Should Teens Be Allowed to Travel Solo?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by rwoman, Aug 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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  2. Yes, they need to grow up at some point!
     
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  3. harry0233
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    As long as the child behaves, I see no reason why not.
     
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  4. Scottrick
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    The columnist is quick to point out that even her youngest child is a "responsible teenager." In my experience most are not. But in my experience most adults don't do much better. It's really frustrating when people see a young person as irresponsible just because of his/her age, but unfortunately there really isn't any better or more objective measure of maturity.
     
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  5. MSPeconomist
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    I think the biggest issue in permitting people under a certain age (15 or even 17 won't solve this) to travel alone is what happens if they are stranded overnight due to IROPs. In most places, even with a suitable credit card, someone under the legal age to sign contracts (IANAL but 18 in many jurisdictions) cannot check into a hotel and some hotels are unwilling to make exceptions, even if the parent faxes a letter authorizing their child to stay in the hotel. Even a nonstop early in the day entails some risk here, as in the rare case where the plane diverts and the airline sends passengers to a hotel overnight, the hotel could still refuse to accept the under-age individuals travelling alone. It could lead to a scary and dangerous situation.
     
  6. UA191

    UA191 Silver Member

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    I'm 14 and have already flown 1.4 million miles (300,000 of which I have flown by myself).
    This is mostly because of my job (I'm a journalist).
    I completely agree that there are adults that can be equally, if not more annoying than my peers.
    The worst experiences I've ever had in my few years of flying have taken place when flying as a UM.

    The UM supervisors at DL & UA could care less about taking care of me.
    I refuse to pay the UM fee on any airline because it is simply useless.
     
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  7. Christian Martinez
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    I traveled alone plenty of times as a 5-6 yr old let alone as a teen. It would be beyond silly for someone to suggest a teen or child can't travel alone. If I was able to handle airports/subways as a kindergartner, I'm sure plenty of others could too.
     
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  8. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    I think it really varies - my 19 year old niece is far less capable of traveling on her own than my 16 year old niece. Of course, that's part of why the older one has yet to come to the UK (she's a homebody) and the 16 year old has been here 3 times. :)
     
  9. Christian Martinez
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    My dad stayed in SDQ while I grew up in NYC with my mom so every few months or so, I was flying to go see him. The excitement kept me on my best behavior.
     
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  10. From NYC
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  11. viguera
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    On my flight back from FLL I was sitting next to a kid that couldn't have been more than 13-14. He was one of two unaccompanied minors on the flight and I think he was more prepared than most adults I've flown next to. He had some reading material and even some gum to chew. :)

    But I agree, I'm sure someone like that would handle an uneventful flight -- or even one with turbulence or delays -- relatively well. It's those redirected flights, missed connections or weather cancellations that they'd probably have a hard time with.
     
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  12. From NYC
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    If the person’s had travel experience, including some IRROPS, and behaves, I don’t see a problem with it if the parents don’t. I know plenty of young teens who can easily handle traveling alone and dealing with airline personnel if something goes awry.

    And if a teen turns out not to be able to handle it properly, then the airline will surely know about it and should report that back to the parents. Like a school report card that only comes if there’re problems.
     
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  13. PhlyingRPh
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    I'm a little concerned with the assumption that teenager = bad behaviour. It's simply not the case.
     
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  14. rwoman
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  15. goalie
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    Yes-but as long as they do not bring their oversized bed pillow on board (or like the one I saw on UA266 (SFO-ORD redeye) on 8/26 where she had a full size bed comforter. She walked right by me with it still in it's zippered store plastic bag and I had to do a double-take to make sure I saw what I saw and then did a walk back to "the village" mid-flight to see if she was using it-and sho'-nuff, she was.
     
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  16. MSPeconomist
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  17. MSPeconomist
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    I saw something similar about a year ago in SQ FC. A couple looked like backpackers who hadn't bathed in a while and she had two huge (bigger than king sized, maybe body pillows of some sort) pillows in filthy pillow cases with no protective bag of any sort. They spent the flight perched precariously on top of her table in front of the video monitor as I tried to avoid looking in that direction because I almost expected to see insects crawling out. If a pillow had fallen in my direction (I had the special 1B seat and she was in 2F TPAC SIN-NRT-LAX on the 747), I'm sure I would have screamed aloud. I was relieved to see the FA not put anyone else's clothes in the same closet as items these two had been wearing. Ick.
     
  18. uggboy
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    The 19 year old better gets to a flying start!:)
     
  19. Toula
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    My 12yo niece flies solo. I was a bit worried when I put her on the flight, however it was a direct flight to her hometown. We waited until the flight was in the air before we left the airport. If the flight had of been diverted we would have called someone in the city where she was diverted to, to get to the airport to take care of her (much easier in Australia where there are so few destinations).

    As to bad behaviour, usually teens misbehave when they are in a gang situation trying to out-cool each other. However I think I have been more disturbed by the behaviour of 3 yos who kick the back of my seat rather than any teen in all my years of flying.
     
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  20. rwoman
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    No kidding...she elected to go on a cruise in the Caribbean, which she did not really like, vice to London the week after last Christmas...we did drag her to NYC last February and I think she realized there is more to the world than Facebook, illegally downloading TV shows, her friends, and the town she lives in. There is nothing wrong with those things, but now she's at least talking about going different places! :D
     
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  21. uggboy
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    Good that she sees there is a world waiting to be discovered out there!:)
     
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  22. rwoman
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    I know, it just amuses me how much she and her (travel crazy) younger sister are. :D
     
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  23. moongoddess

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    MSPeconomist has voiced my concerns about unaccompanied minors. While it's rare, sometimes planes do divert, and sometimes passengers do get stranded for days at a location that isn't their end destination. If the minor doesn't have a credit card on him, or if the local hotels aren't willing to allow him to check in (even with a faxed parental authorization), there could be big trouble. And given the level of customer (non)service on most airlines these days, I certainly wouldn't trust the airline to look out for those kids, even if an unaccompanied minor fee has been paid!

    Emotionally, I'm sure many teens can handle flying solo. It's the legal side where most of the trouble lies.
     
  24. canucklehead
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    If you are going to let a responsible teenager fly solo, the operative word is 'responsible'. My first solo flight was at 19, but I have no doubt that I would have been fin at 15+. I have also met a few people who are mature and have traveled alone before they hit puberty, as well as some posters here and on FT who are <18yrs old and who know more about flying than I ever dreamed about (I think Lucky would fall into this category).
     
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  25. Valentine

    Valentine Silver Member

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    Just curious: are there journalist jobs that require that much flying? That's over a hundred transcontinental flights!
     

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