View Full Version : Speaking of Flights

June 13th, 2014, 04:46 PM
Has anyone had any experience with booking a flight for a 17 year old unaccompanied minor? How does that work without hiring a babysitter?

Sandy Navas
June 13th, 2014, 05:20 PM
Sent a six-year old unaccompanied one time years ago - the airlines 'accepts' and walks them to and from the flight until they reach the designated arrival party. Make sense? You should be able to call your airlines and they will simply walk you through it. Not difficult.

June 13th, 2014, 05:24 PM
I don't know about a 17 year old, but when my daughters were young(9 and 13) they use to fly out to Colorado to spend the summer with their father. When they would fly our I went to the ticket counter and I would have to sign a paper asking that someone from the airlines would stay with my girls till their father or family member would come to the airport and pick them up.

June 13th, 2014, 05:30 PM
I read where they charge $150 for a babysitter, she doesn't need a babysitter now, she just graduated from high school and is almost an adult. So they will escort her to and fro without a fee? I tried to talk her into climbing into the wheel well to avoid the hassle and expense but she wouldn't go for it. I will call the airline and see how much blood they want as soon as she makes up her mind when she wants to leave. She's going to New Mexico to spend a month with a friend of her Mother's but Mother has of yet to give me the address and phone number for her but is yapping at me because Ashley hasn't left yet, not my fault.

June 13th, 2014, 05:49 PM
They will let you, as a parent, escort her to and from the gate yourself. At her age there should be no extra cost to you as she is able to take care of yourself. When our grandson would travel on the train between Portland and Tacoma, they would ask questions to make sure he was old enough (he started doing it when he was 8 or 9) and they never refused him. Normally you need to be 10 to do that, but I think since it is just over two hours it was allowed as he was able to tell them what they wanted to know. He carried paperwork and had to sit in a section w/other kids travelling alone, but it seems it was always the same group of kids and they all became friends.

I doubt there will be a problem w/her alone on a plane at her age.

June 13th, 2014, 05:49 PM
My 15 yr old granddaughter just flew from Orlando to NY by herself, direct flight. The first time I ever flew on a plane I was 16 and I took my younger brother, 8, from Oklahoma City to San Francisco and we had to change in Dallas. Of course that was when anyone could go to the gate.

K. McEuen
June 13th, 2014, 06:04 PM
Tell her to get her rear in gear and get out here before it gets too hot. ;)

June 13th, 2014, 07:07 PM
Too hot where, South Carolina or New Mexico? lol Already too hot in South Carolina.

June 13th, 2014, 07:25 PM
I think anyone over 12 years of age can fly without an escort. Check with your airline to be sure and if escort service is available (free or very little charge) I would ask for it as you would feel assured she had someone looking out for her.

June 13th, 2014, 07:29 PM
By that age, I was flying without anyone checking my arrival party's ID. Of course they could still meet me at the gates.

That might be the only difference. As a minor, they may let the other person meet her at the gate. If not, then an employee would escort her to the security area and verify ID, would be my guess.

At 17, I would think she could manage most of the trip on her own, especially with a cell phone as back up in case of trouble. Help with check in & getting to/through security should be the trickiest part.

Claire OneStitchAtATime
June 13th, 2014, 07:52 PM
I'd say at 17 she's ready to go it alone, unless she has very little experience flying, or cannot be trusted. It will be a learning experience, for sure, but if she's old enough to drive a car and there aren't any extenuating circumstances -- e.g., she might use the opportunity to run away from home -- I would think she's old enough to get on a plane by herself.

June 13th, 2014, 08:01 PM
My 17 yr old flies all the time without an escort and has been since he was 15 yrs old. He also travels with a regular everyday wheelchair, a CPAP machine and a basketball wheelchair, and still manages everything without an adult, though he does board the aircraft early he maneuvers himself to the plane (he walks, uses the chair for long distances and to save energy). We flew with him to Illinois (from Canada) for wheelchair basketball camp because we weren't sure how it would all work through customs and such when he was only 15 and 16 yrs old (too young to cross international borders alone), but he manages like a pro within Canada.

I bet she'll be totally fine, especially if she's not a newbie flying.


June 13th, 2014, 08:07 PM
She's not a "flight" risk. lol

She has never flown and is nervous but she accepts if she wants to go that's how it's going to be, she's open to new experiences.

Help with check in & getting to/through security should be the trickiest part.

I certainly don't want the TSA molesting her, that would really tick me off.

We will take her to the airport and take care of it at this end, her host will meet her at the other end. There's only one stop between Atlanta and Albuquerque, DFW in Dallas for about an hour.

