My son Danny still remembers the first time he flew alone, at age 8. His dad and I divorced a year prior and I sent him from Nashville to Los Angeles to visit his dad. Although Danny had flown before with us, he was nervous at the prospect of flying solo. He couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of the plane crashing. What didn’t help the situation was a plane crash near San Francisco, two days prior to his departure.
Millions of kids fly solo each year. Most of them fly during summer and Christmas. For divorced moms or dads, sending their little ones off alone on a plane to meet the other parent for the annual vacation or scheduled visit is a reality they must face.
Two days ago, Danny (he is now 12) returned from his latest visit in Los Angeles. These days he is much more comfortable flying alone. He keeps busy with reading, playing games on his phone, and eating yummy snacks.
Here are some tips about what to expect when your kids fly alone.
What to pack:
Other things to consider:
* Identify and discuss any specific fears the child may have about flying.
* Describe to the child in as much detail as possible what should happen on the flight. Knowing the details really helped my son the first time he flew alone.
* Personally, I would never put a child on a flight that has connections. There is too much that can go wrong, weather, diversions, and you have no clue who is taking care of your child.
*Do whatever it takes to pick up your child from the airport on time. I’ve heard the most common problem is the failure of a parent to pick up a child promptly after arrival. It’s disheartening when a child is all excited to get there and there’s no one to meet.
* Be aware, things happen…you have no control. So, really think is your child mature enough to take care of him/herself?
Would you or have you let your kids fly solo? What additional advice do you have?