Would you let your 10 year old do this?

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Posted 4/9/2014 by AnonPea563 in NSBR Board

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PeaNut 604,004
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Posted: 4/9/2014 1:25:59 AM
Short version: Would you let a 10 year old fly unaccompanied from one continent to another? The flight would be extremely long like 18 hours.

I will be back to answer questions if needed.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 66,910
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Posted: 4/9/2014 1:40:38 AM
Probably not. Does the airline even allow that? I know there are a lot of new restrictions. Including times that kids can fly and the number of hours.

My kids do fly unaccompanied. They are 11 and 13. They have only flown trips that are about 1000 miles.

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PeaNut 15,409
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Posted: 4/9/2014 1:48:06 AM
My son did fly unaccompanied Seattle to Florida at that age, with a plane change in Memphis. If I recall correctly it was about 9 hours total. He did fine, but he always was a responsible kid and the airline took care of him during his layover. However this was just before 9/11 and there were less restrictions on flying. If my 10 year old was not changing planes in a country other than the US I would probably allow it.



PeaNut 300,909
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Posted: 4/9/2014 1:59:40 AM
No, no no and I flew between countries with only a airline escort when 9ish.

There are too many risks and problems on such a long flight.


PeaNut 344,239
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Posted: 4/9/2014 2:27:27 AM
Is it allowed - I live in Denmark, we have family in Faroe Islands, and a couple a years ago ther son was going to a football school in Manchester, he was allowed to fly alone from Faroe Islands to Copenhagen - but it was not allowed flying alone to another country he was 12 at that time

As an answer to your question, I would probaly not let my 10 year old be alone at such a long flight unless he/she is used to travel long trips

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PeaNut 24,951
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Posted: 4/9/2014 4:44:53 AM
no. I am considering allowing my 13yo to do it, but he's so dang mature AND he's 6'3" so he looks intimidating at 13.

But only considering.


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Posted: 4/9/2014 5:05:53 AM
Weird first post.....

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PeaNut 465,906
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Posted: 4/9/2014 6:30:17 AM
No, I would not. I would hesitate to let my teens do that. I've had flights get diverted or canceled.

I'm not worried about putting my child on a flight from A to B. I'm worried that something unusual would happen and he/she wouldn't know what to do. If they are flying where they don't speak the language (like a diverted flight), I wouldn't do it. At 10, I wouldn't expect him/her to have the life skills to deal with an unexpected event.

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Posted: 4/9/2014 6:35:02 AM

Weird first post.....

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PeaNut 146,398
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Posted: 4/9/2014 6:55:19 AM
If it were a trip the kid has done many times before (e.g. the grandparents live there, and the family travels there twice a year...), I'd consider it.

It would also depend on whether the airline guaranteed an escort for all changes.

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PeaNut 87,597
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Posted: 4/9/2014 7:03:19 AM
I have an aquantaince that would for sure let her 13 yr. old daughter do it, but not her 15 yr. old son as he isn't mature enough.


PeaNut 595,029
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Posted: 4/9/2014 7:06:09 AM
I guess it would depend on the kid. I have one that there is no way, not ever.

He is a daredevil, high risk taker. He has zero fear when it comes to doing new things and was always disappearing into the ether. I could be holding his hand and in the blink of an eye, he would disappear. I am that mother that all the other mommies would look at with the stink eye when he was hanging by his toes off the monkey bars wondering why I didn't jump up screaming. No, not an unattentive mom, just exhausted and learning how to choose my battles.

So with him? No. At 10, he would pull his houdini act and the next thing his handler would know he would be in the cockpit pushing buttons and figuring out how to get a ginormous plane to move. Or out on the runway pretending to direct the planes. Or worse.

I wouldn't have wished that kid on any one unlucky enough to be the person assigned to be his escort.


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Posted: 4/9/2014 7:06:28 AM
Not if I had a choice but sometimes as parents we have to do things that we would rather not. I would imagine it's prohibitively expensive to send a chaperone.

