AIBU to wonder why Manchester airport won't let me fly solo with 3 DCs aged 13, 10 and 3 yrs old ?

(52 Posts)

Tried to investigate tickets for flights to Italy in Summer. DH will take our car, bikes for all and all luggage. He will meet us at airport on our arrival in Italy. Jet2 seemed to allow us to book tickets, not confirmed, but nowhere in the process was this issue flagged up. However, Manchester airport information says I may not travel alone with 3 children. Anyone heard of this before? All will obviously have paid for seats and older daughters cope pretty independently, leaving me to handle 3yr old DS. Can anyone shed any light, we have emailed and are awaiting their response.

Thank you.

ChuffMuffin Wed 16-Jan-13 18:55:05

I know its probably got nothing to do with it but I wonder if its a knee jerk reacyion to this from last year? Runaway boy, 11, jets to Rome alone after slipping through security at Manchester Airport

mamakoula Wed 16-Jan-13 18:19:00

sorry my misreading - the way I read the OP was that she was not allowed to travel solo with three kids and not a specific reason as to whether it was about flying solo or the number of children.

We have flown solo (with one child) and they do spot checks for letters of consent.

For a number of countries, this letter must be a legal document e.g. solicitor or notary. Home grown letters are not deemed acceptable. You may need birth and marriage certificates with you, copies of the other parent's passport info page and contact details.

I meant the airline put a bright colour tag on the buggy at check in, that way the ground crew pull them all and put them by the door of the plane, we always ended up on flights with a tunnel from the plane door to the terminal, I only had to go down plane steps and across tarmac once in many years and that was at Dublin with a 2 year old who fell asleep as we taxied to the gate and I had to walk/drag/bribe her to get to the luggage. She was big I am small, not a good match there.

Sorry also wanted to name check SquinkiesRule, thanks! Was already planning a vibrant decoration of the buggy frame...great minds...thanks everyone else, Mumsnet is ace, such good information shared around. One of my best sources of Additional Needs info too, thanks one and all x

TartWithACart thanks for those tips, that's such a help to have a bit of insider knowledge. Moving my son around the airport will be the trickiest bit, so really useful to know exactly what to ask for! You've been so kind to explain...that's more info than I've had from any one else. Will be useful to pass on to friends with children in a similar position. Sometimes we miss out a bit or forget to ask for help which we are entitled to. As our son grows older I find I'm getting more experienced and therefore able to be a bit more assertive about getting assistance and bothering less about people who have, before now, judged him as " not very disabled" and therefore not requiring extra help! I have before now offered strangers, commenting thus, if they would like to cart him about for a day and see how they get on!!

Sorry went off on a (relevant) tangent!

Thanks, you've really put my mind at rest.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 16-Jan-13 07:42:44

TartWithACart, love your name!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 16-Jan-13 07:41:18

Littlewhitebag, it's advisable to carry a letter from the other parent as a back up, i think it depends on country and it may be something they spot check rather than check all anyway. Writing a letter doesn't take long.

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 07:25:27

only stop parents of multiple children of stealing their kids confused

feministefatale Wed 16-Jan-13 07:23:04

I see this has been resolved but confused as to the posters who thought this would be to stop child abductions.. Why would you assume the airports would

sashh Wed 16-Jan-13 05:42:27

It's the airline.

I have a friend who's mother lives in Spain, until her son was 12 it was cheaper for them both to fly out if he was satying with his gran for a couple of weeks because only the old fashioned airlines (BA and the like) allow unacumpanied children.

I checked the buggy at the gate (tell them when you check in) it had a bright coloured label attached and was by the door of the plane as we got off at our destination.

mamakoula Wed 16-Jan-13 02:07:14

Do check to see if Italy or the UK require a letter of consent. We have been asked for one on entering the UK.

littlewhitebag Tue 15-Jan-13 20:21:27

You won't have any problem with name etc. My parents travel regularly with their grandchildren. It's all fine as long as they have their passports. You can travel with anyone's children.

