UNITED AIRLINES: Stop Infantilizing Teens (And Maybe Win a Few Public Relations Points)


45 Responses to UNITED AIRLINES: Stop Infantilizing Teens (And Maybe Win a Few Public Relations Points)

  1. Diane May 31, 2017 at 9:13 am #

    It’s ridiculous. The first time I ever set foot on a plane, it was the mid-80’s, I was 11, flying alone, and had a connection in Dallas. I know the flight attendants probably let the gate agents know to keep an extra eye out for me, to make sure I made the connection, and I was able to do it without their assistance.

    We need to be broadening the age window in which kids learn independence, not narrowing it.

  2. Stacey May 31, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    At 15 he is old enough to drive here in the states, but not change flights on his own..,…

  3. Heartfruit May 31, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    I will cut United a little slack here. There was a recent case of a teen traveling from Denver to Thunder Bay with a stop over in Toronto. His flight from Denver was delayed meaning he missed his connecting flight to Thunder Bay and ended up spending nearly 24 hours in the Toronto airport on his own. Since he was only 15 getting a hotel room wasn’t an option as it would be for many travelers. Now I think this teen’s parents are partially to blame because apparently he didn’t even have enough money with him to buy food, which is always a mistake when traveling. But still suspect United’s policy is more due to the risk of a teen being stuck in a strange city’s airport if there is a flight delay then a teen’s ability to walk from one gate to another to change flights.


  4. Dienne May 31, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    “Since he was only 15 getting a hotel room wasn’t an option as it would be for many travelers.”

    Good point, but if there was any humanity at United (I know, I know), they would have booked him a hotel themselves and arranged his transportation there and back.

  5. James Pollock May 31, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    My ex-wife decided to move out of state, meaning that when visitation time came around, my daughter would have to flyunaccompanied. Fairly consistently across airlines, this means that A) the “sending” parent has to arrive early at the airport, to fill out forms, and B) also stay in the terminal until the plane actually leaves the ground. The “receiving” parent has to show up at the airport ahead of arrival, and fill out paperwork before the kid will be released to them It also means D) that the airline won’t issue a ticket if there’s a connecting flight that is the last one of the day, unless it is the ONLY one of the day, because they don’t want to take care of your kid overnight. As a tradeoff, if anything DOES go wrong in the scheduling on the day of travel, your kid has priority for for every connecting flight.

    That said, the ages at which the airlines will offer this service, and the ages at which they will require it, varies from airline to airline.

    When things go OK, there’s no reason to believe that a child can’t travel by themselves. You put them on the right plane , make sure they know how to find their connecting flight, and that they’ll be picked up at the destination. But sometimes everything doesn’t go as planned.

    Here are two examples.
    My ex lived on the big island of Hawaii. So, a flight from the mainland to Honolulu, followed by an island-hopper to Hilo to get there, and the reverse to get back. It’s time to send her back and so this is the plan… my ex will fly with my daughter on the island hopper to Honolulu, and put her on the flight from Honolulu to home. So… they get on the island hopper, but come down in Honolulu and it takes longer than they thought to clear security in Honolulu. They miss the flight, which is the last (only) one of the day. My ex panics and does NOT immediately reschedule. The airline slaps a rescheduling fee on the ticket, AND the next day’s flight is already full. I was able to get my daughter a seat on the flight two days later. Meanwhile, neither my daughter nor my ex knows anyone in Honolulu. They wind up spending two days in an airport hotel watching cable TV.

    A few years later, my ex decides Hawaii is not for her (the cost of living is too high). She relocates to West Virginia. Well, you can’t get a direct flight to anywhere in West Virginia from Oregon. They decide that what they’ll do is fly my daughter into Charlotte, and drive down to pick her up. By that time, my daughter was old enough to fly without paying the UM fee on some airlines, and they decided to save some money by just buying a regular ticket. So, my daughter arrives in Charlotte, to discover that North Carolina has closed all the highways because of a massive ice storm. Thousands of stranded travellers are at the airport, and as a minor, she couldn’t get a hotel room even if any were available.

  6. Workshop May 31, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    Often, asking that a bureaucratic organization show some common sense is an exercise in futility.

    “We have our procedures, our procedures work as intended, therefore we have no reason to change our procedures.”

