Minors flying solo. Any experience?

namedpipes

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When my boy was 14, if I put him on a plane at Logan, expecting him to arrive in Dallas, he'd probably have wound up in Honolulu.

Now he could not only plot the course, but fix the plane in the air while being shot at.

A 14yo that is focused, attentive and independent should be fine, but OP didn't express that. Send a companion or something... (or at LEAST direct flights with not stops or changeovers)
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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If the father is too f^*king cheap to make sure his daughter is safe,then don't send her.
I am curious to know how much he is saving.

Some people are so f*cking cheap, they will spend an additional 6hrs flying around the country or depart at some weird time like 2am to save $50.
 
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I flew internationally to see my Dad by myself at age 13. Not a huge deal.
Back then, My mom would walk me up to the gate and made sure I got on. She talked with the gate agents and the flight attendants and I had a laminated card in my backpack with everyone's numbers.

This was all pre 9-11 so not sure how this changes.

If you are really worried, I'd consider driving. Ask the father to drive her a couple hours north and meet somewhere in the middle. Road trips are fun.
 

ReluctantDecoy

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That's tight. Keep in mind a 50 minute layover is only actually 20 minutes from the time from landing to boarding the next plane, as they typically start domestic boarding 30 minutes to departure. And that's assuming the first leg arrives on time. Hopefully it isn't end to end gates at the airport. And if there was a terminal change involved, I'd say get another itinerary.

That being said, if you get all the gate confirmations day off, you can walk her through it on the phone of how to get from one gate to the next. Just pull up the airport map and guide her over the phone.
 

42!

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If the father is too f^*king cheap to make sure his daughter is safe,then don't send her.
Judges don't like it when you violate their orders (assuming court ordered visitation), be sure you can prove there was a risk to her safety. I may think that, and you may think that, but will the judge think that?
 

minininjer

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I flew to California for a summer to stay with my relatives. I flew back by myself. I was 14 yo. I did fine. You know your daughter better than all of us but... depending on your specific situation (of which I don't know anything about), this might be a teaching lesson of how to navigate by herself... learning sense of direction, which way things are, reading signs in unknown places, asking someone who works there (ie gate agent) for help, etc. Unless the flight is tomorrow, start giving her pointers now or letting her navigate you through the mall, where was the car parked, etc.
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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Judges don't like it when you violate their orders (assuming court ordered visitation), be sure you can prove there was a risk to her safety. I may think that, and you may think that, but will the judge think that?
The daughter is with the mother in MA. The dude doesn't have a chance against a MA judge.

But I agree. A very simple and short Email to the point should cover the OP butt.
 

42!

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The daughter is with the mother in MA. The dude doesn't have a chance against a MA judge.

But I agree. A very simple and short Email to the point should cover the OP butt.
Ya, just dig up some popo reports from the airport, every airport has them. It's not a hard sell, but you've got to have something.
 

namedpipes

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I flew to California for a summer to stay with my relatives. I flew back by myself. I was 14 yo. I did fine. You know your daughter better than all of us but... depending on your specific situation (of which I don't know anything about), this might be a teaching lesson of how to navigate by herself... learning sense of direction, which way things are, reading signs in unknown places, asking someone who works there (ie gate agent) for help, etc. Unless the flight is tomorrow, start giving her pointers now or letting her navigate you through the mall, where was the car parked, etc.

Being 14yo sized and being 14yo are different. Are you sure this wasn't last year? 😍
 
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Some people are so f*cking cheap, they will spend an additional 6hrs flying around the country or depart at some weird time like 2am to save $50.

Not so much the dawn patrol crap, but the extra legs might be “wants the miles!”

To OP and all the other folks who volunteered their own or kids’ experiences - you are all smart caring parents and I thank you all for building the kids who’ll pay my retirement :cool:

I flew by myself a few times as a kid; both US and European travel. Different times, for sure.

I like the idea of a free range kid, but this girl’s sperm contributor (NOT the OP!!!) seems to think it’s ok to toss the girl into the deep end without any practice. He‘s a selfish douche.
 

Mr.E

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We did a week of Boston/Helsinki/London/Boston in Jun(/Jul)-92,
and flew British Air. The Boston/Helsinki leg involved a plane change at Heathrow.
(Eminently plausible; if we'd demanded non-stop, we probably would needed Finnair).

I still remember descending the air stairs onto the tarmac at Heathrow,
boarding a bus that dodged all the jets on the ramp,
enter the terminal where our UK/Finland flight originated,
and passed through security again -
even though we had been plucked from an airplane.
Heathrow sucks. Metric ton of shops but because of that the seating is super cramped.

I learned years ago that Dublin or Schiphol (Amsterdam) are my favorite European airports to connect from..easy to get around, clean, good food..
 

413dan

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just call wayfair, haven't they been helping minors fly solo lately? the box is even big enough they're not stuffed in there, almost like an emergency exit row seat. likely considerably cheaper than a plane ticket, hell they might even pay you!
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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Not so much the dawn patrol crap, but the extra legs might be “wants the miles!”

