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thread: Would you let your 5 year old travel as an unaccompanied minor?

  1. #37
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2004
    VIC
    1,794

    i first flew as an unaccompanied minor for melb to Cairns when I was 8 years old
    i reckon i was just old enough at 8 to cope with the situation being on my own for 4 hours
    yes the air hostesses were there, but they still wernt there ALL the time.

    You run the risk of your 5 year old having to travel with other unaccompied children ( including other children up to the age of 11 years old) that may not be a good influence on your child as well. On my first flight i was with an older boy i remember and an older girl

    Personally I would wait until she is just a bit older- I was a really independant, sensible kid and i reckon 8 years old was proabably the earliest I should have flown



    btw i kept on drinking all the orange juice they gave me on my flight and as we landed i puked everywhere- all over myself and all over the person next to me
    there was no one to tell me that i shouldnt- so i just did lol
    i coped,but i was upset by what had happened and didnt have the sense to realise that what goes in has to come out. The poor air hostess had to carry me out of the plane with my clothes in a plastic bag and a blanket wrapped around me.

    I would wait just a little longer or ensure that there was at least someone on the plane that she knew besides the staff- just in case

    btw my friend has her kids go up and see their dad in qld from melb in the school hols and she flies up with them on the plane, and then turns around and comes back home the same day
    She picks them up the same way and her kids are 10 years, 12 years and 13 years old and very sensible kids.

    i would probably let my 10 year old twins fly unaccompanied together, but definately not on their own!!

  2. #38
    Registered User

    Jul 2010
    Rural NSW near ACT
    413

    I wouldn't do it. As a teacher of kids this age I think there are too many variables and unless it is an emergency I would leave it a few years. Even confident happy 5 yo's can fall in a heap on such a long flight. I flew to Perth a couple of years ago and was seated next to an unaccompanied kid. He was about 10 I reckon. Once the hosties realised I was chatting to him and playing squares and 0-X's with him they totally ignored him. It was quite a boring flight for me as I'd have loved to have read a book instead of entertaining that kid!
    He was a lovely boy, very polite etc. but it was not my perfect flight and I am unsure if all passengers in my position would have been as kind to him.
    There might be a cheaper way for you which was a system a friend's parents used to shuttle their children between Brissy and NZ.
    They found responsible Uni students who wanted a cheap holiday in the destination and offered to pay half their fare if they travelled with the kids......cheaper than two parents going two ways and a good carer on location should anything go wrong.
    There were good candidates tripping over themselves to "help out" and the kids got to know them before hand as babysitters..........
    Just a thought.

  3. #39
    Registered User
    Add Butterfly Dawn on Facebook

    Aug 2008
    Climbing Mt foldmore
    2,894

    No I wouldn't do it. Its not just emergencys but if you talk to air hostesses they can tell you a host of stories about normal kids being upset and scared. At 5 my kids couldn't do it. Some maybe not mine. 10yr old on a 4 hour flight ok.
    Why is domestic different? Fly to nz takes 3-4hours.
    Its sucks it costs so much even when you book way in advance.

  4. #40
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber
    Add sushee on Facebook

    Sep 2004
    Melb - where my coolness isn't seen as wierdness
    4,361

    Charlie is 6 and will be 7 in April and we still won't fly him unaccompanied. The ex and I have talked about it and we think he's too young still.

    I think maybe towards the end of next year we'll try him unaccompanied. Because it is really expensive to pay for extra tickets all the time. And esp for you, when it's for 3. So I do sympathise.

    Can't ex come to you for another year? For your kids' sakes?

  5. #41
    Registered User

    Aug 2010
    Albs, WA
    971

    I personally wouldnt.

  6. #42
    Registered User

    Nov 2008
    in the ning nang nong
    12,163

    Not a chance, personally.

    This isn't about maturity - my sister walked 2kms to and from school every day by herself from 4 years old, when I was 4 I did it with her, by the time I was 9 I was taking my 5 and 7 year old brothers with me, and doing chores and cooking before and after school.

    BUT there was the time when a really friendly lady gave my brother a bag of lollies, and he ate half of them before I could remind him not to eat anything from strangers.

    And there was the time when the big kid (he couldn't have been more than 12, but everything is big when you're 5yo and about 3 foot high!) threw a nappy at us, said all sorts of obscenities, threatened us, and chased us into someone's yard.

