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.*
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.
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.
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.