to use the skyflyer solo service for my kids?

(58 Posts)
MajorieDawes Sun 13-Oct-13 22:31:22

Not really AIBU but really need honest opinions ASAP.

We live in NYC. My mum lives in London and has stage 4 breast cancer. Originally we were told she has 18-24 months. I came for a few days, planning to come back with kids in Christmas.

Just before I came a few days ago my Mum has suddenly started gone downhill so fast, it's scary. We don't think she's going to last more than a couple of weeks if that. She really wants to see the grandchildren (aged nearly 10 and nearly 7). They're in NYC right now. I was going to fly back and get them but my Mum has now said she would rather I didn't go as she wants me to stay. My husband can't bring them as his work is inflexible.

We were thinking of having them fly on a day flight with the BA skyflyer solo service. Flight is about 6.5 hours. DH will wait at airport in case of delays (it's the rule anyway). I will pick them up.

What do you think?

CocacolaMum Sun 13-Oct-13 22:35:32

I am really sorry for your situation. Its impossible.

Only you know your kids, for me it would just be too huge a risk to let them fly alone but mine aren't yours. could anybody else bring them?

twofalls Sun 13-Oct-13 22:35:56

I have no experience of it but I would say that I would probably do it. Are your chikdren anxious flyers? Do they get on well? If the answer is no and yes then even better.

So sorry about your mum

Bluebell99 Sun 13-Oct-13 22:35:59

Yes, I think I would if your husband really can't bring them himself. My dd's best friend who had just turned 11, flew to south Africa and back this summer. The only thing is, you will really want to be with your mother, and maybe concentrate on her, rather than having the responsibility of your children too. So sorry to hear about your mum tho.

I think it'd be fine and they'll have a great time. Dh used to have to fly solo to and from U.K. for school and loved it.

So sorry about your mum.

no problem whatsoever. They are extremely well looked after and its a straight flight.

I put ds on a flight to Canada aged 5. Lots of kids do it all the time. hence having the service.

Pigsmummy Sun 13-Oct-13 22:38:20

I booked this service for people (ex pats flying their children)
and never had an issue. Do it.

meddie Sun 13-Oct-13 22:38:56

Mine flew to texas aged 7 and 8. They loved it. They got spoiled rotten by the flight attendants.

ThePearShapedToad Sun 13-Oct-13 22:39:21

I'm sorry to hear the reasons behind your dilemma, sending thanks

I used to work for sky flier; I have nothing but admiration for the (usually ladies) who work there

The rules and regulations put in place to ensure your child is monitored every single step of the way are incredible, not to mention the kindness and have fun attitude of most of the staff when the children are on a layover between flights

If you decide to use them, it's a brilliant service

kiriwawa Sun 13-Oct-13 22:39:23

Of course it will be fine. I did it at that age and they'll be together anyway.

I'm so sorry your mum's prognosis is so bad

CallMeNancy Sun 13-Oct-13 22:39:24

Sorry about your mum.

BA will look after them very well, & they will be together.

MajorieDawes Sun 13-Oct-13 22:39:41

Thanks. It is a difficult situation. DH could bring them at the weekend. That might be too late. Perhaps we have to just take that risk.

On the other hand, they fly long haul twice a year (with me or dh obviously) - often even further than UK to dh's family. So they're used to flying and they're not anxious flyers at all (they love it)

CocacolaMum Sun 13-Oct-13 22:41:00

Then do it. If they are used to flying I cannot see it being a problem.

CallMeNancy Sun 13-Oct-13 22:42:14

Don't worry about the BA part. They look after solo children all the time, and are very good at it.

The only issue for me would be how upset the children are knowing why they are going alone.

Andro Sun 13-Oct-13 22:42:29

At 10, as long as your dc have flown before and are not scared of flying, I wouldn't hesitate as long as the child was in agreement at 6 (nearly 7) I wouldn't be happy with them being on a longish flight without me/dh/a specific adult I had agreed to accompanying them.

MajorieDawes Sun 13-Oct-13 22:43:33

Agree Andro. Not worried about older one, it's the little one who is my main concern.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 13-Oct-13 22:43:43

I used to work for BA. They will be absolutely fine. This is one of the most common routes for this service. They'll be assigned an 'auntie' or 'uncle' to look after them on the ground and have a dedicated member of staff on board to look after them too. They'll probably have a great time (despite the very sad reason for needing to travel).

I am so sorry to hear about your mum. I wouldn't hesitate to book them onto the next available flight in your position. Feel free to PM me if you want any more reassurance.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 13-Oct-13 22:44:14

Do you have other relatives at this end to help out with your dc once they arrive? They're likely to be jet lagged and not able to fit in with regular mealtimes etc initially.

In your difficult situation I think I'd use sky flyer.