To OP and all the other folks who volunteered their own or kids’ experiences - you are all smart caring parents and I thank you all for building the kids who’ll pay my retirement :cool:

I flew by myself a few times as a kid; both US and European travel. Different times, for sure.

I like the idea of a free range kid, but this girl’s sperm contributor (NOT the OP!!!) seems to think it’s ok to toss the girl into the deep end without any practice. He‘s a selfish douche.
Bull sh*t. No one will go through 2 or 3 layovers to get some miles, those sre all the cheap people trying to save $50. Most of the times you barely get any miles unless you take some stupid flight that goes up to Canada, then down to Mexico.
 

Broccoli Iglesias

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Heathrow sucks. Metric ton of shops but because of that the seating is super cramped.

I learned years ago that Dublin or Schiphol (Amsterdam) are my favorite European airports to connect from..easy to get around, clean, good food..
I think Heathrow is brilliant, it is designed to make money and it has a lot of places to get food.

Look at our ghetto Logan airport. Has like 3 pretty bad places for food and some sh*tty a** DD.
 

Mr.E

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I think Heathrow is brilliant, it is designed to make money and it has a lot of places to get food.

Look at our ghetto Logan airport. Has like 3 pretty bad places for food and some sh*tty a** DD.
Logan is a joke...and a dump...prefer TF even with the commute.
Heathrow is at least clean and has restaurants (more shopping than restaurants )

Logan is almost my least favorite airport in the world...think Manchester UK holds the official title..
 
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She’s gotta learn some day. She has a cellphone, she’ll be fine. She’s 14 not 9. She’s also going to be at the airport, not wandering the streets of Baltimore.

While you may have concerns, the realistic worst case scenario is you are paying for another flight for her direct from Baltimore after the plan goes to shit, and more than likely that won’t happen.

ETA: reading this thread reminds me how paranoid a lot of you guys are
 
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I think Heathrow is brilliant, it is designed to make money and it has a lot of places to get food.

Look at our ghetto Logan airport. Has like 3 pretty bad places for food and some sh*tty a** DD.
Logan is a joke...and a dump...prefer TF even with the commute.
Heathrow is at least clean and has restaurants (more shopping than restaurants )

Logan is almost my least favorite airport in the world...think Manchester UK holds the official title..

I don’t get the hate for Logan. It’s no Taj Mahal but it’s easy to navigate, pretty clean (as of recent), and I don’t think I’ve waited more than 20 minutes for security in my adult life there. There are plenty of absolute trash heaps out there. Newark for example is a national embarrassment. Filthy, bad food, poor lighting, shitty busses from terminal to terminal, etc.
 
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Bull sh*t. No one will go through 2 or 3 layovers to get some miles, those sre all the cheap people trying to save $50. Most of the times you barely get any miles unless you take some stupid flight that goes up to Canada, then down to Mexico.

I know several people who do exactly that. Same people will pick a weekend and pick a destination and just fly multiple legs to collect the miles. Just because it’s not YOUR hobby (nor mine) doesn’t make it “bull sh*t”
 

AHM

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Newark for example is a national embarrassment. Filthy, bad food, poor lighting, shitty busses from terminal to terminal, etc.
You know how Mass State Police roust people who camp curbside near the terminals,
waiting for arriving passengers? They'll roust people even when there's no competing demand
for standing room. (Maybe it's to make it harder to set off a VBIED as well as to prevent
traffic bottlenecks; but let that go).

Sometime in the 20teens I picked up The Bride curbside at Newark,
The cars were stacked 3-4-5 rows deep from the curb.
Some NJSP or Port Authority cop was trying to move cars along,
including the use of the siren.
 

pepperoni

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Go with your gut, you know her best.
If you can picture her getting into trouble, or somehow losing her way, stick with a direct flight.
If you do decide to go with the connecting flight, check the layover time, like Broccoli Iglesias said, lately the layovers are so short its ridiculous trying to catch a connecting fight.
 

Spanz

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the problem with a layover....what if there is a gate change, or the connecting flight gets canceled, or getting to the connecting flight is tight on time? I could do it when i was 14. but times are different now....the kids do not seem to be able to "think on their feet" anymore.

A direct flight is a LOT less fraught with potential problems.

I remember this time when i was in 9th grade....catholic school trip to NYC. we all went to the UN. then one bus went to a yankees game, and one bus went to some play. At the end of the UN tour, they let us have a snack at the restaurant. at the end of my snack, went outside....both buses were gone! After the initial WTF moment, went up to a cop and asked him how to get to Yankee Stadium....he was no help, "take a cab". I had no money for a cab. then he said "well, there is a subway station down the street" pointing the way. So i went from the UN to yankee stadium on subway, doing a transfer, finding the bus out in the parking lot, buying a ticket, watching most of the game, and then getting to the bus to come home to CT. It was....memorable. It DID help that i had been thru NYC, including subway system, with my parents and relatives many times before. And i had a little extra cash to buy the subway token!

