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Did the parents do enough to ensure her safety? 10-Year-Old Girl Goes Missing After Flying Alone on United Airlines

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At 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? 

 

*Note from the Author: This blog's intention is not to defame any specific airline. I would've written the same blog if it had been Delta, Airtran, or any other airline. This blog is just my opinion, as a mother who is terrified to place her child on ANY airline alone, especially after reading this news story.*


http://www.everydayfamily.com/blog/10-year-old-girl-goes-missing-after-flying-alone-on-united-airlines/?utm_medium=rss&utm_source=outbrain&utm_campaign=articles&tc=120043&subid=articles&utm_term=US
by on Jan. 18, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Replies (31-40):
gammie
by on Jan. 18, 2013 at 11:48 PM

You need to send kids on a none stop flights to make sure this does not happen.

Sad but even adults have gotten lost in transfers!

a parent should always fly with a young child, this is the only way they will be safe.

taniamorse85
by Bronze Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 11:59 PM

Ten is simply too young.  My first flight alone was at age 17.  I flew from Huntsville, Alabama, to Ontario, California, via Dallas.  It was not my first time at DFW airport, but it was my first time unaccompanied.  It was so disorienting.  Also, this was less than a year after 9/11, and there were new security features that I was simply not familiar with.  I managed to make my connection, with time to spare, but it was a challenge.  I can't imagine what would have happened if I'd had to do that at 10 years old.

Ziva65
by Gold Member on Jan. 19, 2013 at 2:33 AM

 


Quoting SEEKEROFSHELLS:

 Oh Geez, what a story! Flying international and losing your passport. Foreign exchange students that were flying in to meet us....well it was always worrisome for me. Where are they? Did they make all the connections? Hell, did they lose their passport? LOL They always got here! Darn at 11 you went through all that. Geez what a story! lol 

 

Quoting Ziva65:

I wouldn't have sent them.
Seems time parents assume the risk by having a child fly alone at that age.

I flew to Vancouver Canada from San Francisco at age 11. It was a direct flight. I was really sheltered too. In those days, the airline had me escorted completely by a Stewadess. The problem was I seemed to have lost my passport in the process...scary, was led away by the police as a runaway, even with the stewardess and papers...it was an international flight. Thankfully, my uncle up there came to get me and straightened it all out. That was over 40 years ago. I still remember that feeling. I laugh now, but I do feel bad for that poor kid.

Could be worse though

 

 

Funny huh? My son too is just now asking us if at 17 next summer he can go to Madrid and Paris with a school tour... hmm still thinking about that. He's really responsible too, but I thinkt he world has changed. I don't think it is quite as safe for Americans anymore. Some people really hate us. Why take the risk?

I also at age 18 was cought up in a terrorist attack at the Milan airport. It was the united plane next to us, we were all held up. Then walked through the airport with blood everywhere and tape (where the bodies were) awful. It was almost a day before we could let our families know that the "united plane from chicago that was held up in milan" wasn't us, and we were fine. Talk about giving my parents a heart attack. I was young and stupid, there were travel warnings then too for Americans. 1985.

Needless to say, I'm not really inclined ot let him go on that trip. :) Maybe, just maybe, that summer we'll all go as a family... still thinking on that one. Even with 4 teens, I get a bit nervous.

 

AMBG825
by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Both parties share blame in this. When your minor child flies unaccompanied, they are supposed to get an attendant. that attendant is there for them alone. They get them on the plane. They sit with them. They take them to any connection flights and they stay with them until they are picked up. That is their job. The parents paid for that service.

 

If the attendant didn't show up, the parents should have been at the front desk complaining and finding out what was going on. They shouldn't have just put the child on the plane alone.

IhartU
by Gold Member on Jan. 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM

 I don't understand how any parent could let their young child fly alone and place the safety of said child in the hands of the airline. They don't CARE about your child, they're doing a job and one they suck at seeing how much luggage is lost.

 

Debmomto2girls
by Platinum Member on Jan. 19, 2013 at 8:21 AM
My sister had to let my nephew fly alone because Of a custody agreement. She did not have the money to fly with him. Long story.

However, he had a cell phone. He never had a single issue with flying alone and he started at the age of 12
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Woodbabe
by Woodie on Jan. 19, 2013 at 8:35 AM
1 mom liked this

My kids started flying alone at age five on direct flights to grandma's. I took them to the gate and they were met at the gate on the other end. This was a failure of the both the airline and whomever failed to show up to help the child change planes. You as the parent pay extra for these services. Children of divorce do this ALL THE TIME.

cherylam
by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 10:03 AM

I have a 15 year old grandson and the idea of im flying alone scares the pants off me.

futureshock
by Ruby Member on Jan. 19, 2013 at 10:05 AM


Quoting AMBG825:

Both parties share blame in this. When your minor child flies unaccompanied, they are supposed to get an attendant. that attendant is there for them alone. They get them on the plane. They sit with them. They take them to any connection flights and they stay with them until they are picked up. That is their job. The parents paid for that service.

 

If the attendant didn't show up, the parents should have been at the front desk complaining and finding out what was going on. They shouldn't have just put the child on the plane alone.

I don't think that is how it happened.  I think the person was supposed to meet her at the connecting flight, not the first leg of the trip.

Phoebe, missed her United Airlines plane connection because the third-party unaccompanied minor service representative had “simply forgotten to show up.”

IntactivistMama
by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 10:09 AM
I flew solo on Air Canada at the age of 5 or 6ish. The flight attendants cared for me and my grandparents got me at the other end.

It was an enjoyable and safe experience.
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