Kids Flying Solo

The Today Show covered a story about a 10 year old child who was temporarily lost (for 45 minutes) while flying solo to camp.  The parents hired an escort to meet her daughter upon landing who never showed up.  The child had no cell phone.  Another airline staffer helped the girl locate her connecting flight and she got to camp safely.

 "United Airlines’ unaccompanied minor policy is standard compared to other airlines. Unaccompanied kids ages 5 to 7 can travel, but only on nonstop flights. Kids ages 8 to 11 can travel on any flight (nonstop or connecting); and kids 12 to 17 can pay a fee to use the unaccompanied minor service or can also travel as adults. "(source)

It's Feedback Friday...

What age do you think is old enough to fly solo?

Do you believe the airline is 100% to blame or share blame with the parents in this case?

Would you allow your child to fly alone?


  1. The first time I let my son fly alone he was 11. I can still see him headed toward the gate with his bag of golf clubs thrown over his shoulder. (He is 41 now!) It was a direct flight which took about 2 hours and he did not have to change planes. My parents were meeting him at his destination. No fear there. A flight attendant met us at the airport, walked with him onto the plane and handed him off to my parents upon arrival. (And my parents had to prove identity.) I would never have let him fly alone if the flight were not direct. With the family in question, I am just wondering why they didn't give the child a cell phone? Given today's technology, that seems kind of irresponsible to me. On the other hand, when you put a child on a plane unescorted, the airline supposedly accepts responsibility to see that the child is met by someone at the end of the flight.

  2. A few years ago our neighbor's parents lived in the same area as my in-laws and my oldest daughter flew w/ them to spend some time w/ her grandparents. I felt completely comfortable w/ this since I knew they'd keep her safe. We've both moved away now, but since it was so much fun, every year since the grandparents want me to send another kid or two, but I'm just not comfortable with a random escort assigned by the airline. My biggest concern is that somehow they would get stuck at some airport overnight or that someone would snatch them.

  3. 40 years. I hate when my adult kids travel, I'm always scanning the news for plane crashes. Maybe I would relax a little if they would travel via wagon train.

  4. My girls flew alone from Cologne to London when they were 5 and 7, and all worked well. It was a direct flight, but now, as they are 8 and 10, I´d let them fly wherever they wanted to - well, we can´t pay it, anyway :)
    It was a great boost to their confidence, and I believe a good self-esteem adds more to safety than any other overcarefull safety measurements could ever do.
    She was lost for 45 minutes, at an age of 10, and this made it to the news? Oh my.

  5. I can't imagine why it would be the airline's fault. The parents put the kid on. My kids won't be flying alone anytime soon- I can tell you that. I can't imagine letting a kid fly alone much before 12.


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