I am the perennial “old biddy” while traveling. Seriously. I watch folks. I think about their stories. I make up truths or failings.
In this case, my rant is about unaccompanied minors on flights. Or, not on flights, but the process of getting onto the flight.
I found myself waiting for my flight to depart from San Jose airport, watching the crowd. Into this waiting group came a father and a daughter (not the folks shown above – that’s a sample image).
Daddy was hugging the daughter and crying. Adjusting her ticket in the holder. Giving what appeared to be an 8 year old a kiss, and turning her over to the gate staff to fly by herself.
All good. No stones to throw on that part, although I thought Daddy was a bit out of line with not allowing the daughter to manage her own ticket in the around the neck case given what he did next.
The minute he turned her over to the gate staff for “unaccompanied minor” boarding, the idiot left the airport. Seriously. Walked away from the gate without waiting to see that the plane actually departed.
I could not believe my eyes.
The kid was more than a package. Planes get delayed every day. We were already late and waiting for the plane to depart after an hour-long delay. Am I the only person who would have stayed at the gate until the doors closed and the plane departed???
Kids are not cargo.
Kids are supposed to be precious and valued. But, expecting an 8 year old to fend for herself with strangers while in the air is MUCH different than expecting an 8 year old to fend for herself with strangers while the plane is still at the gate.
For myself, I would have flown the kid back and forth (requiring whichever parent is in custody of the child) to keep flying one direction (for the drop off) until the kid was a teen. If 13 years old is good enough for a religious rite of passage, it should be reasonable for a parent to use that as a marker for when it’s ok to leave the kid by herself.
Maybe I’m out of date because I was raised with the buddy system (taught to never go anyplace by myself – never mind swimming alone – as we are always safer with a buddy). But, the parent doesn’t know the gate agent from Adam, and is crazy to simply dump the kid and run. In My Humble Opinion. As someone without kids.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this topic? Inquiring minds would love to know…