June 13th, 2014, 08:25 PM
My son never wants to drive anywhere anymore, it takes too long, lol.

He had to go in the body scanner thingy one time, that freaked him out a bit. That was a nightmare of a flight coming back from the States after basketball camp. Of course they found "something that looked like possible jet fuel" on his wheelchair (and of course then his hands) so they had to do extra intensive search of his belongings and asked all kinds of extra questions and held us up after we were already late connecting to our last flight. It was a really DUH moment on the part of the security folks...of course there was possible jet fuel on his wheelchair, it is stowed in the cargo belly of the plane. *eye roll

On our last flight to the US he left his passport in the seat pocket in front of him so we ended up needing to drive back to Canada. I was being very conscious of letting him take care of things himself and not hover...sigh. LOL It was the long weekend in USA - July 4th - so even the employees at the Canadian Embassy in Chicago were on days off. Of course Delta DID find the passport and call our emergency contact person to ask what we wanted to do with the passport - which was already reported lost and was then invalid because its too important a document to let just float out in space who knows where.

Flying within Canada he just uses regular ID, and he's really careful now of stowing ID properly before he settles in.

I think your daughter will do fine :)


Claire OneStitchAtATime
June 14th, 2014, 12:13 AM
Well, talk her through the whole procedure -- security etc. -- and she can do it! I'd be nervous if I were her too, but maybe trusting her with this journey will build confidence in the end?

Claire OneStitchAtATime
June 14th, 2014, 12:36 AM
PS, Terri, does your son know about the wheelchair basketball team at University of Missouri? Maybe he should consider applying here for college. I don't know if they have wheelchair basketball scholarships, but I think they're a pretty good team & it looks like the guys are having a blast. Only two hours & twenty minutes, from Hamilton, MO, btw.

June 14th, 2014, 12:56 AM
It's not a matter of whether SHE'S ready or not, it's a matter of what the AIRLINES require. After age 13, most of them no longer require an "unaccompanied minor" fee and the accompanying paperwork and registration. When you check in at the airport, tell the ticket agent you want to take her to the gate. They will print you a pass so you can get through security, and you can go all the way to the gate and watch her get on the plane and take off. At the other end, whomever is picking her up can do the same thing - they can go to the ticket counter and request a pass to meet her at the gate (they have to have picture ID). The only time she'll be alone is when she's on the plane.

Having said that, I think you need to go over what she needs to do in case she runs into certain scenarios. My friend's teenage daughter was exposed to a man who was pleasuring himself under the blanket in the seat next to her. She was too scared to do anything; fortunately someone else realized what was going on and notified the flight attendants. They removed him (not sure where they put him) and he was arrested when the plane landed.

June 14th, 2014, 01:06 AM
PS, Terri, does your son know about the wheelchair basketball team at University of Missouri? Maybe he should consider applying here for college. I don't know if they have wheelchair basketball scholarships, but I think they're a pretty good team & it looks like the guys are having a blast. Only two hours & twenty minutes, from Hamilton, MO, btw.

Thanks Claire! There are I think 8 collegiate wheelchair basketball programs in the US. We don't have any in Canada yet, but the University of Illinois former head coach returned to Canada last year to head up a year round wheelchair basketball academy and our son is being scouted/recruited. Several of our Team Canada athletes (both men and women, past and current) have ties to collegiate programs in the States and even pro and semi-pro leagues in Europe. There are some exciting opportunities!


Claire OneStitchAtATime
June 14th, 2014, 01:10 AM
Maybe not the time for telling Leah & her daughter too many horror stories about flying? It might be like moms telling you about their unusual and painful mishaps during labor when you're eight months pregnant? The chances of that particular horrible thing happening to her daughter are pretty low, I would think. I'd work on more likely problems with her, such as, delayed plane, & some general advice about what to do with seat mates who behave inappropriately. But that's me.

Claire OneStitchAtATime
June 14th, 2014, 01:16 AM
And Terri, I hope your son finds a good fit for college.

Terry L
June 14th, 2014, 01:24 AM
I have a special needs step-daughter that we had to fly to California with 2 layovers this year . I spoke with the airlines and they arranged for an airline personnel to get her on the plane, met her at each stop and stayed with her until she was handed off to family.

June 14th, 2014, 01:43 AM
Leah, changing at DFW can be stressful for adults let alone a teen not used to traveling alone. Be sure to talk through the changing process in a big airport thoroughly so she doesn't become overwhelmed. Sometimes that layover period isn't long enough for the incoming plane to disembark passengers, hike a looonnnng way or even change buildings to get to the next gate. It can be daunting for a newbie who has never seen an airport that big.

