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to consider allowing dd (12) to fly alone?

(45 Posts)
TriggersBroom Mon 15-Aug-11 09:15:36

DD is going to visit some family friends in Paris soon. We'll take her over for a weekend and drop her at their house.

On the way back, they'll take her to Paris CDG and check her in. There is an option to send her as an Unaccompanied Minor with the airline, but she thinks she'll be fine (she is a very mature 12yo and is used to flying). DH is happy with this, but I'm wavering a bit.

All she needs to do is go through security, find the gate and follow the signs to collect her luggage at the other end, I suppose. She'll be arriving at a regional airport and we'll obviously meet her. But her French isn't that great if she gets into difficulties at CDG...

Any thoughts?

londonone Mon 15-Aug-11 09:18:59

I would send her UM. She would prob be fine on her own as long as everything runs as normal but in case of a delay and/or any changes it would b good to have someone looking out for her. Some airlines mak you fly UM if that is what you are

dexter73 Mon 15-Aug-11 09:20:40

I would send her as UM too. As londonone says if there is a delay/cancellation you know she will be helped.

TriggersBroom Mon 15-Aug-11 09:20:43

Technically with this airline (Flybe) she is an adult and is allowed to fly alone. But there is the option to pay for an UM service if you want to up to age 14. It's about £40 so I wonder if DH is just being tight when he says he thinks it will be alright.

TriggersBroom Mon 15-Aug-11 09:21:37

CDG is a very big airport, I suppose.

TrillianAstra Mon 15-Aug-11 09:22:35

Definitely let her fly (not that this is in question).

Has she flown much before? I know some adults who could do with flying "unaccompanied minor" because they are not used to airports.

Given that she doesn't know much of the language I would pay the £40.

kittensliveupstairs Mon 15-Aug-11 09:22:36

I would do it, I'd be worried if my DD couldn't follow signs in English. They won't only be in French.
DD is going to fly, albeit as an UM to Antwerp soon to meet DH.
She is 10 and a bit doxy distractible. We've been practicing on the bus for the last week and I've been texting her from the back to make her stop reading.

Folicacid Mon 15-Aug-11 09:24:21

When I was 14 I flew to NZ as an UA from the UK. I was actually only accompanied on one leg of the flight by someone meeting me from the plane and taking me to a lounge, the rest of the legs I was completely forgotten about and managed to get myself around various airports fine.

I think coming back from Paris on one flight if she is sensible and not prone to panic then it will be a great experience for her.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Mon 15-Aug-11 09:25:14

Me and my sister flew from heathrow to switzerland when - I think I was 11 or 12 ish and my sister 3 years younger. Our parents handed us over at heathrow and their friends collected us from the other side. Flew back alone too.

It was a grand adventure!

My sister still has a bit of the ticket -pouch? and bits and bobs.

They took really good care of us.

As long as you made sure that someone was responsible for her on the flight and they were looking out for her, then I don't think it would be a problem and I bet she'd really enjoy it.

I know we enjoyed having a big fuss made of us grin

TriggersBroom Mon 15-Aug-11 09:27:22

Trillian - yes she's flown a fair bit before - five flights last year and two so far this year. kittens - I'm assuming she'll be fine with the signs (!) but if she needs to ask for help in French, I think she'd struggle.

MountainDew Mon 15-Aug-11 09:33:27

I flew UM to Canade from UK when I was 10. It was a great experience! I would pay the little bit extra for the UM thing.

MountainDew Mon 15-Aug-11 09:34:42

*Canada!

Backinthebox Mon 15-Aug-11 09:37:22

Send her UM. I work for an airline and know all the different things that can happen that can bamboozle the most experienced of travellers. Who'd have predicted a volcanic ash cloud, for example, a couple of years ago? By sending her as an UM should anything really weird happen, or even if she just has her baggage lost and doesn't know who to speak to to find it, you are more or less paying for a bit of peace of mind.

TriggersBroom Mon 15-Aug-11 09:49:52

Thanks for all the responses. Good point about the weird things like ash clouds, backinthebox.

squeakytoy Mon 15-Aug-11 09:53:33

Your friends can help her check in, and take her as far as passport control, checking that the flight is on time etc. At 12, if she is a confident person, she should be fine to find her departure gate.

Once she lands, she will be back in the UK, so no language barrier, and you will be there to meet you. All the other passengers on the plane will be heading in the same direction, so she wont get lost.

Bulmers Mon 15-Aug-11 09:57:05

As a UM yes, completely alone - not a chance.

Supposing there's a fire alarm/bomb hoax/whatever at the airport and she has to be evacuated along with everyone else, will she know where to go? Will she know how to get back, where she's supposed to be? To know that those nice people offering to help a 12 yo on her own may not that nice after all?

As a UM she will be helped and accounted for every step of the way.

A2363 Mon 15-Aug-11 10:07:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kladdkaka Mon 15-Aug-11 10:08:02

I always send my daughter as an unaccompanied minor. She's just turned 18 so will be sent as an unaccompanied adult in future. grin

Yellowstone Mon 15-Aug-11 10:23:51

Mine have flown frequently as UM and were very well looked after each time.

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 15-Aug-11 10:56:46

My DD flew alone, not as a UM to Germany when she was 12. She flew with BA, and they couldn't have been kinder to her, even though we hadn't paid. she did have to go through security on her own, but she said they were lovely and took her to the friends in Germany and brought her to us when she flew back. She was left alone during the flight, though, so she had to be quite self-sufficient. We had also told her who to ask if there was a delay or some other problem.

I think nearly everyone would be helpful to a polite teenager on their own if there was a problem.

I would say, let your DD fly alone, she will get such a sense of achievement from it.

ThePosieParker Mon 15-Aug-11 10:58:09

I did it, I was fine....helped by it being a small plane and the majority of other passengers being a boys school trip!!! (A plane full of 14 yr old boys, my heaven)

neversaydie Mon 15-Aug-11 11:32:12

Personally I would not do her first solo trip starting at CDG! It is huge, it is confusing and the signage is pretty dire. I travelled solo from much the same age, and would normally be strongly in favour of letting her try - but CDG confuses me every time, and I travel a LOT.

notcitrus Mon 15-Aug-11 11:43:07

I'd send her UM - from my experience of doing it a lot, aged 12 they pretty much leave you alone except for ushering you through security at a set time and then onto the plane, so I spent lots of time window-shopping in Gatwick.

But it meant if there was any problem, I was looked after well (memories of taking 3 days to get back to Norway via 6 diverted flights...) And learnt lots of card games from the cabin crew!

meditrina Mon 15-Aug-11 11:48:49

As an unaccompanied minor she will be chaperoned in the airport (so will be in the charge of a responsible staff member should any of the disaster scenarios outline above happen - arguably a safer option than with family as a staff member will know everything about how to get out safely).

She'll be handed over to a stewardess on the plane who will be responsible fir her during the flight itself (and they often sit them next to someone who looks motherly - this has happened to me twice!), and will be handed over to another chaperone on landing who will stay with her through landing formalities and only leave when she has found the person who is meeting her.

I would have no problems whatsoever letting my DCs fly as an unaccompanied minor on any reputable airline.

AlpinePony Mon 15-Aug-11 11:53:43

ALL airports are international.

CDG is not an exclusively french zone! The standard language of ANY international airport is English.

If she's reasonably mature I can't see the problem.

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