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Old 10-06-2012, 10:57 PM   #31
nchulka
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I would send them. Think about your fears and follow them out to their natural conclusions and then they are not so scary. Realistically, what is the worst that could happen? They would get to the layover city and miss their connecting flight. They could call you, they could talk to airline officials, it would be worked out, they would not be stranded in an airport forever. They are not going to end up lost and frightened and alone wandering the airport of a distant city for the rest of their lives. Especially with the younger ones needing to be UM they are going to have someone helping them out. Even if that should fail, people naturally look out for kids. All they would need to do is approach a mother with kids and ask for some help. They are going to be fine, just relax, you are only nervous because you will feel helpless and out of control of the situation. Have confidence that you have raised competent children who can work together and handle themselves if things don't go according to plan.

This reminds me of a story. A mother thought her 5 year old could not handle crossing the street because every time she held his hand and crossed the street he was being silly and not looking or paying attention. One day someone told her just to let him go on his own. Reluctantly she did and sat back and watched as he walked to the road, looked both ways, and safely crossed the street paying careful attention to what he was doing. When mom was with him he could be silly and not pay attention knowing that mom was keeping him safe. When mom was gone he realized he had to keep himself safe and he did. You may think your girls will fight and bicker with each other, but when they realize they are on their own and responsible for getting themselves where they need to be they will step up!
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:16 PM   #32
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I think it really depends on how much experience the kids have flying in general. My sisters and I flew alone at about those ages with a connecting flight, but we were very experienced travelers (my mom worked for an airline).

If it was a direct flight, I wouldn't hesitate, but with a connection, I'd be wary if the kids aren't very comfortable in an airport already.
I actually worked one summer in college as the employee who was in charge of the UMs. I hated every minute of it. I took my job veeeeeery seriously, but many of the permanent employees didn't, and that stressed me out. The reason they hired college kids that summer was because the summer before they had "lost" so many kids (fortunately, none were actually lost or hurt, just not tracked as they were supposed to be) So I really wouldn't be relying on the airline employees. If everything works perfectly, they'll be looked after for every single second of the trip. But if you don't think the kids can handle a connection (and delays, etc) on their own, I wouldn't send them.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:16 PM   #33
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Just because your oldest isn't so responsible when you're there doesn't mean she wouldn't be when you're not.

The whole 'as long as you're uncomfortable that's all that matters' thing... yeah but no, imo. I mean people can be uncomfortable with (I have seen on this very forum long ago) a (typical, no special needs) 15-year-old going outside or to the movies or whatever themselves. The mother wasn't comfortable with the idea of the 15-year-old going out alone. Great, except what the heck happens in a couple of years when that kid is in college or a full-time job and is completely responsible for themselves but hasn't even been trusted to go to the movies or walk around town without supervision?

At some point, even if uncomfortable, I think parents have to be able to let go if there's no particular real reason to be so sheltering. The whole 'I'd be a nervous wreck' part of the post, as a reason not to do this, is kind of indicative there.

I'm also kind of stunned at a 13, 11 and 9 year old (or close, 12, 10, etc.), not being able to be alone for more than a few hours, then apparently only if necessary.

Twelve-year-olds babysit other peoples' kids.

They can't ever show you OR themeselves that they're capable and responsible unless they have an opportunity.

I mean... what is the fear? There are three of them, together. What is the thing that'd happen?
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:19 PM   #34
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I think I would only send them on a nonstop flight. Follow your instincts. If you feel they are not ready then they probably aren't ready. It would be a long day for them (and you) and that's if everything goes smoothly. I always try to avoid connecting fights. There's just too much room for complications!
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:20 PM   #35
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I can think of a bunch of worse scenarios than just missing a connection.

I sat next to an UM a couple flights ago. She was about 9. It was a 3 hour flight. She had nothing to do. The flight attendant just dropped her off at her seat and never checked again. The girl started to cry. It broke my heart, so I talked to her to calm her down. It pissed me off though that I had to spend my flight entertaining someone else's kid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nchulka View Post
I would send them. Think about your fears and follow them out to their natural conclusions and then they are not so scary. Realistically, what is the worst that could happen? They would get to the layover city and miss their connecting flight. They could call you, they could talk to airline officials, it would be worked out, they would not be stranded in an airport forever. They are not going to end up lost and frightened and alone wandering the airport of a distant city for the rest of their lives. Especially with the younger ones needing to be UM they are going to have someone helping them out. Even if that should fail, people naturally look out for kids. All they would need to do is approach a mother with kids and ask for some help. They are going to be fine, just relax, you are only nervous because you will feel helpless and out of control of the situation. Have confidence that you have raised competent children who can work together and handle themselves if things don't go according to plan.

This reminds me of a story. A mother thought her 5 year old could not handle crossing the street because every time she held his hand and crossed the street he was being silly and not looking or paying attention. One day someone told her just to let him go on his own. Reluctantly she did and sat back and watched as he walked to the road, looked both ways, and safely crossed the street paying careful attention to what he was doing. When mom was with him he could be silly and not pay attention knowing that mom was keeping him safe. When mom was gone he realized he had to keep himself safe and he did. You may think your girls will fight and bicker with each other, but when they realize they are on their own and responsible for getting themselves where they need to be they will step up!
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:24 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by java View Post
I can think of a bunch of worse scenarios than just missing a connection.