  7. Rodman May 31, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    I’m pretty sure the extra fee was meant to cover the cost of having staff ensure that the minor traveler made it to the connecting flight. Somewhere along the way they probably decided to just collect the fee and not provide the service, so here we are.

  8. James Pollock May 31, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    “We have our procedures, our procedures work as intended, therefore we have no reason to change our procedures.”

    Well, if you show up complaining that you don’t like the policies, and demand some “common sense” in applying them, it doesn’t help if your demands show that you don’t understand why the policies exist, have made little or no effort to learn why they exist (that is, what benefit(s) is/are the organization obtaining via the policies as written), and demand that the policies be changed for your convenience (or ideology), you shouldn’t EXPECT to make a lot of progress.

    Start by assuming that there are reasons, very likely good ones, why things are the way they are. Then figure out what those reasons are. If you shortcut this step by assuming that a stupid rule comes about because everyone at organization X is stupid, and build your argument around that, it probably isn’t going to work well. If the only reasons you can think of for stupid rule A are stupid ones, it PROBABLY means that you’re missing something. It also helps if you direct your righteous ire at someone who can at least do something for you; ranting at someone who lacks the authority to vary from policy achieves nothing but ensuring that your luggage starts getting delivered to the wrong destination, and all your food tastes funny.

  9. adrian moreno May 31, 2017 at 10:55 am #

    My 14 year old flew with a connecting flight from San Diego to New York. Southwest Airlines.

  10. Vicki Bradley May 31, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    I wouldn’t necessarily assume that airlines’ policies exist for a good reason – more likely pressure from lawyers and insurance companies.

  11. Mark Davis May 31, 2017 at 11:22 am #

    Spending more to get what you want isn’t always an option, but if it is, I’d argue that choosing the Canadian Airline with its longer routing and higher price is the best choice. The extra money and time is an inconvenience, but it’s probably less than the inconvenience of United’s policies, and you will send a message (no matter how small) of what you think of those policies.

  12. Artyom May 31, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Come on, there can be no reasonable explanation for those policies. The difference between the difficulty of taking a train and taking a plane is not very big. There is one, but it’s not a big one. The railroad system over here is a lot better than the US one, which basically means that we have one at all. Given that I was able to commute to another state every week at 8 years old, anyone above 10 should be able to go by plane. And those who can’t… Darwin.
    Seriously, just changing a policy just because one person got into trouble at some point would mean that only people above 125 years old may fly alone – none of them ever run into any problems there.

  13. Jen May 31, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    So frustrating. I imagine I’ll have similar episodes of rage when my kids are old enough to fly as unaccompanied minors to visit their grandparents.

    Meanwhile, as a point of practicality, I used to live in Vancouver. I’m sure the letter-writer has thought of this, but on the off chance they haven’t, and still need to get their kid to camp, I suggest driving to Seattle (not ideal, at least more plausible than flying to Toronto?) and booking a direct flight from SEA to ATL.

  14. Warren May 31, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    Since when can’t a teen get a hotel room? Did it all the time for ball and hockey. My girls have done it as well.

  15. sigh May 31, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    It’s true, I’ve encountered hotels that won’t allow my kid at age 15 to stay in the room alone even if I’ve paid for it.

    But I think it’s the layover thing that has the airlines spooked…. at least some of the airlines.

    Back in 1974 or so, my brother and I (9 and 5 at the time) were flying during the winter from Ohio to California. We had a layover in Chicago and there was a big snowstorm. We got stranded there. I remember the flight attendant bringing us home with her (???) to put us up overnight… or something like that. It was definitely above and beyond the call of duty for a flight attendant.

    But what else could they have done with us?

    I’m struggling to find a way to get my daughter from Canada to Chicago, she’s 13. Looks like I may have to accompany her to Seattle and then put her on a direct flight myself to Chicago. Not my favourite strategy, but it seems crossing international borders as an unaccompanied minor is also a big no-no?

  16. Dienne May 31, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    “Since when can’t a teen get a hotel room? Did it all the time for ball and hockey. My girls have done it as well.”

    Nearly every hotel these days requires a credit card (basically in case you trash the place or steal the furnishings). If the kid didn’t have cash for dinner, chances are he didn’t have a credit card.

    And even with a credit card, some hotels have rules requiring adult supervision for minors. I think most hotels are at least uneasy about letting minors check in by themselves, although there are plenty that allow it.