Lilacroses Sun 13-Oct-13 22:46:01

So sorry to hear about your mum. I've never done this but know people who have and their children have had the most wonderful time on the flight. My DP used to fly solo back and forth to Lagos when she was at boarding school and enjoyed it.

theolddragon01876 Sun 13-Oct-13 22:46:10

The BA solo thing for kids is GREAT.

My Dd went from Boston to Edinburgh via heathrow 3 times using that service. I cant say enough good things about it. They get through security very quickly,just walked to the front with their "person" who hands them off to a flight attendant who keeps an eye on them throughout the flight. They are handed off to another "person" at the other end who takes them through customs immigration and baggage claim then walks them out to who ever is waiting for them. They have to show ID ( and they have to be the person you said would be picking them up) and sign for them.

I was stressed the first time I sent her off alone as I didnt know what to expect etc. It was fine,honestly. Dd was 13 when she first used it but they keep all the unaccompanied minors together and first time she flew there was a 7 year old, a 10 year old, Dd and another 13 year old.She actually had fun

Use it without fear,you have enough stress at the moment. Good luck XX

curlew Sun 13-Oct-13 22:46:29

I'm sorry it's such a sad reason- but it will be absolutely fine. Whoever said about it being a "huge risk" is talking absolute rubbish. They will be fine.

meditrina Sun 13-Oct-13 22:47:39

Yes, use it and don't give it another thought.

BA look after hundreds of unaccompanied children every year and provide a very good service.

What family/friends do you have on hand to help look after them whilst over here? For they may not want to spend as long at your DM's bedside as you do, so having someone you trust able to take them for part of each day could be important.

MajorieDawes Sun 13-Oct-13 22:48:04

Thank you all for your reassuring words, it's making feel less stressed about it all. I really appreciate it.

MajorieDawes Sun 13-Oct-13 22:49:06

Yes, we have family here and children have their old school friends who have offered playdates, sleepovers etc.

Andro Sun 13-Oct-13 22:49:11

Personally, I would use the service for the older one (assuming the 10yo agrees) and have your dh bring the younger one at the w/e - not least because with a desperately ill mum you would likely be stretched very think if the younger child was scared/upset/unable to cope with seeing your mum so ill (I think with 2 dc there you'd be thankful of your dh's presence and emotional support).

MajorieDawes Sun 13-Oct-13 22:51:51

That's an idea Andro. I'll run it by my husband.

mummytime Sun 13-Oct-13 22:55:32

I would do it. It's a great service. And with no layovers, there is very little risk of issues.
Even in the worst circumstances your children would be cared for very well. It is Expat 14 year olds etc. that I would worry most about.

My DH frequently uses that flight, and has far less jet lag than if he flies overnight.

5madthings Sun 13-Oct-13 22:56:32

I would do it, the service is used lots, esp by forces families etc.

Its regulated etc and the children will be very well looked after.

curlew Sun 13-Oct-13 22:57:50

If they are anything like my children (similar age gap) they would want to be together.

MajorieDawes Sun 13-Oct-13 22:58:58

Mummytime - my children won't sleep on planes! The lure of unlimited TV/computer game time and fizzy drinks (the rule book goes out the window on flights) is simply too exciting for them. Usually they eventually fall asleep an hour before landing... I'd also rather they take a day flight if they're unaccmpanied.

MajorieDawes Sun 13-Oct-13 22:59:57

Curlew, that's a point as well.

I need to speak to dh and the kids.

Thank you for all your input.

bababababoom Sun 13-Oct-13 23:00:48

I'd do it, and mine are 6 and 4. They're looked after, they will be together, I really don't see the problem. I'm so sorry about the circumstances though.

Calloh Sun 13-Oct-13 23:02:12

It's fine, my brother, sister and I used it all the time when we were little (your DCs age).

drinkyourmilk Sun 13-Oct-13 23:06:49

They will be fine on the plane.
Another option is to hire a nanny to bring them across. I've done it twice for families. I took a night time flight to the destination, waited for the children to arrive, then flew straight back with them.

TidyDancer Sun 13-Oct-13 23:18:49

Yes in the circumstances I would absolutely do this.

I'm so sorry about what's happened. Thinking of you all. x

MistressDeeCee Mon 14-Oct-13 01:24:59

I used the service when my DCs were around the same age, after having to fly abroad for emergency and then wanting them to follow me out there the next week. I really, really was nervous. But they were absolutely fine, they werent the only children flying solo they have dedicated child friendly areas for them in airport (games room etc so my DCs were happy!) and on flight, and children flying solo are grouped together and not left unattended at any time..again, designated area. I was pleased with the service and my DCs enjoyed it

CoolStoryBro Mon 14-Oct-13 01:33:46

I would send them in a heartbeat. They have each other. I just read this to my DH and he said to add that he is flying Wednesday day if he can help in any way.

