When my son was about 3 months old, we moved from New Orleans to Houston. As the only grandchild, since I am the only child, traveling back and forth was something we did quite often. Flying with a baby, by yourself (that is a whole other topic for another time), while breastfeeding, was terrible. As a new mom, I had no clue what I was doing, I was winging it! No pun intended.
Time passes by, and I get divorced and move back to New Orleans, but now my son is burdened with traveling to see his dad on his own. The first time he flew alone was when he was 7. His dad made sure he had a direct flight and paid the fees for children under 12 traveling alone. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Thankfully, the airlines seem to have it down. I have to check him in at the gate, they put a lanyard around their necks that they must wear at all times. I have to sign paperwork and that goes in the lanyard. Once my son arrives at the destination airport, his father then has to prove who he says he is and sign more paperwork showing he has our son. The crew members do a great job checking in on them while in the air. My son actually got used to it and is a pro at flying.
My son is now 13, so he no longer is considered a child in the eyes of the airline. So now, this momma is a bit more stressed at the responsibility of him taking care of himself while in flight. Since he has been traveling so often since he was a baby, he seems totally fine with it. It isn’t his favorite thing to do, but he does it in order to visit his dad when it is his time. MSY has been great about providing guest passes for anyone wanting to enjoy some of the shops and restaurants, and the airlines do so as well. My son usually flies Southwest, I just go to the ticket counter, and let them know that I am either dropping my son off at his gate or going to pick him up, they give me a gate pass, we go through security together, and I go to the assigned gate. I usually will go a little early and have a drink or a bite of food while I wait.
While flying is sometimes a burden, especially when it is for our kiddos, it can also be a wonderful experience for them. From learning to be more independent to not having any fears over flying if and when they need to.
Have your kids flown by themselves? Any tips or tricks you can offer other moms to help with solo kids traveling?