  17. Dienne May 31, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    “…but it seems crossing international borders as an unaccompanied minor is also a big no-no?”

    No, my step-daughter recently came solo from Ghana to New York. She was 14 at the time. There were issues booking the flight (no layovers, as mentioned here), but there was no issue about crossing the border.

  18. sexhysteria May 31, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    Adults today should be required to read Jane C. Goodale’s description of two little aborigine girls (aged 7-8) who took an anthropologist on an excursion in a canoe they made on the spot in crocodile waters. By the way, the two girls stripped naked for the trip, as is more practical in and around water. See “Tiwi Wives: A Study of the Women of Melville Island, North Australia.”

  19. John B. May 31, 2017 at 1:13 pm #


    So what if the 15-year-old was stuck in the airport all night? He’s capable of curling up in a chair and going to sleep like any adult is. The only shortcoming there was the parents not providing him with enough money which would be disadvantageous to most adults too.

  20. John B. May 31, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

    “Back in 1974 or so, my brother and I (9 and 5 at the time) were flying during the winter from Ohio to California. We had a layover in Chicago and there was a big snowstorm. We got stranded there. I remember the flight attendant bringing us home with her (???) to put us up overnight… or something like that. It was definitely above and beyond the call of duty for a flight attendant.”

    OMG! That was awfully nice of her to do and I’m sure your parents were very appreciative of that BUT in today’s America, it would be unheard of for a Flight Attendant to risk doing something like that. The parents would probably sue the airline because their employee, a stranger, brought two young children home with her and then she’d subsequently get fired from her job!

  21. PDB May 31, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

    I flew to a summer camp when I was 13 (I want to say Delta). Both going and coming included transfers. I recall for the return leg, there were flight delays and I just barely made it to my gate before my flight left. Also, this was way before cell phones (I had to use calling cards on pay phones — remember those?). This was in 1997.

  22. anon May 31, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

    Ugh. I flew to Mexico by myself from the Midwest when I was 15. I had a connecting flight in Houston on the way. This was only 20 years ago. I don’t think 15 year olds have changed since then.

    A recent article in the NY Times discussed child marriage in the US and how in many states there is no minimum. We allow 11 year olds to get married, but not fly by themselves on airplanes. Makes sense.

  23. The other Mandy May 31, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

    The first time I flew I was 10. With my sister,7, and brother,3. Without parents. It was a short, direct flight, but guess what? No problems!

    On the other hand, I was raised to be independent and not an infant in high school or college like so many kids these days.

  24. K May 31, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    When my sister and I were teenagers (mid-2000s), we flew on connecting flights as unaccompanied minors to visit relatives. On the way there, a pompous airline employee barely older than ourselves laid down the rules about exactly what we were and weren’t allowed to do during our layover (I think it was things like tell someone if we had to use the bathroom) and brought us to the UM waiting room, full of young children coloring with crayons. We were old enough that I don’t think we were required to fly UM, but we’d never flown by ourselves before and so our parents chose to do it anyway, mostly due to the layover. We were like, “WTH is going on here? Do they know I can drive a car?” On the way back, our layover was shorter, so a friendly airline employee not much older than ourselves escorted us directly to our gate while chatting about how our trip had been. That part I didn’t mind so much, BUT the whole experience absolutely cemented in my mind that teenagers should never have to fly UM! How infantalizing!

    That said, there have been good points in this thread. If we’d missed our connecting flight, would we have had any idea what to do? Quite possibly not. What we probably needed was a middle ground – like the business card of the guy to talk to if we had any issues – more so than hand holding to a waiting room where we were offered juice boxes and cheese sticks. But adding an additional layer of restrictions and bureaucracy is also usually not the answer . . .

  25. En Passant May 31, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    Just for comparison. In the USA, and most countries, according to generally reliable wikipedia:

    The minimum age for a private pilot certificate is 14 for balloons and gliders, and 17 for powered flight (airplanes, helicopters, and gyroplanes). Pilots can begin training at any age and can solo balloons and gliders from age 14, and powered aircraft from age 16.

    A private pilot certificate entitles one can not only to fly a private airplane, one can fly a private airplane and carry passengers.

    A 14 year old can pilot balloons and gliders with passengers, as long as the flight is not for hire (commercial).

    A 16 year old (with appropriate training) can fly powered aircraft alone.