Good luck and sorry about your Mum x

CoolStoryBro Mon 14-Oct-13 01:34:36

Admittedly, that reads a little random!!

fuckwittery Mon 14-Oct-13 01:37:25

I flew to NY regularly alone from the age of 9. The skyflyer service was great even then, and they will be together. I would do it.

NatashaBee Mon 14-Oct-13 01:45:02

Not used SkyFlyer but DSD has flown regularly as a UM with various carriers and their processes seem absolutely watertight, I would have no concerns about it. Sorry about your mum sad

Want2bSupermum Mon 14-Oct-13 01:50:23

Sorry about your mum. I flew on that program as a child. It is brilliant. BA flew us back when my uncle was dying. My aunt put us on the plane and my Dad picked us up in Manchester.

I would suggest you go with BA. They were excellent with us as kids and really went the extra mile. We had a 6 hour lay over once and they put us in the lounge.

MidniteScribbler Mon 14-Oct-13 01:55:47

I'd do it. A direct flight with your husband dropping them at one end and you picking up at the other would be pretty low risk I think.

Alternatively, is there a close friend you would trust to bring your children over? A free flight to NYC in exchange for supervising them on the plane?

ljny Mon 14-Oct-13 02:32:24

My kids also frequently flew the New York/London route as unmins - the youngest from age 5.

We stayed with BA when they were young as BA has a tradition of caring for unmins. I notice the unmins nowadays when I fly BA, and they're still brilliant. I wouldn't worry at all. So sorry about your mum.

MajorieDawes Mon 14-Oct-13 02:40:20

Thank you all. We decided we're going to book them on the flight unaccompanied. I hope it's the right decision.

cafecito Mon 14-Oct-13 02:49:55

sorry to hear of the circumstances, but your DCs will definitely be fine flying to London

NadiaWadia Mon 14-Oct-13 03:12:31

I have sent DD on a flight using this service. They do take excellent care of them, I am sure your DCs will be fine. I think you have made the right decision.

MajorieDawes Mon 14-Oct-13 03:18:57

I hope so. Just called BA in the US to book as I can't sleep. It just made me so sad changing our Christmas flights. I thought we'd all spend a lovely time with my Mum, all of us together, our last Christmas sad

I'll have an anxious few hours while they're flying (visions of planes crashing, getting lost somewhere in heathrow!) but my Mum so wants to see them while she's still functioning mentally and can communicate. I hope they look back when they're older and are glad that they had a chance to say goodbye.

NadiaWadia Mon 14-Oct-13 03:33:18

Honestly, they'll be fine, I know you will be worrying, as I did myself, but statistically it has been proved planes are actually far safer than trains or cars. I also think it's good they'll be together for company.

So very sorry about your Mum and that this is happening to your family. You are a great daughter.

pixiepotter Mon 14-Oct-13 08:25:05

I think it depends on how the children feel about it.

WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 14-Oct-13 08:48:51

Sorry to hear about your mum.

I think it's a good thing that they have each other during the flight. Also long haul are better set up for kids to relax - films, cartoons, game station in the back of the seat, child menu etc rather than short haul where they'd be twiddling their thumbs and getting fidgety.

I've sat infront of kids flying solo on BA and they are treated like VIP's - they were getting all the extra treats and snacks from First Class.

MajorieDawes Mon 28-Oct-13 19:25:52

Just a big thank you for your reassurance. The kids did fly with skyflyer and LOVED every second. In fact they ended up flying back with them because BA wanted $2800 for dh's last minute ticket and he could go with another airline for half the price.

Coming from a family of Air hostesses - they will be fine! It will be an adventure and they will be very well cared for. I would do it with my kids if I needed to without a second thought. They'll get treated like VIPs!

Sorry to hear about your Mum though, all my thoughts are with you and her. thanks

See... This is why you should read to the end... blush

DreaduCated Mon 28-Oct-13 19:34:25

Glad to hear they enjoyed it. It must have been a great adventure, even with the sad reason for the trip. How are you?

TheFuckersonInquiry Mon 28-Oct-13 19:41:01

Glad the flights worked out ok.

trinity0097 Mon 28-Oct-13 20:03:53

They will be fine at that age. I first flew alone aged 4, admittedly an hour flight, but this was pre electronic devices to occupy children! They will be well looked after by the crew.

everlong Mon 28-Oct-13 20:10:27

They will be absolutely fine.
I'm so sorry about your mum, such a sad time for you.
I hope she gets to spend some precious time with her grandchildren. Thinking of you x

foreverondiet Mon 28-Oct-13 20:16:26

My kids are the same age (just turned 10 and 7), and I would think its ok, just make sure they have plenty to do on the journey. Would want to give them ipod/tablet to occupy them but I guess risk of losing it but probably a risk would have to take. I would rather send both together - think my 10 year old could cope better with her brother there than on her own but only you know your kids - he is much more independent than her.

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