Flying alone is a big step for any child. It’s a big step for a child’s parents, too! It can be a terrifying proposition. After all, the operative word in flying alone is ALONE. Your child will be out in the world, flying and checking in/being picked up on their own far, far away from you. Terrifying. So how do you know when your child is ready to take that step?
Flying Alone – A Litmus Test to See if Your Child is Ready
Sending a child out into the world is more about their ability to interact safely in that world rather than their physical size. For example, if I had to choose between sending out a totally irresponsible 14 year old on a plane trip or a super conscientious 9 year old, I’d pick the 9 year old. Flying alone requires attention to detail, the ability to follow signs and directions, and a sense of responsibility. None of that necessarily reflects age.
A Few Things to Consider before Your Child Flies Alone
- Responsibility – First and foremost, is your child responsible? Does he or she show their responsible nature on a daily basis? Do they always keep their phones charged and with them when they’re out of the house? Do they keep their money safe and use it appropriately. Do they answer their phone when you call? Do they call when they’re running late? Are their grades in order? All of these questions and more are beneficial to deciding if your child is ready for flying alone, because they show responsibility.
- Thoroughness – Is your child a careful and thorough person, or does he or she have the ability to be careful and thorough. They’ll be navigating at least a small portion of an airport and boarding a plane. This is not the time to be misreading signs or winging it. If your child does chores well, stays organized with their schoolwork and scheduling, and follows directions well, that’s a good sign for solo airline travel.
- Independence – This one is so important for flying alone. Can your child handle being alone? The most responsible, thorough child will have a problem flying alone if they get nervous about being away from mom and dad. If you child frequently has spend overs at their friend’s houses or their grandparent’s house for a day or two, they’re probably comfortable enough to go on short trips without you.
- Readiness – This isn’t what you think. Your child may be ready, but are YOU ready? Flying alone is a super ginormous deal. You are sending your baby off into the great big world all alone – at least for a portion of the trip. If you can’t handle it, don’t send your child. The last thing you want to do is call 15 times and forever make your kids nervous about traveling.
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Flying Alone – Are the Kids Ready? Are You?
If you look at the above questions and ask yourself other more personal questions, you’ll know. If you have a responsible, attentive, independent child, and you have the stomach for it, flying alone is a great way to allow your child to experience a bit of independence when they go see a relative or take a short trip with friends of the family. You just need to know you’re both ready!