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Poll: At what age would you let your child fly unaccompanied, non-stop, oveseas? - Page 2

Poll Results: When would you let your child fly overseas unaccompanied?

  • 0% (0)
  • 8% (3)
  • 13% (5)
  • 18% (7)
  • 16% (6)
  • 10% (4)
  • 32% (12)
37 Total Votes  
post #21 of 36
How long would she be gone for?

Do you think she would enjoy it?

Is this something she wants to do?

I told my kids about this thread today and asked them what they thought. They felt it would depend more on the specific kid and the specific situation than an arbitrary age.

It's one thing to not allow something that you know isn't appropriate for your child right now, and it's quite another to hold them back because of your fears.

Meemee and I have very different kids.

(I don't see a school trip and flying internationally unaccompanied in the same league, though. Part of the reason we chose our kids school was because of the trips. One went on 3 school trips this year, the other went on 4).
post #22 of 36

Just my opinion, I put 18+. I sent an 8 year old off to camp for a week, and we're looking at longer term summer camps as they get older. But I traveled overseas as a teen, and honestly, even with a group, it was daunting. I think it would be more stress and less fun as an individual. I'd send a 13+ with a group, no problem. Even with a pair, and domestic flights, that makes sense to me. But alone overseas sounds like a long flight and a lot of paperwork and lines. 

post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 

Yes, of course it's about the individual first. BUT, I find it helpful to see if I'm within the range of "normal" both to check that I'm not asking too much or too little of my kids, yk? DC was an only for 10 years, which maybe is a factor, I don't know. She has asked me to accompany her on her school overnight (one hour from home) every year until last year. She does want to go...but I was not the person who talked to her about it first (her aunt broached the subject). I was neutral when I asked her and she said she wanted to go but wondered if she could go for shorter. 


BTW, I'm not sure if I consider this a "once in a lifetime opportunity". Other posters called it that - not me. 


There are two threads going - one where I asked about flying (this one) and another more general one about this trip in particular. I'll try to keep the rest of this thread on the flying issue (because I didn't mean this to be all about me and this particular trip). We can continue the other stuff on the other thread....


Like I said, I flew alone at 12, domestically, nonstop, short flight. The flight was fine. It was much anticipated -- hyped up for several years. I liked how that was done and feel that 12 was the right age for me.  I voted 12, even for international nonstop just because I feel the world is getting smaller and kids travel more (DC has already been all over the world and lived on two continents). 


My sister flew at 15 to Europe to visit me. She traveled with a friend but they traveled all over together just the two of them. I thought that was a fine age for that. 


Back to the "it depends on the individual" my other sister traveled to see me on several occasions and was really not ready to make the most of it and be a pleasant guest. 

post #24 of 36
Thread Starter 
post #25 of 36

Originally Posted by Identity


Another factor, however, is I'm not quite sure if this is a "once and a lifetime" event. I'd love if I could talk to DC's aunt and see if this offer could be extended for another year -- if we decide it's too soon. DC wouldn't be able to attend her aunt's school but she could attend middle school, I'm sure. Or, better, go in the summer.  

middle school is a VERY challenging time. to go to a brand new school in a brand new country might be a bit much at that age. ESPECIALLY if she is on the verge of starting her periods. 


my dd being the emotional person and a thinker i am going to keep her near me for hugs and listening ear - for at least 6th and 7th grade. 


for future reference perhaps your dd could do one year of HS in italy - whether she stays with her aunt or not. 


LINDA - you know something. i guess i am more like your children. i was nothing like my dd. its been quite a challenge for me to see life through her eyes. but for her peace of mind i have had to stretch myself a bit. 

post #26 of 36

I voted 10-11 because my eldest DD flew as an unaccompanied minor from Denver to Hamburg round trip (changed planes in Frankfurt) at 11. I have to say it was the hardest thing ever to put her on that plane. She also flew round trip, Denver to Hong Kong (via SFO) at 13 and non stop Denver to London round trip at 16. My first flight alone was as a 16 year old, non-stop London to Toronto. I would let let my almost 15 yo and my 12.5 yo fly overseas by themselves if the opportunity arose.

post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 

How did your child do, Mirzam? 

post #28 of 36
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

How did your child do, Mirzam? 