June 14th, 2014, 03:10 AM
does your 17 yr old have a drivers license? I flew at 16 with no trouble. as long as they know what time and what gate their flight is leaving from they should be fine.

June 14th, 2014, 03:29 AM
In the seat back of the plane they have those snazzy magazines or fold out cards with the layouts of the airports in them. Once she gets on the plane she can look up DFW and see how things are arranged. They usually give connecting flight info on the plane before you land or have a gate agent waiting with that in the concourse. Just remind her to ask the agents for directions and she should be fine.

Judy, USMC
June 14th, 2014, 05:03 AM
If she just has a layover there should be no problem. Sometimes you have to go into the terminal if they are refueling ... other times, if they are just onloading snacks & drinks, you can stay in your seat.

If she has to change planes here's the DFW facility map. And be sure to tell her she can go to any of the gate counters if she needs help or directions. dfwairport.com - Terminal Guide (http://www.dfwairport.com/terminals/)

June 14th, 2014, 03:17 PM
By 17 my two boys were flying by themselves. If she has flown before she knows the ropes. I would think she would be embarrassed to have an escort. Does she change planes in a big city? That might be a tad hard but most 17 yrs olds are sharp cookies and find their way.

My youngest was flying from where ever we lived to Mpls. to spend the summer with his grandparents. The lady at the gate was in a snit because he was 1 month from being able to fly alone...I think he was almost 8. He looked at her and informed her that he had done this before, it was a non stop to Mpls. and he would be met by his Honey and Busba(grandparents to them). Maam, he said, I can't get out to play either. She took one look at me and said "Is he like this all the time?...He can go..."

June 14th, 2014, 04:42 PM
Be sure to check on arrival policy. Some airlines will only release a minor only to pre - designated adult. I went to pick up my daughter once ( she was 17 ). At the last minute my husband decided to come too. Good thing because my friend had put only his name on her info slip. The airline would not have given her to me.

June 14th, 2014, 07:27 PM
I just saw some really cheap flights, like an hr to NYC or to Boston. Since it's her first flight, take her on one of these cheap flights. and let her do the walk thru. OR if the airlines has some kind of walk thru....I'm brainstorming now. But knowing what to expect, what it looks like, and what happens would go a long way to easing anxieties.

And this is a good time to remind all parents and grandparents...I am always looking for ways to let my kids act like they are alone, doing it themselves....pumping gas, buying and paying for things, ordering in the restaurant.....ALL those things that is better to PRACTICE doing before they actually need to do it on their own, all by themselves. I was shocked at my nephews not even being able to count out money / change...they never need to pay for anything and I gave them an ashtray full of change to keep...IF they could count it out and divide it in two. They couldn't. We worked on it till they FINALLY did the "one for you and one for me" thing so they finally could keep the change.... They didn't get out of the house and in public much since they were homeschooled.

June 14th, 2014, 07:32 PM
Last summer my boys (ages 12 and 15) flew from Detroit to Boston with connections in Philly. The airline we used allowed unaccompanied minors as young as 10. Call the airline if you have any questions. Lots of kids do it.

June 14th, 2014, 08:44 PM
I need to call the airline anyway to order the ticket, travelocity won't let me order for an unaccompanied minor.

She's will be 18 in Sept, she just graduated from high school, she's had a job and a drivers license for a year so I'm not too worried about her getting lost. She's a smart kid, gifted and talented and honor roll most of her school years, won her 8th grade spelling bee. She took the college SAT in 7th grade and got 1250, scored at the same level or higher than high school seniors. MIT came to her school in 7th grade and interviewed 7th and 8th grade girls they were interested in, only 8 were chosen from the 2 grades and she was one of them.

Thanks for all the suggestions. She's not worried, I am, it's what I do. lol

Claire OneStitchAtATime
June 15th, 2014, 12:50 AM
Worry about our kids is natural! But we have to let them fly solo eventually --OK, OK, terrible pun, but I couldn't resist, and I know you'll appreciate it after "flight risk"! :D

June 16th, 2014, 12:41 AM
It's okay, I thought it was punny....I mean funny.


Ticket purchased online tonight at Orbitz.com the only one who would let me book a minor on a flight online but also the cheapest price. It looks like a relatively simple flight, short skip from Atlanta to Dallas, layover at DFW for 45 minutes then on to Albuquerque, flight back is not quite as good, layover at DFW for 3 hours. She's fine with it, I cried when I booked it, isn't that terrible?