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


t 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? 


Asked by LostSoul88 at 4:59 PM on May. 9, 2013 in Parenting Debate

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This question is closed.
Answers (12)
  • 18, and even then it's iffy!
    I am so paranoid for this exact reason and it would be hard for me to let my child get on a plane unaccompanied.

    Answer by cassie_kellison at 5:03 PM on May. 9, 2013

  • No younger than 14. I first flew alone at 14 & I remember no one helped me. My 2nd flight got delayed too so, I was stuck for hours in an unfamiliar airport by myself.

    Answer by 3libras at 5:04 PM on May. 9, 2013

  • I started when I was about 8-9, I loved it.. I'm sure my parents worried but the airlines did a great job. Of course this was more then 25 years ago and the flight was short..

    I'm confused, did she not make her flight from her home or missed it after a lay over??

    Answer by midnightmoma at 5:08 PM on May. 9, 2013

  • The first time and only time, I've ever flown was when I was 15 and I was without adult supervision. My friend and I flew to TX to visit her Dad. I think 13 or 14 would be a good age.

    Answer by mommy_jules at 5:12 PM on May. 9, 2013

  • I flew unaccompanied at the ages of six and seven and had no problems at all, but I think flight attendants were more, well, attentive back then. With airport security and the way things are in the world now, I'd be very nervous for my stepson or daughter to ever fly as unaccompanied minors. Unles there was a very pressing and unavoidable reason for it, I wouldn't let it happen. And if I did let it happen, I'd be a nervous wreck till I knew everything had turned out fine and the kids were at their destination.

    Answer by Ballad at 5:27 PM on May. 9, 2013

  • I agree with Ballad, but it would depend on the flight. A direct flight I would feel ok at 9/10 perhaps(depending on my child). A flight with connections probably 13/14.

    First time I flew was age 14, and I was alone. It was a short direct flight. I've never flown to where I needed to connect again though. lol

    Answer by tntmom1027 at 5:41 PM on May. 9, 2013

  • I started flying alone at 8. I loved it, it made me feel so grown up. I felt like I was on an adventure every time. I always had awesome flight attendants and got to see the cockpit. Of course none of that happens now. Still, as long as it was a direct flight I would let DS fly alone around 8/9 depending on HIS maturity level.

    Answer by kmath at 6:14 PM on May. 9, 2013

  • My son did it at 10, 11 and 12. Everything was great. There was no layover and we walked him to the gate.

    Answer by mompam at 6:33 PM on May. 9, 2013

  • Depends on the airline and it would have to be nonstop.

    Answer by Izsarejman at 6:37 PM on May. 9, 2013

  • i have a fear of planes, so i see no reason why i would ever need to put my kids on a flight before they're 18, and even if the situation arose, i cant see why i wouldnt go with them. we dont have relatives that live out of state or anything like that.

    Answer by tnm786 at 7:34 PM on May. 9, 2013