She did fantastic. She flew Lufthansa and was taken very good care of. I allowed her to fly at 11 because I knew she could handle it just fine. She was not an anxious/nervous kid, I was way more scared than she was! It was not the first time she had flown overseas, she had flown many times with me as a younger child: London, Hong Kong and the US.

post #29 of 36
I voted 12-13. I can't believe the 18 plus is winning! I don't think I flew internationally alone until I was 18 but at 11 my friend and I travelled from Scotland to Wales alone by train. At 13 I was taking the train into London for the day on my own. I also went on a train trip to Europe with a friend at 16. What were my parents thinking? All those things have way more variables than a non stop plane trip which is a very controlled environment. If my child at 12 wanted to do it, I would let them. My 5 year old already thinks he should be allowed to ride his bike to the shops alone. I'm pretty sure he could handle a plane trip in 7 years.
post #30 of 36
Scotland, england, and Wales are all part of the uk and traveling them between them is more like traveling from state to state than traveling internationally Also, they are geographically small. The entire inland is smaller than the state I live in.

Part of the reason I would be opposed to my children travelling internationally unaccompanied is because of the fatigue involved, and how that effects their ability to handle stress. For us, international travel usually involves thousands and thousands of miles, as well as massive time changes.

The only country we live close to is Mexico, and there is a drug war there.

Riding the train around an area smaller than the state I live in isnt on the same scale as what international travel involves for us.

And being ready to ride a plane alone isn't the same as being ready to be in transit for lengthy times and then being taken, even by airline personal, through a massive airport.

I still think it depends more on the specific kid and situation rather than an arbitrary age. I just find some of the arguments lame.
post #31 of 36

I voted 14-15.  I traveled to three countries with a friend when I was 16.  I'm not going to say it was without incident (my friend lost her passport and there was an incident with a cab driver in the Philippines), but we handled our difficulties with maturity.  Of course that was a different world back then, but I know I was responsible enough to do it.   I think it would depend on the country, but I would let my children do it.

post #32 of 36

I would let my kiddo go now, at age 11.  He's traveled enough and is confident enough to be able to handle a long flight and know who is meeting him on the other end.  Even if there was a transfer at some point he would be fine.  Again this is MY KID and MY comfort level.

post #33 of 36

forgot to vote

post #34 of 36

So, I'm curious....what are the airlines rules about unaccompanied minors? If they are under a certain age, say 13, is the parent required to buy a 'chaperone' ticket for someone? (It used to be like that years ago)....And also, I noticed that alot of moms say that when they were kids, they used to do 'this' all the time...does anyone think about how different it was for us growing up and how it may not even compare to our own kids? (not attacking, just curious...). I don't think I'd let my kids go on flights alone till they are in their early teens perhaps...and international may be a whole other story...........who knows how things will change in a few years.

post #35 of 36



here is a list from American Airlines. almost all other airlines look the same. below is alitalia guidelines. very similar




today there are i would say with more single parent families way more unaccompanied minors travelling - nationally as well as internationally. 

post #36 of 36
There aren't FAA regulations about this, so it is airline policy that dictates what happens. Each airline can make their own rules. An airline can have different rules for domestic and international flights.

Parents need to check the policy for the airline they are planning on using, and be clear on the additional cost.

I think flying unaccompanied has gone up over the years and will continue to do so because of the number of kids with divorced (or never married) parents. Irl, the only kids I know who travel unaccompanied are doing so to visit a parent. And some of the parents find it painful to put their kids on those plans.

I'm nearing 50, and I don't know anyone my age who flew unaccompanied as a child. It just wasn't a common thing.

(as a teen/college student for education, yes. But as a CHILD, no)
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