TartWithACart Tue 15-Jan-13 20:15:57

Your best bet is to call Jet2 and let them know you'll need assistance during boarding and disembarking. Although they can't technically (or legally) refuse to give you assistance if you just ask at the airport, the company they use (OCS) are notoriously grumpy and may try to kick up a fuss if you haven't pre-booked with the airline. As well as receiving help to and from the aircraft you will also get priority boarding if you use the special assistance team. This link explains things better than I probably can:

www.manchesterairport.co.uk/manweb.nsf/Content/AirportAccessibilty

If you would rather have your buggy waiting at the bottom of the steps when you land just ask the cabin crew to notify the ground staff. The Italian ground staff sometimes try to palm people off with airport owned wheelchairs because it is less fuss for them than searching through the hold for people's own mobility aids. Don't let them get away with it!

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to cover all bases as it annoys me to think that most people don't get the level of assistance they would like or need simply because airlines and airports do not make the system clear enough.

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Tue 15-Jan-13 12:48:03

Some airlines will let you take the buggy on as hand luggage and if you explain your situation to someone at check-in maybe they can confirm this for you.

Morning all, thanks for all the help to solve the puzzle! The query came up as my DH was using the planning area of Manchester airports website to check various airlines for our destination. But as I mentioned earlier, the airlines seemed to think differently. My DH did receive a call saying actually there would be no problem because of the ages of the children. I do wonder if their original information on their route planner page isn't as clear as it needs to be.

You views were all very useful thanks. Funnily enough, the children don't look much like me (all look like versions of their Dad) but we do all have the same surname!! I will be poised to answer suspicions though as we will have no luggage! Will have DH mobile accessible to explain he is meeting us the other side!

As so many of you have got good information re airports etc could you offer advice on this: my DS 3 yrs has Downs Syndrome and is in receipt of higher level mobility DLA but still fits in a standard buggy. Could I ask for disability assistance, ie the buggy at plane steps when we arrive in Italy? He is too heavy to carry from the plane through security and into arrivals. He would usually shoulder ride with DH but it kills my back to do this. Some airlines have done this before, others have put it in carousel with luggage and it will be so hard without the buggy.

Thanks for all the help yesterday, sorry didn't get a chance to check back last night...

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Tue 15-Jan-13 09:18:50

I know they are not infants, as I posted earlier, I just put the link on to show that it is three infants you can't travel with alone, as I am sure she is mistaken, having travelled regularly myself with three children.

SueFawley Mon 14-Jan-13 19:52:59

Sissy Yes but these children are not infants. An infant is under 2 years old.

To my knowledge tartwithacart is spot on. Although I didn't fly, I did work for over 20 years in the airline industry, several of those at Manchester airport. The airport didn't have this policy then, but it has been 7 years since I last worked there. I've emailed an ex colleague who's a senior manager there to see if the policy has changed, waiting for her reply.

I think we need the OP to come back and clarify her source as this seems very odd to me, and wherever OP saw this information, they need to be advised that they're giving out inaccurate guidelines.

TartWithACart Mon 14-Jan-13 19:30:41

I've worked as cabin crew and airport ground staff and that definitely isn't a rule! You wouldn't be able to travel with three infants (ie. children under two years old) but if they're all over the age of two and sat in their own seat you can take as many as you like!

Remotecontrolduck Mon 14-Jan-13 19:21:19

I think you've read something wrng OP, I very, very much doubt this would be the case.

Check again smile

exexpat Mon 14-Jan-13 19:19:25

Just re-read your op and realised that the airline let you book for all of them, but you appear to have read this somewhere else. Where exactly did you read the information? Was it on the website? I'm just wondering if you have misinterpreted the 'no more than three infants ' rule as 'no more than three children '

RedHelenB Mon 14-Jan-13 19:07:38

I've flown alone from Manchester two years running with 3 dcs.

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Mon 14-Jan-13 19:07:15
exexpat Mon 14-Jan-13 19:05:07

I don think it's the solo parent/child abduction thing (I'm a lone parent and regularly fly with my 2 DCs), it's the 1 adult + 3 children. I have heard of the rule that one adult can't be in charge of more than 2 children on a flight before, but it usually only applies if you have three very little ones, eg all under 5. I think it's to do with safety in an emergency. But if your oldest is 13, presumably paying full fare, and old enough to travel unaccompanied on most airlines, it seems ridiculous for that rule to apply to you. School groups of that age regularly fly with a lower adult/child ratio. I would double check, and if necessary book the 13yo as flying solo.

Renatica Mon 14-Jan-13 19:02:14

No, I've never heard of anything like that before. The only thing I can think of is that there are only 3 seats in the row?

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