Friday, June 26, 2009

Kids Flying Solo



Photo: Ma1974

Rick Seaney has some excellent tips for kids flying by themselves. The airlines call the kids UM for Unaccompanied Minors (usually considered ages 5-11 or 5-14). There has been a rash of children being put on the wrong flight and ending up in the wrong city. Both of the recent cases involved Continental and were caused mainly by the airlines using the same gate for two different flights.

As Rick states to reduce the risk of having the airlines “losing “your child is not to have him or her fly alone. By having a family member fly with the child you reduce the probability of a loss occurring to zero.

However, this is not possible all of the time so here are some tips from Rick’s site to reduce the chance of a loss.

1. Cell Phone: Give your child a cell phone. Practice with them on how to use it. Have all important numbers preprogrammed inside. Make sure they have a charger with them in their carry on bag.

2. Write a Note: Have them carry a note with their name, telephone number, destination and flight number. Have them show it (but not give it) to any airline employee who asks. Rick suggests pinning a note on the shirt of younger ones stating that they are flying to “Hartford.” While I think this is okay, do not put their name on their shirt. This could be used to lure them by a predator.

3. Ask THE Question: Train them to ask if this is their flight to “Harford” or wherever they are going. They should ask their escort, the person at the gate and the attendant once they get on the airplane.

4. Don’t Wander: Train your child when they disembark from the airplane, they should go to the gate agent and tell them who they expect to meet. Tell them not to wander from the gate without an escort.

5. Strategic seating: Request a seat close to the galley so flight attendants are always within view.

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