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United787
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Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:36 am

So, when I was 4 years old, I think about March 1977, I flew ORD-FLL to visit my grandmother. My mom just had her 4th kid and so I was shipped off ;) I had always thought I traveled with a cousin of my dads but my mom now says that was only on the way back. She is now telling me she took me to the gate at ORD and found someone that looked trustworthy on my flight and asked them to make sure that I found my grandmother at the gate in FLL when we arrived. I had a ticket but the stranger she left me with was not seated next to me. This was either on Eastern or Delta, not sure who flew that route non-stop back then. I have some brief memories of the trip but not of the flights, probably shoved those memories deep down...

Putting aside the state of shock I am in, is this even plausible? Were the reservation systems back then not sophisticated enough to flag a minor that was travelling alone? Would Eastern or Delta allowed this?

Trying to figure out what a 4 year old me would have done for 3 hours on this flight? Who took me to the bathroom? What if I started crying? What if we got diverted? Of course, this would land my mom in jail nowadays and me in DCFS. Her reaction to me is, you are alive aren't you? See, everything turned out just fine. Having two small children myself now, it leaves me a pit in my stomach ;)
 
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September11
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Re: Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:19 am

UM release form (similar to paper ticket size) was probably used by airlines in 1977

Names of responsible individuals and their relation to UM are recorded on form

Signature by responsible individual on form at departure gate and arrival gate required, flight attendant signature on form also required
Last edited by September11 on Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
Airliners.net of the Future
 
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SuseJ772
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Re: Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:20 am

I do not know. I wasn’t born until 1982. But I could see this being a reality. Especially if you could be dropped off at the gate and picked up at the gate like you could in 1977.

That’s really the difference that makes this unfathomable now. TSA and not being able to escort to the gate. But it was a different time.

In the event you got diverted, who wouldn’t help the random 4 year old by themselves. Humanity pulls through in most cases and the “stranger danger” thing is mostly over blown. Most strangers would go out of their way to help a 4 year old.

By 4, I would also think you could go to the bathroom yourself.

I travelled by myself at 13 FWA-ORD-DEN. Obviously not the same as a 4 year old, but it had a connection to be made in ORD in 1995
Currently at PIE, requesting FWA >> >>
 
Ziyulu
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Re: Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:39 am

What is the UM age today? I remember traveling by myself at age 13 from SFO to PEK on CA. This was in 1998. Would that be allowable today?
 
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United787
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Re: Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:28 am

On United, UM is ages 5-14.
 
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September11
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Re: Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:31 am

Ziyulu wrote:
What is the UM age today? I remember traveling by myself at age 13 from SFO to PEK on CA. This was in 1998. Would that be allowable today?


Yes - with a fee

I frequently traveled as UM (age 5 in 1980 to 13 in 1988) No UM fee

I think 5-15 is the standard UM age today
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:57 am

September11 wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
What is the UM age today? I remember traveling by myself at age 13 from SFO to PEK on CA. This was in 1998. Would that be allowable today?


Yes - with a fee

I frequently traveled as UM (age 5 in 1980 to 13 in 1988) No UM fee

I think 5-15 is the standard UM age today


It depends on the airline. Up to 11 the use of an UM program is obliged, airlines are not allowed to let anyone 11 or under travel without guidance. However most airlines set the limit higher, or at least offer it up to a higher age.

Southwest Airlines handles the lowest possible limit. Just like everywhere else, up to 11 you have to use an UM program on Southwest. However from 12 on you don't need to anymore and they don't offer it as well. As soon as you turn 12, Southwest considers you to be an adult and capable of traveling alone.

On Delta and partner airlines such as Air France and KLM you have to use an UM program up to 14, only being able to travel without from 15 years on. However they offer it up to 17 years old. Once you turn 18 you're not allowed on an UM program anymore as then you're not a minor anymore.
 
1989worstyear
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Re: Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:11 am

PatrickZ80 wrote:
September11 wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
What is the UM age today? I remember traveling by myself at age 13 from SFO to PEK on CA. This was in 1998. Would that be allowable today?


Yes - with a fee

I frequently traveled as UM (age 5 in 1980 to 13 in 1988) No UM fee

I think 5-15 is the standard UM age today


It depends on the airline. Up to 11 the use of an UM program is obliged, airlines are not allowed to let anyone 11 or under travel without guidance. However most airlines set the limit higher, or at least offer it up to a higher age.

Southwest Airlines handles the lowest possible limit. Just like everywhere else, up to 11 you have to use an UM program on Southwest. However from 12 on you don't need to anymore and they don't offer it as well. As soon as you turn 12, Southwest considers you to be an adult and capable of traveling alone.

On Delta and partner airlines such as Air France and KLM you have to use an UM program up to 14, only being able to travel without from 15 years on. However they offer it up to 17 years old. Once you turn 18 you're not allowed on an UM program anymore as then you're not a minor anymore.


I know in the UK 16 year olds are considered as adults without voting rights, and this follows in the UM rules. The US is all over the place it seems.
Stuck at age 15 thanks to the certification date of the A320-200 and my parents' decision to postpone having a kid by 3 years. At least there's Dignitas...
 
Airhaiku
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Re: Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:24 pm

Brings back memories of me travelling as UM between Eastern and Western block back in 1981 when I was 10.
Well I travelled that year twice between Zagreb and Stockholm on JAT Yugoslav airlines the airline my mother was working for in their Zagreb office. However she was sent as a replacement for a sick leave or something to their aStockholm office for 2 or 3 months. She arranged that I can come to visit her twice during that period. I was very excited to travel alone as I was already a pretty seasoned traveller ( due to airline benefits ). The route Belgrade-Zagreb-Copenhagen -Stockholm was flown by both JAT and SAS and I demanded her to travel on SAS for several reasons: I considerd myself capable of performing all airport formalities, finding gates, even making transfers and speaking English. On the other hand we were all snobbish from Eastern Europe and considered everything from the West better ( which was pretty true considering the airlines, as Swissair, Lufthansa, Sas, Klm and others had much better inflight service compared to JAT’s ) She told me I could travel on SAS just to change everything last minute due to simple reason that JU had same metal all the way whithout leaving the plane at CPH while SK required a plane change so my mother of course felt safer that way.
And than after the first disappointment the second one came when they gave me UM bag with all the info that had to be worn around the neck. How shamful did I feel! Me who was capable of travelling around the world and who could recognize most planes and airlines, was treated as a kid, escorted by staff to the gate and wearing that nasty UM necklace!
 
spacecadet
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Re: Unaccompanied Minor Rules 1977

Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:27 pm

Never would have happened. I was flying probably monthly by myself at that same time and age. If anything, airlines had *more* robust systems in place for unaccompanied minors in those days. I clearly remember never being out of the sight of a gate agent, then being handed off to a flight attendant, and all the flight attendants knowing that I was unaccompanied. (And this was in coach.) I was never not under the care of an airline employee.

Is it possible that by "someone trustworthy" your mom meant someone who actually worked for the airline? It sounds really kind of ridiculous in a lot of different ways to just ask some random stranger to take care of your kid for you.
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