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Unaccompanied Minors

Children travelling alone

Having an unaccompanied minor service is something one expects from an airline. You may well have to pay for the service, but still, if your child for any reason, has to fly alone, then any parent wants to know that there child is going to be safe.

Anyone who works with children or even anyone who works around children has to have a Basic Disclosure Certificate (and very often a full disclosure certificate) and in the past, airlines have always taken especial care of young flyers; that is, children returning to or coming from school, joining Mum for a while or joining Dad for a while or, perhaps, flying away to meet a friend for a holiday.

Airports are quite daunting places. There are many people moving around, terminals are large places and most departure lounges have strategically positioned retail outlets, specifically geared to irritate the per-jaysus out of grown up travelers - but for youngsters, these represent a wonderland of distraction. Aircraft (assuming the child makes it thus far) should be safe enough places; but with the growing trend among passengers to find fault at every turn and so, cause merry mayhem in the cabin, even the cabin may not be the best environment.

Through all this, British Airways dropped a year or so ago, their Unaccompanied Minor service, citing cost as being the reason. The cost, apparently, of a ground person placing a child in a separate lounge, telling them when it is time to go and then, walking to the aircraft and handing the child over to an on board person. Basically, the same thing that a club or first class passenger (or even an economy passenger, with the right airline card) gets for free (though without the crayons and coloring book) BUT for which, a parent had paid something like £60 and for which, any parent would probably be more than happy to pay even a bit more.

So, here I am, Our 14 year old daughter has to go to Moscow. Although she has flown before, she will be alone in a massive busy terminal and is expected to run the retail gauntlet and then try and work out which gate to go to, following a process that even many adults can find challenging. If a parent or guardian cannot travel with them, on the face of it, then that child is on their own.

A recipe for disaster?

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