U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-22-2011, 10:52 PM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,455,105 times
Reputation: 25990

Advertisements

As a former flight attendant, I think people have a completely different perception of what happens when you put your child on a plane alone. Especially at the holidays.

On Southwest, they fly 737's, with a passenger load of 145 customers. And three flight attendants. Flight attendants are responsible for their job duties, which is safety, and customer service. Babysitting is pretty far down on that list. You may get lucky, and have a flight attendant who is a parent, and will take more responsibility than others. Most of the time, your child is herded tothe back, placed in a seat, and ignored, with everything else going on. They will get a drink, and pretty much expected to be self sufficient. Don't fool yourself into thinking someone is really watching your child. We don't even remember, especially on short flights, less than an hour and a half. That is the truth.

I would never put a child on a flight, that has connections, unless they are pretty old, like 11 or 12. There is too much that can go wrong, weather, diversions, and you have no clue who is taking care of your child.

As a flight attendant, my responsibilty is done at the door. The child is handed over to a gate agent, usually stressed, and overwhelmed.

There are stories I could tell you, that would horrify you, all true...I won't. Just take it from me... Don't expect airlines to take care of your child.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-23-2011, 06:20 AM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 34,623,814 times
Reputation: 20198
I've been flying since I was 6. I flew unattended with my younger sister, since I was 11. That made her 8. It was always to Florida, round-trip, non-stop. Our parents would bring us to the gate, wait for them to call for boarding, and see us safely onto the ramp. We had instructions, coloring books, normal reading books, and some homework assignments. Back then, meals were -always- served to all passengers. We were told that the only time we were allowed to unbuckle our seatbelts was if we had to go to the bathroom. And the attendant made sure we knew where that was.

Our flights were mostly uneventful, we kept to ourselves, and the attendants would occasionally pause in their jobs to make sure neither of us were stressed from the flight. Of course, since we thought flying in an airplane was a normal thing to do, we were never stressed.

It's only when the parents make a "big deal" about their kids flying, that it becomes a big deal.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-23-2011, 06:47 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 88,978,939 times
Reputation: 30256
Due to newer homeland security laws, only ticket holders can be at the gate. That probably makes this more difficult these days. It's one thing to drop off/pick up a child at the gate and another thing to wave goodbye from the metal detectors hoping they find the gate.

Speaking of kids flying on planes alone, I have a story my friend told me. Her husband was from a wealthy family. While his parents were in Europe, I believe it was Spain, they sent for him. He was 12. The housekeeper put him on the plane. There was a connecting flight in some European city. Except it wasn't connecting at the same airport. The connecting flight was in a different building. By the time he got there, he didn't only miss his flight but the building was closed for the night. So he slept on the sidewalk outside of the airport. The next day he caught another flight. His parents didn't meet him at the airport but he made it to their hotel suit, not sure if it was via bus or taxi but I'm betting he took a taxi.

Shocking, yes. This was back in the day when there weren't cell phones too. And while she is right that his parents were terrible for doing that, I pointed out that it probably contributed towards his being incredibly successful as an adult. I'm not talking normal success. I'm talking outstanding success, rising through the ranks to the top of a competitive industry before his 30s.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-23-2011, 07:11 AM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,003 posts, read 16,128,157 times
Reputation: 9676
Default NOT TRUE, Airlines will give Parents a gate pass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
Due to newer homeland security laws, only ticket holders can be at the gate. That probably makes this more difficult these days. It's one thing to drop off/pick up a child at the gate and another thing to wave goodbye from the metal detectors hoping they find the gate.

Airlines will give UA partents a gate pass, to take the child to the gate, Most airlines UA polices require it. (on both ends).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-23-2011, 07:25 AM
 
Location: You know... That place
1,899 posts, read 2,351,088 times
Reputation: 2051
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyonpa View Post
Airlines will give UA partents a gate pass, to take the child to the gate, Most airlines UA polices require it. (on both ends).
I thought I had read that somewhere. Thanks for posting.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-23-2011, 07:28 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 88,978,939 times
Reputation: 30256
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyonpa View Post
Airlines will give UA partents a gate pass, to take the child to the gate, Most airlines UA polices require it. (on both ends).
That's good to know.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-23-2011, 07:31 AM
 
3,634 posts, read 9,234,127 times
Reputation: 6384
Heck, it is hard for a 78 year old to fly alone for the first time. For months I had to be reassuring that a cell phone and credit card would take care of any emergency but it is hard to explain this to a child.

Gates are busy and confusing. The child must be able and want to follow directions. Even going to the bathroom in an airport can be confusing.

That said, it can be done but the parents have to be knowledgeable about travel and issues and keep in touch.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-23-2011, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Geneva, IL
12,976 posts, read 11,792,833 times
Reputation: 14677
Jasper, is your OP referring to this incident:

Chloe Boyce, 9-Year-Old Girl, Stranded For Five Hours Over Southwest Mix-Up (VIDEO)

Clarksville mom says daughter got off plane in wrong city - WKRN, Nashville, Tennessee News, Weather and Sports |

I do think it's strange that it's not airline policy to notify parents in the event of a flight change for an unaccompanied minor, as per the article. I guess as with every flight the onus is on the traveler or those collecting them. I think that needs to be changed.

It was heartwarming that a flight attendant and pilot cared for her during the unexpected stop.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-23-2011, 07:51 AM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,455,105 times
Reputation: 25990
It is just a "heads up". Putting children on a plane alone is a crap shoot. You don't know where that plane could end up, or who will take care of your child. Once, a flight from SLC to Seattle, was diverted to Portland because Seattle was fogged in, the plane had 15 kids on it. We ended up taking the kids to a place in the airport, ordering pizza, and watching Disney shows. Sure, everyone was "taken" care of...but one five year old just kept crying, he was so confused. Poor guy.

Just be aware, things happen...you have no control. So, really think is your child mature enough to take care of him/herself...

My kids flew all the time alone. They loved it. But, I made sure to never send them on flights that needed connections, or places where weather was an issue.

Short flights, SLC to Vegas, fine. But I would not put my kids on long flights.

Just don't expect airlines to know where your kid is...they lose pets, luggage, and children...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-23-2011, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,116,890 times
Reputation: 9523
I was no "helicopter parent" by any means, but I would never - that is NEVER - allow my child (under 15) to fly alone - and that was in the days before airport security.

1) It is not the airlines' responsibility to take care of my child, it is MINE. Expecting people whom I do not know, have never met and am never likely to meet, and whom I do not pay for childcare, to care for my child and ensure his/her safety is impossibly rude and selfish.

2) There are far too many whack jobs in the world to send a child into it alone, especially travelling hundreds of miles.

3) Sending a child into unfamiliar places, with all of the allures, temptations, and fascinations - everything from aisles of stuffed animals, candy, and toys, through 'nice men' who want to 'help them' to huge echoing bathrooms with toilets that flush themselves - is like sending them into Willy Wonka's factory without an escort. Sure, it might be OK - but it is more likely that it won't be.

4) If you want to see my child, you can come see him - or her. If the divorce decree or any paperwork says you can see them - YOU make arrangements to move YOUR arse - or do without. Any judge who thinks that it's OK to make a child fly alone anywhere is either childless or an idiot, and my attorney would tell him so in no uncertain terms.

Children are not Doritos; if they get crunched, you can't always make more.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top