‘Can I Bring a Friend?’

Spring Break is the perfect time to plan a family trip, and per United States travel statistics many do take advantage. This year AAA estimates nearly 40% of families will plan a holiday. Top destinations include Rome, Paris and Las Vegas. Within the United States, many cities are seeing a surge in spring break visitors as the economy continues to grow. In 2018, New Orleans, Louisiana saw a 126% increase in visitors during spring behind that Maui, Hawaii grew by a 51% increase.

While Spring Break is increasingly popular travel time and for a good reason, it, of course, comes with some setbacks. TSA lines at commercial airports will see a spike in wait time. The roads see a spike in traffic and a spike in accidents as well according to Science Inquiry. To take part in the fun and skip the drama, why not charter a private aircraft?

At Mira Vista Aviation, a private jet charter, and management company, our sales staff can customize family vacation travel to your specific needs and get you anywhere in the world at any time. Charter provides an excellent option for families of most sizes with large cabin jets fitting up 16 passengers. So, when your kids ask to bring a friend, you won’t be left counting seats.

Traveling with friends can be exciting and entertaining for the under 18 crowd. It’s essential before bringing any minors on a trip that you plan and have all the proper paperwork in order. Just as well its important you keep even younger minors busy to ensure they too have a relaxing flight. Below are some tips to ensure your vacation is as stress-free as possible.

1. When a child is listed on a manifest is there anything different you have to do?

Mira Vista Charter: “We must verify that the parents have given written consent to allow the child to travel alone or without both parents. The age of the child is also required. If the child appears to be over the age of 18, they must have identification when flying domestically. All passengers of all ages must have a passport when traveling internationally. TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States.”

2. Many parents pack extra activities for kids to do on the plane, what the best way to pack these so that the bag or items can be kept in the cabin?

Mira Vista Charter: “When boarding the aircraft, please advise the cabin crew which bags will need to be accessible and moved to the main cabin. They will handle the location of your bags to ensure they are accessible to you and your children.”

3. What toys or items should be avoided as an activity for either safety or to keep from causing a mess on the aircraft?

Mira Vista Charter: “We ask that permanent markers and standard markers are avoided as they end up transferring to leather seating and soft-sided onboard materials. We recommend Crayola Color transfer proof markers and activity books, magnetic puzzles, books, reusable sticker books (not to be confused with standard stickers), plush dolls of any kind, iPads/Tablets/laptops are also acceptable.

“If we are given notice before departure our inflight team can arrange a complimentary display of activity books and games for children. We do not allow markers, permanent or standard, watercolors, loose paints, playdoh, silly putty or glues/glitters or slime or like consistency materials of any kind.”

4. Is a separate menu available for kids when it comes to dining or snacks?

Mira Vista Charter: “Our inflight team is happy to provide a preset menu for children. They are also welcome to request their favorite foods and snacks, same as the adults. We’re happy to present minors with separate meal options from the adults onboard.”

5. Is a car seat necessary for younger children?

Mira Vista Charter: “You're not required to use a car seat, but both the Federal Aviation Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend that you use an FAA-approved child restraint device, an approved car seat. Legally you may carry a child up to 24 months old on your lap, but unexpected turbulence can cause problems and send the child to be airborne, we strongly recommend using a car seat.

“In a crash, heaven forbid, your child could be crushed against your body or the interior seating/paneling of the aircraft. Before you bring a car seat on board an airplane, make sure it's FAA-approved. The label should read, ‘This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.’ Be sure to measure the car seat you're planning to travel with, too. To fit into most captain’s chairs, the car seat should be no wider than 16 inches (though you can rearrange the seat's armrest to accommodate slightly wider car seats).”

6. If you’re traveling internationally with your child’s friend what paperwork is required? Does it change depending on the location?

Mira Vista Charter: “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that unless both parents accompany the child, the adult have a note from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, friends, or in groups*, a note signed by both parents) stating, ‘I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/She/They has/have my permission.’

“While CBP may not ask to see this documentation, if they do, and you do not have it, you may be detained until the circumstances of the child traveling without both parents can be fully assessed. If there is no second parent with legal claims to the child (deceased, sole custody, etc.) any other relevant paperwork, such as a court decision, birth certificate naming only one parent, death certificate, etc., would be useful. Adults traveling with children should also be aware that, while the U.S. does not require this documentation, other countries have stricter requirements and failure to produce notarized permission letters and/or birth certificates could result in travelers being refused entry (Canada has very strict requirements in this regard).”

7. What’s the overall benefit of traveling private with your family rather than commercial?

Mira Vista Charter: “To speak frankly, time. Flying privately saves you time on the ground from arriving at the terminal/service station to boarding the jet can take anywhere from 10-15 minutes on average. There is no pre-check-in requirements or TSA lines to stand in. We provide a quick boarding process where passengers may drive planeside (if the airport permits this, some locations do not allow access) or curbside valet service to the terminal. Once passengers are read, our flight crew will check your ID adhering to TSA screening requirements and once cleared you will gain immediate access to the aircraft. There are no lines or holding pens to stand in.

“Onboard our fleet, you will be greeted by our inflight crew who will provide you with a display of beverages and pre-planned meal service customized to your specific needs/request.

Passengers have the freedom to fully recline their seats without constricted leg room with lay flat bedding options. The temperature on board can be set to your preference, and you can avoid being close to unknown air-borne viruses without breathing in re-circulated air. Overall, we provide on-demand, customizable, stress-free travel while maintaining maximum comfort and ease, saving you and your family precious time. We also assist with ground transportation to meet you planeside/at your terminal and hotel accommodations.”