    A 17 year old can fly powered aircraft with passengers.

    So, the unaccompanied minor aged 15 that United will not allow to fly alone as a passenger, can fly a balloon or glider as pilot in command and carry passengers. In one year, that minor can fly a powered aircraft alone. In two years, that minor can fly a powered aircraft with passengers.

  26. Peter May 31, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    if there was any humanity at United (I know, I know), they would have booked him a hotel themselves and arranged his transportation there and back.

    I’d just like to point out that it was Air Canada, not United.

  27. Brooks May 31, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

    When I go to Europe or Asia, I see kids as young as 5 get on a train and get themselves to school. The US and a few other countries are awash in helpless child hysteria.

  28. lightbright May 31, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    I used to travel alone constantly, across 4+ states, to boarding school. On my first couple of times flying alone, a Delta rep accompanied me to my connecting flight. There was no extra fee.

    I caught on to air travel quickly and got rid of the airline reps as soon as I could; if anything, I felt that I *had* to in order to keep up with my jet-set high school peers who flew back and forth from their overseas homes!

    When missing a connecting flight was inevitable, the airlines were very helpful in arranging a shuttle service to get me to and from a hotel. I had my parents’ credit card and permission to use it. But even in the cellphone-free 1990s, when I had to “dial down the center” and call collect, it was possible to call a hotel and provide a credit card number.

    What sucked after all of that freedom and responsibility, including going away to school and traveling cross-country independently, was going to college. The college dorm scene felt a LOT more infantilizing than boarding school ever did. (If you’re considering a particular college for your son or daughter, screen it for free-ranginess by taking a close look at the information on campus life and orientation activities)! But that’s a topic for another day, another post.

  29. Asparagus May 31, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    Weird. I put my 15-year-old on a flight from Canada to India via Heathrow (including a terminal change there) unaccompanied and no one gave me any hassles. The flight was uneventful — she made the connection with no trouble and navigated the customs, visa & baggage procedures in Mumbai unassisted. Yes I guess it would have been a little problematic had she missed a connection, but I had given her cash and a credit card, and she had a bank card, and she’s not stupid, and a few hours asleep in an airport chair wouldn’t have killed her.

    To the original poster, have you looked at any other airlines? I sent my kid on the above trip with Jet Airways. Might be worth checking if they fly your route. Or try leaving from Seattle.

  30. WendyW May 31, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

    Starting at ages 8 & 10, my sister and I flew every summer from our home in NC to our grandparent’s in MN. The first time we drove to Wash. DC to get a direct flight, every year after that we made connections, usually in Chicago. One year, coming home, we were 14 & 16, our flight got cancelled, I don’t remember the reason, and were not selected as stand-by passengers on the next, and last, flight. There was no such thing as UM services, so we were on our own. Phone call to Grandpa resulted in our asking a security guard for help. As he was not specifically an Airline employee, he was able to argue with them about what they could do for us. They put us up in a hotel overnight, with food vouchers for supper and breakfast. That was probably the one time when UM services would have been a nice thing to have, but we still managed to work things out.

    One year, our familiarity with the route saved us from what could have been a horrible mess. When my g-ma took us to get our tickets home through a travel agency, I asked where we were making connections at. The answer was a city we had NEVER traveled through. The agent insisted that was the ONLY option. We pressed her, and it turned out she had us flying to a city with the same name as ours, but in a different state halfway across the country.

    At age 15, I flew from Okinawa to MN alone. Again, not a smooth flight. Some screw-up with my reservation resulted in me being on a different flight than planned, with more layovers, one of which was several hours in Osaka- not an English-speaking place. My dad HAD to put me on a plane. (I had one of those vindictive divorcee’ mothers, and postponing my return would have resulted in an international court case.) My dad put me in the care of total strangers- a Japanese mom and young daughter- who were on the same flight. I was thankful for them in Osaka, but ditched them as soon as possible in Hawaii.

    The current rules about minors on planes seem totally ridiculous to me. However, seeing the behavior of many kids today and the nutso atmosphere of people suing at the drop of a hat, I can’t blame the airlines for covering their backsides.

  31. Anna May 31, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

    The greatest absurdity about all these restrictions is the fact that as a society we think it makes sense to say a 15-year-old can’t follow posted signs to navigate his way through an airport and on and off a plane, where the worst that could happen is he misses his connecting flight, but we’re perfectly fine with letting a 16-year-old operate a motor vehicle in which his least mistake or inattention could easily kill both himself and others. It’s completely insane when you think about it for a minute.

