process as much as it is a specific. I'm 16 years old and am due to fly from Toronto Canada to St. Paul Minneapolis in a month or two. I have flown there before unaccompanied before. However, on my last two flights i brought with me a letter signed by my father authorizing me to fly alone. The first time (when i was 12) i seemed to have not have been checked for this. The second time however, the lady at a desk (customs? National security?) after check in, but before the gate, asked for the letter. When I presented it to her, she then asked me if i had proof that this was my father who had written the letter and not just one of my friends or something. I had nothing of the sort, so i was detained and interviewed briefly before the officer determined due to my low threat that i should be allowed to board the plane. This time i'd prefer to not leave it up to chance and find out what exactly it was she was going on about, and how i would avoid this problem in the future. Does anyone know a) What the area she worked in is called? b) How do i avoid this problem on this trip? Extra info: she mentioned something about an affidavit and she also mentioned saying that a bank or somethign could sign one. EDIT: Oh i forgot to mention that I am opting NOT to participate in Air Canada's child program. Their website says that if i am 12-17 it is considered optional. As a Post-post script, could any Air Canada employees inform me if they might make an exception to the Carry-On baggage rule? I would like to bring along my guitar (electric) in a slim but soft case. I cannot check it as luggage for fear that it will be broken and for fear that it will be lost ( I am making a few turnovers ) It is slim enough that I could probably hold it between my legs on the flight. I have also heard of people having temporary access to the Flight attendant's closet. Could an employee give me their two cents on this?
Air Travel - 1 Answers
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I don't know about the whole unaccompanied minor bit, but suspect that she wanted that affidavit/statement from your father to be NOTARIZED. It's not something from your bank, but a bank is a common place to find a Notary Public. A Notary basically witnesses your father signing the statement (and will ask him for ID to prove he's the person in the letter) and then puts his seal on it to attest that the statement has been sworn to in front of him. I do know that you would not be allowed to sit with the guitar between your legs during takeoffs and landings. During those two parts of the flight, all personal items must be stowed in either the overhead compartment or beneath the seat in front of you. And a guitar, even in a slim soft case, exceeds the dimensions for carry-on luggage. If they allow you an exception, then they'd have someone else on board complaining about something THEY wanted to bring onboard but were not permitted to, and the next thing you know, everyone would be asking for and expecting "exceptions".

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