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Anyone sent a child as an "unaccompanied minor" on a flight? Thoughts appreciated

(42 Posts)
TheDullWitch Wed 11-Jun-08 11:05:25

My 12-yr-old has been invited to stay with relatives in Barcelona. Someone will pick him up from the airport. I realise the cheap airlines (EasyJet, RyanAir) don't take kids under 14. So it will have to be BA or the like. Has anyone used the unaccompanied minors service? Did it work out?

ShrinkingViolet Wed 11-Jun-08 11:13:21

I've done it with both DD1 and DD2 and it was fine - they're accompanied from handover to handover, and well looked after on the plane (DD2 usually manages to score a handful of Kitkats by smiling sweetly).
The service has got more expensive now as you need to pay the fee for both parts of the journey, and annoyingly you can't book the flights online, and just do the other forms at the airport.
For a fairly confident DC, I'd say go for it (and at 12 they shoudl be used to dealing with school stuff by themselves anyway, and woudl know to ask about anythign they were unsure about). Quite often there are other unacompanied children on the flight anyway (or at least in the waiting area at the same time).

rebelmum1 Wed 11-Jun-08 11:16:02

I did when I was a minor, there are very nice people who collect you at the airport seat you on the plane and make sure you are greeted at the other end and in safe hands. I went with Swiss Air. Absolutely wouldn't send on Ryan Air flight, it's painstakingly frustrating, with delays, lost luggage hopelessly unhelpful couldn't give an arse staff. I wouldn't let my parents fly on these cheap airlines anymore.

mamablue Wed 11-Jun-08 11:33:37

I went on my first flight aged 14 to California!! Nine and a half hours but my parents used the unaccompanied minor handover. Much to my disgust (I thought I would be fine!) but I was very grateful in the end. They were lovely, I bypassed all the queues to board the plane and on the arrivals in the U.S.A. The flight attendants really looked after me too. My DH travels alot abroad for work and has seen alot of unaccompanied minors on board always comments on how well they are looked after.

ladybouf Wed 11-Jun-08 12:07:34

I travelled loads as an unaccompanied minor from the age of 6, including several transatlantic flights. It is a big adventure carefully accompanied by people spoiling you rotten! Let him go, he'll have a blast!

TigerFeet Wed 11-Jun-08 12:12:04

I travelled as an unaccompanied minor from the UK to Hong Kong a few times between the ages of 11 and 13 - my dad was posted there and I was at boarding school over here.

I was signed over to the care of a specialised air hostess at the start of the journey and signed for at the other end - like a special delivery parcel grin. My journey included a change of flights which was handled in the same way. We got priority at customs etc and were well looked after.

I'd have no problem sending a 12yo as an unaccomanied minor at all.

Louise2004 Wed 11-Jun-08 12:30:43

I travelled from UK to Asia and to the States lots as an unaccompanied minor from when I was 9yo. I really enjoyed it, as we had a separate waiting area full of things to do - games, books etc. - and the air hostesses did tend to spoil us all! It was also fun because a lot of our friends also travelled that way and we met lots of new friends.

I only had a problem once when the person who was supposed to be meeting me in the States (a family friend) didn't turn up at arrivals on time. I was 12yo by then and used to travelling as an UM. The airline and airport staff kept me in their staff room and looked after me until they arrived, calling my parents and the friend to find out why they weren't there to meet me - basically they had got my arrival time wrong, but it all worked out fine and I was well taken care of whilst waiting.

So, yes, if you use a reputable airline who are set up for UMs and your child's OK with the idea then I'd say go ahead (especially if they're used to air travel anyway).

Sawyer64 Wed 11-Jun-08 12:36:01

My DS now aged 12 yrs flew to Isle-of-man as unaccompanied minor last year,and they were excellent.he went with Flybe who seem very cheap to me,and had to wear a vest,had someone with him at all times,myself and ExH had to sign for him either side.This year as he's 12 you have to pay for and specifically ask for this service,so am waiting to see if ExH thinks this is worth paying extra for....shock

TheDullWitch Wed 11-Jun-08 12:38:24

You're all wonderfully reassuring. Thank you so much. Does anyone have experience of BA or Iberia for this service as this will probably be the airline he flies with.

ShrinkingViolet Wed 11-Jun-08 12:40:45

we've done it with BA - a very positive experience - go for it!

webchick Mon 16-Jun-08 23:04:28

Im using BA this summer for my dd (6). Its the first time as an UM although she's flown several times before. It is £25 plus adult flight with BA.

bogwobbit Mon 16-Jun-08 23:07:25

I did when I was a minor visiting my pen pal in Germany. Nearly ended up in Warsaw (but that was probably just me hmm). It was with BA but I'm sure their level of supervision which was pretty non-existent in the 70s is much better now.
Seriously, I'm sure he'll be absolutely fine.

Piffle Mon 16-Jun-08 23:15:06

ds1 flew to new Zealand via qantas aged 12
they were fab just well as he got sick on way over! Was met by his daddy. All perfect! Airlines were ace!

suedonim Mon 16-Jun-08 23:30:55

Dd1 flew UM to the US when she was 12 with BA. They were great and she got to chat to Sean Connery, who was on the same flight (but not in Economy grin).

She also flew UM with KLM and she was fine with them as well. smile

emkana Mon 16-Jun-08 23:32:04

I once endured a 400 + posts AIBU thread on just this topic, was great fun grin

Def go for it, shouldn't be a problem at all.

BreeVanDerCampLGJ Mon 16-Jun-08 23:36:35

Ha Ha ..... saw the title and said as I clicked.....has Emkana come back for round II.grin

emkana Mon 16-Jun-08 23:37:41

grin

willali Tue 17-Jun-08 11:38:23

My 2 (then 9 and 6) went BA Gatwick to Glasgow last summer - fantastic experience, a real adventure for them both and great to jump all the queues etc!! Will dfinitely use it again

finallypregnant Tue 17-Jun-08 12:54:52

I did it with BA when I was little and I always remember it being a big adventure. I think I was about 11 at the time and went from Edinburgh via London to Jersey.

Go for it!

TheDullWitch Tue 17-Jun-08 18:43:28

Emkana do post a link. Was it a bunch of "how could you do this to a tiny child" freaks?

emkana Tue 17-Jun-08 20:06:38

here we go. I thought the link to terrible Lufthansa crashes was a particularly nice touch

Blu Tue 17-Jun-08 20:09:39

Emkana - did your dd go?

emkana Tue 17-Jun-08 20:13:50

No she didn't in the end, not because of the flying unaccompanied, but because she suffered from terrible homesickness for dh even when I was with her in Germany in February, so we figured being away from both of us would be too much.

Might try next year.

farfaraway Tue 17-Jun-08 20:24:10

I posted on and remember well your last thread on this. As said last time DD1 flew alone age 6 and was absolutely fine. It is all above board, they are all signed and accounted for. If the child is happy then let me go.
Will now sit back and wait for the horrified reaction of the 'what will happen if there was crash?' posts.

willow Wed 18-Jun-08 21:23:23

My nephew - then 9 - flew to and from Oz by himself this year. Had an absolute blast and got upgraded to club each time.

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