  32. donald May 31, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

    Quite a contrast between what kids can do now and what they use to be able to do. I remember a story written on here about young kids (12?) riding on horseback over a few state lines. This was unaccompanied by an adult. It was also around 1910 or so.

    Meanwhile we keep patting ourselves on the back on our amazing advancement in technology. Mankind can do far more today than before as long as they have trigger warnings or don’t hear anything that may offend their ears.

  33. Kirsten May 31, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

    Wow, I started flying by myself at age 9 in the late 1970s on United and American. Did that at least once a year from then on. I had to change to a connecting flight as well and there was no designated staff person to supervise me. Yes, the flight attendants checked on me a couple times, but it wasn’t like one of them had particular responsibility for me.

    Almost everything has gotten more hysterical and reactive these days. The level of paranoia and CYA has reached new heights (even while crazy incidents like the one on United continue to happen.)

  34. Diane May 31, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

    @WendyW, I think a big reason for more kids “these days” not knowing how to behave is that they haven’t had learning opportunities to be independent agents. There’s not been a long, gradual process of taking care and responsibility for themselves in small to big situations. The ticket person at our Science Museum last summer told me my daughter, age 9, couldn’t be unaccompanied in the museum even if I was also on site, and when asked what that age she’d be able to, the young woman said, “15 or 16”. Now, this is not listed in their official policy; it’s just the comfort level of people these days. How’s a kid supposed to learn this stuff without any practice, anywhere?

  35. hineata May 31, 2017 at 9:07 pm #

    As I have said here before, I hesitate to ‘let’ my mother fly solo (her sense of geography sucks; she once intended to get to Seattle from Vancouver via Toronto ) but the kids would be fine.

    What are the trains like, though? That would be a heck of an adventure, seeing North America by train ☺.

  36. Richard Jones May 31, 2017 at 10:28 pm #

    Back in the early 80’s my kids, 10 and 6, would fly as unaccompanied minors from Salt Lack City to the Virgin Islands. This involved several transfers and the extra cost of their tickets provided that the airline get them to their next transfer. A few times they missed connecting flights in Puerto Rico and the airline put them up in a hotel and got them to their next flight in the morning. When my oldest turned twelve he could fly by himself at the time and he took responsibility for his younger sister. They were capable of doing this without incident and saved money for me and gained independence and confidence for themselves. I wonder if these policies are driven by the airlines or the parents? Probably by lawyes and insurance companies. They are all worst case first thinkers.

  37. Sarah May 31, 2017 at 11:20 pm #

    Alaskan Airlines permit kids as young as 13 to fly on their own, no fees…non-stop only. I remember flying to Italy from New Mexico in the early 80’s, with a flight change in NY. I was 10. And it was the time of the Red Brigade and Americans were being targeted. I’m flying my daughter to Rhode Island this summer from Seattle on Alaskan Airlines (she is 13) and I am still frustrated. At leas I found a non-stop flight. Kids are so capable!

    On an aside, I remember seeing a young woman (girl, really) about 15 who had to have an escort/chaperone to fly. She was very pregnant. I thought, most ungraciously, “It is a bit late for that.” She had an airline lanyard around her neck and a flight attendant walking her from flight to flight. Maybe she needed that supervision at that point. We are all different. But let the parents make the call. My kids were able to figure out connecting flights at age 10, at least!

  38. Katie G June 1, 2017 at 6:41 am #

    @Diane- Exactly! And that’s what we keep having to harp on, ad nauseam, to everyone who criticizes FR. We look for little ways to let out a kite-string of kids’ independence so that in very few instances is there any very jarring change.

  39. brian June 1, 2017 at 8:24 am #

    The airline is merely responding to the fear of the bad press that would come were a child to get on the wrong plane to the wrong city. We need to change the culture before we can expect the airline to change its policies. Pressure from logic and past experience is not a headline. “United Flew my 12 year old to Tahiti” is a headline complete with quotes from the parents saying “I trusted them to get her on the plane…”

  40. Robin June 1, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    I guess times have changed… In 1987 my then eight year old son flew unaccompanied from Auckland New Zealand to Madison Wis. (and home again) to visit his grandmother. Find a globe to figure out the distance. He had a blast, despite numerous stopovers and about 24 hours total travel time. There was no extra fee for this service.