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PeaNut 205,553
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Posted: 4/9/2014 7:06:52 AM
I would let my 11-year-old dd do that flight as a UA - meaning the airlines would be keeping an eye on her. She is a good flyer and between her iPad and a book or two would be fine. She is very confident and enjoys being alone.

My 14-year-olds are flying to another country on adult tickets this summer. I am a bit nervous, but also confident that they can do it.

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PeaNut 62,544
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Posted: 4/9/2014 8:17:55 AM

I guess it would depend on the circumstances, but it is very unlikely that I would let DD(11) fly alone at all. If I did, it would have to be a direct flight with trusted adults on both ends. Most importantly, SHE wouldn't be comfortable flying alone, so we'd figure out an alternative.

I can't imagine a situation where DD would need to fly cross-continent without a family member or chaperone.



PeaNut 574,604
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Posted: 4/9/2014 8:36:26 AM

I've had too many things go wrong on flights -- including international flights -- that have resulted in overnights at the airport and working/pressing really hard to get new flights in a timely basis. Knowing that and even with an airline paid escort, there is no way I'd let a child of that age fly that long and internationally.

Even with an airline escort, I don't trust them not to drop the ball. I wouldn't trust them to take care of a precious object that long, so there is no way I'd trust them with my kid.

(The last international flight we were on had mechanical problems, an unexpected landing with fire trucks, and overnight in airport -- and we were the lucky ones compared to the people who got hotel rooms. There was a huge sports tournament going on in the city at the time and all of the decent rooms were filled and the "lucky" premier/elite airline members got put up in roach motels with bedbugs, hookers, open drug use, and gunplay and cops in the parking lot. Most of them ended up taking a taxi back to the airport at dawn and they had been afraid all night. Quite a few of them were parents with children who were furious that they'd been put up in such unsafe conditions. If that's how they treated their best customers, there is no way I'd trust them with my kid.)

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Posted: 4/9/2014 8:37:50 AM
My DH's coworker is Hungarian and his kids have been flying back to visit family since they were very young.


PeaNut 73,242
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Posted: 4/9/2014 8:59:50 AM
No way


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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:02:54 AM

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PeaNut 86,755
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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:18:51 AM
No. My 10 year old is not mature enough to do that.


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PeaNut 61,691
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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:46:25 AM
It would depend on the child, why the flight was necessary and whether there were reasonable alternatives. I can't answer that question in a vacuum.


PeaNut 517,754
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Posted: 4/9/2014 10:07:39 AM
OMG no, BFF just told me about her niece who flew from cal. to cincinnat and the plane was delayed over night because of mechanical issues. A relative came to airport and got her, but had a relative not been in that town she would have been in harms way.
Not worth the risk in this day and age.

Anna in TX

PeaNut 23,002
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Posted: 4/9/2014 1:10:55 PM
My parents let me fly by myself when I was 3 1/2. This was in the mid-seventies. It was a direct, 2 hour flight. I *still* give my mom a hard time about it!!

If my kid could handle it at 10, I'd seriously think about it.

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PeaNut 96,783
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Posted: 4/9/2014 2:03:23 PM
Does the child wish to make that trip? I would have been completely unable to take on such a venture at 10. My niece and nephew, airline worker's children were confident travelers by that age. Completely different personality types than myself.

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PeaNut 256,623
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Posted: 4/9/2014 2:09:34 PM
My oldest when she was 10? Yes. My youngest at 10? No way.

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PeaNut 83,570
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Posted: 4/9/2014 3:30:13 PM
Not internationally, maybe a domestic flight for some kids, but that totally depends on if the flight had connections or was a straight shot.


PeaNut 219,829
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Posted: 4/9/2014 4:08:08 PM
I probably wouldn't have. They didn't fly alone until 16 and it was from here to my sister. But, I am not a frequent flyer myself so I'm overly comfortable flying, so it was hard enough for me to let them go at 16.

Then again, we didn't have a reason to send them off alone, so I can't judge anyone else's decision.


