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Have Your Teens Ever Flown As Unaccompanied Minors?

Posted by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 10:14 AM
  • 11 Replies

Pilot Gropes 14-Year-Old Minor Who Was Flying Alone

by Adriana Velez

gropeHow do you feel about letting your teen fly alone as an unaccompanied minor? This story may make you a whole lot more nervous. An off-duty pilot allegedly groped a 14-year-old girl who was sleeping next to him on a flight. It's horrifying enough when someone does this to a grown woman, but a young teenager? And it was a pilot, too! Ugh.

According to the victim, who was flying alone, Michael James Pascal was seated next to her on a flight from Detroit to Salt Lake City. She chatted with Pascal briefly about her foot injury (she had crutches with her) before pulling her feet up on her seat and pulling the arm rest down because he was already making her feel uncomfortable. She awoke when she felt Pascal's hand on her bottom, tucked underneath to the point where his fingers were touching her inner thigh. The arm rest had been pulled back up and she could feel some of his weight against her.

Such a horrifying incident could have paralyzed a girl with shock and fear. But not this girl -- she elbowed him off and said, "What the hell are you doing?" "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she says Pascal said, "I was asleep!" But she says he was awake with his eyes wide open when she caught him. He then claimed he had to go to the bathroom and left. The girl hit the call button and told a flight attendant what had just happened, and she was seated at the back of the plane.

So there you go, that's a thing that could happen to your teenage daughter -- or your son -- if they fly solo. So how does that make you feel about letting your kids fly as an unaccompanied minor? Speaking for myself, it definitely makes me nervous. But consider everything that went right in this scenario.

The girl stood up for herself and got help. The flight attendants took her story seriously and seated her somewhere else. The alleged perp was arrested and faces a felony complaint.

The older our kids get, the more independence we need to allow them. And that's scary. But someone must have taught this girl what to do if she's violated -- or at the very least, someone taught her to stand up for herself.

Even knowing that this can happen to a kid on a flight, I would still allow my son to fly solo. But I would prepare him first. We could go over a few potential scenarios and how to handle them. I think the idea that someone could do something to him might creep him out, but at least he can process that and be prepared to handle it, instead of being creeped out and not know what to do when and if it happens. Crappy things happen to kids sometimes, and the best thing we can do is prepare our kids to deal with them, not keep endlessly protecting them.

Does this story make you less likely to allow your kids to fly solo?

by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 10:14 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Susie on Oct. 31, 2013 at 10:43 AM
No, but as young adults. My dd 19 looks 13.
This was an isolated incident. People are freaking when this is not the norm.
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by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM
My son started flying cross country at 10, via court order not by my choice.
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by Emily on Oct. 31, 2013 at 5:54 PM

 No , my teens have never flown alone...they have either flown in a group or with each other.My older two flew alone when they were young teens.

We would talk before they left ,made sure they felt comfortable with the attendants ,knew they could ask for help anytime .Never had an issue.

My daughter had her scariest moment as an 18 yr old.A drunk man jumped up,ran down the aisle screaming he was getting out and made it to the door and was hitting it thousands of feet above Colorado .An Air Marshall appeared ,he was controlled and she says they gave him something to make him pass out.They landed at the next large enough airport and he was removed .She said it was terrifying.

by Kimberly on Oct. 31, 2013 at 7:05 PM


by Silver Member on Oct. 31, 2013 at 9:04 PM

My dd flew by her self in high school, had to switch planes and it was international, but no issues.

by Queen25Princes on Oct. 31, 2013 at 9:07 PM

First -  now I have the song in my head from the movie Unaccompanied  Minors.

Second - no they have not.

by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 9:12 PM

 mine never have and I don't see it happening in the near future.

by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 9:14 PM
Yes my ds was 15 and dd was 10 together they flew to my parents. Dd age 15 flew on a direct flight to CA to visit her bio dad last summer no problem.
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by Bronze Member on Oct. 31, 2013 at 11:02 PM

DD didn't fly alone until this summer and she is 21. She flew with a group of other seniors for spring breakthough. Now she has been taking the train or bus alone since she was 16 and has never had any trouble.

by Lorelai on Nov. 1, 2013 at 3:45 AM

My kids haven't, but I did. At age 13, 14, and 15. I was definitely cautious each time--for one thing, I never went to sleep. For me--and I'm not criticizing the girl in this story, just stating my preference--I never talked to the people around me. I kept totally to myself. It's essentially the same attitude I had/have about riding the bus, LOL.

Alexis Emma 10-13-1999 - 14 years old
Kirsten Leslie 03-14-2004 - 9 years old
Sarah Mackenzie 08-14-2007 - 5 years old
Charlotte Amelia & Harmon David 04-12-2012 - 18 months old
Angela Victoria 06-09-1996 - 17 years old (niece) 

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