10 year old flying solo (London / Chicago) in summer

(44 Posts)
Strix Fri 29-Mar-13 13:08:56

So, it's the first time for her to fly on her own. Does anyone have any tips? Airline recommendations? Anything else I should be thinking about?

She is going to visit family, so won't really be on her own. She has dual citizenship so no visa issues.

Oh... Travel insurance... I guess she needs this. Any suggestions?

Strix Wed 24-Jul-13 16:09:59

So, I thought I'd come back with an update. DD flew to Chicago yesterday. We went with Virgin Atlantic out of Heathrow. They were considerably cheaper than BA. Excellent service. Friendly, helpful, I recommend them.

sashh Thu 18-Apr-13 12:46:53

One cheeky one recently told me he always flew upper class

he or she will go far

Strix Tue 16-Apr-13 17:02:58

Thank you!

I started travelling on my own from London to the US when I was five, to visit my parents, and then flew there regularly at least once or twice a year from the age of seven onwards.

My best tip would be to pay extra for a direct flight. Stopovers aren't much fun when you're a child travelling on your own.

Airhostie87 Sat 13-Apr-13 00:23:03

Come fly with Virgin! Unaccompanied minors all the time and 10 is almost an old hand to us! I've had 5 year olds flying between parents. One cheeky one recently told me he always flew upper class! wink Just get all the documents you need and contact the airline with any questions. There is a whole section on the Virgin website about unaccompanied minors. Although as crew we will be busy there will always be someone with a eye on them. They get off the plane last and one of the crew will escort them to the door and the onboard manager will hand them over with the passport to the ground agents who will escort them through immigration, get their bags and hand them over to the appointed guardian. easy peasy!

sashh Thu 11-Apr-13 08:39:39

Had a friend whose children went out to Canada with gran and flew home alone. Gran took them all in order of age from age 10.

I know they had to have a list of three people who could collect them in case the original colectee (is that a word) couldn't make it.

The airlines tend to stick UM together she she should have someone her own age to talk to.

SoldeInvierno Wed 10-Apr-13 17:21:50

my DS (9) is travelling as UM short haul this summer. I booked on the phone with BA. They asked me for his passport details, mine and those of the person picking him up. They've also sent me a few form to fill in, but overall the booking was very easy. I have 2 friends who work for BA and have explained to me how the whole thing works. It looks very safe and a real adventure for the kids.

Strix Tue 09-Apr-13 21:02:31

Lots of good stuff here. Thanks.

Bunbaker Tue 09-Apr-13 19:48:41

"Air Canada do not fly direct to any US city from the UK."

That is because national airlines have to originate or end in their country of origin.

Munashe Tue 09-Apr-13 19:44:48

Damn didn't mean she travels first class, well she will be in cattle class but gets put in the first class departure lounge before boarding next plane.

MooseBeTimeForCoffee Tue 09-Apr-13 19:44:24

I think you'll need a Notarised letter, signed by both parents, consenting to the trip.

Munashe Tue 09-Apr-13 19:43:01

UM service is very easy and not as complicated as it sounds. My DD has has had many trips as UM and normally the staff are very good with them. Where there are connecting flights she is normally in the first class lounge and get to eat and have a wonder and stretch her legs.

Don't worry about the experience, just make sure you have all the relevant paperwork. UM service can even be bought on the day of departure at the airport. Its a fixed fee and so doesn't make a diff booking it ahead or on the day.

Agree American Airlines are rubbish. Give me BA or Virgin anytime. Gosh last time I flew with an American airline, its like Rynair on a long jet flight. I had to pay for headphones....If you book BA make sure its not a code share flight with AA.

Strix Tue 09-Apr-13 16:26:49

Yeah, the same is true with BA.

MooseBeTimeForCoffee Tue 09-Apr-13 15:54:21

If you fly with Virgin you have to use a travel agent or contact their reservations department. You can't arrange a UM service online.

Strix Tue 09-Apr-13 15:46:43

Right, well that pretty much takes my research down to to two phone calls: one to BA and one to Virgin.

I'm surprised because American customer service is usually better than most. But I will heed you words of experience and call upon the locals.

Thank you.

Agreed Atilla. We came back from Ottawa via Chicago on Delta Airlines and they were really unhelpful. Ds was six months at the time. we not not allowed to book any onward seats from the US as we were transfers but were assured we would get preference. once in Chicago boarding staff refused to even see if the bulkhead seats were available. On boarding I was given a seat in the middle of a row (with squirming 6 month old), exp six rows away. Hell for everyone. I'm afraid I had a meltdown and we got moved up. And on the way out we were stuck at chicago for five hours with no info on when our onward plane would actually arrive, let alone take off! and we were not allowed to leave the transfer area so no tea or coffee or snacks. bah.

grhh.

Well because US based carriers are not generally great in terms of overall service to passengers.

Strix Tue 09-Apr-13 11:43:35

Why the preference for a UK based carrier?

LadyMountbatten Mon 08-Apr-13 18:57:33

I flew every term alone as a ten year old.

givemeaclue Mon 08-Apr-13 18:55:47

Used to fly as ums all the time as kids between parents, we were in the junior jet club and had a logbook for the captain to sign each flight and a special gold winged brooch to wear each flight

Both BA and Virgin fly to Chicago O'Hare; would suggest you use one of these carriers for your DD. Would use one of these in preference to a US based carrier.

Air Canada do not fly direct to any US city from the UK.

Strix Mon 08-Apr-13 16:53:40

Its okay. Just making sure I haven't missed anything. I have also asked my sister, who will be collecting her at the airport, to send me a photo copy of her identification so DD can have paperworks and signed instruction from me identifying the person to who she should be turned over. I may also include my marriage certificate so that they can see my maiden name is the same as my sister's current surname.

God information here, thank you.

Oh, she is also a UK citizen so I expect her to be let back in here as well. She has to take both because she has to leave and re-enter the uk on her UK passport. And she has to enter and leave the US on her US passport. (I learned this one once when I shipped her UK passport through and handed UK border control her US passport on departure. They were not happy with me!)

NatashaBee Mon 08-Apr-13 16:49:44

DSD has flown Delta and Southwest as a UM regularly, although internal. Delta also fly internationally so they would be a possibility to fly her on, they were excellent with DSD. Most airlines will not allow UMs to make stopovers (some have special lounges for UMs to wait in during stopovers) so you'd need to find a direct flight. You will be able to go all the way through security with her and wait at the gate, whoever's collecting her will be able to go all the way through the gate at the other end. So you or the adult collecting her will be able to speak with the immigration officials and answer any questions they may have.

There is usually an extra charge for flying the child as a UM, and you may need to call them to request it and make the booking rather than just doing it online.

I see that you have said you will provide two signatory document stating permission, but would be worth including her birth certificate and proof of residency in uk...there is always the return flight to think about.

The US border between Canada refused exp and ds entry even though he had same surname as ds because he had no written permission from me for him to travel. You don't want her to get caught in some bureacracy hell. Just double check. The airline you choose will also advise as they will be the ones handling the documentation to get dd through border control.

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