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Did the parents do enough to ensure her safety? 10-Year-Old Girl Goes Missing After Flying Alone on United Airlines
January 18, 2013 at 10:04 PM

At what age is it appropriate to let a child fly alone on an airplane? This is the newest debate after Annie and Perry Klebahn’s 10-year-old daughter, Phoebe, missed her United Airlines plane connection because the third-party unaccompanied minor service representative had “simply forgotten to show up.”

Phoebe’s parents “only knew their daughter did not make it when her summer camp in Michigan called to say she hadn’t arrived.”

Once she was discovered “missing,” it took an additional hour to find her!

“Apparently when the flight landed, she asked the flight attendants for help, but they told her they were busy and she needed to wait. She also asked thrice for access to a phone to call her parents, but was allegedly also told to wait.”

This is not the first time an airline has failed to provide sufficient care of an unaccompanied minor, and it probably won’t be the last. Her parents could have purchased a direct flight, or provided her with a cell phone for this trip; regardless, the main point is that this unaccompanied minor was, well, unaccompanied!

At what age would you allow your child to fly on a plane unaccompanied? 


*Note from the Author: This blog's intention is not to defame any specific airline. I would've written the same blog if it had been Delta, Airtran, or any other airline. This blog is just my opinion, as a mother who is terrified to place her child on ANY airline alone, especially after reading this news story.*


  • krysstizzle
    January 18, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    10 is just entirely too young, imo, for a child to be flying alone, even if the airlines will "watch them". 

    My 11 year old is very trustworthy and sensible, but no way I would let him fly along, especially if there was to be a connecting flight. I'm thinking 14 or so (depending on the child) would be an appropriate age for them to fly alone. ---Does that make me sound crazy overprotective? I just can't imagine letting a younger child fly alone. 

  • terpmama
    January 18, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    I would be suing... But then again my kids don't fly unaccompanied.

  • Paperfishies
    January 18, 2013 at 10:14 PM
    Under 16 is too young to fly alone.
  • young_lv_mom
    January 18, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    I had to travel at least twice a year on my own from the time I was 12 till 17 from FL to NV, and my father hated direct flights. They can be scary, however they say they will help when needed (and did for me when I was traveling), I think it was the airlines fault on this one. They even have special things in place for unaccompanied minors flying.

  • AA2.0
    by AA2.0
    January 18, 2013 at 10:17 PM
    I think 10 is too young, however, I would be suing the airline because they were supposed to essentially accompany the child on the flight.
  • unspecified42
    January 18, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    I would let my child fly alone (he's 8), but only if there were someone on the other end to pick him up at the airport. It's really weird to me that they didn't agree to have her call and say she'd arrived safely, or didn't send her with a cell phone or something.

    I also kind of wonder about the veracity of her story that she asked three times for a phone and was told no and that she was ignored by the airlines. I find that a little hard to believe, but I've been surprised by worse things before, so who knows.

  • momtimesx4
    January 18, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Parents fault.

  • Bieg9093
    January 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM

     I wonder how often kids fly unaccompanied these days.  It used to be fairly regular but, like unaccompanied kids in hospitals, it must be pretty rare nowadays.

  • iloveashton804
    January 18, 2013 at 10:23 PM

     I let my son fly at 10 years old. It was a direct flight though.

  • smalltowngal
    January 18, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    The airlines should actually be able to provide help when someone asks for it. Is it really that had for a flight attendant to help a child for 2 minutes? 

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