Kids flying alone?

Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 12:34 pm
I have never done this - my girls are going to fly across country by themselves - one is 16 and the other is 12. We booked them a direct flight coast to coast. I have talked with the airlines and the 16 does not need an escort but the 12 year old does (16 is not old enough to be her escort). I get the info and we can have adults approved by me to bring them through security and pick them up at the gate - so I will bring them to the airport and family out west will come to meet them at the gate.

It seems pretty easy considering only on the flight will they be left with no adult they do not know. The airline and flight attendants of course will be aware and they assign them seats toward the back of the plane so flight attendants can "keep an eye" and check on them.

Any other thoughts on how I can make this easy for them? What I should discuss? Also what about food on the flight? It is a long flight and I know often times some flights do not let you pay cash for extras. I don't want to give them my credit card.
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 12:54 pm
I would have no problem doing this. It seems pretty straightforward.

Kids that age know how to act in public. I assume you will pack something to read and some snacks. I would give them some extra money (maybe $20 each) for food and for emergencies (although with an escort I can't imagine what emergency would possible require extra money).

As far as what to discuss? I assume the kids have some questions... why not discuss that?

There isn't any thing real to worry about. The flight on the plane... and the walk through the airport... will be far safer than the car ride to the airport. The most important thing is to make sure they wear their seatbelts in the car.

Tell them to have fun.

Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 01:28 pm
I am not too worried - they are pretty responsible girls especially the 16 year old. I think they are more excited than scared. They will probably act better than if I were with them.

I already walked the younger one through the steps as we had a recent flight together.

Just I am a normal mom - if I am not there how could they possibly survive? In one way I think it is good for them especially the older girl as she may soon be out from under the house in a couple of years.
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 01:35 pm
The travelling part will be fine.

Reserach any adjustments you may need to make to their mobile plans.

If they get allowances, suggest to them that they save some money to use on their trip. The more independent and responsible they need to be on the trip, the better. They can buy snacks and magazines in advance or at the airport - best if they're funding this sort of thing themselves.
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 01:41 pm
Funny you talk about funding this. My older girl is paying for the flight herself. We have a family wedding and for all of us to go it would be expensive - we have a couple of other trips because of their sports obligations and didn't think we could afford to all fly - the timing of the trip, airfares are very high.

So my older daughter has a job -- one that is flexible, they call and ask if she can work - it is score keeping for a sports facility so it works with her busy schedule - she also umpires for youth softball. When we said we didn't think we could go, she wanted so much to be a part of her cousin's wedding, she asked if she could go if she paid it with her own money.

So yes, she is funding it herself. And she will bring her own spending money. The younger one will bring what she has, but we will give a bit more - she only has had a couple of small babysitting jobs still a bit young to have anything more.
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 01:46 pm
That is terrific. Gotta love a daughter/cousin like that Smile

Do check on the mobiles. A friend of mine ran into a not-so-pleasant surprise about a year (?) ago. His kids used their mobiles to access something while flying and there were some surprise roaming charges that ran into the hundreds. Really dumb, since there was something they could have done in advance of the trip that would have prevented those charges. It could be something that's already handled by your plan - but worth checking.
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Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 01:57 pm
Mo (14) has flown so much I wouldn't have any problem with him going alone. He'd be totally psyched to go somewhere on his own.

I'd look into somehow prepaying for a meal or give them a $20 Visa gift card that they could use to pay for the meal.
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Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2015 10:38 am
So they are in route now - I dumped them with the airlines - terrible checkin experience - more to do with simply that they had so few people to checkin (if I didn't have to sign something I'd do my own checkin).

Got in through security without a hitch - they believe it or not were very efficient - bonus - going with kids, they tend not to have you walk through the naked machine (or so I like to call it). I think they are afraid the kids won't stand correctly or something.

They were very good at the boarding though which made me feel much better as the check in made me lose confidence and thought they would likely lose my children some how.

Warned aunt of their lack of sleep and potential irratibilty at their end. Well it is family's problem now. It will be quiet for a week for mom and dad.
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2015 01:14 am
If you ask me then, I never ever will give them permission.
I always believe that, air travel is the most safe journey.
May God bless them.
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2015 01:36 am
Most safe, but never ever give them permission? I think I'm misunderstanding something.
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Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 11:52 pm
Absolutely, why not, but you need air escort.
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 11:56 pm
Then, they wouldn't really be alone, would they?
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Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2015 03:23 am
Oh, good to hear. I was just about to warn you about how rude and unhelpful a lot of staff were at airports in the U.S. we found.

I was thinking it stressed us so it could stress them. Glad to hear all went well.

My sister and I flew alone when we were six and four. It was so cool!
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2015 07:27 am
Well it also didn't go so smooth coming home. Their checkin experience went well - I think because in Boston there are so few flights via Alaska AL. But I went to pick them up - they got in late about 11pm. I figured that security and the airport would be slow so no need to arrive 90 minutes early or more like when you need to check them in.

I arrive - there is no one at the checkin desk- no one around at all really - other than some cleaning people. I walk to the gates, they are all blocked off - no security you can even go through.

No one told me this -that the airport around there would basically be empty even after I called several times to be clear on the correct procedures for me picking them up. They had made it clear that I was to go to the checkin desk, get a pass to go through security and I was to meet them at the gate.

I found a cleaning person and she tried to help me - she called some people and they directed her to this info desk - where no one was working - I called the airlines (by this time the plane had landed and people were getting off)...they said they tried to contact someone in Boston but because they were busy with the arrival no one answered the phone.

I noticed people going to baggage and saw where they were coming from - I asked them if they were on that flight - when they said yes, I just followed where everyone was coming from, found my way to back exit of where they were coming through. Little security there I could have if I wanted to push it, push past the wimpy little guy that worked for Alaska and walk right to the gate - there was no security what so ever Just a door that was held open by this wimp.

I decided against it as I could see the gate from that doorway. Finally I saw a woman come out with my kids. I wasn't too worried - I knew my kids were old enough that they would call me if the airline totally screwed up. I talked to this woman and asked why I wasn't notified that I needed to meet them elsewhere - just by luck I found my way here- she said she wasn't even aware that there were unaccompanied minors on this flight until after they landed.

Great - I called the next day and spoke with a customer service rep. They tried to lay the blame on me saying I was not there 90 minutes early (and they only knew this because I said I arrived a half hour before) - I answered what good would that have done - the checkin desk states it is closed 4 or 5 hours prior much more than 90 minutes, not to mention Boston was completely unaware there were any unaccompanied minors. After taking down the info, they later followed up and said, yeah, they should have different procedures in place considering the way Boston is set up (duh)! They refunded the unaccompanied minor fee (since they really did not hold up their side of the bargain) and gave me a discount off a future flight.

I wasn't overally worried like I said and told the airline, just ticked off because I am running around the airport after 11pm not knowing where to go and no one to ask. I also mentioned that they should update the procedures and be clear as there could have been much younger children traveling.
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2015 10:22 am
That's more like our experience. And often it was cleaning and baggage transport people who helped out....like when a flight we were catching changed terminals three times with no public announcement. It all seemed shambolic to us. I don't recall US domestic flight being so crazy in 2010.
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