Do you think a 9 year old should fly on their own?
This has been the debate in our household since last year. Beansy who was 8 nearly 9 at the time, was invited up to Scotland to stay with his parental grandparents.
His dad, who is Scottish was also an ex pat and from a very young age, was flying all over the World as an unaccompanied minor. I on the other hand, took my first flight without parents at the age of 17, very different experiences!
I wasn't against the idea, after all, I believe that family is the most important thing that gives us the glue on which to grow up and develop, and whilst Beansey sees my parents on a very regular basis, he has probably only met his Scottish grandparents about 10 times. However, last year he was pretty immature and not ready, I feared he wouldn't even leave my side and so we said no.
A year in a child's life can see them change dramatically, when he was asked this year to go and play in a golfing tournament with his cousins, he was more than ready to take on the responsibility of flying solo.
This past year has seen him grow up considerably into a polite, responsible and trustworthy child and after speaking to British Airways, I was reassured that he was going to be safe. The flight is just over an hour and the parent literally hand delivers him to the hostess who will be looking after him. Needless to say, the hostess is CRB and child friendly. No different to when I left him in the nursery at the gym from 12 weeks old in the care of people I didn't know. The difference though was that he was flying!
My baby boy who is nearly 10 was going to be on a big, horrible, aeroplane all by himself WITHOUT me. This is when I realised that it was MY fear of flying that was clouding my judgement. We all know that flying is the safest way to travel, yet, as I am a nervous flyer, it was MY Fears of the plane crashing that was holding me back form letting him go.
As a parent, you can't project your fear and phobias onto your children (never EVER mention the C**WN word to me) and when I was talking to him about it, he was SOOOOO excited.
So off we went.
I can't fault the system put in place by British Airways. You check in at a totally different desk and then you go to a holding room to await your flight. I was with him all the time, but there were literally 10 or so kids all on their own ranging from 4 to teens. His flight was called and then he was off! Literally.............
I was having heart palpitations and it took all my inner strength not to run down the fast track aisle and grab him back, but I know in life, you have to gradually let your kids go. That was one "snip" of the the apron string going that is for sure!
Needless to say, he had a BLAST! He was on the flight ordering coca cola (as if I'd ever let him do that!) and playing on his ipod, he said the air hostess was lovely but annoying as all he wanted to do was R-E-L-A-X! Typical!
He was hand delivered to his grandparents at the other end, and had a great time in Bonnie Scotland, playing golf and being thoroughly spoilt!
Whilst I wouldn't let the younger 2 fly solo (7 and 4) I think that approaching 10 and depending on maturity, it isn't a bad thing to experience, I love the fact he loves flying and doesn't have my fear!
So, would you let your child fly solo?
Peace and Love