    And there's the time when a man with a big dog was following us and he really, really frightened us.

    And the time when someone pulled up in a big black van right beside us, and we RAN.

    And the time someone (accidentally) ran into my sister on his bicycle and she got hurt.

    And the time when it didn't occur to us that there was anything wrong with selling our fundraising chocolates to anyone who passed us along the way (sure, WE weren't to eat chocolate from strangers, but what's wrong with selling it to them?) and so we went with people to (but not into) their houses/cars to get money.

    And the time it didn't occur to us that there was anything wrong with us having a play in the playground on the way home (but mum thought something was wrong, and came looking for us about an hour later ... we didn't realise we'd been playing so long!)

    And lots of other things ...

    All things which turned out ok - the lollies were probably fine, the creepy guy probably wasn't actually following us, the person who stopped their van right next to us was probably picking something up from that house or checking their Melways or whatever, etc etc etc. But you know what - some of those things could have gone wrong. We DID have people invite us into their homes, we DID have people offer us a lift home. We DID get frightened a few times, we DID get hurt a few times (usually from each other...). We DID have a complete blast, and I think walking to and from school and having a key to the house etc helped us become more independent, but on balance, I wouldn't be letting my kids walk 2kms unaccompanied from 4yo these days, and I wouldn't let my 5yo go on a plane unaccompanied. A little bit older, sure. Not sure how much older, but older.

    I understand that there's a difference between planes and walking (it's a lot harder to get someone into your big black van or get bitten by a big dog on an aeroplane...) but I think the risk/independence/maturity thing is comparable.

    I'm not sure whether the world is a less safe place these days, or whether we're just more aware of what's going on because information is so much more readily distributed ...

    And that situation with that boy getting onto a flight unaccompanied and without a ticket doesn't help my concerns ... I'm sure it was a one off, but I don't want my kid involved in a one off ... there's only watchful the stewardesses can be, and things can go wrong.

    On whole, while I understand that you want your daughter to be able to see her dad, and money is a big issue with those longer distance flights, there's just too much risk in my opinion, too many ifs, and I wouldn't be comfortable with it personally.

  7. #43
    Registered User

    Dec 2007
    1,794

    Just bumping this one up..

    Limeslice, what are your thoughts now? And others thoughts welcome too.

    My DD has asked to go visit her cousin in the Christmas holidays.. I won't be taking holidays this time as I am taking all the next ones, and others want this time, and I will more than likely be working F/t to cover for them.. I have no issues with that.. But it has got me thinking about sending her on a 2 hr flight unaccompanied for a week with her cousin. She will be 6 in November.

    Has anyone got recent experience with sending children unaccompanied? If I send her, it will be with Qantas or Virgin.

  8. #44
    Registered User

    Dec 2007
    Victoria
    7,260

    DD went with Qantas - 4 hours-ish to Perth and back - by herself, and the world did not implode. She was absolutely fine. Had a great time and there was a group of other kids (school holidays) also traveling alone. They had a dedicated staff member to look after them and she was just dandy.

    She is flying again in November, she will be 6.

    The "what ifs" scenarios still sit in the back of my Mother Brain, but really, the chances of the plane falling out of the sky? Minimal. And I refuse to life my life in fear, so Mother Brain is put in a box.

    DD is a very competent flyer - she has traveled on aeroplanes sooo many times, with us, so I was not concerned as she loves flying in general anyway. I do think it depends on the child, though, so if you girl is scared or anything like that, then I would er on the side of her comfort.

  9. #45
    Registered User

    Dec 2007
    Victoria
    7,260

    DD went with Qantas - 4 hours-ish to Perth and back - by herself, and the world did not implode. She was absolutely fine. Had a great time and there was a group of other kids (school holidays) also traveling alone. They had a dedicated staff member to look after them and she was just dandy.

    She is flying again in November, she will be 6.

    The "what ifs" scenarios still sit in the back of my Mother Brain, but really, the chances of the plane falling out of the sky? Minimal. And I refuse to life my life in fear, so Mother Brain is put in a box.

    DD is a very competent flyer - she has traveled on aeroplanes sooo many times, with us, so I was not concerned as she loves flying in general anyway. I do think it depends on the child, though, so if you girl is scared or anything like that, then I would er on the side of her comfort.

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