I sat next to an UM a couple flights ago. She was about 9. It was a 3 hour flight. She had nothing to do. The flight attendant just dropped her off at her seat and never checked again. The girl started to cry. It broke my heart, so I talked to her to calm her down. It pissed me off though that I had to spend my flight entertaining someone else's kid.
That's the fault of that poor girl's idiot parents, who apparently sent her on a three-hour trip without a book, ipod, anything to do (unless she had stuff but didn't take it out or what have you), not that she was flying alone.

Also, in the OP's case, there are three kids travelling together, not one alone.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:28 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
Just because your oldest isn't so responsible when you're there doesn't mean she wouldn't be when you're not.

The whole 'as long as you're uncomfortable that's all that matters' thing... yeah but no, imo. I mean people can be uncomfortable with (I have seen on this very forum long ago) a (typical, no special needs) 15-year-old going outside or to the movies or whatever themselves. The mother wasn't comfortable with the idea of the 15-year-old going out alone. Great, except what the heck happens in a couple of years when that kid is in college or a full-time job and is completely responsible for themselves but hasn't even been trusted to go to the movies or walk around town without supervision?

At some point, even if uncomfortable, I think parents have to be able to let go if there's no particular real reason to be so sheltering. The whole 'I'd be a nervous wreck' part of the post, as a reason not to do this, is kind of indicative there.

I'm also kind of stunned at a 13, 11 and 9 year old (or close, 12, 10, etc.), not being able to be alone for more than a few hours, then apparently only if necessary.

Twelve-year-olds babysit other peoples' kids.

They can't ever show you OR themeselves that they're capable and responsible unless they have an opportunity.

I mean... what is the fear? There are three of them, together. What is the thing that'd happen?
I don't disagree with anything you have said, however I wouldn't take 3 kids who haven't had a lot of experiences and have never traveled alone, and decide that the first time I give them a big responsibility is on a flight with a layover while dragging an 8 y/o along. It is time to let them spread their wings, start staying home alone, let them travel alone on a direct flight, etc. I've always gradually allowed my kids to become more and more independent. I'm not a big fan of throwing them in the water without a life jacket on their first time out.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:15 AM   #38
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I would fly with them or they are not going. Might not be the popular opinion but there it is.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:45 AM   #39
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I am not a parent, but that seems like a bit much for 3 kids those age to handle unless they are VERY experienced flyers and VERY comfortable in airports.

A direct flight would be a different story...you put them on the plane, Grandpa gets them off the plane with no stops in between....that much I think they could handle.

But having to change planes and so forth....makes it a little more complicated and, frankly, who knows if the ailine employee assigned to "accompany" them would do so appropriately?

Can they fly between different airports where there would be non-stop flgihts???? Might mean a longer drive for you and Grandpa to get them to & from the airport, but it would be worth your peace of mind.

As far as them being DH's kids too, well, yes they are. But MY DH & I have always sort of run our marriage by the tenet that if one of us has GRAVE concerns about something,even if the other doesn't, we go with the one with the GRAVE concerns. Again, we don't have kids, so for us it's regarding money decisions or what to do with sick elderly parents....stuff like that....
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:06 AM   #40
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I agree with the pp that said if you are not comfortable with it, that's the end of the story. Too many what ifs if they are switching flights.

Can he fly up,and get them?
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:25 AM   #41
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I'd be fine with it. Dd16 has been flying alone since she was 11, and I think she was allowed to fly without being a UM at 12 (Airtran). However, my kids don't get freaked out easily, and rarely fight. They are also big rule followers, so I would expect them to follow both my instructions, and the airline employees. It doesn't bother me that the employees are strangers - they will be meeting strangers for the rest of their lives, and they're not babies anymore.

I have had MANY days of being uncomfortable when the kids are doing something new. Nothing like getting a text from your 15 year old at dusk stating that they're heading into Central Park! Thank goodness for cellphones (told her it might not be the best idea, time to get to the train station and head on home).
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:36 AM   #42
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I would fly with them or they are not going. Might not be the popular opinion but there it is.
I agree. I don't care about being popular.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:00 AM   #43
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For peace of mind, why dont you fly with the children to the Father in Laws house, stay a few days then fly home. Then have the Father in Law fly with the kids home for a few days visit.
This would be my suggestion as well. If they were my children, and it was a non-stop flight I would probably agree to let them go. That way I would be putting them on the plane and their grandfather would be meeting them at the other end. But. With a layover? Nope, I wouldn't let them go alone.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:11 AM   #44
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What about flying to the first stop with them? Then wait out the layover with them and then fly home? That way your with them at the airport and they are only flying without for one leg of the trip?
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:28 AM   #45
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Just follow your gut instinct. Don't let them fly alone. And I don't feel you owe your FIL an explanation other than you won't let them fly alone.

If DH feels it's a great idea, send him w/the kids to visit his father.

Nothing is stronger than a woman's intuition.
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