Flying as an Unaccompanied Minor: ‘It was Great!’

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  06.26.09 | 9:26 AM ET

Photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr (Creative Commons)

What a relief, after last week’s two incidents of unaccompanied minors being put on the wrong flights (and the resulting catastrophizing about the “risky proposition” of letting kids fly alone at all), to read something positive about the UM program.

MSNBC’s Harriet Baskas writes of her first solo air travel experience:

Even though I was just 11 or 12 years old when I missed a connecting flight, I ended up wandering around the Denver airport, unsupervised, for hours.

It was great! ... I came home from my trip full of self-assurance and stories. Hopefully, the two misrouted young travelers feel the same way about their unscheduled adventures.

I agree. I took my first UM flight at 6 years old and remember it being almost unbearably thrilling: I whizzed through the airport to my gate on a motorized cart, played travel-sized Pop-O-Matic Trouble with a tolerant flight attendant, and was allowed to sit in Business Class for landing before being led off the plane ahead of the other passengers. It remains probably the best flight I’ve ever taken (and it’s certainly the only time I’ve sat in Business Class).

No doubt last week’s mishaps were agony for the parents, but I do hope there aren’t too many families scared off the idea as a result—if so, there are a lot of young travelers-in-the-making who could be missing out.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

2 Comments for Flying as an Unaccompanied Minor: ‘It was Great!’

Harriet Baskas 06.26.09 | 8:55 PM ET

Thanks, Eva, for making note of my column about how fun it was to travel as an unsupervised minor.  Your first UM flight sounds equally thrilling!

sarahbing 07.17.09 | 4:54 PM ET

I flew to Europe with a friend to visit his grandparents when I was 15 and he 13. We flew alone and changed planes twice. Our parents were a little worried, but we called them from each stop. It was fabulous! I felt like such an adult. It really made me feel like a capable person - I’ve never been afraid to travel after that.

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