    I had no concerns because I knew he was up for it (and I was right). Today there are those who would think he was too young to walk three blocks to school on his own. As an adult he has served with distinction as a US Army Airborne Ranger; where are their future recruits going to come from if children are infantilised all the way to adulthood?

  41. Puzzled June 1, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    >I don’t think 15 year olds have changed since then.

    No, but adults have. No airline wants parents calling with complaints, or reporting about a kid sleeping in an airport.

    >Good point, but if there was any humanity at United (I know, I know), they would have booked >him a hotel themselves and arranged his transportation there and back.

    Is it possible airlines set such policies because they don’t want to be expected to act as travel agents?

  42. Andrey June 2, 2017 at 4:17 am #

    The policy doesn’t seem reasonable but there is one factor to consider: airplanes now fly much fuller than 20 let alone in years ago. This means that should a flight get cancelled or delayed resulting in a missed connection, chances are reaccomodation will be more difficult.

  43. Dingbat June 5, 2017 at 12:56 am #


    I did not fly as a child but my best friend in grade school flew unaccompanied fairly often from age 4 (1979) to 6-7. She was born in Huston Texas to completely irresponsible surfing hippies who ran cocaine across the boarder, made LSD and her mom did drugs all through her pregnancy. My friend was born prematurely, addicted to coke, and would later have problems with seizures (first in 8th grade, fell through her glass shower doors) which were apparently a common with her mom every time she dropped acid during her pregnancy. When she was a little over 1 years old her grandparents (WWII Gen) got her dad to sign over rights, put a ladder up to her bedroom window of the house/drug ring her mom was living in, took her out of the house and got custody of her. They moved to Florida and then to Appalachia.

    I wouldn’t have believed the story myself if I had not heard it from her grandparents and parents, but the truth is stranger than fiction.

    Anywho, her dad started straightening himself out first and she was allowed to have visitation with him, and also visited other close family in Texas and Florida. She always said the fight attendant went above and beyond. She was pretty independent but they were always a few steps behind just in case she needed anything. I can remember her talking about going home with one when flights were grounded.

    Her dad eventually move here to be close to her, so she didn’t have a need to fly as much. I had no idea they upped the age to 14-15, but am not surprised.

  44. Dingbat June 5, 2017 at 2:30 am #


    Very true. My father was camping and hunting by himself at 8 years old (small game) but his WWII (Big Red 1) Vet father came back from the war a mess and drank all the food money so I’m not sure if that’s the best example.

    I’ve mentioned a woman I know (late 40s) who grew up riding horses all over the mountains surrounding her house, by herself, at 7-8 years old. Of course she had a few years riding with her parents but she was ready and perfectly capable to handle it on her own by then.

    Flash forward to 2016… She did not allow her daughters to walk to the mailbox at the edge of their own front yard until they were 14 & 16 years old. Her oldest was ready to get her drivers license and she had not been allowed to walk across her own yard or around her own sleepy town, which they live directly above, yet. She made them hold hands and watched from the window, pacing back and forth, terrified they were going to be kidnapped by a stranger in a white van. It’s something she had played over and over in her head and terrified herself with.

    They go to school and walk around the halls. They are both in the marching band and chorus. They can walk across a football field while playing instruments and get on stage in an auditorium and preform solos (both very smart, responsible and sweet young women) but they could not walk to the edge of their own yard.

    Just as Anna said… Airlines act like a 15 year old can’t read and follow signs (though many were doing it 4 when I was a kid) but 16 year olds can drive. These restrictions rarely make sense, be it parent or airline, and with lawsuits today… they never will

  45. Kate June 5, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    Look for a non-US based carrier. And make sure to let United know your views. My 14 year old, who is a seasoned traveller, was going to New York on a direct flight last summer. To avoid the ridiculous UM policies, we flew him on LAN. Quite frankly, he is more travel savvey than I was at his age, and he has a cell phone so he’s safer than I was travelling alone. He navigated US customs solo with no issues and was perfectly capable of getting through JFK airport on his own. And in regard to the teenager who got stranded in Toronto, why on earth did he not have emergency money? My kids get some even when we travel together just in case. And could the parents not have put their credit card up for a hotel room for him?