UM Travel

(15 Posts)
tpod Wed 14-Sep-16 12:32:00

My DS lives in London and I live near Geneva, he is 5-1/2 and has been at school since 2-1/2. For holidays I fly to London (LCY or LHR usually) to collect him from the Hampstead area, go back to the airport and fly home with him. For me this is a round trip journey of 12-18hrs and requires me to purchase 6 flight legs. At his age he is now eligible for Unaccompanied Minor scheme with Swiss but my ex refuses to countenance this saying he is too young and it's dangerous. Using the UM scheme I would buy 20 less flights a year and save 3-4K. DS loves to fly and has done so many times and although young he tells me he would be quite happy to come over UM. Any advice or suggestions or anecdotes that could help me persuade the ex of the merits (or otherwise) of my proposal?

HereIAm20 Wed 14-Sep-16 17:30:17

I had a friend who worked in Geneva and his kids used to fly over from that sort of age but there were 2 of them. I suspect because you have always collected DS direct from the house your ex doesn't want to go to the bother of getting to either airport each time and all the hassle that would entail for her. It may be worth putting on the back burner for a couple more years or until your DS is 7. Perhaps have a conversation as to what age she would consider it.

tpod Wed 14-Sep-16 19:34:33

Thanks, I've tried to draw her on her views but she's reluctant to comment. City to Geneva is less than 1.5, I think if it was transatlantic or with connections I might feel differently.

MaudGonneMad Wed 14-Sep-16 19:36:27

Five and half is very small.

Cabrinha Wed 14-Sep-16 20:04:07

I would have said no to you, and I fly to GVA every other week so I'm very comfortable with airports / flying.

My child is 7 and I have found a massive difference between my comfort level at 5 and 7.
For example at the school fair - watch like a hawk at 5, but at 7? "come and find mummy in the hall at 3pm".

It's not that your child won't be safe, for me it's about my child being happy and relaxed. At 5, my child wouldn't have been able to entertain themselves - they'd have been bored. At 7, I know she could easily do the 80 mins with a book and an iPad.

You're only doing it 5x a year, I would let it go for now. But definitely talk about when it would be a possibility.

Cabrinha Wed 14-Sep-16 20:05:53

The other thing is - if you're not collecting him from his home, who are you going to get to take him to the airport to start the UM service? And collect him?

MissElizaBennettsBookmark Wed 14-Sep-16 21:05:56

My DS flew a few times as a UM when he was 9. He was spoiled rotten by the flight crew, and he loved it.

Cabrinha Wed 14-Sep-16 21:55:31

9 is very different to 5 though.

tpod Thu 15-Sep-16 07:34:16

Thanks for all the feedback, I guess Swiss take kids from 5 as that is when they generally start school and get a bit of independence. DS has been going 7-9hrs a day for three years. He's quite happy being left and spending a 4hrs at ski school for instance. Mum's quite happy to take him to City airport as it's an identical tube trip to her daily commute, so not such a big burden (certainly nothing like the journey I have to make). AIBU even to ask her for a trial run. Lots of positive feedback on other threads about enjoying the big adventure and getting spoilt rotten. One other thing is that I've recently been made unemployed so the level of cost, which was 1000EUR at high season for the trip didn't used to be so much of problem but now money is very tight and saving 750EUR per trip is a pretty significant prize....

Cabrinha Thu 15-Sep-16 12:52:04

I still wouldn't.
I'm not saying you shouldn't - only sharing why I am reluctant and why I think your XW could be reluctant but still reasonable.

At 5, my child had done 4 years of 4 days a week 07:30-18:00 at nursery. She had also been to half day ski school. She was/is a happy friendly relaxed child. Those environments were designed for children, I was a phone call away in case of problems, and in the case of nursery people who knew her as well as I did. And they were predictable environments.

I fly GVA all the time, 50x a year I'm in or out of there! And there are delays all the flipping time!

In last 6 flights I've had 3 delays of over an hour. At 7, my child would just suck it up. At 5, she might have been bored and then distressed.

Given the financial implication I would personally try it if my child was keen... but I would totally understand if the other parent thought it too soon.

tpod Thu 15-Sep-16 13:33:50

Hey Cabrinha, me too. There are delays less so at LCY than LHR. Both parents are required to be at the airport till the flight departs, so if it's cancelled then DS is delivered back the parent, DS and I have had exactly the same experience at both GVA and LCY and although there is scope for boredom here, DS never too worried as he loves watching the planes. The delays are good point though as not using UM means even more exposure to delays as there are more flights in total. The first and last are usually the worst for delays but UM means we can choose the more reliable mid morning flights. I've been overnighted a few times trying to get back and forth in a day..

Cabrinha Thu 15-Sep-16 13:53:35

I feel for you!
I take a 21:40 so I hear you on the last flight out comment...
Different time today, but I'm crossing my fingers due to the strike.
If you see someone glued to MN next time you're at GVA, say hi grin

Good luck with reassuring your ex on the UM.

How about doing it once where you're actually on the same flight but still using UM, and you explain it's a trial run and he can't talk to you? Maybe if he's done it once and felt happy, his mum will feel more comfortable?

tpod Fri 16-Sep-16 17:09:29

That's a great idea... I'm willing to try anything at this point....I'm the one with the flashing elbows...

AtleastitsnotMonday Fri 16-Sep-16 20:02:20

With um the parent generally has to wait at the airport until the flight that has departed. When you factor in delays that could be quite a while. Do you think this may be adding to ex reluctance?

BeALert Fri 16-Sep-16 20:58:44

As there are no connections I'd be tempted to try it in a year or two. My sister and I flew as UMs from age 7 and 5 but we had a connection. Be guided by your child too. Mine have flown transatlantic as UMs from 10 - I was only happy with it because there were no connections.

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