This is a personal experience and not a sponsored post.
To let my son take a solo international flight was probably one of the toughest decisions I have taken in recent times. I don’t want to sound melodramatic but it’s not easy to let go off those tiny hands in this big world. And since it was a beautiful experience, I decided to write about it.
Kabir took a Singapore Airlines 9am flight from New Delhi to Singapore and then a connecting flight from Singapore to Manila post a 2 hour layover. He reached Manila at 8:20 pm IST. I was jittery and had many sleepless nights. I kept thinking that I was being a terrible mother by letting a 8 year old go through something which can turn out to be a traumatic experience. But I also knew deep within my heart that this experience will bring out the confidence in Kabir which I know has been lying dormant. Despite warnings from closed ones, I decided to go with my gut feel. I spoke a lot to Kabir before his travel. The night before his travel, he said I’m super excited to visit Philippines and be with Papa but I’m freaking out. I was almost tempted to cancel his ticket. However, next morning he was all set to go. The staff at the arrival was very reassuring. I waited outside the airport till the duty manager called to tell me that the flight had taken off. And yes I did cry the moment he was taken away. He reached safely and called to tell me all the exciting things that happened (including an extra packet of Lay’s chips) and more importantly that he finally got to watch “Diary of a wimpy kid”.
Different airlines might have different rules, I’m sharing the one I know about –
1) An unaccompanied minor between 5-12 years has to avail the special assistance service.
2) Between the age group of 12-18 years, special assistance service is optional.
3) The ticket has to be bought for a full adult fare.
4) You have to fill an Unaccompanied Minor Handling Form for 5-12 years and send it to customer service.
5) I got a call from the airlines with the Duty Manager’s contact details. I called the duty manager ten minutes before reaching the airport and a female attendant came to pick up Kabir at the arrival.
6) There was an assistant who was with Kabir throughout and helped him board the flight.
7) At Singapore, the air-hostess took Kabir to another attendant who was with him at the lounge and then helped him board his connecting flight.
8) All the attendants who took care of Kabir were women.
9) He was well fed and was given clear instructions on how to operate the TV etc.
10) Kabir’s father was there to pick him up at the Manila airport and he clicked his happy pic post his arrival.
And well I was right about one thing. Kabir has come back with such surety not only in the way he’s conversing but also his overall body language seems very upbeat.
I might have missed some points so you can leave your questions in comments and I will be happy to help.
Below – Kabir diving in open waters post scuba diving. (iPhone videos on slow-mo make everything look a li’l more dramatic than usual).