To parents who have let their children fly alone in the past: Have the recent world events changed your opinion on the safety of allowing your minor child to fly alone?
Oh yeah! First let me say that I have never let my children fly alone, but, was planning on letting my (almost) 12 year old daughter fly alone. I had planned on her visiting my parent's in Florida, but, have shyed away from that for now. The big one that got cancelled though involved her flying overseas. She was supposed to go with a student fellowship program next summer to Europe and we nixed that right after September 11th. She would have flown with a group of fellowship students and leaders, but, at this point in time there is no way that we would allow her to go. Call me paranoid, but I just can't bear the thought of it. Maybe in a couple of years I'll change my mind. ~Pam
They haven't changed my opinion on the safety at all. However, with airports more stringent now about where non-ticketed people are allowed to be, I would be checking into that aspect of things. For example, DFW will only allow ticketed passengers into the gate area. Well ... how do you handle that one? No WAY would I send my child unaccompanied into the gate area. And what about meeting the child on the other end?
Another consideration is the age and maturity of the child ... and the child's own fear factor about flying after 9/11.
This might just be the year for the kids to remain "home for the holidays."
Jane, the airports are still allowing parents to accompany minor children to the gate and to meet arrivals at the gate. You have to get a pass to do it and show ID. If you are with someone who needs assistance, (handicapped, children, etc.), you just go to the check in counter and they will give a pass to you.
My co-worker is allowing her step-daughter for her first time this year, we all believe anything can happen at any time or day so why not after someting has just happened. It may be less likely to occur now than 5 years from now for all we know. You cant stop living your life out of the fear or not knowing because we never know.
Life must go on. What kind of life is it if you can't visit your family? It doesn't sound like it's worth living to me.
My son flew as an unaccompanied minor for the first time this summer. He was 7. I would be less inclined to let a 12-13 year old go alone because most airlines do not consider a 12 year old an unaccompanied minor. They fly as an adult and they get no supervision getting on and off the plane. As an unaccompanied minor my son was taken on the plane by an airline employee and we signed him over. My MIL had to show ID and an airline employee stayed with him until they found my MIL. They took care of all his needs on the plane and sat the unaccompanied minors together so they had company on the plane.
I am inclined to let him visit his grandparents next summer. I am undecided on whether to allow my middle son to accompany him. He will be 6. My indecision really has more to do with the younger one's maturity than any airline concerns. I am not sure he is ready to be away from home. He is a little immature.
I let my son fly alone early this summer, he was 11 years old. I would only let my son fly alone if he was somewhere where I could drive to get him if something happened. We once had to layover for a night because of the weather - I wouldn't want my son having to spend the night in a strange place with a stranger.
I have a friend who is a flight attendant of 20+ years, she says the amount of "attending" the unaccompanied minors get varies greatly between flight attendants. She says some take great care of the kids, others do very little. When my son flew alone, he got very little assistance or attention. He didn't get his snack or drink, the attendant never checked on him, he came off the plane and walked to me, while the attendant went somewhere else first. I knew that I needed to sign paperwork, so we waited for the attendant to finally come over, but I could have easily walked off with my son. The fee we paid for the extra "attention" they gave our son was almost as much as his ticket.
So, although recent world events haven't influenced my opinion on letting my son travel alone, I definitely wouldn't let my kids travel alone until they are mature enough to stay calm and handle unexpected events.
I still feel they are safer flying than carpooling with a friend to soccer.
My major fear is also with layovers or if the plane had to do an emergency landing. I can not bear the thought of my son just being out there with no familiar person with him. Creepy thought........gotta move on
My husband flew alone to Europe as a child... I could never see doing this with our children! What if something happens? Your child is there alone...at least without his parents, the people who could comfort him most in a scary situation. Can you imagine children who were flying alone on Sept. 11? May God be with them....