PeaNut 596,302
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Posted: 4/9/2014 4:24:58 PM
No, I would not.
I doubt airline would allow it either.

Our son made many 1 hour flights to see grandmother, after he was about 8, but the world was different then.

I do not think airlines allow children under age 12 or 13 to fly alone, and certainly not to another continent.


PeaNut 185,354
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Posted: 4/9/2014 4:28:19 PM
No way.


PeaNut 54,403
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Posted: 4/9/2014 4:55:59 PM

I doubt airline would allow it either.

You would be wrong then.

It is allowed. Each airline has their own rules, but flying international is definitely allowed.

Certain ages (5-7 typically) are only allowed to fly on non-stop flights.

8-14 ages can switch planes, but can't change airlines (even partner airlines, terminals or airports - like going from JFK to LaGuardia).

Older than that they can fly on adult tickets.

(These ages are different based on airline they fly)

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PeaNut 43,893
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Posted: 4/9/2014 5:37:42 PM
My oldest? No, She won't fly alone now( her choice) . She's afraid of having to sit next to a stranger. At 10 she would have been mortified.

My youngest? maybe, I am not positive i would have at 10. That is a gray area to me. I guess it might also depend on where, which countries and which continents. Who was meeting him etc. Lots of factors to consider at 10. I'm not terribly outraged if someone else does it with their kids. (as long as the kid isn't terrorizing me on the plane with poor behavior. )

Certainly I would allow my oldest to now (15). He's very independent and not much ruffles him, he is pretty resourceful ( and 6' tall )


PeaNut 33,625
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Posted: 4/9/2014 5:51:02 PM
It would really depend on which child and why.

A mature child going to see a parent that lives overseas? I would have to have a very good reason why I wouldn't let them.

My 18 yr old nephew has been flying UA since he was very young to see his father every year. He flies from Washington to Louisiana once or twice a year.

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PeaNut 15,108
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Posted: 4/9/2014 7:53:07 PM
No, unless there was some reason why I absolutely had to do it (I am not sure what it would be but am leaving room for someone to devise a scenario). Too many things to go wrong, and if they do, my kid is now without me in a country whose legal system isn't mine. And I think an 18-hour flight for a solo ten-year-old is really pushing it even if that flight were somehow domestic.

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Posted: 4/9/2014 8:27:22 PM
I have 3 grandsons who are 10 and older. I would've let the oldest one fly alone that far when he was that age and maybe even the second one. The third one? No way! I think it all depends on the specific kid.


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PeaNut 434,965
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Posted: 4/9/2014 8:46:09 PM
No. Too young.

Sure if everything goes right, it would be fine. But there are too many "what ifs?".

A nine year old, no matter how mature, is unlikely to be able to stand up to adults. Cases of adults preying on young people do occur on planes, and the kid can't run, can they? My own daughter was harassed by a drunk on a flight.

I don't trust the airline staff to truly keep a close eye on a kid for that long, and I don't think that's a reasonable expectation.

And if the plane were to have mechanical difficulties, and land in a different city, even a different country? No.

And I say this as someone who flew intercontinental alone at 16, and whose kids flew unaccompanied as young as 6 (or whatever the minimum age was then).

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PeaNut 409,644
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Posted: 4/9/2014 9:46:30 PM
Not a chance.

I'm too much of a worrier.

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PeaNut 51,689
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Posted: 4/9/2014 11:46:42 PM
No I would not let my (soon to be) 10yo DS fly unaccompanied internationally. Especially if he had to change planes.

My DD flew to Fiji (about a 6 hour flight) unaccompanied when she was 12 to join up with her dad and stepmum on their honeymoon. She was pretty nervous and was crying when they took her through to the plane. There were about 8 kids flying unaccompanied on that flight. They looked after them very well.

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PeaNut 175,521
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Posted: 4/10/2014 12:27:36 AM
Direct flight, mature child, yes. I have a friend who has put her children on planes to Israel on their own since the oldest was about 10 and with no problems. Her kids are very mature.