Is this the FIRST TIME your kid is flying, or does she have a few flights under her belt already? Even if they were accompanied flights, they would teach her how flying/airports work.
 
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fshalor

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It all depends on the kid. Some 14 year olds would be fine, and some would be completely lost.

SW has the most generous cancelation/change policy, so he will probably be ok. He can change the flight for something later that he can use.

This.
I would have been fine at 14. But I know grad students who were into a second or third degree, who couldn't fly solo at the age of 26. (Or get back to their hotel room.)

Is she good on the phone? Can always have a plan that she will video call you after she finds a bathroom in the layover. Have her show you the tickets. Confirm gate number and her location, then walk with her on phone to her gate.

Make it a scavenger hunt style event.

This is the sort of thing which can be idiot proofed. Even if the gate changes, the process is the same.

Get off plane, take a picture of what gate you are at. Find bathroom. Find flight board. Look at bording pass and take a picture (again). Verify board gate and paper ticket gate.
Go to that new gate. Take a picture. Verify it says the right thing on your gate. K. Now go find coffee/snack, or sit down and read a book and set an alarm for 20min before departure time on phone.

Important part is taking pictures of your passes and gates. Add in video call, or exchange pictures to double check.
 

Mr.E

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I don’t get the hate for Logan. It’s no Taj Mahal but it’s easy to navigate, pretty clean (as of recent), and I don’t think I’ve waited more than 20 minutes for security in my adult life there. There are plenty of absolute trash heaps out there. Newark for example is a national embarrassment. Filthy, bad food, poor lighting, shitty busses from terminal to terminal, etc.
Crap for parking, garbage food, terrible location, can’t Uber to or from arrival or departure so dropped in central parking, international terminal is a joke, state trooper nazis buzzing everywhere....
 

AHM

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I remember this time when i was in 9th grade....catholic school trip to NYC.
(At least it wasn't Band Camp).

In college, I took NJ Transit buses twice from Greater NYC
to The Bride's parents' bungalow at the Jersey Shore.
Come to think of it, both times it was a <bleep>-show.

The time I took the bus from the Manhattan Port Authority Bus Terminal
(via the then-63 bus from Hoboken to PABT),
the bus died on the Parkway, down in Springsteen latitudes.
The driver pops the luggage hatches, a lot of the passengers grab their suitcases,
and hitchhike away from the scene, LOL. I stayed for the replacement.
We get to Toms River and the driver goes into the teentsy terminal, and I'm the only one
that stays on board, because I've bought a ticket as far as Seaside Heights.
20 minutes later, the driver pops out and sees I'm still sitting there.
"When are you going to finish the run?"
Oh.
Saddles up and we head out.
A thunderstorm passes over us.
When we get to the S-curves at the end of the bridge,
the driver jams on the brakes, and the bus hydroplanes and skids sideways.
source.gif


He straightened it out in time.

The other time, I get to the Port Authority, and...we ain't got no buses to the Shore -
go to the bus terminal in Newark.

Take the subway to the 33rd St. PATH station, and get a PATH subway to Newark.
(Having no idea of the distances, I actually thought there was a shuttle subway
between the Port Authority and Times Square, so I carry my suitcase down onto
what seems like its platform. Walk, walk, walk, and I'm at Times Square without seeing a shuttle
).

Luckily the PATH goes to the Newark bus(/Amtrak) station,
and it's not too late to catch the last bus of the (Friday).
But the bus only goes as far as Toms River.
And when The Bride picks me up there,
her 10-yo VW Beetle only arrives because it's being blown by
the wind from the wings of a pursuing flock of Shit Hawks.
It craps out as we pass a gas station;
so we have to call the bungalow for someone else to pick us up.

Even in college I couldn't have gotten that done if I didn't have a sense of
direction and where the trains ran. When I was younger, I wouldn't have had
the confidence even if I could have connected the dots...
 
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namedpipes

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There was a girl, maybe 15, 16? solo'ing out of Hanscom a few years ago. I think her landing gear fell off or something. There's a thread here someplace where we were following it. IIRC she landed more or less safely.
 

SpaceCritter

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There was a girl, maybe 15, 16? solo'ing out of Hanscom a few years ago. I think her landing gear fell off or something. There's a thread here someplace where we were following it. IIRC she landed more or less safely.
Ugh. I wonder if she stuck with it.

My first solo I was 22, and I'm happy to report it was relatively uneventful (save what happened to my shirt afterwards).

shirttailsAnon.jpg

[grin]

Yes, that says 10/23/92, so 28 years ago this past Friday. I'm old. [sad]
 

dcmdon

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Ha. Ha. That's awesome. I have my shirt back somewhere. Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough to wear a light colored shirt. So no sharpie writing on it.

I couldn't stop singing Highway To The Danger Zone, as my 105 hp C152 rocketed down the runway.
(It actually felt fast, for the first time I didn't have an extra 170 lb of instructor on board)
 
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