British Airways has announced it is to withdraw its Skyflyer Solo service for children travelling alone (often referred to as “unaccompanied minors”) from Tuesday 31 January 2017.
The airline has also closed its Skyflyer Solo service for future bookings with immediate effect. Therefore, no new bookings for the Skyflyer Solo service will be accepted, regardless of the date of travel.
The Skyflyer Solo service was a paid for service whereby children travelling alone would be escorted and supervised at the airport by a dedicated airline representative. On arrival, the child would be met at the aircraft door and escorted through the arrivals process until handed over to a nominated adult.
BA will continue to allow children over the age of twelve to travel alone. Any children under the age of twelve must be accompanied by an adult over the age of sixteen.
The only reason given by BA for the withdrawal of the service is a decline in demand.
Whilst BA is at pains to emphasise that the decision has not been made lightly, there is bound to be a loss of goodwill amongst many of its frequent flyers. No doubt the first introduction to British Airways amongst many such frequent flyers was travelling alone as a child.
BA has published a full list of Questions & Answers (largely aimed at travel agents).
For parents & guardians looking for alternative services, airlines which provided dedicated services for unaccompanied minors include Virgin Atlantic, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss. easyJet do not offer a dedicated unaccompanied minors service.
Somewhat ironically, Iberia and Iberia Express which are both owned by the same parent company as British Airways (International Airlines Group) will continue to provide an unaccompanied minors service, even for flights they operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5.