PeaNut 218,955
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Posted: 4/10/2014 3:48:46 AM
I would not.

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PeaNut 147,054
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Posted: 4/10/2014 5:44:50 AM
People do. I have a friend who is putting her son on a plane this summer to fly from US to England to spend a month with his grandparents. She has already made his travel plans for this coming summer.

Airlines totally allow it.

And I think it totally depends on the maturity level of the child. My 10 year old couldn't handle it. He'd be a nervous wreck. My 13 yo flies alone to visit grandma in CA, so she might be ok with a longer flight.

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PeaNut 159,331
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Posted: 4/10/2014 4:15:02 PM
I can't answer that in a vacuum. More details are needed.

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Posted: 4/10/2014 4:50:08 PM
As many have said it depends on the child. My biggest worry would be dealing with Customs. I love living in Australia but coming into Customs can be an unholy nightmare. Knowing what to declare, what not to and filling out the forms? After an 18 hour flight I would screw it up and end up flat on my back with a sniffer dog standing on my chest-can't imagine a 10 year old would handle it.

But you know your child and what he/she can handle.

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PeaNut 514,615
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Posted: 4/10/2014 5:04:01 PM

Customs can be an unholy nightmare.

I do wonder how that's handled for unaccompanied minors flying internationally. Domestically you can get a pass to pick up the child at the gate, but I'm not sure if that's allowed internationally. Perhaps the airline personnel accompanies them through customs? The line for the airline personnel is also much quicker.

I doubt that I would find myself in a situation where I would need to put myself through that much stress - both my kids would probably be fine - I however would be a nervous wreck for the 18 hours.


PeaNut 577,483
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Posted: 4/11/2014 11:12:49 PM
No and my son is an "airline brat".
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PeaNut 428,374
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Posted: 4/12/2014 6:58:40 AM
No, I wouldn't have allowed any of my children to have travelled alone on any flight at that age, let alone such a long one.

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PeaNut 255,021
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Posted: 4/12/2014 9:07:51 AM
Absolutely not! I won't let mine fly from Indiana to Florida alone!


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PeaNut 52,360
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Posted: 4/13/2014 7:39:52 AM
I would be concerned about customs.

I'd have to think about it. More details are needed.

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PeaNut 97,456
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Posted: 4/13/2014 12:47:56 PM

OMG no, BFF just told me about her niece who flew from cal. to cincinnat and the plane was delayed over night because of mechanical issues. A relative came to airport and got her, but had a relative not been in that town she would have been in harms way.
Not worth the risk in this day and age.

Are you serious? You think the airlines would just leave the kid on the sidewalk? Oy vey.

All airlines have different rules, but most of them follow similar guidelines. I usually fly with American and the last time I had reason to check this their rules were... Very young children under 6, I think, have to have a paid 'escort' fly with them. Usually they have a list of employees who are going in that direction anyway, and don't mind sitting with a child, walking them to the next gate, or to the waiting lounge for unaccompanied minors.

If the child is under 15 you have to pay something like a flat fee of $100 for someone to accompany the child from the check in desk to their seat on the plane. Then someone else will go on board the plane and get them, walk them to the next flight, install them in their seat etc. When they arrive at the final destination, the child is retrieved from their seat, and escorted to the waiting lounge for UMs. Whoever is picking them up has to have ID that matches the name the parents gave the airlines when arrangements were made for the child to travel.

We have had our kid's friends come from Ca. to Fl. to spend summer vacations with us almost every year for the last 8 years. All were under 15 but those who were around 12/13/14 were given a wink and a nod if the check in agent thought they looked/sounded mature enough to deal with the trip, and the parents said they were. Those times the kids were allowed to fly unaccompanied, they all said someone still walked with them to the next gate, or to the pick up lounge. Airlines have zero interest in losing your child.

ETA: Most airlines won't let an UM fly on the last flight of the day, and many won't allow it on any flight that doesn't have more than one connecting option...just in case there's a problem. They won't let them fly on a red-eye, and they have to pay an adult fare.
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